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Italian court orders Yahoo to downplay pirated links

by on25 March 2011


Search engines could be responsible for pirated content
In a move which could scare the willies off search engine outfits like Google, a Roman judge has told Yahoo that it must alter its search engine algorithm so that pirated links are not ranked so highly. The makers of the award-winning Iranian film drama About Elly sued Yahoo complaining that pirated clips and links to illegal film downloads were appearing in Yahoo Video searches and demanded that the company remove the videos from the search results.

Yahoo didn’t answer and the the case was taken up by Open Gate, a regulatory lobby group run by Tullio Camiglieri, a former journalist and executive in Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia. According to Reppublica, the complaint centred on the claim that the distributor could not make a profit because Yahoo's search results were giving a higher priority to the pirates.

The judge agreed and ordered Yahoo to do more to “inhibit” copyright infringement. If his ruling holds, it could put search engines on notice that they are responsible for links to illegal downloads. This could also mean that Open Gate, could sue Google and YouTube in Italy over similar claims.

The court recognised that content policing by Search Engins was impossible. But where it went wrong was failing to act on the alleged infringement after it was notified of it.

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