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Notice and take down, at last!

After a long debate and various consultations, today the Regulation on Online Copyright Protection issued by the Italian Communications Authority (AGCOM) will come into force!  

There was a heated debate about this Regulation, which provides for the first time in Italy a notice and take down procedure to be managed by AGCOM (see our previous posts for an outline of the Regulation’s main provisions).

AGCOM’s main objective was to provide a free, fast and user friendly process to provide online copyright protection.  The procedure is in fact very easy to use, all based on online forms that vary depending upon the fact that the alleged breach is made through online or other audio-visual media services (radio and TV). There is no heavy burden of proof and communications by email finally prevail over the cumbersome process server notifications. The outline of the procedure, an useful set of FAQs and all relevant forms can also be accessed through the special site www.ddaonline.it.  Currently this site is only in Italian; please let us know if you require some translations.

Regardless of the (sometimes ideological) positions taken by the various stakeholders, this is a welcome attempt towards tackling online copyright infringement.  Whether the Regulation is effective, it will largely depend upon how it is concretely implemented (on this point, see also today’s comment from our Gianluigi Marino in the Corriere della Sera -only for those so privileged that they can read Italian!-). It is likely that AGCOM will be very cautious in exercising its powers, particularly with regards to selective content removal and termination of online access to certain content.

It will be very interesting to assess how AGCOM will translate into practical decisions the principles of “gradualism, proportionality and adequacy“, which are the backbones of the Regulation. It will also be interesting to note how the overall market will react, i.e. whether there is a substantial recourse to this procedure, and how AGCOM copes with the increased amount of work.

Many commentators stated that the measure of success will also depend upon how quick AGCOM will be reacting. It will accordingly be very important to assess how the urgent procedure is managed, so that there can be a removal order within maximum 12 days, instead of 35 days as provided by the ordinary procedure. In this respect, it will also be interesting to note which breaches are considered eligible for a quicker protection, like, for instance, a current theatrical movie as opposed to library content.

Whatever is going to be the result, AGCOM positively revived a debate on a subject (content protection). This Regulation is not the final word over online piracy, which cannot be addressed only through defensive (and sometimes outdated) measures. However, all those operating in the content and entertainment industry should take this new Regulation into account and consider setting up a new internal processes to challenge or remove infringing content.

Let us know if you require further information or additional guidelines for content management.