A new law being introduced by Italian politicians wants to crack down on citizens who are even accused of copyright infringement. The draft of the law would require ISPs to "blacklist" any citizens suspected of copyright, patent or trademark infringement. If ISPs are not compliant with the law, they could be held liable under civil law. Everybody gets a spanking equally under the law apparently.
While the U.S. has proposed a six strikes plan for copyright enforcement by internet service providers (ISPs), Italy has taken its plan even further by drafting an anti-piracy law that would require ISPs to use filters against infringements that fall under the terms of the law. Users wouldn't get a chance to blink if they were accused of infringement because all it takes is one incident to lose Internet.
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 It went on to say that the disconnection of internet users is something that should be repealed. The law would add revisions Italy's e-commerce directive. It was drafted by members of the parliament belonging to the ll Popolo della Libertà (PdL) party of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in July.
Naturally both ISPs and citizens are very concerned about the law and it is unclear if there is any kind of appeals process written into the law.
Paolo Brini, a spokesperson for ScambioEtico, a movement committed to copyright reform, confirmed this one strike internet law, and said 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 law would also require no judicial steps in order to punish an infringer.
Marietje Schaake, member of the European Parliament, has asked the EU Commission if Italy can legally enact such a bill.
"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. Hopefully it goes nowhere and dies quietly in a filing cabinet in the bowels of an Italian government building.