Live Nation executives cleared of secondary ticketing charges
Competition , Criminal Law / May 2020

CRIMINAL / COMPETITION: A Milan court has acquitted two senior Live Nation Italy executives and three executives from the live sector of any wrongdoing in a secondary ticketing case, which alleged the companies profited from illegally inflating ticket prices. Live Nation Italy’s  president Roberto De Luca and general director Antonella Lodi had been charged, along with Mimmo D’Alessandro, chief executive of Tuscan promoter D’Alessandro e Galli (Di & Gi), Corrado Rizzotto, formerly chief executive of Milan promoter Vivo Concerti  and now head of Indipendente Concerti, and Charles Roest of Viagogo The charges were based on an alleged conspiracy with secondary ticketing platform, Viagogo, to remove tickets from the market and resell them at inflated prices and spreading “false information to cause an alteration of the market.” Prosecutor Adriano Scudieri led the two-year investigation into the inflation of ticket sales for events including Bruce Springsteen and Coldplay shows. The five defendants were also accused of “fraud against the state” for failing to pay taxes and performance royalties in full. The suspected inflation would have resulted in revenues from 2011 to 2016 of more than US$1.13 million. Scudieri called for custodial sentences of up to 16 months. “Two very difficult years have now come to an end, but…

Italy’s competition regulator demands changes are SIAE
Competition / December 2018

COMPETITION: Italy’s Competition Authority AGCM had demanded that Italian music rights collection society SIAE  deal with monopoly concerns and to end what it calls proven market distortion tactics and to ensure such tactics are not employed in the future. SIAE has been given 60 days to comply.  Readers will note that the European Union has sought to make the European collecting societies more competitive, both in terms of recruiting members and licensing rights and indeed responding to those moves two new licensing organisations, Soundreef and Innovaetica, launched Some 8,000 rightsholders have left SIAE in recent years, mostly for Soundreef. SIAE was alleged to have spent €400,000 to investigate Soundreef – including by hiring Black Cube, a private intelligence agency founded by ex-Mossad agents – following the high-profile defection of Fabio Rovazzi and Fedez in January. Now Italy’s competition authority says SIAE has employed various tactics in recent years to “impair the right” of songwriters to choose alternative societies to represent their rights. To that end the regulator has demanded that the society “immediately end the proven distortion of competition and refrain from behaving in [that way in] the future”. AGCM says that SIAE has, since 2012, embarked on a “complex exclusionary strategy” designed to…

Viagogo fined one million Euros by Italian competition regulator

CONSUMER/COMPETITION Live events sector   Viagogo has been fined one million Euros by the Italian competition (antitrust) agency, AGCM, for failling to comply with instructions issued by the agency in April 2017. At the time, Viagogo and three other resale sites were fined a collective €700,000 for failing to provide complete ticket information to consumers   According to Pollstar, AGCM found that Viagogo misled customers by not making original ticket prices and the location of seats sold easily known in violation of articles 20, 21 and 22 of the Italian consumer code. AGCM told Viagogo to fix the discrepancy within sixty days, and the resale site agreed to indicate the face value price and seat number on its platform.   This it seems Viagogo have not done so, and AGCM says that it has received numerous complaints from both consumers and consumer associates about the site’s failure to rectify this situation. AGCM has now imposed a fine of one million Euros on the company. Viagogo can appeal the decision to the Lazio Regional Administrative Court in Rome.   Although a set back for Viagogo, they may yet prevail: CTS Eventim’s TicketOne recently successfully appealed a €1m fine in Italy, for allegedly passing…

Italian ticketers hit with €1.7m in fines
Competition , Live Events / May 2017

COMPETITION Live events sector   The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) has levied fines totalling €1.7 million on five ticket agencies for breaching consumer rights legislation AGCM’s investigation dates back to October, when consumer group Altroconsumo asked the quango to look into allegations primary seller TicketOne was passing tickets directly to the secondary market. It found that while TicketOne, owned by Germany’s CTS Eventim, is “contractually bound to adopt anti-touting measures, [it] did not take appropriate steps to prevent bulk buying through specialist software, nor has it tried to limit multiple purchases or set up a system of ex-post controls to cancel them”.   For violating article 20(2) of the Italian Consumer Code, TicketOne has been fined €1m. Additionally, four secondary ticketing sites – Viagogo, MyWayTicket, Live Nation’s Seatwave and eBay/StubHub’s Ticketbis – have been hit with a collective €700,000 fine for their failure to provide complete ticket information to customers “concerning several essential elements which potential buyers need to make their transactional decisions”. “In particular, the traders would not provide adequate information concerning the ticket features, including their face value, the row and the seat, as well as consumer rights in case of the event’s cancellation,” reads a statement from AGCM….

