Home Italy Plans to Hold YouTube Accountable for its Users’ Uploads (Updated)

Italy Plans to Hold YouTube Accountable for its Users’ Uploads (Updated)

The Italian government is moving ahead with its plans to hold YouTube accountable for its users’ copyright infringements. According to new regulations that have recently been proposed by the Italian government, YouTube would have to get a TV license to operate in Italy. Should Italy move ahead with this regulation, YouTube would have to follow the same rules and regulations as traditional broadcast channels. These new rules would eliminate the “safe harbor” rules that currently shield services like YouTube.

According to Nicola D’Angelo, a commissioner in Italy’s Communications Authority, these new rules would make Italy “the only Western country in which it is necessary to have prior government permission to operate this kind of service. This aspect reveals a democratic risk, regardless of who happens to be in power.”

Update: We just heard back from Google. Here is the company’s official statement, courtesy of Marco Pancini, Google’s senior policy counsel for Italy:

“When this Directive was debated at length in Brussels, it was clearly decided that user-generated video content should not be regulated in the same way as traditional TV content. If it was then people would find it far more difficult to use video sites to share their videos. So we hope that Italy does not go down a different path and start to regulate videos that people upload to the internet in the same way as they regulate TV.”

A “Mere Conduit”

As Nate Anderson notes, the EU passed an electronic commerce directive in 2000 that clearly states that whenever a service only provides a transmission service, “the service provider is not liable for the information transmitted.” The EU considers these services “mere conduits,” as long as the “do not initiate the transmission, do not select the receiver of the transmission and do not select or modify the information contained in the transmission.” The EU directive, however, leaves it up to the EU’s member states to require service providers to prevent infringement.

How Will Google React?

Should Italy’s deputy minister of communications Paolo Romani decide to forge ahead with these new regulations, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and any other company that offers services similar to YouTube would face substantial legal risks if they continued to operate in Italy.

Google, of course, is already embroiled in a legal conflict with Italy. We asked Google for a statement about the current situation in Italy and will update this post once we hear more.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.