Italian Court Says Non-Commercial Downloading Shouldn't Be A Crime

from the and-yet-it-is dept

Joining similar decisions in both France and Spain, Italy’s top court ruled that downloading content online isn’t a crime if there was no profit motive. In other words, private, non-commercial downloading shouldn’t be illegal. Of course, as with both Spain and France, other laws may make that point moot. The article about the Italian lawsuit notes that getting around copy protection is still a crime, thanks to Italy’s own anti-circumvention law, and that other laws are pending that would add a fine for anyone caught downloading, with no concern for the profit motive whatsoever. In other words, as soon as the courts come out with a reasonable ruling, the politicians will change the law to favor the entertainment industry in their crusade to protect an out of date business model.

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Comments on “Italian Court Says Non-Commercial Downloading Shouldn't Be A Crime”

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Paul Revere says:

digital asylum in Italy, Spain, France for peer-is

Move your servers to Italy, Spain, France
peer-to-peer per se is not an illegal activity


you peer to peer-ists are not crooks In Italy, Spain, France


no jail time for using peer to peer


does anyone understand how oppressive government is

“where have you gone,
Thomas Jefferson”
The country needs you.

“I consider this sentence as a very intermediate step in clarifying what is legal and what is not legal,” said analyst Carlo Alberto Carnevale Maffe, the president of Assodigitale, a think-tank on digital technology. “This sentence marks an important step in that peer-to-peer per se is not an illegal activity. What stays and remains illegal is copyright infringement by cracking copyright files, and distributing it for commercial purposes.”

UniBoy says:

Tired argument...

This idea that the content makers need to completely scrap their business model and find some way to make their art available for free is getting really tired. The real solution is more indie artists and labels that manage their own distriubtion, use competitive pricing and reasonable promotion tactics, and ultimately do SELL their content wares to the consumer. It does not have to be FREE. It just has to be reasonable and easy for the consumer. Most consumers do want to be honest and will happilly participate in a free market for content that WORKS.

Elimination of too many greedy middle-men will be the key. They are the dinosaurs in this equation. I think that it is only the content producers that can make it happen.

Yo ho ho... says:

Re: Tired argument...

Well said! (mostly…)

iTunes is a perfect example that people will pay for content when it is simple and reasonable. I know many teens that have purchased songs at iStore that they could have gotten for free because the .99 cents was fair. Billions & billions of revenue annually can not be ignored….

(Forcing $15 albums down a consumers throat for usually just 2 or 3 songs on the album is where the problems arise).

Matt says:

Re: how?

How can you defend taking something for free, for any use… when the owner of that item doesn’t want to give it to you for free.

This is tricky. On the face of it, you’re absolutely right – it does seem like we’re trying to justify stealing.

However, the motivation for legalizing personal-use downloading is born out of a society where a signigicant proportion think it’s ok to go for the free version if the legitimate one is deemed to be a bad deal.

Deciding not to criminalize those who fall into that significant proportion means society is re-evaluating whether the cut-and-dry law should apply in this case.

Ultimately, copyright laws exist to protect the owners. In this case, the owners are doing themselves more harm than good by refusing recognise that digital media is too easy to share to stop it without making the legitimate approach a better deal.

Ryan (user link) says:

agreed... sorta

The fact that the copyright holders don’t get it doesn’t matter.

Neither does that fact that music is over priced

Nor does the fact that people think it’s ok to go for it in these cases.

They’re all just moral justifications – false justifications.

The point is simple: Doing it is against the law. Dr Kevorkian may end suffering, but he’s still a Murderer. Robin Hood may have helped the poor, but he’s still a theif.

In any other market, supply and demand would solve this. We have to let it solve it here too. The problem is, we’re addicted to music. We can’t go without it. It’s why they can raise gas and cigarettes too. But unlike gas and cigarettes, we don’t “Need” music to continue on living.

If we all stopped consuming (yes I’m afraid for this to work, you’ have to stop legally buying AND downloading, AND any other method by which you obtain music)

Only when the demand lowers will the supply build up, thus causing the industry to lower prices, or re-evaluate their methods.

When it comes down to it though, there’s no justifiable reason to download music without paying for it. Even if you’re giving it to poor dying orphans and donating the money you would have spent to fight terrorism and child porn – you’re still a criminal.

Josh says:

Re: agreed... sorta

i find it interesting to use Kevorkian and Robin Hood as examples. Don’t forget Kevorkian’s patients asked him to do what he did. The brings up a huge moral debate on whether or no thats murder. Didn’t Robin Hood steal from an oppressive government that was starving it’s citizens and robbing them of their rights?? Things are never cut and dry no matter what your stance on it is.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: agreed... sorta

The point is simple: Doing it is against the law

Uh. No. The court actually said the opposite. It is NOT against the law. That’s why courts exist. To interpret the law.

In any other market, supply and demand would solve this. We have to let it solve it here too.

Hmm. That actually goes against your argument. Supply of a song, once created, is infinite, which means that the law of supply and demand says it will be eventually priced at zero. The market is simply supporting that fact.

When it comes down to it though, there’s no justifiable reason to download music without paying for it.

If you’re walking down the street and hear a song, are you a criminal? If you listen to a song on the radio, are you a criminal? Listening to music shouldn’t be a crime.

Also, if you’re correct, how do you explain all those bands out there that encourage downloading? They seem to find it quite justifiable, in that it helps get them more fans.

you’re still a criminal.

Not according to the court in Italy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Justifiable reason

I’m sorry I’m not going to pay $15-20 for 2 maybe three songs on a CD. Hell of the CD’s I do own, I don’t think I’ve listened to every track on ANY of them.

Give me a store that I can walk into, grab a handful of cd’s off the shelf, and tell the clerk I want tracks 1,3,6 off that cd, 2,6,9 off that cd and 10,11,12 off that cd, then that clerk puts them on a cd for me. Yeah, then that will almost justify the outrageous prices of CD’s today.

W33D says:

Unjust laws need to be broken as a form of civil disobedience even if they are currently recognized as the “laws of the land”.

Laws against sharing of information (music, knowledge, etc.) are unjust and lead to nothing more than the slowing down of progress.

The internet is a medium by which ideas and thought flow freely and any organization that tries to stop this should be abolished.


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