Hogan Lovells secures a win for Google in the first Italian case regarding COVID-19 disinformation

18 January 2021, Milan – Global law firm Hogan Lovells has secured a significant win for its client, Google, in the first case in Italy regarding COVID-19 disinformation and the spread of "fake news".

The owner of a well-known YouTube channel summoned Google before the Court of Rome and alleged that some of their videos had been unlawfully removed and that they should be reinstated on the YouTube platform.

In a ground-breaking interim judgment, which was not appealed, the Court of Rome dismissed the claims in full on the basis that the alleged remedies for COVID-19 outlined in the video have no scientific basis. The Court also confirmed that the removal of the videos by Google, and YouTube's underlying policies, are completely lawful, being based upon health authorities guidelines reflecting consensus of the scientific community.

In this perspective, the Court confirmed that YouTube has the power to remove videos on the platform which are unlawful and which violate its terms of use. It also added that YouTube has the right to remove any videos which spread "fake news" regarding alleged COVID-19 remedies during the pandemic, particularly remedies which are not approved by national and international health authorities such as the Italian Health Authority and the WHO.

The Hogan Lovells team in Italy advising Google included partners Alberto Bellan and Marco Berliri.

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