On 12 December 2013, the Italian Communication Authority (hereinafter, in short "AGCOM") approved a new regulation on online copyright enforcement (hereinafter, in short, the "Regulation"), which will come into force on March 31, 2014. The adoption of the Regulation was welcomed by industry associations but was also heavily criticised by other stakeholders as limiting the freedom of expression on the web.
The Regulation establishes a condensed procedure that can be started by any copyright holder interested in obtaining the removal or the disabling of the access to infringing contents on the web. The whole Regulation does neither apply to final users nor to infringements committed through P2P networks. Only those uploading an infringing content, managers of infringing websites or internet service providers might be targeted by the new procedure.
Pursuant to section 8 of the Regulation, AGCOM’s order can vary depending on whether the disputed website is hosted on servers located in Italy or abroad.
In the first case, AGCOM may order the provider hosting the disputed website to remove the infringing content. The hosting provider may be ordered to disable the access to the entire website only where a massive violation is committed.
In case the disputed website is hosted on servers located abroad, AGCOM can only order to the mere conduit service providers to disable the access to the website, regardless of the seriousness of the infringement.
In case of non-compliance, AGCOM may impose on Internet service providers administrative fines ranging from 10.000 to 258.000 euro.
AGCOM’s order may be appealed only before first instance administrative judges and not before the Specialized sections of Civil Tribunals.