Italy to deploy anti-piracy platform
December 11, 2023
From Branislav Pekic in Rome
A new anti-piracy platform, designed to block illegal streaming within 30 minutes of detection, will come into effect in Italy on January 31st 2024.
The digital platform has been established by Lega Serie A and will be managed by Italy’s Communications Regulatory Authority (AgCom).
Currently in the testing phase, the ‘Piracy Shield’ is expected to improve upon previous blocking methods by covering more providers and automatically handling reports. It will target both IP addresses and full domain names, allowing pay-TV broadcasters like DAZN, Sky Italia, Prime Video and Mediaset Infinity to report pirated sports content in real time. Internet Service Providers will then be responsible for blocking access to the reported content.
Experts view the platform as a positive step but acknowledge the need for ongoing cultural change towards piracy and address privacy concerns. Streaming service DAZN strongly supports the platform and emphasises the importance of effectively combating piracy.
This digital tool addresses the growing issue of piracy facilitated by search engines, social media, and messaging apps. It has the potential to significantly reduce illegal streaming and protect revenue for rights holders. Additionally, the technology could be used to combat other online crimes beyond piracy.
Penalties for engaging in piracy include fines of up to €5,000 and imprisonment for up to three years.
An estimated five million Italians currently access illegal streaming sites, with large-scale piracy costing an estimated €350 million annually.
Separately, AgCom has also approved new rules to protect minors and consumers from harmful content on video-sharing platforms (VSPs).
The rules, effective January 8th 2024, allow the telecommunications regulator to request the removal of harmful content from VSPs, even if they are based outside Italy.
Harmful content includes content that harms the physical, mental, or moral development of minors; incites hatred; offends human dignity; or inadequately protects consumers.
If the VSP’s home country does not act, the AgCom can issue a removal order directly to the platform. In emergencies, it can immediately issue removal orders with three days for compliance.