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A leaked document suggests that Italy is considering French-style 3-strikes measures, but they could be more wide-ranging. It also appears that the Italian government is backtracking on a proposal to consult users and consumer organisations.

Last October, the Italian government announced its intention to form a committee to review options for dealing with Internet copyright infringements. At the time, the Minister of Culture, Sandro Bondi, indicated interest in persuing a French-style 3-strikes proposal, but said that all interests, including consumers and users, would be included in a consultation process. Since then, the situation appears to have changed. I have pieced this story together from various media reports and from contacts in Italy.

It seems that in December, three members of the new committee - Comitato tecnico contro la pirateria digitale e multimediale - were announced. One was from the SIAE, which is the Italian collecting society

representing composers and song writers (the equivalent to SACEM in France, SABAM in Belgium, PRS in the UK, Buma-Stemra in Holland). The other two were from the government. User and consumer bodies complained about not being represented, and were told they would get a hearing. On the 14thJanuary the committee announced it was ready to start work and would produce its report within 60 days. According to sources in Italy, no date for a public heading had been set.

Then came a series of media leaks. On 20 January, an article appeared in an American publication - The Hollywood Reporter - suggesting a secret deal between the Italian and French governments to bring in an Italian version of the French Creation and Internet law. This is the law which will implement 3-strikes /graduated response measures in France, where Internet users who are alleged to have downloaded material illegally will get warnings, and face the ultimate penalty of being cut off the Internet. The article said an agreement had been signed by the Minister, Sandro Bondi.

On 23 January, Altro Consumo , the Italian consumers association, reported that it had got hold of a written document which sets out measures to deal with online copyright infringements - measures that are even harsher than the French. Allegedly prepared by the SIAE, the document is reported to contain proposals to set up a new public authority - modelled on the French Hadopi, but with wider powers. It would oversee public order, morality and the protection of minors. The proposal also wants to impose liability for content onto ISPs, network operators and user generated content companies.

Two days later, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica said it had seen the document. It said it had verified that the SIAE had drawn up the document, by checking the file's properties. It accused the government of setting up a censorship regime with serious consequences for freedom of expression in Italy. Altroconsumo said it was a protectionist measure for the Italian media industries, but would not benefit the consumer.

Following the La Repubblica report, the government has set up an online discussion forum . Some sources fear that this will be the only form of public consultation.

AltroConsumo has set up a petition .

Original reporting by iptegrity.com!

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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor: online safety, technology and human rights. In April 2024, I was appointed as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on online safety and empowerment of content creators and users. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

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