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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Mar 7th, 2014 @ 4:42pm

    Never fails

    For how 'obviously illegal' file-sharing and similar sites are supposed to be, the ones demanding they be shut down sure seem to avoid like the plague any court time where they would actually have to prove that the sites are breaking the law and should be shut down/blocked.

    Why, it's almost as though things aren't as cut and dry as they like to pretend, or that their 'evidence' isn't nearly as strong as they like to claim it is.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 9:13pm

      Re: Never fails

      Their best attempt at "evidence" is claiming that since the defendant acts like a lying douche, they must be a pirate.

      They'd better hope to hell this doesn't pass as a standard of evidence, or there'd be a lot of trolls needing to be rounded up for being lying douche pirates...

       

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

      •  
        icon
        That One Guy (profile), Mar 7th, 2014 @ 9:46pm

        Re: Re: Never fails

        Now now, you can't forget their 'super duper accurate IP matching programs', the ones that they assure courts are completely accurate, and would never, and could never, result in a false positive leading to the wrong person being sued.

        Of course the judges will just have to take their word for it, as for some reason they always seem to object strongly to having their programs tested for accuracy, but I'm sure that's a total coincidence, and has nothing to do with them knowing any independent review would show their IP matching programs to be laughably inaccurate.

         

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

      •  
        identicon
        Reality bites, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 10:29am

        Re: Re: Never fails... Most would be government parasites

        Lying troll.... describes 98% of government workers and contractors, the other 2% are traitors.

         

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 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!!!

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 6:48am

    Do the trains run on time?

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 11:53am

    3... 2... 1. Proxy launch time!

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2014 @ 6:36am

    It seems as though you fail to understand the differences between US and Italian law.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      That One Guy (profile), Mar 9th, 2014 @ 1:52pm

      Re:

      Whereas you seem to fail to understand that 'trial, then punishment if the accused is found guilty' is generally considered, worldwide, to be how justice is best upheld.

      Something like this completely throws out the idea of 'innocent until proven guilty', and replaces it with 'Guilty because I said so', which is anything but just.

      Skipping the whole trial step and going straight to ordering the accused to be punished is both a serious abuse of power(by completely sidestepping the courts like his, he's essentially saying he's more powerful than them), and a pretty strong indication that the evidence, and therefor the case, wouldn't hold up in court, and the person ordering the shutdowns knows it.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2014 @ 6:50pm

        Re: Re:

        Whereas you seem to fail to understand that 'trial, then punishment if the accused is found guilty' is generally considered, worldwide, to be how justice is best upheld.

        I simply noted that the article judges what's happening in Italy using the standard of American jurisprudence. What's happening in Italy comports with Italian law. The fact that you (or anyone else) doesn't like it, doesn't mean it is unlawful.

        And even in the US, people are arrested and languish in jail; and property is seized. This all occurs without a "trial" first.

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2014 @ 10:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That you think this should be an enforced standard is a scary thought.

           

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

        •  
          icon
          That One Guy (profile), Mar 10th, 2014 @ 3:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, not sure if you've noticed, but the idea of 'It's legal so therefor it's okay' has been taking a beating recently, and in fact has never been a good way to measure the good or bad of an action.

          Recently, most of what the NSA has been doing is 'legal'(technically... sorta... mostly because they've been fighting like mad to keep any outside, impartial judges from reviewing their actions, and sadly the courts have gone along with them), but other than people unfamiliar with just how extensive their spying is, or authoritorians who feel that those in power can do no wrong, you'd likely be hard pressed to find someone who would argue that what the NSA is doing is right.

          Historically, you've got a whole bunch of things that used to be legal, yet which the vast majority of people today wouldn't agree with in the slightest. Little things like racial segregation, prohibiting women from voting, the ban on drinking, freakin' slavery...

          Point is, just because something's 'legal', doesn't make it right.

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 7:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Point is, for those who read and understand English, is that the article was a rant about "due process" and lawfulness of an Italian enforcement provision. And that is completely off-base.

            Please find someone else to argue with as you are obvious too stupid to understand my point and discuss it.

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 7:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Ok then. By your logic...
              You are found guilty of trolling Techdirt and are now banned. Because I say you are trolling, despite what anyone else may think.