Italian band Soviet Soviet deported from US en route to SXSW
Immigration , Live Events / April 2017

IMMIGRATION Live events sector      Tighter visa restrictions on performers for South by Southwest showcase performances entering the USA first surfaced when Italian band Soviet Soviet posted a lengthy statement on Facebook on Friday after being refused entry en route to their (unpaid) show. The band say that they were handcuffed and detained overnight after being deemed illegal immigrants because border officials said they had incorrect travel documentation. The band had been travelling on the visa waiver programme ESTA, which allows citizens of nearly 40 countries to travel to the US for 90 days on business or leisure without requiring a visa. However, travellers must not earn money in the US during their stay.  Apart from SXSW, the band had a number of other promotional performances scheduled, including a showcase at Seattle radio station KEXP – but not for payment, and the band said “We knew that if we were to receive any compensation we would have had to apply for work visas. This was not the case and the people we spoke to for information told us we would be fine. The point is that the control agents – who did a quick check on the concerts we informed them of –…

Viagogo faces fresh legal actions for ticket re-sales
Consumers , Contract , Live Events / March 2017

CONSUMER / CONTRACT Live events sector   Hot on the heels of news that Viagogo were selling tickets for Ed Sheerhan’s Teenage Cancer Trust charity concert at the the Royal Albert Hall at vastly inflated prices, the now Geneva based secondary ticketing platform is facing fresh legal action from a coalition of Spanish promoters, “adding to its ever-growing collection of lawsuits”. The second lawsuit of 2017 follows the outcry over the speculative selling of tickets for a postponed show by Joaquín Sabina in A Coruña (Corunna), Spain, next July, and in a joint statement, the promoters of Sabina’s Lo niego todo (I deny everything) tour, TheProject, Get In and Riff Producciones, and his management company, Berry Producciones, say they are “outraged” and intend to bring legal action action against Viagogo for the fraudulent listing of “tickets that do not exist”.   A spokesperson told IQ magazine that the parties’ lawyers are currently in the process of filing the action and that the lawsuit mirrors one filed by SIAE in late January, in Italy in which the Italian collection society alleged Viagogo listed tickets for a Vasco Rossi show in Modena before they went on sale on the primary market in a move that dragged Live…

Irish MP launches anti touting Bill
Competition , Consumers , Live Events / February 2017

CONSUMER / COMPETITION Live events sector   Two months after Italy’s landmark legislation which criminalised ticket touting in Italy, an Irish MP has introduced a similar bill – the Prohibition of Above-Cost Ticket Touting Bill 2016 – for consideration by the Oireachtas in the Republic of Ireland. The ,move comes after the widespread re-sale of tickets for U2’s Joshua Tree tour, and the bill is authored by Noel Rock TD and seeks to outlaw above-face value resale in the Irish republic and would, if passed, “render it unlawful for any unauthorised person to sell or offer for sale tickets for major sporting, musical or theatrical events for a price in excess of the officially designated price [face value]”.   The bill has won the backing of a number of other members of Oireachtas, including Stephen Donnelly TD, who has separately contacted the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection to ask for an “investigation into potentially illegal activity” by ticket touts. Rock said: “I have been inundated with people contacting me regarding examples of ticket touting following the sale of U2 concert tickets ” adding “This will be one of the biggest concerts of the year and consumers are now being asked to pay a…

Italy moves to crimimalise touting
Consumers , Live Events / January 2017

CONSUMER Live event sector   An amendment to Italy’s 2017 budget law that would criminalise ticket touting has been approved by the country’s Chamber of Deputies. The amendment, introduced earlier this month by culture minister Dario Franceschini, prohibits the “sale, or any other form of placement [on the secondary market], of tickets” by anyone other than the issuer, and provides for fines of between €5,000 and €180,000 for those caught doing so – both online and elsewhere. In addition, secondary ticketing sites will themselves be held responsible if found to be facilitating the illegal resale of tickets, and subject to “removal of the [tickets] or, in severe cases, the blocking of the website through which the infringement has taken place”. The amendment does allow for the sale of the personal unwanted ticket(s), which are “not sanctioned when carried out by a physical person on an occasional basis, provided there is no commercial purpose”. The amendment will still need to be approved within 30 days by the justice, culture and economic ministries, although a source close to the situation told IQ Magazine that the move will “definitely be approved by [all] parties”. The passage of the bill could, however, be complicated by the…

Italian Court Fines Secondary-Ticketing Websites for ‘Bagarinaggio 2.0’
Copyright , Live Events / January 2017

