Italy plans TV rules for Internet videos

Italy’s government is forging ahead with plans to extend television-broadcasting regulations to websites that host videos. The draft decree, expected to take effect early this month, would force sites to operate more like traditional TV broadcasters within Italian borders.

It seeks to “establish a principle,” Paolo Romani, Italy’s deputy minister of communications, said in an interview. “If you use copyrighted material, your site becomes an editorial product, a broadcaster that is placed at the same level as other broadcasters.”

Under the proposed rules, sites would have to gain permission to host copyrighted videos, such as TV programmes, that users often post on sites like YouTube. They would also be required to obtain broadcasting licenses from Romani’s office, and would become liable for any libellous material in posted videos.

The Italian plan is the first time a European government has tried to hold Internet companies responsible for content generated by users, said Stefan Krawczyk, a spokesman for the European Digital Media Association, a trade group whose members include Google, Yahoo Amazon and Microsoft.

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