               

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

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 8:31am

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

                I see That One Guy has a seat mate on the short bus. The only thing I am saying is that the article criticizes the lawfulness of the Italian enforcement measure as though it was subject to US law. It isn't. Italian law is different with concepts, traditions and practices that are not the same as US law.

                Please ask your helper to read this to you slowly and explain fully before you post again.

                 

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

                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 10:25am

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

                  Let me explain something to you...
                  ITALY DOES IN FACT HAVE A RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS, YOU INCOMPETENT BUFFOON!!!
                  The point of the article is that the websites were blocked with no trial or court order, just some fool in power yelling "PIRACY!!!" at the top of his lungs. This shouldn't be going on anywhere, not the US, not Italy. Judging by the fact you so vehemently right for this, you seem to be against the right to due process, so again, I judge you a troll and ban you. Respect your ban this time.

                   

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

                  •  
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 10:43am

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

                    Look shitbag, the existence of due process and its application are two different things. Where is the due process when you are stopped for a traffic violation and $100,000 in US currency sitting in your back seat is seized? There's no trial, no court order, just some fool in power yelling "DRUGS!!!" at the top of his lungs.

                    Your due process comes after the seizure.

                    The point of the article was to whip up unthinking dolts like yourself into a lather by "revealing" some new and nefarious threat to freeloading. Now, please return to your seat on the short bus for the journey home.

                     

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

                    •  
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 10:55am

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

                      Name one legitimate reason to have $100,000 dollars in US currency in your backseat. I'm pretty sure if you actually did have a reason, it would be returned or you could sue for it. Weren't you just arguing that Italy's laws are different then the US, but now you are using the US as an example? Also, was there even probable cause to take them down? We have that in the US too, but you may not have it in Italy. If you have that much money in cash, it is very likely you are breaking the law, likely drugs. You're still banned, troll, and you're running out of ammo too.

                       

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

                      •  
                        identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 11:51am

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

                        Name one legitimate reason to have $100,000 dollars in US currency in your backseat.

                        Because I fucking feel like it and there's no law against it. How's that?

                        I'm pretty sure if you actually did have a reason, it would be returned or you could sue for it.

                        I assume there's redress under Italian law for the website owners as well in the event that the content they're monetizing is lawfully theirs. As you noted, they have due process in Italy.

                        Weren't you just arguing that Italy's laws are different then the US, but now you are using the US as an example?

                        Yes. In order to amplify the point that even in a country with a strong tradition of due process, you don't get a hearing before you're arrested or property is seized.

                        Also, was there even probable cause to take them down? We have that in the US too, but you may not have it in Italy.

                        I think its as easy to infer whether material on a website is infringing as it is to correctly deduce that money on the back seat of a car was derived from illegal drug sales.

                        If you have that much money in cash, it is very likely you are breaking the law, likely drugs.

                        If you have "12 Years A Slave" and "Gravity" on your shitty little website you are likely infringing.

                        You're still banned, troll, and you're running out of ammo too.

                        Please bitch. You can't even hold up your side of the debate. What not stick with something you're good at.... like fellatio?

                         

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

                        •  
                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 6:15pm

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

                          The real problem here is that this guy, with apparently with no more than a point of his finger, can say "I find ye content to be infringing, and I banish ye from the realm of the Internet". With all the slimy ways copyright is used, it's very important to keep power like that away from anyone. I don't know if the sites were infringing, I don't care if the sites were infringing. The problem is the power to kill a website on command.
                          By the way, if I can't hold up my side of the debate, then why are you the one swearing? Very unprofessional.

                           

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Mar 9th, 2014 @ 8:22am

    He'll make 'em an offer they can't refuse.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    me@me.net, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 5:06am

    this gestapo wannanbe

    And all his ilk can kiss my ass.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 7:45am

    But, piracy! You're taking the money away from the artists! It's stealing! And then the pirates who download things will get an eyepatch and a peg leg and go sink ships! And there will be children on those ships! You must stop piracy for the children! And the pirates might sink a ship with an ambassador on it and end up starting a nuclear war that kills every human on earth, including the children! If you don't stop piracy, everyone will die! Including the children!

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Koko, Jul 21st, 2014 @ 12:24pm

    Cencorship

    ยก VIVA LA CENSURA !

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Advertisement
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Chat
Techdirt Reading List
Advertisement
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Support Techdirt - Get Great Stuff!

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.