Sunday, 1 June 2014

Italy Against Pirates?

Italy Started Torrent Tracker Blackout without Trials

A few months ago, the country introduced new regulations enabling a telecoms administrative body to decide whether websites should remain accessible. Before, a number of “notorious” websites like The Pirate Bay were blocked by court order, and now the local regulator ordered to block its first 4 torrent websites, without legal wrangling.

An Italian breakthrough occurred under intense and sustained pressure of the United States to change its attitudes to online piracy. Italy was put on the USTR’s Watch List in 2013, but was notably absent from this year edition.

Industry experts had to admit that the removal of the country from the Special 301 List indicated significant steps the local authorities have taken to tackle the piracy problem. Indeed, Italy did something extraordinary. Instead of introducing laws to make a piracy crackdown easier, the authorities simply granted the local regulatory the power to deal with copyright infringement.

This means no need for costly legal cases and court-ordered injunctions. Since April, 2014, the Italian regulator can order to remove violating material or block the allegedly infringing domains. Everything is done under regulations, not legislation.

Now the regulator focused on the framework’s primary targets – torrent trackers and websites. According to the first 4 decisions of the authority, torrent websites LimeTorrents,,, and were labeled infringing and will be blocked by the Italian Internet service providers. The decisions reveal when the complaints were made and by whom.

For instance, the LimeTorrents was reported to the regulator by anti-piracy group that represents Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music – all those labels provided links to torrents which linked to their content without their consent, and the body had to agree the complaints were genuine. LimeTorrents’ operators were disallowed from involvement in the process. Finally, in the beginning of May the Italian broadband providers were given only 2 days to block subscriber access to LimeTorrents.

The other sites saw similar procedure after being complained about by anti-piracy groups working on behalf of the studios. All of those sites will also be blocked by ISPs.

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