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Internet companies voice alarm over Italian law

Daniel Flynn
Reuters [1]
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

ROME, Jan 26 (Reuters) – Internet companies and civil liberty groups have voiced alarm over a proposed Italian law which would make online service providers responsible for their audiovisual content and copyright infringements by users.

The draft, due to be approved next month, would make Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Fastweb (FWB.MI) and Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI), and Web sites like Google’s (GOOG.O) YouTube, responsible for monitoring TV content on their pages, industry experts say.

It comes as Google’s YouTube unit is engaged in a legal battle with Mediaset (MS.MI), controlled by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Italy’s largest media group wants 500 million euros in damages from YouTube for copyright infringement.



“As it is written at the moment … the law would certainly help Mediaset in the procedure it has open against Google,” Paolo Nuti, president of the Italian Internet Providers Association, told Reuters. However, he said he did not think the law was written expressly for this purpose.

The proposed regulations would make Internet sites as liable as television stations for their content and subject to hefty fines by the AGCOM media watchdog, according to a 33-page draft.

“If this happens it would sweep away Internet 2.0,” Nuti said. “It would transform Internet platforms into judges or tribunals.”

Full story here. [1]