Tribunale di Roma [Court of Rome], Civil, TMFT Enterprises LLC- Break Media v. Reti Televisive Italiane S.p.A. (RTI)

Document type
Court Decision
(1) The Court of Rome found TMFT Enterprises LLC- Break Media ("Break Media") liable for copyright infringement for the unauthorized streaming of audiovisual content to which Reti Televisive Italiane S.p.A. ("RTI") owned the copyright.
(2) The Court supported its decision basically on two arguments:
  1. Identification of the activity of Break Media as "active hosting" and not just "passive hosting". According to the Court, Break Media is not a simple host of media content but a sophisticated content-provider. Indeed, the activity of Break Media is not limited to the activation of technical procedures for enabling the content to be loaded to the platform ("passive hosting"), but requires of a complex and sophisticated organization of advertising exploitation of the content loaded to the platform which is selected, addressed, related and associated to other contents in order to deliver to the user an audiovisual product, which has a better quality, complexity and a precise and specific autonomy ("active hosting"). As a result, the defenses of the E-Commerce Directive are not applicable, and general rules on liability apply.
  2. Effective knowledge of Break Media of transmission of illegal files. Although the communication sent by RTI demanding Break Media the removal of the infringing content from the platform did not identify the specific URL (precise and specific location of the content to be removed), the effective knowledge of the defendant of the infringing nature of the content was enough (which in this case was evident, also by the fact that the content clearly showed the broadcaster’s trademark).
(3) The Court of Rome prohibited Break Media from further violating the rights of RTI by imposing a penalty of EUR 1,000 per each day of violation of such prohibition, and condemned Break Media to the payment of damages caused to RTI which were estimated in EUR 115,000 basing on an estimation of the royalties that Break Media would have had to pay for a license to stream the content. Finally, it ordered Break Media to pay expenses of the trial, and to publish the decision for two consecutive times in nation-wide printed and online magazines and in the homepage of Break Media.
Topic, claim, or defense
Document type
Court Decision
Issuing entity
Lowest Domestic Court
Type of service provider
Host (Including Social Networks)
Issues addressed
Trigger for OSP obligations
OSP obligation considered
Block or Remove
Type of law
General effect on immunity
Weakens Immunity
General intermediary liability model
Takedown/Act Upon Knowledge (Includes Notice and Takedown)