Copyright holders can now benefit from new and expedited “notice and take down” proceedings to stop infringement of their IPR in Italy.On 12 December 2013, the Italian Media Authority (hereinafter “AGCOM” or “Authority”), after an extensive public consultation process, by means of Resolution 680/13/CONS, approved and published its Regulation on online copyright enforcement by adopting Legislative Decree dated 9 April 2003, No 70, implementing the European Directive 2000/31/EC (“Directive on electronic commerce”).

The AGCOM’s Regulation will enter into force on 31 March 2014. Its purpose is to foster the distribution of digital works and its lawful fruition by providing effective legal means to fight digital piracy. The new Regulation focuses only on copyright violations through internet service providers, to which the AGCOM’s orders shall be addressed, with the exclusion of final users (downloading and peer-to-peer transmission).

The procedure begins by notifying the AGCOM -using a form available on its website- the relevant infringement. AGCOM communicates the start of the proceedings to the relevant service provider, as well as, if traceable, to the uploader and to the webpage and website manager(s), requesting them to (i) comply with the rights holder’s request or (ii) object to the rights holder’s request. In case of objection or failure to react to the infringement notice, the matter is referred to AGCOM’s judicial body (a panel of four commissioners chaired by the President of the Authority) within five days. As a rule, the panel shall issue its decision within thirty-five working days from the initial request and, if the result is in favour of the rights holder, order the Italian ISP to (a) either “selectively remove” the infringing content or, in case of “massive” infringement, “disable access” to the website when the server is on the Italian territory and (b) if the server is located abroad, provide a mere conduit service to “disable access” to the website that hosts infringing content. Therefore, users trying to access the website may be automatically redirected to an AGCOM’s webpage informing on the cause of the disablement. ISPs shall have three days to comply with AGCOM’s under penalty of administrative fines (from Euro 10,000.00 to ca Euro 258,000.00).

In case of urgency, AGCOM will decide within twelve days from the filing of the complaint. AGCOM decisions may be appealed before Italian administrative courts, but are enforceable if not suspended by the court.

By: Luca Ferrari
with the assistance of Marco Vittorio Tieghi