Youtube and Italy
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An anonymous reader writes with some bad news from Italy, noting that new rules proposed there would "require people who upload videos onto the Internet to obtain authorization from the Communications Ministry similar to that required by television broadcasters, drastically reducing freedom to communicate over the Web." Understandably, some say such controls represent a conflict of interest for Silvio Berlusconi, "who exercises political control over the state broadcaster RAI in his role as prime minister and is also the owner of Italy's largest private broadcaster, Mediaset." <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>
Due delibere appena pubblicate impongono regole ai siti di video generati dagli utenti. Destinate a far discutere le norme sulla responsabilità editoriale, l'obbligo di rettifica e le fasce protette di ALESSANDRO LONGO IL 2010 si conclude con un "regalo" sgradito per YouTube, DailyMotion e altri popolarissimi siti che ospitano video generati dagli utenti. Due delibere appena pubblicate dall'Autorità per le garanzie nelle comunicazioni (Agcom) li equiparano a servizi radiotelevisivi, con tutte le conseguenze del caso. L'Italia è probabilmente il primo Paese occidentale a fare questo salto interpretativo, da cui derivano obblighi inediti per i siti internet. Neanche il contestatissimo decreto Romani si era spinto a ipotizzare per i siti "ugc", fatti cioè di contenuti generati dagli utenti, incombenze come quelle disposte dall'Agcom.
Strange policy changes are afoot in Italy, where the government's Communications Authority has just issued two resolutions that effectively turn YouTube and other video services into TV stations subject to stricter regulation -- and stricter liability for the content they host. Under the new rules, any site that exercises even the smallest amount of editorial control over its content will be considered an "audiovisual service," and have to pay additional taxes, take down videos within 48 hours if anyone complains of slander, and -- most oddly of all -- somehow refrain from broadcasting videos "unsuitable for children" at certain times of the day. (No, we have no idea how that works with an online video site.) Making matters worse, the new rules give creedence to the notion that video service providers are somehow directly responsible for what their users post to the site -- even if the only "editorial control" they exercise is automated and not overseen by actual humans.
Not this again. The Italian government has long had trouble comprehending how YouTube is simply a platform for users. Of course, some might say this is willful ignorance. Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi owns Italy's largest private broadcaster, Mediaset, and doesn't much like the competition.