Internet copyright notice and take down procedure in Italy!

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This is a reposting of an article first published on GamingTechLaw – a blog edited by Giulio Coraggio (http://www.gamingtechlaw.com/)

After considerable delays, the Italian communications Authority (AGCOM) has finally published the  regulations on the protection of copyright on the Internet and media also providing a notice and take down procedure for potential copyright breaches.

The regulations make prescribe a proceeding to be initiated only upon request of the rights’ holder to the AGCOM to be performed through a dedicated form available on the website of the authority also in order to limit the risk of potential abuses. If within 7 working days from the rights’ holder notification the AGCOM believes that the proceeding can be initiated, it will inform the uploader of the challenged copyright protected material as well as the managers of the challenged webpage and of the website notifying them the main elements of the case that they can spontaneously take down the challenged material or submit their defence within 5 working days from the notification.

The authority will issue its decision within 35 working days from the initial rights’ holder report requesting to prevent or cease the breach if it believes that the complaint is grounded also requesting:
  • if the website is hosted in Italy, Italian ISPs – to perform a “selective” removal of the challenged digital works and in case of massive breached to disable the access to the entire site while
  • if the website is hosted abroad, Italian ISPs providing a mere conduit service to disable the access to the website
with the consequence that while for Italian websites the disabling of the access to the site will be just an extreme measure, this will be the general rule for foreign websites. This means that foreign websites with a relevant Italian business should be aware of the possible risks that they can face also because users trying to access to a disabled website will be redirected to a webpage of the AGCOM where they are notified that the access has been disabled because of a copyright breach with a consequential reputational damage as well for the webisite.
It should be considered that the terms mentioned above are considerably reduced in case of major breaches which puts an additional burden on website managers that might face the above mentioned sanctions within 12 working days from the filing of the complaint from the rights’ holder.
It is worth it to mention that the regulations focus only on copyright breaches performed by businesses expressly keeping outside of its scope the breaches performed by end users and throug peer-to-peer programs. However, as it appears from the above,  the obligations for ISPs – including foreign ISPs – risk to be considerable. In any case they will have a few months to put in place an adequate compliance system since the regulations will come into force only on the 31st of March 2014.
We will see how the industry will react to these regulations, but as usual if you need any assistance on the above, fee free to contact me Giulio Coraggio (giulio.coraggio@gmail.com), to discuss. And follow me on TwitterGoogle+ and become one of my friends on LinkedIn.
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Giulio Coraggio (LL. M.) is Senior Associate at DLA Piper, Milan. Join Giulio's Linkedin network at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/giuliocoraggio

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