Yahoo!, Italy and liability for content of search engine results

A post on Slashdot that caught my attention: “Yahoo! Liable In Italy For Searchable Content”.  What is this about?  It’s a ruling that took place in Italy regarding Yahoo! and their potential liability for the content of sites included in their search results.

Taken from another article, “Yahoo Found Guilty of Linking in Italy” :

“The judge ruled that Yahoo! is liable for contributory infringement, copyright infringement facilitation, if Yahoo! doesn’t remove search results after it has been notified of privacy violations. Each of the major search engines has had processes in place for years which enable copyright holders to notify the engines of infringement. However, in this court ruling, the search engine becomes a party to the infringement apparently from the moment the notification is submitted.

It remains to be seen how this will play out. Yahoo! and Google can easy argue that any system where results were immediately removed based on a user notification would be subject to abuse. It’s easy to imagine competitors submitting false privacy notifications to remove their competition. The question is then if the search engines should also have to under take due diligence to determine the rightful copyright holder for any content on the web, and if so, to what degree of certainty and in what time frame.”

The Slashdot site contained an interesting string of comments – raising many points about what the outcome of such rulings could be.  It does present some difficult choices…  

If you are interested in further details read the IP Kat write-up which is, as usual, informative and full of useful links! “Search Yahoo! for Elly? Not on your Nellie

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