From October 2016 to March 2017 the team is joined by Guest Kats Rosie Burbidge and Eibhlin Vardy, and by InternKats Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo, Tian Lu and Hayleigh Bosher.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Will Italy have its online copyright enforcement regulation at last?

"Good times for a change" was the opening line of an inspired 1980s iconic song by The Smiths

This Kat has thought of it not just because Please, please, please, let me get what I want has been recently at the centre of a slightly less inspiring copyright dispute, but also because the dream of an Italian regulation on online copyright enforcement may become reality, at last. 

Readers who also follow The 1709 Blog will remember Italian Communication Authority (AGCOM)'s failed attempts to adopt such a regulation over the past few years. Probably because hope is the last to die, last April recently elected AGCOM President Angelo Cardani announced that by the end of this summer his Authority would issue a draft regulation, which would then be subject to public consultation. 

AGCOM would intervene only
after unsuccessful takedown requests
(but who would dare to say 'NO'
to such an irresistible rightholder??)
This is indeed what happened today when - just in time before the summer break - AGCOM released its draft regulation on online copyright protection (interview with AGCOM rapporteur here; FAQs here). 

According to the press release, the draft regulation provides a balance between protection of copyright and fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, the right of access to the internet, and privacy. As a result, enforcement would be targeted solely at websites commercially devoted to piracy, thus excluding individual users and peer-to-peer activities from its scope

AGCOM would enforce copyright against alleged infringers, but would be able to do so only (1) if requested by the relevant rightholder and (2) following an unsuccessful takedown request submitted by the relevant rightolder to the alleged infringer. 

Proposed enforcement measures are those already listed in the Legislative Decree 2003 No 70, by which Italy implemented the Ecommerce Directive into its national law.

Filippo was asked to promote
legal content offers among tourists,
but the day was so hot that
he fell asleep inside the Colosseum 
The draft regulation emphasises how more effective enforcement cannot come alone. It is in fact necessary to promote legal content offers, along with consumer information and education. 

This part somehow echoes the recent Lescure Report in France (here and here). Among other things, that report acknowledged that online legal offer of contents is still insufficient in France, and feared that it might be unlikely for users accustomed to free consumption of illegal contents to switch to legal offers, even in the presence of low-priced options. This might be due to insufficient offer segmentation in terms of pricing models, functionalities offered
"Sure, I am just about to answer
AGCOM consultation - I'll do that
before cocktail hour."
and editorial line. As such, the report did not exclude the need for
 support by public authorities to enhance the emergence of new services. 

The draft AGCOM regulation does not say how it intends to promote legal offers. Thus, it is unclear whether this is destined to remain a vague plea or would instead translate into concrete measures.


In any case, interested stakeholders will have 60 days (de facto, it is less than this, as August is perceived as holiday month in Italy) to let AGCOM know what they think of the draft regulation by following these instructions.  

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