The Civil Court of Rome took a decisive position on ISP liability in the lawsuit served against the Wikimedia Foundation by a former Italian Minister. In his suit, the plaintiff claimed that Wikipedia (a part of the Wikimedia Foundation) was responsible for the inaccurate and defamatory statements posted by individual users on the page devoted to him. In its decision of 20 June 2013, the Court ruled against the plaintiff on the basis that, according to articles 16 and 17 of the Italian E-commerce Decree (Legislative Decree no. 70/2003), Wikimedia must be considered a hosting provider, that is, a subject which solely hosts on its servers information provided by the users, and therefore cannot be liable for the content created by them. In its ruling that Wikimedia benefitted from the exemption from liability, the Court concluded that Wikimedia is clear about its role as a hosting provider by means of a general disclaimer and that, while the system is based on users’ freedom to provide entries and add content, the same is balanced by the possibility for anyone to edit errors, modify undesirable content and to ask for its elimination through the community review processes.
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