Advanced Television

Italy: Piracy Shield live but needs refining

February 19, 2024

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

Piracy Shield, a new system designed to combat online piracy in Italy, became operational earlier this month and has since managed to block 528 IP addresses and 114 illegal sites. According to estimates by Italy’s Communications Authority (AgCom), this move has prevented around 100,000 households from illegally watching premium content.

The system aims to protect the big sports rights holders – like DAZN, Sky, Prime Video and Infinity – by blocking unauthorised viewing of live coverage of events like Serie A football, the UEFA Champions League and the Italian Cup basketball matches.

Piracy Shield requires ISPs, VPNs and open DNS services to comply with blocking orders issued by the rights holders without judicial review and within 30 minutes of reporting. In parallel, Italy’s Guardia di Finanza also traces the culprits through payments, often made by credit card.

However, the technological system, which is still in the testing phase, has also caused unintended consequences, such as inadvertently blocking access to legitimate CDNs, particularly due to human errors and oversight. This has caused frustration among internet users who lose access to certain websites which have nothing to do with piracy.

The lack of oversight has led VPN provider AirVPN to discontinue its services in Italy, citing the burdensome requirements of the new system.

For their part, AgCom points out that the system’s effectiveness is being monitored, and its consequences are being weighed against the need to protect the creative industries and ensure that the rights of citizens are not compromised.

Categories: Articles, Piracy

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