“Blank” blocking orders on “alias” targeted web sites cannot be issued

According to the Court of Milan, such  injunctions would be contrary to local procedural rules as well as to Italian and European fundamental principles of law

In July, a famous Italian broadcaster asked the Court of Milan to block access to a specific portal, in order to stop its unlawful communication to the public of football matches of major Italian teams and of the UEFA Champions League to which the broadcaster holds the exclusive broadcasting rights.

In addition to the claim brought against the portal, the broadcaster also sued various internet service providers, in order to have them committed to (a) adopt technologic measures aimed at preventing user’s access to the portal and to all the other future “aliases” of the portal as well as to any associate IP addresses, and (b) communicate to content rights owners such “aliases” and IP addresses at their care and responsibility.

While the Court of Milan issued an interim injunction against the owner of the portal and ordered internet service providers to block access to the same, broadcaster’s request of a “blank” blocking order for any and all “aliases” has been rejected, on the basis that:

  1. it would have conflicted with fundamental procedural law principles, because the broadcaster’s request for legal protection would have occurred in the absence of a current infringement; moreover the identification of which sites internet service providers should be blocked is reserved to a judicial authority
  2. ordering internet service providers to monitor content’s website would be not consistent with their legal obligations provided by the EU Directive 2001/29
  3. as stated in CJEU decision Telekabel (C-314/12), IP protection must be balanced with other fundamental rights, namely the freedom to conduct business and freedom of expression and information.

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