Italy Attempting To Have Copyright Enforced By Regulators, Not Courts

from the bad-ideas-at-work dept

A year and a half ago, we thought this plan was dead in the water, but apparently while we weren't paying attention, a plan moved forward in Italy to take significant copyright enforcement powers out of the courts and, instead, give it to the Italian regulator AGCOM. If you want to see a recipe for a bad idea, this is it. Regulators are very much subject to regulatory capture, and a regulatory board entirely focused on copyright enforcement will almost certainly be controlled by maximalists who come from industry, rather than those with the public benefit in mind.

As it stands, the proposal is currently being reviewed by the EU to see if it complies with EU directives. A ruling in favor of the AGCOM plan would have a huge negative impact on Italy, innovation and culture.
If the initiative of AGCOM goes through, it will create an important precedent in Europe, since the enforcement of copyright in the Internet is normally carried out by courts, not by administrations.

ISPs, consumers, libertarians and experts have vigourosly contested AGCOM’s proposal because it could affect freedom of speech as well as business rights. In particular, they challenge the modality whereby the Italian regulator would supervise and tackle copyright infringements in the Internet by way of orders of removal and blocking. By contrast, rightshodlers associations as well as the Italian Collecting Society SIAE have supported the initiative.

The UN has already expressed its concerns about the proposal, noting that handing free expression controls to a regulatory agency, rather than an elected body, is a serious mistake, because if any content is to be removed from the internet, it should first be reviewed by a court. But the current proposal pretty much dispatches with the courts entirely in many cases, leaving the issues entirely up to regulators. Imagine if the US Copyright Office or the US Patent Office got to determine enforcement of those laws, rather than the courts. It would be a disaster for free expression and innovation -- and yet that's exactly what Italy is seeking to do.

Hopefully, the EU will reject this plan for stifling free expression and removing basic due process within the court system in Italy.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 1:12am

    And if we can't work around the court this way, we'll try again with TTP and TTIP. - The Copyright Industry

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 1:42am

    Re:

    We are dealing with Italy here. Italy has been under a corrupt TV-mogul for a long time. Now we are more or less back to the surviving parties from the Tangentopoli and the massive corruption at that time...

    Having 26 % of the votes going to someone who is unwilling to cooperate with anyone corrupt (that is the rest of the parliament) is quite a statement of despair from the voters!

    As far as italian politics goes, this looks relatively fair and balanced...

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 2:55am

    'copyright enforcement will almost certainly be controlled by maximalists who come from industry, rather than those with the public benefit in mind'

    isn't this the whole aim? the entertainment industries are not going to stop, not going to be content, until they have complete control of the internet, the best distribution platform ever invented. the customers are the last on the list of care and consideration. they simply have to hand over their cash to keep the industries going. the fact that they may not do that seems to be going over the heads of the industries, just as how pissed off they are at buying something only to be told 'you dont own it. you only rent it. you cant do what you want with it. you cant back it up. you cant change it to work on another piece of equipment.'

    sounds like a really good deal for one side of the 'bargain'!!

    obviously the 'rights holders' associations are in favour of this. they still think that the best way of stopping people from getting something for free or from being able to stop people from doing what they want with what they have bought, is to go to court and make people bankrupt and turned into criminals. this should never have been allowed to happen and had the internet giants stood up against this behaviour and on the side of customers, it would never have progressed to what it is now.
    the industries will not consider any other roads other than those above, because it would take away their control, their authority. competing is the way, but not when you are part of an industry that refuses to adapt to customers needs and wants

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 3:20am

    Eu will green light it

    A regulator *does* comply with EU directives, his actions do not. But he hasn't taken those actions yet, so EU will green light it, Italy copyright trolls will claim that as an EU legal basis pretending its somehow an EU requirement, they will then do really dumb stuff that violates all kinds of rights. THEN the EU will huff and puff about violations of peoples rights, without actually doing anything.

