The exponential growth and diffusion of social networks (SNs) in the Internet not only cause a sensible change in the ways social, economical, cultural and political relations are held and interpreted, but also offer new opportunities to violate copyrights. The phenomenon is wide and complex, especially if analysed on the level of substantive criminal law, even because there are no systematic studies of the criminal violations of copyrights in SNs and of the adoption of counter-measures, which, on the one hand, are entrusted to private services and, on the other hand, even if not included in the area of penal intervention, are highly invasive of the sphere of fundamental rights. The present work aims to ascertain, in the first place, if SN administrators can be held criminally liable – both on their own account or for their participation in crimes committed by others – for the violation of copyrights, especially for not having prevented the offences committed by users. Secondly, we deal with the issue of the balance between needs for the repression of such violations and the protection of fundamental individual rights.
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