Court of Florence: responsibility of providers

The D. Lgs. 70/2003 (Dir. 2000/31/CE) deals with the responsibility of Internet providers distinguishing among:

“Access provider” when they merely transmit information and do not take part in any way in choosing the content, such as what a telephone line manager does; “caching provider” when they temporarily memorize information that circulates in the internet; and “hosting provider” when they permanently memorize information; another one to be added is the “content provider” which chooses and inserts content in the internet.

While the content provider has full responsibility since it decides what to publish, the others’ responsibility is more critical.

The caching and hosting provider usually have no responsibility when they do not act upon information: as a matter of fact, there is no obligation of any sort for controlling. However they are obliged to inform the authorities whenever they realize a violation is underway.

The Court of Florence moved towards this direction when on May 25th 2012 (R.G. 14420/12) ordained that the caching provider has responsibility only if it doesn’t deny access to given content after having received an order from the judicial authorities or if, in case it has confirmed the illegal nature of given information, it doesn’t denounce it.

The Court of Florence specified that a provider is not duty-bound to act after privately receiving a notice since it’s a subjective counterclaim. It’s not an established fact that who asks the provider to remove a certain content has the actual right to do so.