Changes to Italian criminal code threaten music anti-piracy efforts
November 11, 2005
The music industry warned today that a new Italian law passed on Wednesday threatens music anti-piracy activity in Italy. It called on the Italian Senate to reject the law when it comes up for final approval next week.
The new bill of law, known as the Ex-Cirielli Law, could end three quarters of all pending criminal anti-piracy trials before they have the chance to be taken to court.
IFPI, representing the music recording industry worldwide, warns that the bill is inconsistent with international rules on enforcement of intellectual property and will put Italy out of line with other developed countries. Italy has one of the highest rates of piracy in Europe, at 25% of the total music market.
The bill, approved by the Italian Lower Chamber, will shorten the period after which criminal cases pending trial are automatically dismissed. The change, from seven and a half to six years, will affect the majority of all pending criminal cases brought by the music industry which can take up to nine years to go to trial. Of 471 cases pending in 2004, 382 will be dismissed and similar figures are expected for 2005.
IFPI Chairman and CEO John Kennedy said: "The Ex-Cirielli law deals a huge blow to the Italian music industry and to all IP industries in the country. This law totally undermines our ability to fight piracy in a nation with one of the highest rates of piracy in the developed world.
"This bill will erode investment in music, encourage organised crime, fuel corruption and cost the Italian government tens of millions of euros in lost revenue. It will bring Italy out of line with other European nations and put it firmly on the map as a pirate music market."
Enzo Mazza, Chairman of the Federation of the Italian Music Industry (FIMI) said: "This is an important setback in Italyâ€™s fight to tackle its longstanding piracy problems. It now seems ironic that we were the first country in Europe to introduce a law imposing fines for the purchase of counterfeit products. In addition, we strengthened the law against piracy in 2000 as well as adopting the Copyright Directive in 2002 and passing a new law, the Urbani decree, to help us combat online piracy. The new bill reverses the steady progress the Italian authorities have made through those measures.
"The new bill will turn into a general amnesty for the cases pending in the Italian Courts and will seriously impede any future anti-piracy criminal activity."
Notes to Editors
IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) is the organisation that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide.
Its membership comprises over 1,450 major and independent companies in more than 75 countries. It also has affiliated industry national groups in 48 countries. IFPIâ€™s mission is to fight music piracy both in its commercial and digital forms; promote fair market access and good copyright laws; help develop the legal conditions and the technologies for the recording industry to prosper in the digital era; and promote the value of music in the development of economies.
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