Italy’s new IPTV ban law is now being challenged by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
In recent months, Italy has become a battleground for ISPs and anti-piracy advocates.
The new legislation, which is supported by the country’s football and broadcasting sectors, has raised concerns among service providers about its potential impact on their business and wider internet infrastructure.
Background: New legislation
In an attempt to stem the rising tide IPTV servicesWhich was supposed to “kill football”, the Italian government took the necessary measures.
The law passed in mid-July 2023 requires ISPs to block pirate streams within 30 minutes.
However, as of October 2023, the “Piracy Shield” system intended to enforce this is not yet operational.
One big concern about this legislation is that there is no provision allowing alleged violators to appeal or defend against these blocks.
Due to the intended fast response time of only 30 minutes, ISPs are forced to implement these blocks without any due diligence.
AIIP Warnings and Concerns
Italian Internet Service Providers Association (AIIP), which represents smaller ISPs, expressed concerns long before the legislation took effect.
Their primary concerns revolve around the potential vulnerabilities that this system can introduce. AIIP president Giovanni Zorzoni described it as a “huge firewall” and warned that this could become a major vulnerability, putting national infrastructure at risk.
Additionally, the financial implications of this law could be staggering for smaller ISPs.
AIIP has estimated that maintaining compliance with this law, which mandates 24/7 monitoring and operation, can cost a single ISP between 200,000 and 300,000 euros per year.
They say this could spell doom for many small providers.
Contrary to claims that IPTV piracy has cost Italy 10,000 jobs, AIIP estimates that the new law could force around 2,000 companies in the ISP sector to close shop.
The role of the European Commission
To make matters more complicated, there is a tangle of EU directives and regulations.
Telecommunications regulator AGCOM, in a decision issued in July, stated its notification to the European Commission, in accordance with EU Directive 2015/1535/EU.
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This Directive seeks to remove new technical trade barriers, requiring countries to notify the Committee of any planned technical regulations.
However, what happened after Italy’s notifications remains somewhat mysterious.
The Commission inquired with Italy regarding the technical regulations, but after Italy’s response, no further communication was recorded, which AGCOM interpreted as approval.
AIIP Legal Challenge
Alarmed by the potential consequences and lack of clarity, AIIP launched a legal challenge against this legislation.
The focal point of this challenge is access to documents relating to the European Commission’s responses to the new law.
As Fulvio Sarzana, the lawyer representing the AIIP, noted, the general public and even interested parties such as the AIIP do not have access to these responses.
However, understanding the European Commission’s position is crucial to ascertain whether the new regulations issued by AGCOM are compatible with EU directives.
In an important development, AIIP managed to achieve an early victory.
The Regional Administrative Court of Lazio has now instructed AGCOM to submit the requested documents within a 60-day time frame.
What awaits us in the future?
Documents, once published, can hold pivotal insights.
If it indicates any contradiction with the Commission’s observations or if it indicates a violation of the principles established by the European Union, the anti-piracy provisions could be in jeopardy.
Furthermore, Sarzana points out that the current provisions could directly conflict with the defense rights established by the EU and the safe harbor rules set out in the Digital Services Act.
In conclusion, while Italy faces piracy problems, it is clear that a balance must be struck.
While content creators deserve protection, it is important that solutions do not jeopardize the stability of internet infrastructure or the viability of small businesses.
Expected discoveries in European Commission documents could play a decisive role in this unfolding drama.
For more information on this story, see the report from torrentfreak.
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