Criminal case involving the public performance

ITALY – Criminal case involving the public performance of SCF rights

25. 8. 2017

Recent decision from the Italian Supreme Court holds that failure to pay remuneration to SCF for the public performance of sound recordings is a criminal offence.

The court dismissed the defendant’s argument that it was a good faith omission after he had paid “large amounts” to the local authors’ society SIAE.

The decision sets potentially an important precedent not only for Italy but also for other countries.  It appears to make an important point, notably that use of sound recordings in violation of the conditions of a legal license is an infringement of the underlying exclusive right and thus subject to the criminal provision in the Italian Copyright Law. The Court found that:

“… it should be considered demonstrated, on one hand, that a license was not requested before the musical works were broadcasted, with a subsequent failure to pay the sums due and, on the other hand, that this omission was willful, which is consistent with the information, unquestionably a part of the record, that Detassis was aware that he first had to obtain a license and then pay the sums due in order to publicly broadcast the works.”

ITALY – THE SUPREME COURT OF CASSATION, THIRD CRIMINAL JUSTICE SECTION, 34172-17, Decision section no. 510, Prelim. Hearing –  Feb. 7, 2017, Docket no. 11388/16


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