COPYRIGHT Live events sector   Italian collection society SIAE has won a court order to prevent the resale of tickets to Coldplay’s shows in Milan next July. This update by Jonathan Coote. Judge Fausto Basile at the Civil Tribunal of Rome has ordered that secondary-ticketing sites Viagogo, Seatwave and TicketBis pay €2,000 a ticket if they continue to break copyright laws re-selling Coldplay tickets. However, it has not retrospectively punished the site or its users. The case was brought by the musical copyright collecting agency SIAE (Società Italiana degli Autoried Editori, Italian Society of Authors and Publishers) and consumer agencyFederconsumatori against the sites in response to the influx of tickets appearing after the release of Coldplay tickets for a series of 2017 concerts.   The news follows a soon to be enacted addition to the recently-passed Italian Budget 2017 with the imposition of larger €5,000-180,000 fines for ‘bagarinaggio’ (ticket-touting, including online). The judge instead used Law No. 633 of 1941, for the Protection of Copyright and and Neighbouring Rights, in particular, citing articles 156, 162 and 163 which deal with court regulations in breaching performance rights. Art. 156 allows the collection of damages from any infringers of copyright but also those…

More Copyright, More Good Music?
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2015

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   More copyright, wore “Quality Works”? Not quite but maybe, says a study of Italian opera before 1900. As Italy had a wide variety of copyright law provisions until  the late 1860s when Italy itself was finally unified, Stanford economists Petra Moser and Michela Giorcelli compared the varying degrees of copyright protection to the output of operas, compiling a database of more than 2,598 Italian operas written between 1770 and 1900 – and then looked at the longevity of each opera right up to how many recordings of any opera were available in 2014 on Amazon. Vox explains “Copyright laws seem to have created significantly more operas that also had staying power and were of higher quality” and details:  “States with copyrights ended up producing 2.68 additional operas per year, a 121 percent increase over states without copyrights. Historically popular operas (as measured by the 1978 publication, the Annales of Opera 1597-1940) grew by 47 percent, and durable operas [those available on Amazon in 2014] grew by 80 percent.”

Evoking Audrey Hepburn’s image in an ad is not OK, says Italian court
Artists , Image Rights / March 2015

IMAGE RIGHTS Artists   The IP Kat has noticed a recent trend in advertising, ie the use of the image of icons of the past and Eleonora Roasti has blogged on this.   Perhaps it was Dior and Chanel to start this trend a few years ago by using the image of a young Alain Delon as the face (and body) of Eau Sauvage   [and Marylin Monroe as that of Chanel No. 5, respectively. However these days it seems that everybody is doing it. The question thus becomes: do you need permission to use the image of a celebrity? In those countries which recognise image rights  [not the case of the UK, as the Court of Appeal of England and Wales recently  confirmed in the Rihanna case ] , Italy being one of them   [see Article 10 of the Italian Civil Code] ,  the answer seems pretty straightforward: yes, you do need permission. But what happens when you do not use the image of a celebrity, but rather elements that merely evoke him/her  [see here for an interesting Israeli case] ? The Court of First Instance of Milan recently dealt with these issues in an intriguing case concerning unauthorised use of…

Court Holds Soundreef Business Activities in Italy are Legitimate
Competition , Music Publishing / February 2015

COMPETITION Music publishing   The Court of First Instance of Milan has ruled in favour of this rising and ambitious British company that administers copyright and neighbouring rights and is a de facto competitor of the Italian Society of Authors and Editors (SIAE) saying: “At the moment there are no sufficient elements to hold that Soundreef’s dissemination of music within the Italian territory is unlawful because of the exclusive granted to the Italian Society for Authors and Editors (SIAE) as per Art. 180 of the Italian Copyright Act, nor does it appear that the music … managed and disseminated by Soundreef in shopping centres, department stores and similar commercial venues, must be necessarily managed by SIAE. Any such claim would be in conflict with both the principles of the free market within the European Community and the core principles of free competition”. [Indeed, in an era in which technology takes the strain and the bureaucratic element of rights management is largely automated, the benefits to rights owners through economy of scale, if they exist at all, must be vanishingly small]. In both phases of the interim proceedings, the Court of Milan dismissed all claims against Soundreef. “The decision holds that…

Suspended sentence for Italian file-sharing operator – and his mum and dad
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / August 2014

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet   As Italy steps up its actions against illegal file-sharing, an Italian man behind a now defunct file-sharing operation that used the domains and has been handed a 22 month suspended jail sentence for this role in running the copyright infringing business. His parents also received suspended sentences because of their role in receiving the operation’s advertising  revenue into their bank account – in effect a charge of money laundering: at the time the sites were said to be making around $300 a day from advertising. Authorities in Italy seized the two domains back in 2012 under a court order, following complaints from copyright owners, and also ordered internet service providers to block the service’s IP addresses and took control of bank accounts receiving ad revenues from the file-sharing operation

