New Italian IT legislation limits civil rights

By EDRi · March 1, 2006

The Italian parliament has caused controversy by two new legislative
acts. A newly adopted law against child abuse gives overly broad
powers to the police, while a proposed new law on the protection of
intellectual property gives too much leeway to organisations for
collective rights management.

On 23 January 2006 the Italian Parliament approved a modification of Law
269/1998, in order to fight child pornography, The modified provisions give
a very broad power to the police. The text of the act includes a series of
vague terms and descriptions which may lead to subjective interpretation.

Art.14bis of the law introduces the National Centre that should check
“incriminated” sites and individuals.

Under the law, the internet providers become investigators who are obliged
to control and announce to the National Centre any company or individual who
deals with pedo-pornographic material. They also have a series of
obligations such as providing filters established by the Ministry of
Communications and by the Internet provider associations. There is a heavy
fine in case of non-compliance.

Another law discussed in Parliament is a decree based on EU
Directive 2004/48 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights. The
decree includes several vague and distorted definitions and its main
objective appears to be that of obliging the ISPs to reveal the names of
their customers, in order to avoid paying penalties.

In the current text, the term “intermediary” is so vague that an ISP
could be considered as acting unlawfully for transmitting certain contents
from his users through his network just like an express carrier could be
considered guilty for transporting counterfeit merchandise.

The proposed new law does not provide for any damages for people
unrightfully litigated by copyright owners.

Further information will be presented in the EDRi-gram following the
evolution of the legislative acts.

A very bad law made worse (in Italian, 13.02.2006)

The implementation of Directive 2004/48. Enormous increase of the powers of
audio-visual big players (In Italian, 17.02.2006)