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After the reaction of several civil liberties activists, including Reporters
Without Borders, the Italian telecommunication agency AGCOM decided to
review its plans to pass a resolution giving it the power to block websites
and remove online content allegedly violating copyright, without referring
to a judge.
Yet, the risk is not yet removed, with the regulations now in public debate.
The draft revised version of the regulations for “copyright protection on
electronic communications networks”, issued on 6 July 2011, still seem to
please the newspaper editors, but also the film and television industry by
laying down rules applicable to the large communication intermediaries.
The draft has in view a “notice and take down” stage in which the website
owners can remove the content considered to be infringing copyright within
four days after becoming aware of the alleged infringement. In case the
notice and take-down stage is not considered satisfactory by either the
copyright holder or the website owner, they can appeal the agency which,
“following a clear and transparent cross-examination phase, will issue –
within the following 10 days (extended by up to an additional 15) – an order
of selective removal of illegal content or, respectively, of their recovery,
depending on the requests.”
The new rules still provide that upon receipt of a report of suspected
copyright infringement, the Authority opens the proceedings and sends
invitations to “the site operator or service provider media” to defend
themselves by a response that needs to be sent by certified mail within 48
hours. After that phase, the competent Directorate of the Authority may
order the operator of the site and/or audiovisual media service provider to
remove the content (irrespective of whether this is hosted in Italy and
abroad as it is explained by Punto Informatico).
In case an operator of a site does not comply with the measure taken by the
Authority, the latter may impose a penalty of up to 250 000 Euro for failing
to remove the allegedly infringing content.
The draft will be the subject of public consultation for 60 days.
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Copyright: AGCOM issues a draft Regulation and starts a 60 days public