    EU Commission is very odd these days. I don't think they really work for the EU and in my head the Snowden leaks reveal a possible reason why.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 3:35am

    Re: Eu will green light it

    The Commission is a largely-unelected organisation with the Union's framework.

    You can understand everything about it from this one statement.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 4:02am

    Well I'm done with this planet. Space is looking pretty good right about now. Maybe we can start humanity 2.0 and let the earth destroy itself as it's currently heading towards.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 5:03am

    What could go wrong with that, in a place notoriously famous for corruption?

     

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  8.  
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    Androgynous Cowherd, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 7:25am

    Interesting

    ISPs, consumers, libertarians and experts have vigourosly contested AGCOM’s proposal because it could affect freedom of speech as well as business rights.


    Interesting. Libertarians are always pushing for dismantling courts and other public institutions in favor of private arbitrators and other such "buyable" mechanisms ... but here's where they draw the line, where freedom of speech and "business rights" could be impacted. Then they suddenly favor a good old-fashioned judiciary over a more businesslike, money-influencable body.

    Interesting.

     

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  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 7:54am

    Re:

    You mean like how fatcat corporate Google monopolizes the internet via search and uploadable video?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Nick (profile), Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 8:22am

    Hmm, well, it's not like the courts being allowed control over copyright has been any better...

     

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  11. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 9:04am

    How many snivels have I heard here about "clueless" judges? Of course, the cluelessness seems directly linked to the nature of the decision. Let's face it, who decides doesn't really matter to you. How it's decided is all you care about. So stop pretending like you care about the process, you don't. It's all about outcomes.

     

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  12.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 10:13am

    Re:

    How many snivels have I heard here about "clueless" judges? Of course, the cluelessness seems directly linked to the nature of the decision. Let's face it, who decides doesn't really matter to you. How it's decided is all you care about. So stop pretending like you care about the process, you don't. It's all about outcomes.

    As per usual, you are misrepresenting what has been said here (why must you always do that?). We call out clueless judges because they tend to be the exception to the rule. There are clueless judges, and that's a problem, which is why it's news. But regulators are much, much worse. You know that which is why you're setting up this false equivalency.

     

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  13. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re:

    Oh please, Masnick. You may be able to get your coterie of suck-ups to believe that but no one else. "Clueless" judges are characterized as such because they rules against a position you favor. "Reasoned" judges are the ones who decide according to your biases. As far as whether regulators are, by definition "much, much worse"- you have no basis to make that claim. This is entirely an assessment of where your copyright position will be best served.

     

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  14.  
    icon
    AC Unknown (profile), Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe if you stop attacking the site owner, Mike may just indeed listen to you. Until then, have some more report votes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe if you stop attacking the site owner, Mike may just indeed listen to you. Until then, have some more report votes.

    Listen? That's a laugh. Thanks for the report vote, though. Nice to see the suck-ups out here doing their job.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    CK20XX (profile), Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

    That's actually from Matthew chapter 12. Think about the fruit your life has produced, then maybe you'll understand why no one listens to you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re:

    So you are saying that they are nearly as corrupt as the American politicians, who not only take bribes, but created laws to make bribery legal.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Anonymous Coward just hates it when due process is enforced.

     

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  19.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 8:25pm

    Re: Re:

    Google monopolizes the internet via search and uploadable video?

    If Google had the exclusive right to link to the web sites that come up in their search results, you would have a point.

    If Google had the exclusive right to display the videos that are uploaded to YouTube (such that they couldn't legally be displayed on, say, Vimeo), you would have a point.

    But neither is true, so you don't have any point at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 8:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Thanks Reverend, but don't waste your sermons on me. Religion is a joke and the root of much of the world's misery.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2013 @ 8:04am

    Re:

    "Evidence? We don't need no stinkin' evidence!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2013 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    While I agree with that assessment, there is still wisdom in many 'holy' books. You'd do well to learn to separate the wheat from the chaff instead of making blanket statements and dismissing an entire realm of literature.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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