1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Italian copyright debates and updates

Carrying Italian
children's favourite gifts:
copyright-related news
Just a few days before Christmas, as the festive mood was heating up in Italy, a couple of copyright-related news made the headlines (well, sort of). Both pertain to topics also covered by The 1709 Blog in the past few months.

AGCOM’s online copyright regulation
1709 Blog readers will remember that the Italian Communication Authority (AGCOM) has been trying to adopt an administrative regulation to protect copyright over the internet for the last couple of years or so (see earlier posts here, here and here).
However, no such regulation was adopted before the office of former AGCOM commissioners and president ended last June.
One of the problems encountered by the members of the Authority was AGCOM's apparent lack of competence to legislate in the area of copyright. In a speech delivered before the Italian Senate, former AGCOM president (and poet) Corrado Calabrò observed that some of this Authority's competences touch upon fundamental rights, including the freedom to conduct a business, social dignity, children's rights, media pluralism, and freedom of expression and information. This said, the nature and extension of AGCOM powers in the field of copyright were not utterly clear. As a result, AGCOM decided not to go ahead with its online copyright regulation, lacking an interpretative provision to this end. The Italian Government should have adopted this, said Calabrò.
The summer passed, and so did autumn. Thankfully (?), there are things that never change.
Indeed, as reported by ICT magazine Key4Biz, one of the new members of the Authority, Maurizio Decina, has recently spoken about the next moves of AGCOM in relation to copyright. 
Incidentally, Decina declared that he is against the idea of asking ISPs to pay for displaying links to and snippets of contents [elsewhere in Europe this idea does not seem to be very fashionable at the moment: see here, here, and here].
This said, the commissioner referred to the Regulation saga and agreed that the Italian Government has to clarify the nature and extension of AGCOM competencies in this field. However, even should this not happen, the Authority will go ahead, sometime in the near future [when?]. Extended piracy impoverishes legal offers of contents and, to contrast it, Italy needs to embrace swift and effective enforcement, which is still lacking according to Decina. 

There will be a race to administer rights
also in these songs from now on
A free market for neighbouring rights
Back in January this year, Prof Mario Monti's government passed a reform (known as "Decreto Liberalizzazioni"), which was meant to boost Italian suffering economy, in particular by promoting the value of competition (see 1709 Blog post here). Pursuant to Article 39(2) of the Decreto,
"To favour the creation of new undertakings aimed at protecting the rights of artists, performers and executors, by enhancing competitive pluralism and allowing for a more economic-oriented management, as well as by favouring the actual involvement and control by rights owners, administration and intermediation activities relating to neighbouring rights, as per the Italian Copyright Act, shall be free, no matter how these are carried out."
Now, almost a year later and shortly before Monti resigned as Italian Prime Minister, the provision concerning neighbouring rights management has been given a definitive legal shape. This means that new IMAIE will no longer be the only player active in the remunerative market for administering neighbouring rights.

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