An Italian court has fined video streaming platform Vimeo over $8.6MM for copyright infringement.
The ruling comes after Italian broadcast company Mediaset alleged Vimeo failed to remove copyrighted content from its platform. The verdict was handed down in 2019, but the New York-based video streaming service appealed the decision. Last week, a panel of judges chaired by Judge Gianna Maria Zannella held up the initial ruling.
Vimeo allowed copyrighted TV content from Mediaset to be published on its platform and failed to remove it as Italian law requires. The Rome Court of Appeals described Vimeo as a video on demand (VOD) service for Mediaset content.
In addition to removing all the infringing content in question, Vimeo must also prevent new uploads of unauthorized content. Failure to do so will result in a fine of €1,000 for each offense, plus an additional penalty of €500 for each day the video remains accessible on Vimeo’s website. Vimeo also lost its safe harbor provision in the ruling.
The Italian court ruling in this case determined that service providers who play an active role in ‘cataloging, indexing, and commissioning’ content cannot benefit from the safe harbor exemptions offered by the Electronic Commerce Directive. In the court’s eyes, Vimeo lost its neutral status and its exemption from responsibility to remove copyrighted content.
“The sentence of the Court of Rome takes on particular importance as it comes in the final stages of the approval process of the new European directive proposal having as its objective the protection of copyright with respect to violations committed via the web,” Mediaset said in its 2019 statement about the initial ruling.
“A provision that intends to harmonize copyright laws in the individual States to protect the creative industry and publishers, who like Mediaset, create content regularly renumerating the rights of all authors.”
Several major music labels have an ongoing lawsuit against Vimeo also brewing in Italy.