An interesting case from Argentina. A judge has received and rejected a request from HBO Ole Partners, the Latin American branch of HBO, to block access to the popular streaming site Cuevana. In case you have not heard about it, Cuevana is an Argentinian streaming site that offers high-quality movies free of charge to its users, all they have to do is install a plugin in their browser, and they can watch a streamed version of the film or TV series. Cuevana claims not to host any files, so it operates mostly as a facilitator of content. This has meant that it has had a bumpy existence in Argentinian courts.
The latest action was initiated by HBO in 2011, where they argued that the site was facilitating copyright infringement. The plaintiffs requested a preliminary injunction for the site should be blocked in Argentina. In a big win for Cuevana, a Federal court in Buenos Aires has called the request to block Cuevana “broad and disproportionate”. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find the full text of the resolution, but the passage that has been quoted so far by news organizations offers a fascinating look at the difficulty faced by content owners when trying to remove streaming content. There are two issues, firstly, rights holders have to prove that Cuevana is the one uploading the content, and secondly, they have to provide evidence that it is actually hosting the files. The concept of secondary or vicarious liability is not mentioned in the short excerpts, so it will be interesting to see if this is at all subject of the case. The court says:
“In these early stage of the process it has not been determined yet if Cuevana is a indexing or linking website of content managed by isolated users, or if effectively there are people [at Cuevana] who control the content. For now, it is unknown who are the users who manage the site, and where the server from which the pictures are downloaded is located. Specifically, no subject or subjects have been charged of making improper use of the trademark and copyright violations” (translation mine).
Very interesting case so far. If any readers have access to the ruling, I’d truly appreciate a link.
ETA: Here is the file courtesy of Jose Otero. It makes for an interesting read, but it does not discuss the meat of the issue other than what has been reported.