Media and on-line piracy: what’s new in Italy

by DLA Piper
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There have been very interesting developments in Italian case law against media online piracy. The first and most important is the publication of statistics on the application of the Italian AGCOM regulation, as well as the initial decisions released by the Authority on the application of the Regulation. This is coupled with the most recent Italian case-law on the liability of service providers which, while overcoming the distinction between active and passive hosting providers, reiterated the principle according to which the internet service providers are liable of contributory infringement for violations of copyright carried out by end users from the date they have been informed of the infringement by the right owners (i.e. they cannot maintain the infringing files until an order of the Authority is taken).

The AGCOM Regulation was announced as a new era for on-line copyright protection. After a year, it is possible to reach a number of conclusions on its effects.

A recent example of the enforcement of IP rights are the injunctions obtained by FPM (The Federation against the Piracy in Music) against the web-sites mp3cool.eu and www.myfreemp3x.com. The applications against these websites were filed with the AGCOM on 27 and 28 January 2015. FPM proved its right of action through POAs conferred inter alia by Warner, Universal and Sony and denounced the website since it made available a number of musical works. The AGCOM visited the website and found a number of musical works in violation. Considering the massive number of infringements, on 30 January 2015 AGCOM opened urgent proceedings, informing the internet service providers through the publication of an announcement over the AGCOM website. The same communication was sent to the owners of the website and to the hosting providers. In the following three days neither the owners of the website nor any other interested parties filed any documents with the AGCOM. For this reason on 11 February 2015 the AGCOM granted a blocking order to be enforced by all of the service providers operating in the Italian territory within two days from service, through redirecting visitors to an informative web-page.

The above provides a strong protection to the owners of the content, especially if you consider that the internet service provider are liable for contributory infringement ionce informed of the violations carried out

We will discuss the topic on Wednesday 25 February at 4 pm CET for a new session of our Media, Sport & Entertainment webinar. London partner Nick Fitzpatrick will chair this session, and speakers will include colleagues from the UK (Ruth Hoy), US (Frank Ryan), UAE (Jamie Ryder) and Italy (myself). Stay tuned!

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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