On 24.12.2019, the Enterprise Section of the Civil Court of Milan issued an important decree that represents a further step forward in the fight against (increasingly aggressive) digital piracy: this time to protect cinematographic works.
Subject of the above mentioned decree is the film "Tolo Tolo", directed and starring the famous Italian actor and comedian Checco Zalone, released in cinemas on January 1, 2020.
In the weeks before the film was released in cinemas, dozens of 'pirated' web portals had already appeared which, among other things, misused the title and poster of the film to advertise the imminent release of the film for the benefit of its users.
Therefore, following the sending of formal warnings to the hosting service providers of the above mentioned portals, the companies Taodue s.r.l. and Medusa Film s.p.a. -the producer and owner of the distribution rights of the work respectively- on December 19, 2019 they filed an urgent precautionary appeal with the "A" Company Court of Milan requesting the issue of a decree requiring the major Italian telephone operators to adopt the most appropriate technical measures in order to effectively prevent all their customers from accessing the pirate portals in question, both in their current name and in association with any other future domain name (first or second level) suitable to allow access to the same illegal content.
The Court, ruling in a timely manner, accepted the requests of the applicant parties with Decree No. 2718/2019. With this measure, the Milanese Judge acknowledged the existence of fumus boni iuris, given both the abuse of the title and the poster of the film and the undoubted intention of the pirate portals to illegally transmit the work as soon as it was distributed in the cinemas, as well as the periculum in moraine, held against, among other things, the "fundamental importance of the first viewing in cinemas, in terms of reception and feedback from the public and critics, in the subsequent cycle of commercial viability of a film".
Consequently, with the above mentioned decree (issued unheard of on the other party, given "the particular urgency [...] in view of the need to intervene in good time in order to avoid the further continuation of the unlawful conduct in conjunction with the distribution of the film in cinemas throughout Italy") the Court ordered the providers of connectivity services to immediately adopt the most appropriate technical measures in order to effectively inhibit all the recipients of their services: access to the domain names identified by the applicants, even if they are associated with a different top level domain -when they transmit the same work which is the subject of the appeal-, as well as access to aliases deriving from changes to the second level domain, with the further condition that there be an objective subjective link with the persons responsible for the initial illegal activity.
The ISPs of mere conduits will have to continue to act promptly upon notification of the rights holders of the work.
This is a particularly important result for the Italian film industry and, more generally, for all content producers: the Italian Judicial Authority has shown particular sensitivity with respect to the need to guarantee a preventive protection - which is effective and efficient - to works protected by copyright, illegally reproduced in the digital environment.