COPYRIGHT / CRIMINAL
In a somewhat short sighted and self absorbed press release (11 th November) The International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) has warned that a new Italian law passed on the 9 th of November ‘threatens music anti-piracy activity in Italy’. The IFPI 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. This is because the Italian legislature are trying to reduce the time it takes for criminal actions to reach trial in Italy. Many readers (in the UK for example) would be astounded to know that cases can take up to nine (9) years to get to trial in Italy. The bill, approved by the Italian Lower Chamber, will shorten the period after which criminal cases pending trial are automatically dismissed to six years. Unfortunately the change, from seven and a half to six years will affect the majority of all pending criminal cases brought by the music industry. 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. The IFPI added that “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”. Whilst this may in itself be true, it could equally be said that we should applaud the actions of the Italian Government for reducing the wait for trials in Italy which can be unfair to victims, witnesses and defendants alike and hardly in the interests of justice – justice delayed is justice denied.