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.
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Filed Under: agcom, copyright, italy, regulators

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 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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