Italian court says that YouTube’s Content ID should be used to block allegedly infringing contents
Copyright , Internet / August 2014

COPYRIGHT Internet   A couple of months ago the IPKat reported that the Tribunale di Torino (Turin District Court) had rejected an application for an interim injunction brought by Delta TV in the context of proceedings between this and Google and YouTube. Delta TV produces and markets TV programs, and holds the economic rights to a number of South American soap operas for a number of territories (including Italy), where it licences the relevant rights to third parties. Delta TV became aware that a number of episodes of such soap operas dubbed in Italian had been unlawfully uploaded on YouTube. It also became aware that, by inserting their titles on Google Search, the first results displayed links to such YouTube videos. Delta TV sued [the case is still pending] Google and YouTube for secondary copyright infringement, seeking damages for over EUR 13m. It also sought an interim injunction to have the videos removed from YouTube. YouTube and Google opposed the application, claiming that, as soon as they became aware of such allegedly infringing contents, they removed them from YouTube, in compliance with the obligations set for hosting providers by the Ecommerce Directive and the piece of legislation (Legislative Decree 70/2003) that implemented it into the Italian legal system. The Tribunale di Torino dismissed the…

The IFPI Digital Music Report 2014 shows a changing landscape for the recorded music sector
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2014

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   The IFPI have published their downloadable Digital Music Report 2014 – who shows that music fans’ growing appetite for subscription and streaming services helped drive trade revenue growth in most major music markets in 2013, with overall digital revenues growing 4.3 per cent and Europe’s music market expanding for the first time in more than a decade. Subscription services’ revenues were up 51 per cent in 2013, and it is estimated that more than 28 million people worldwide now pay for a music subscription, up from 20 million in 2012 and just eight million in 2010. That said, on a negative note, in the world’s second biggest recorded music market, Japan, a sharp drop in sales meant that overall global industry revenues declined by 3.9 per cent. Global revenue excluding Japan fell by 0.1 per cent. Physical format sales still account for a major proportion of industry revenues in many major markets.  They account for more than half (51.4%) of all global revenues, compared to 56 per cent in 2012.  Although global physical sales value declined by 11.7 per cent in 2013, major markets including Germany, Italy, the UK and the US saw a slow-down in the rate of physical decline.  France’s…

Get harbour safe: Telecinco’s appeal v YouTube dismissed
Copyright , Internet / March 2014

COPYRIGHT Internet, all areas A new decision by the Madrid Court of Appeal in YouTube v Telecinco [Madrid Court of Appeal decision No 11/2014 is another leading case in the European Internet Service Providers (ISPs) liability saga, and this report comes from the IPKat. YouTube is the one of the most famous video-sharing platform that hosts user-generated contents (UGCs), namely videos, from all around the world.  It’s now owned by Google. Telecinco is a Spanish broadcaster owned by the Italian Mediaset. Some users uploaded on to YouTube video fragments apparently taken from Telecinco’s TV programmes. Telecinco did not appreciate this and in 2008 brought an action against YouTube Llc, alleging copyright infringement by the hosting provider. In its decision in 2010, the District Court of Madrid dismissed Telecinco’s claims, considering YouTube shielded from liability for UGCs on the basis of the Spanish Law 34/2002, which implemented the E-Commerce Directive 2000/31. Then, Telecinco appealed the first instance decision to the Madrid Court of Appeal on the basis of the three arguments that follow. First, Telecinco alleged that YouTube could not benefit from the safe harbour provided by the E-Commerce Directive because of its non-neutral approach towards UGCs. Among other things, Telecinco maintained that…

Italian comms regulator gets web-blocking powers
Copyright , Internet / January 2014

COPYRIGHT Internet   Italian regulator AGCOM, which loosely translates as the Electronic Communications Authority, has announced that it will assume the power to instigate web-blocks against copyright infringing websites from next April, meaning that rights owners won’t have to pursue civil litigation to gain online blockades. More on the 1709 Blog here

Italian fiscal police arrest website operator
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / August 2012

