October 18, 2013
Last July the Italian Authority for Guarantees in Communications (AGCOM) proposed a new regulation on copyright protection and launched a public consultation on it. Someone has compared it to the French Hanopi law, but it is quite different.
The public dialogue now includes bloggers, journalists, Internet Service Providers, but also consumer associations, lawyers and common people.
The European Commission was notified of the draft AGCOM regulation on 2 September 2013. There are great expectations on the Commission opinion: we know that the protection of intellectual property is an essential element for the success of the Single Market and that is a very important issue for Mr Michel Barnier.
The question is: will the EU Commission back the Italian regulation proposal?
Some experts are worried by a measure that allows the selective removal or disabling of access to illicit content. According to AGCOM, this measure will be based on graduality and proportionality, taking into account the seriousness of the infringement and the location of the server.
Vice versa, according to those experts, it is unwise to remove occasional content posted by bloggers, journalists or common people, such as videos on YouTube and simple links to articles. This way, everyone could be prosecuted, not only criminals. Furthermore, how could AGCOM be able to check millions of links, articles and videos?
The Agcom commissioner and rapporteur, Mr Antonio Martusciello, has strongly defended the regulation: “It respects all the european current laws”. According to Martusciello, the Italian regulation is different to the Hanopi law. “The French one used to prosecute the final consumers. We will do not do it”. Martusciello also said: “There is no intention to censor. Our aim is to fight against massive piracy. We will not persecute final users and so-called peer-to-peer communication, and we will encourage everyone to defend their point of view before removing illegal contents”.
Nevertheless, Italian MEPs Niccolò Rinaldi (ALDE), Luigi Berlinguer and Patrizia Toia (S&D) recenlty presented their questions to the European Commission, asking if the freedom of expression and information, guaranteed by Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, are threatened by this measure.
The experts disagree about the draft regulation, but they seem to agree with the basic idea that in Italy it is time to prosecute copyright infringement. Maybe there are other ways to do it. According to them, only the Italian Parliament should propose a law on this issue.aleflo