Access to online services of the Mail.ru Group has been blocked in Italy by order of a Roman court. The Russian portal is on a list of 25 websites, along with filesharing and video streaming sites, that face allegations of piracy, Mail.ru Group reports.
The group stated that it became aware of the problem after receiving complaints from users. It added that the action was taken in response to a complaint filed by Italian film distributor Eyemoon Pictures claiming that video content it controls was being illegally hosted by sites belonging to the group.
Neither Eyemoon nor Italian authorities had contacted Mail.ru Group about the illegal content or requested that the material be removed, according to the statement. Nor was it clear where the material was located – in the Moi Mir (My World) social network, Cloud Mail.ru file-saving service, or elsewhere.
Media sources indicate that Eyemoon’s complaint centered on the films Fruitvale Station and The Congress. Eyemoon is the distributor of a total of four films, according to its website.
“We are convinced that it is necessary to begin an active dialog on the development of international pretrial procedures for dispute resolution between rights holders and Internet services. Their introduction would improve the situation for all sides, including users, worldwide,” Mail.ru concludes in its statement.
Italy censors 6,825 websites, according to a watchdog site run by Italian network engineer and blogger Marco d’Itri. D’Itri noted in a blog post that all Mail.ru services, including email, are blocked in Italy.
Russian social network VKontake, in which Mail.ru Group owns a 51.99% share, has been blocked in Italy since November 2013, also due to a court ruling in response to a complaint from a film company. In that case, as reported by CNews.ru, the complaint was brought by Medusa Film, a large production company owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset company.
Update July 30, 2014
The Italian authorities unblocked Mail.ru Group’s resources this Wednesday. After checking all its resources for potentially litigious content, the Russian group deleted “a few videos and public links” placed by users on its social network “Moi Mir” and its cloud service “Oblako Mail.ru.”