Proposal In Italy Would Require Gov't Authorization To Upload Any Video

from the media-controls dept

Over the last few years we’ve noticed a troubling trend for Italian politicians to push absolutely ridiculous anti-internet policies. Some have claimed that much of this comes from the fact that current Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi owns a lot of the mainstream media outlets in the country, and the lack of control over the internet bothers him and his party — which could explain why they use almost any opportunity to lash out at the internet. To make matters worse, there seems to be particular confusion over things like YouTube, leading to the ongoing lawsuit that could sentence Google execs to jailtime for not removing a video fast enough (Google took the video down within a couple hours of being alerted to it). Then there’s the politician who tried to file lawsuits against thousands of YouTube commenters.

So perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that politicians in Italy are proposing that all web video in the country must first be authorized by the Communications Ministry (found via Slashdot). Officially, Italian officials say that they’re just implementing an EU directive on how to deal with product placement, but others note that this clearly goes way beyond that, with many seeing Berlusconi trying to stomp out online video competition to his media holdings.

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Comments on “Proposal In Italy Would Require Gov't Authorization To Upload Any Video”

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17 Comments
Hulser (profile) says:

"Welcome to the Italian Communications Ministry. Your wait time is...10 years, 211 days, 15 hours, and 27 minutes."

Part of me feels pity for the Italian people who are led by an administration that would even consider this as a good idea. But there’s another part that says, fine. Implement your insane restrictions and see what happens. At best Itally will just remove itself from the global conversation. At worst, the people will finally push back, having had enough. Maybe it would be a good example to the world of government censorship run amok.

(BTW, I picture there being one person at this Communications Ministry dedicated to approving new videos. He’d look like Sam Lowry, the main character from Brazil who had to fight for his share of half a desk.)

Brooks (profile) says:

Maybe it's good news?

Maybe there’s a silver lining here. Most industries undergo consolidation, and as they scale up the barriers to entry get higher and higher.

Maybe, just maybe, the pastiche of stupid/crazy laws relating to the Internet will serve to foster more churn in the industry, and therefore more innovation.

Let’s say this law passes in Italy, so YouTube essentially becomes a vehicle for corporate communications in that country and end users basically can’t use it. What’s going to happen? Those users are going to move to a competing service that’s too small to attract regulators’ notice, or to have operations in the country.

Clearly, this is a terrible and stupid idea. But maybe there’s a fringe benefit to all of the terrible and stupid ideas flying around out there. The RIAA’s reaction to Napster gave us Bittorrent, after all.

Jimr (profile) says:

Major conflict of interest when the Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi owns a lot of the mainstream media outlets in the country and proposes that HIS government will control internet content via the Communications Ministry.

What is next – no email or text or twitter will be allowed until it has past the Communications Ministry first?

At least in the US you just expect that all your communication and videos online is at least watch over by big brother – just in case you had any terrorist thoughts.

Stuart says:

I come from the US. A place where every politician is only listening to their own brand of special interests that give them money for elections. Even I (though having a good understanding of how bad my own countries political situation is)think that the Italians should be shamed for Silvio Berlusconi. Seriously. Why have they not shot him yet?

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