U.S. recently rolled out a six
strikes plan for copyright enforcement by internet service providers
(ISPs), Italy has taken this a step further by drafting an anti-piracy law that
would require ISPs to use filters against copyright, patent or trademark
infringements that fall under the terms of the law -- or users could lose
their internet access after only one strike.
Earlier this year, the UN's Human Rights Council released a report that said
internet access is a human right. It went on to say that the disconnection of
internet users is something that should be repealed, but nevertheless, Italy is
trying to move its bill along.
TorrentFreak reports that the bill, consisting of proposed
changes to Italy's e-commerce directive, was drafted by members of the
parliament belonging to the ll Popolo della Libertà (PdL) party of Prime
Minister Silvio Berlusconi this past July.
The draft law has many ISPs and Italian citizens worried. Paolo Brini, a
spokesperson for a movement committed to copyright reform called ScambioEtico,
confirmed this one strike internet law, saying that Italian citizens could be
disconnected from the internet entirely if the ISP filter picks up an alleged
copyright, patent or trademark infringement.
"Some parts of the draft law are clearly not applicable in real life,
while others have the power to crumble ISPs and hosting e-commerce," said Brini. "It is very
interesting to note that this draft law is compliant to one of the older
versions of ACTA, the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
"I firmly think that this is a 'green light' toward one-strike
disconnections for any kind of infringement, not only disconnections for
industrial property rights infringements."
The draft law would require ISPs to "blacklist" citizens who are only
suspected of copyright, patent or trademark infringement. If ISPs are not compliant
with the law, they could be held liable under civil law.
One serious issue is that the text in question rules out any judiciary steps
when it comes to copyright infringement on the internet. It could harm both
ISPs, who would be civilly and criminally responsible in these cases, as
well as citizens who would be "organs of the police" according to ICT
lawyer Fulvio Sarzana.
While it's possible that the bill could go nowhere and eventually be forgotten,
Brini and Sarzana say it is progressing unusually quickly for a law that was
not drafted by the government.
Marietje Schaake, member of the European Parliament, has asked the EU
Commission if Italy can legally enact a bill that allows for only one strike
and your out.
"Via the press, it has come to my attention that the Italian Parliament is
currently considering a draft law by which internet users can be disconnected
and blacklisted if they have been accused on an intellectual property
infringement. The accusation does not necessarily need to originate from the
rights holder of the work in question."
Schaake also noted that the new draft law violates many EU laws.