Italy's Public Prosecutor Orders ISPs To Block Dozens Of 'Pirate' Websites Just Because He Said So

from the wave-that-magic-wand dept

We've already reported on how Italy's communications watchdog, AGCOM, has assigned itself the power to censor websites based on a copyright infringement claim from a copyright holder, without any sort of judicial due process. However, it appears that Italy's public prosecutor has decided to go even further and simply order ISPs to censor dozens of websites based solely on his say so that they were sources of infringing materials. No copyright holder made any specific claim about those sites. There doesn't appear to have been any due process, or really any process at all, other than that the public prosecutor decided which sites were "pirate sites," and then handed them off to the "Guardia di Finanza" (the financial police, more or less), a part of Italy's Ministry of Economy and Finance, who went out and ordered ISPs to block access to these sites entirely.

Unfortunately, it looks like this is something of a trend, with law enforcement types suddenly deciding on their own what websites need to be shut down absent any sort of judicial due process. These efforts probably make copyright maximalists happy, but they fly in the face of pretty much all of copyright law. They're almost entirely based on confusing law enforcement types into believing that copyright is just like "property" and thus that it can treat sites that are somehow connected to possible infringement the same as entities that traffic in stolen merchandise. There are, of course, worlds of difference between the two, but copyright maximalists play on the ignorance of law enforcement officials in these settings, playing up the misleading analogy, leading to vast censorship and a near total lack of due process.

Filed Under: agcom, copyright, italy, piracy, takedown

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2014 @ 1:43am

    nothing different to what i predicted as going to happen months ago. and it could have been prevented had the big companies that use and rely on the internet put up legal challenges to everything the entertainment industries were doing. that never happened and those companies sat on the fence. now we have this situation and it's getting worse. it wont be many more weeks before the internet is going to be run by those entertainment industries and be full of adverts. that will effectively kill it, which is what those industries also wanted to do, if their take over, their controlling of it failed. now, because of the lack of concern by the big boys, the internet is going to become nothing but a world wide bill board. after all, it is the best distribution platform ever invented. the industries knew that and have obviously calculated that however much was spent 'trying to protect artists' would be regained, with massive bonuses if it happened, and be well worth the risk. the sad thing is that governments and law enforcement along with judges have fallen in line with what the industries spilled to them, even when suspecting, if not actually knowing, what they were being told was a complete load of shit!! now look at what we've got, with a whole lot worse just over the horizon!!!

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