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   The former operator of, one of Italy’s largest unlicensed music services, has been arrested by the country’s fiscal police on suspicion of selling a database containing his users’ email and IP addresses. IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide, has welcomed the move which highlights the illegal business models behind some well-known unlicensed music services. and four affiliated websites were originally closed down in November 2011, following action by the Guardia di Finanza (GdF).   The authorities then investigated the ways in which the illegal businesses had generated revenue, leading to today’s arrest made by officers from the Tax Police Force of Agropoli. Investigators found that the operator had made an estimated €580,000 through a mixture of charging for advertising revenues, seeking donations from users and selling the database containing those users’ email and IP addresses to several advertisers. The operator of the site now faces charges of breaching data privacy, facilitating copyright infringement, forgery, fraud and tax  evasion.  It is believed he has avoided  €83,000 in VAT payments and created false invoices totalling an estimated €100,000 as part of a tax fraud.  He will also face heavy administrative fines for the distribution of copyrighted…

Top Techno Tubes in Takedown Trouble
Artists , Copyright , Internet / March 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet, artistes I don’t know that much about the world of electronic music but I was sent an interesting read about a chap in the USA called Modular Punk who allegedly managed not only to copy, rename, re-brand and release fifteen tracks actually produced by Italian DJ and techno producer Alex De Stefano, he also copyrighted said tracks in the USA and claimed ownership of such. Perhaps unsurprisingly, said Mr M Punk (real name Felipe Cersosimo, aged 27) had a JD in Intellectual Property and International law apparently from the American University, Washington College of Law, and for a few weeks had ‘his’ tracks out on sale, distributed by his own label and distributors Dark Digital Underground, Iris Distribution and Perfection Recordings and he even managed to get them onto all major digital distribution platforms (including iTunes) and even got the onto the Billboard, MTV Meteor and MySpace techno charts. So, a now very peeved De Stefano tried to take action and a number (but not all) of the digital outlets removed the offending tracks BUT of course Mr Punk had those very annoying copyrights registered in the USA and so what ensued then appears to be a battle…

Italian Courts find ‘active hosting liability’ for ISPs
Copyright , Internet / January 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet Our good Friend from the City University, Dr. Enrico Bonadio, has kindly sent us details of the link to a brief case note which Enrico co-authored with his colleague Mauro Santo, and which has been published in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice. As Enrico explains “It is a comment of two decisions of the Court of Milan in case of copyright liability of Internet Service Providers: In June and September 2011 the Court of Milan released two interesting decisions in the field of liability of Internet Service Providers for copyright infringement committed by their users. In particular, the Court found that the Internet Service Providers Italia On Line and Yahoo! Italia were liable for copyright infringement in connection with the uploading of several videos on their platforms and that they could not rely on the hosting provider exemption under the E-Commerce Directive. The two decisions are particularly interesting as the Court of Milan ‘created’ from scratch a new category of internet service provider liability: so-called active hosting liability.” This is the SSRN link:

Claudio acquitted on curfew breach
Licensing , Live Events / September 2010

LICENSING Live events industry Our friend, Italian promoter Claudio Trotter, has been acquitted on charges of breach of the peace arising out of a Bruce Springsteen concert that overran by 22 minutes. The case was brought by a residents association following the concert at Milan’s San Siro Stadium in 2008. Claudio faced a jail sentence if convicted. He told Audience magazine that the fact that the City authorities entertained the charges means that he will not use the Stadium again, pointing out the economic loss this would cause to the stadium and the city. Audience Magazine.  Issue 126  July 2010

Italian court finds ISPs not liable for subscriber illegality
Copyright , Internet / May 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet An Italian court has ruled that Internet Service Providers should not be held liable for the illegal online actions of their customers, rejecting calls from copyright holders to compel ISPs to monitor users and block purported illegal file-sharing websites. Local film anti-piracy group Fapav (Federazione Anti-Pirateria Audiovisiva) filed the suit against Italy’s biggest ISP, Telecom Italia, in a bid to compel the company to take relevant actions against its subscribers. Judge Antonella Izzo did side with copyright holders on one issue, namely that ISPs must forward complaints of infringement from copyright holders to local prosecutors.

Google executives convicted over privacy claim
Internet , Privacy / April 2010

PRIVACY Intenet An Italian court has convicted three Google executives of violating the privacy of a child with Down’s syndrome, after a video of the child being bullied in a Turin schoolyard was posted to the company’s YouTube video site. The executives were acquitted on charges of defamation, but received six-month suspended sentences on the privacy violation charges. Google said in a statement on its blog that it will appeal “this astonishing decision,” which the company said “attacks the very principles of freedom on which the Internet is built.” Google called the video in question “reprehensible,” and maintains that it “took it down within hours of being notified by the Italian police.” The company added that it worked with local police to identify the uploader who, along with several other classmates, was sentenced to community service. None of the Google executives convicted — senior vice president and chief legal officer David Drummond; former Google Italy board member George De Los Reyes; and global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer — reside in Italy or were present at the court proceedings. David Drummond, told the BBC: “I intend to vigorously appeal this dangerous ruling. It sets a chilling precedent. If individuals like myself…

