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Italy clamps down on P2P

by on23 September 2011

Has its priorities
While Italy's economy is going down the gurgler, the government is planning one of the most vicious human rights abuses against P2P users.

While it can't sort out the economy, it seems that Silvio Berlusconi's X-rated government wants to make sure that his telly business continues to do rather well by bringing in an  anti-piracy law that could ban Internet users from access after one alleged P2P infringement. Paolo Brini a lawyer and an analyst who works for ScambioEtico, which is a copyright reform outfit, claims proposed changes to Italy's e-commerce directive were drafted in July by members of parliament belonging to the Il Popolo della Libertà (PdL) party of prime minister Berlusconi.

Citizens could be disconnected from the Internet if a provider is notified of an alleged copyright, trademark or patent infringement on the Web, Brini said. ISPs would have to blacklist citizens who are only suspected of infringements and providers might be compelled to install filters to sniff out copyright, trademark or patent abuse, he said. Furthermore, ISPs that do not comply with the filter requirement could be held liable under civil laws. In short, Big Content just has to ring up an ISP and order them to disconnect someone it thinks is a pirate. There would be no trial and the person would be assumed guilty.

Already we have seen that Big Content's accuracy in identifying offenders is bad, but even the witch trials during the 16th century had a better standard of justice than this. He said that the law is compliant to one of the older versions of ACTA, the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement which was watered down because there was such an outcry about it. ICT lawyer Fulvio Sarazana, owner of the law firm Studio Legale Sarzana & Associati and author of the book 'Legal Aspects of Internet Commerce,' warned that if the proposed measure is approved, providers would be considered civilly and criminally responsible for infringements.

Needless to say the law is totally unconstitutional and fortunately Italy's parliamentary system has a habit of forgetting such rules in bureaucratic red tape.
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