Monday, 23 August 2010

Argentina: absence of 'safe harbor' attracts litigation

Given the length of its Atlantic seaboard, "No Safe Harbors in Argentina" might sound a surprising title for this piece for the New York Times, but Vinod Sreeharsha's article is about a rather different sort of harbour.

Internet service providers Google and Yahoo have both emerged successful on appeal following legal actions by Argentine entertainer Virginia Da Cunha (right), who sued them after it became apparent that her name and some photos were among search results connected with sex sites. The two companies argued that they weren't responsible for third-party content over which they had no knowledge. While this case involved defamation, the same point would apply to trade mark and copyright infringement too.

The United States has Safe Harbor legislation to protects technology companies from liability over third-party content but Argentina does not. While Google and Yahoo were successful in this action, there are apparently a large number of similar actions still pending and which are expensive for smaller and less well resourced companies such as start-ups to defend. Brazil is reportedly another problem area for internet hosts for the same reason, with Google being said to be facing up to 600 current actions. Of the countries in the region only Chile has enacted effective legislation, with a 'notice and takedown' system which is said to be an improvement on the US system on which it was modelled.

For an earlier IP Tango post on Ms Da Cunha's action see here.

Thanks go to our blogging friend and colleague Aurelia J. Schultz for this lead.

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