Milan Court orders website operators to forfiet more than €2.4 M for online music piracy
Copyright , Internet / July 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet An Italian judge has ordered the operators of online music pirate sites to forfeit more than €2.4 million following an investigation into copyright infringement.The ruling follows legal proceedings relating to a number of Italian websites that were used to offer unlicensed music for unlawful downloading. The websites had been the object of an investigation by the Italian Fiscal Police (GDF) back in 2003 with the support of the Federation against Music Piracy (FPM). This investigation led to the charging of more than 54 people throughout Italy, but was dropped as a result of the expiry of the relevant limitation period.  The Judge for Prelimary Investigations (GIP), however considered it had been proved that the offences had been committed and ordered the seizure and the destruction of the computers in question and the forfeiture of money that had been previously frozen by the Office of the Public Prosecutor amounting to more than €2.4 million. Source: / FIMI

Italy to take on the Pirates
Copyright , Internet / June 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet Italian antipiracy campaigners have welcomed the recent Stockholm District Court convictions of the four founders of The Pirate Bay Web site, saying it should clear the way for a similar case under the Italian justice system. The Swedish court sentenced the Pirate Bay four, Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi, Fredrick Neij, Carl Lundstrom and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg  to one year in prison and a US$3.6 million fine for assisting copyright infringement. The verdict is subject to appeal. But now  Enzo Mazza, president of the Italian Music Industry Federation (FIMI) has said “An acquittal in Sweden could have created difficulties for the Italian prosecution. The guilty verdict will strengthen the hand of the prosecutor in Italy” and it seems that Giancarlo Mancusi, a public prosecutor in the northern town of Bergamo, is investigating The Pirate Bay’s founders for alleged violations of Italy’s copyright law, the first justice authority to take action against the Swedish Web site outside its home territory. Mancusi obtained a court order in August 2008 blocking access from Italian ISPs to all Pirate Bay addresses, but the ban was lifted on appeal two months later and is now due to be considered in September by the Court of Cassation. The FIMI president…

Was Vivaldi’s lost composition actually published in 1733?
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2009

COPYRIGHT Music publishing In a case concerning a lost composition by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, who died in 1741, the German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) has clarified the concept of ‘published’ and indeed ‘not published’ under section 71 German Copyright Act. The claimant in the proceedings was the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin, which owns an archive of handwritten manuscripts of musical compositions. In 2002, the long lost music sheets of the Vivaldi opera ‘Motezuma‘ were discovered in the Berlin archive. The question arose whether or not the work had been first published in or around 1733 (when a premiere took place). The court found that while the opera’s libretto was still available after the premiere, the music had been considered as lost. After the original handwritten composition was discovered in the Berlin archives, the claimant decided to publish and sell reprints of the original handwritten musical sheets. The claimant was of the view it had full copyright to the opera, contending that it was the first publisher of the first edition (‘editio princeps’) of this posthumous work and as such should be entitled to the exclusive exploitation rights to this ‘posthumous work’ under Article 71 which provides that “…any person who causes a work which has not previously…

MediaSat take on YouTube
Copyright , Internet / September 2008

COPYRIGHT Internet Silvio Berlusoni’s MediaSat has said it will sue YouTube and parent company Google for illegal use of its copyrights. MediaSat’s own analysis showed that there were 4,643 unauthorised videos and clips owned by the Italian media conglomerate on YouTube, equivalent to more than 325 hours of television transmission. Mediasat has said it is seeking E500 million (£383 million) in damages. In the USA, film, TV and broadcast giant Viacom have brought a similar action. Support grows for blanket music licensing

Pirate Bay to fight Italian ban
Copyright , Internet / September 2008

COPYRIGHT Internet The BitTorrent tracking website The Pirate Bay has decided to fight the Italian government’s recent move to have it blocked in Italy by all ISPs in the country. The site has filed an appeal against the decree, which was passed by an Italian court earlier this month alongside advice to consumers on how to use technological means to sidestep the ban. The Pirate Bay’s lawyers Giovanni Battista Gallus and Francesco Micozzi told TorrentFreak: “The decree can be defined as ‘original’ or ‘creative’ at best. Even the judge who issued the decree states that no infringing material is hosted on The Pirate Bay, which provides just a tracker search engine. The judge tries to ‘create’ a sort of contributory infringement accusation against The Pirate Bay. We will bring all our arguments before the Tribunal, and we are confident of the Tribunal’s decision”. CMU Daily 22 August 2008

Irish labels take on Eircom
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / April 2008

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet The Irish recorded music sector’s four major companies – EMI, Sony BMG, Universal Music, and Warner Music (together as the Irish Recorded Music Association) have decided to take Irish Internet Service Provider (ISP) Eircom to court in order to force them to implement countermeasures against piracy. Willie Kavanagh, Chairman of the Irish Recorded Music Association and Managing Director of EMI Ireland, blamed the action on a “dramatic and accelerating decline” in the Irish music industry’s income: 30% over the past six years, up to 2007. Kavanagh attributed a “substantial portion” of that decline to the increasing use of broadband, facilitating a sharp increase in the use of download services, like BitTorrent or LimeWire. Sales dropped from €146m ($224m USD, not counting inflation) in 2001 to €102m ($157m USD) in 2007, said Kavanagh. The case represents the first of its kind in Eire with record labels taking the ISP to court instead of individual file swappers and attempts to compel Eircom, under the Irish Copyrights and Related Rights Act of 2000, to implement specific countermeasures to prevent its network from being exploited for piracy. Last October Eircomm said that it was in no position to consider monitoring users and was under no…

Has Italy legalised P2P file sharing?
Copyright , Internet / March 2008

COPYRIGHT Internet The Italian parliament may have unwittingly legalized sharing music over P2P networks. A new copyright law, passed by both houses of parliament, would allow Italians to freely share music over the Internet as long as it was noncommercial and the music “degraded”. Italian copyright attorney Andrea Monti told Italian paper La Republica that whoever authored the law failed to take into account that the word “degraded” has a very precise meaning when it comes to computer files. Slashdot points out that all music sold on the major music download sites is degraded in some form or another so in theory music fans would be able to freely share their music libraries over P2P networks although the law does limit such sharing to “educational or scientific” use. The legislation still needs to be published in the Italian Official Journal to pass into law. The Recording Industry in Europe has already suffered a number of setbacks including last months ruling by the European Court of Justice (Promusicae v Telefonica, see below) setting out guidelines that domestic courts must use when balancing the rights of copyright owners against the privacy rights of consumers in civil cases and German prosecutors have refused…

Four Italian illegal music file-swappers face fines of €12 million
Copyright , Internet / December 2007

COPYRIGHT Internet The IFPI report that Italian police have arrested and questioned four people for illegally uploading copyright infringing music onto the internet following a raid near Milan.  In addition to pressing criminal charges, the police have issued the uploaders with an administrative fine of €12 million. Officers from the Guardia di Finanza di Milano took part in Operation Genux which saw the arrest of four individuals aged between 30 and 45 in the town of Melgnano.  They had been sharing more than 120,000 files containing copyright infringing music using the DCC++ peer-to-peer network.  The police seized six computers, seven external hard discs and more than 2,300 CD-Roms during the raids.  The products seized included catalogue from artists such as Madonna, Vasco Rossi, U2 and Elisa.  The police also seized copies of software programmes such as Vista and Office, as well as video games. Officers were acting on search warrants issued by the Public Prosecutor of Lodi and were assisted by the Italian anti-piracy federation FPM. The €12 million administrative fine was levied under Article 174 of the Italian Copyright Act although here at Music Law Updates we were not clear how the police could issue a fine of such…

Italian police take fileshare action
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2007

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels By Marc P Holmes Italian police have shut down the Discotequezone file-sharing network with raids in Rome, Milan and Brescia. A total of 11 computers and 110,000 illegal MP3 music files were seized in the action. Police in the Italian city of Bergamo have reportedly arrested the administrators of a P2P network, along with seven filesharers who are accused of illegally uploading copyright materials including in excess of 110, 000 MP3 files. These raids constitute another episode in the continuing global ‘war on illegal filesharing’ waged on illicit downloaders. Under Italian law, the IFPI reports, these individuals could now “…face fines of up to 8.5 million euros in each case” and form part of a group of 170 file-sharers and P2P network administrators who have so far been hauled up before the country’s courts on similar charges. It is interesting to note that many of the new prosecutions being faced by such filesharers in their respective countries are now being brought by state authorities. This marks a subtle, yet significant shift in the nature of the battle against internet-based copyright infringement. Whereas initially the music industry itself brought private prosecutions against such individuals, with the result…

Italian Court imposes heavy sentences for organised piracy
Copyright , Record Labels / April 2007

COPYRIGHT Record labels The Court of Appeal in Naples has imposed heavy jail sentences on members of an organised gang involved in major music piracy. Members of the gang were arrested in 1999 after an investigation carried out by the district anti-mafia attorney, the police and with the assistance of FPM, the Italian music industry’s anti-piracy unit. The head of the organisation, ‘A.C.’, was known as ‘The Emperor’ because of his market share in the pirate music business in Naples during the 1990s. ‘A.C.’ was found guilty and sentenced to three years and six months in jail for conspiracy to violate the copyright law. Seven other members of the gang faced prison sentences of between one year and six months and three years. The judge ordered gang members pay compensation and damages to the plaintiffs which will be agreed in a separate civil claim. 

Italian Court rules that P2P is not a crime if not for profit
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / February 2007

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet Italy ’s courts have ruled that peer-2-peer file swapping can only be a crime if undertaken for profit. Italy’s senior criminal court heard an appeal from two former students of Turin Polytechnic Institute, both prolific file swappers, who ran a P2P network for a short time in the mid 90s. After authorities closed down their P2P operation a lower Italian court found them guilty of the crime of ‘illegal duplication’, passing a one year jail sentence. But that conviction has been overturned on the grounds that file sharing of copyright content can only be considered a crime according to current Italian law if the people doing the sharing are profiting from the activity, which the defendants in the current case did not. It should be noted that this is a criminal case and potentially has no direct relevance to any civil suit brought against the defendants.

IFPI continue actions against file swappers
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2006

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet Legal actions against thousands of music file-sharers across the world have been announced as the recording industry stepped up its campaign to deter copyright theft and promote legitimate use of music on the internet. Over 8,000 new cases in 17 countries are being announced today, including the first ever cases against illegal file-sharing in the two biggest markets of South America and in Eastern Europe.   A total of more than 13,000 legal actions have now been taken outside the United States. Legal actions are being extended to Brazil, where more than one billion music tracks were illegally downloaded last year and a country where record company revenues have nearly halved since 2000. Mexico and Poland are also seeing actions for the first time – while a further 14 countries are launching fresh actions against illegal file-sharing.  Over 2,300 of people have already paid the price for illegally file-sharing copyrighted material, with average legal settlements of €2,420.   Many of those on the receiving end of legal action are parents whose children have been illegally file-sharing.  They are finding that in many countries they are liable for any activities third parties undertake using their internet connection.  In…

Centro di Musicologia Walter Stauffer v Finanzamt München für Körperschaften ECJ C386-04
Live Events , Taxation / November 2006

TAXATION Live Event Industry This case concerns an Italian non-commercial foundation which provides education for classical music students. The institution is exempt from the Italian l’imposta sul reddito delle persone giuridiche (Corporation Tax) and comparable German institutions would be exempt from the German Körperschaftssteuergesetz (Corporation Tax Law). The Centro di Musicologia Walter Stauffer had rental income in Germany which was taxed under a of the German KStG but could not make use of the exemption for cultural institutions, because it was not based in Germany. The German Bundesfinanzhofhas raised the question to the ECJ, whether this exclusion for non-resident institutions is correct under the EC Treaty as an Italian institution would suffer tax on income whereas as comparable German institution would not. The European Court of Justice (Third Chamber A. Rosas, President of the Chamber, J. Malenovský, S. von Bahr, A. Borg Barthet and U. Lõhmus (Rapporteur), Judges) decided that the fact that the tax exemption for rental income applies only to charitable foundations that are resident in Germany places charitable foundations resident in other Member States at a disadvantage and may constitute an obstacle to the free movement on capital. Thus in principle the legislation constitutes a prohibited restriction on the free movement of capital. Accordingly, the ECJ decided…

IFPI say new law ‘threatens anti-piracy activity in Italy
Copyright , Criminal Law , Record Labels / December 2005

COPYRIGHT / CRIMINAL Record labels 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…

Italian DJ receives massive fine for using pirate music files

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Artists, Internet, Live Concert Industry An Italian DJ has been fined a record E1.4 million for using hundreds of pirate music files in a well-known local nightclub near Rome. The DJ was discovered with more than 2,000 mp3 music files suspected to be illegal downloads and 500 pirated video clips. The fine, set by the Italian Fiscal Police of Rieti (Rome), is the biggest fine to be imposed on an individual in Europe to date for the unlawful copying and use of copyrighted music in the mp3 format (the fine is subject to administrative recourse). The DJ may be subject to further criminal sanctions. The police operation, targeting radio stations and clubs around the region, was led by the Fiscal Police. In addition to the mp3s and music video clips found, a large quantity of audiovisual material and software were also seized. Source:

New Pension Law Revisions in Italy Challenged by Ballet Stars
Artists , Taxation / December 2004

TAXATION Artists Italian ballet stars have threatened to strike if proposed reforms to pension laws mean they have to keep working until normal retirement age. Italian dancers escaped reforms eight years ago when new pension laws designed to harmonise retirement ages excused ballet dancers allowing retirement at age 45 for women and 52 for men. The new rules would mean ballet dancers would not be eligible for pensions until at least 60 years of age post 2008. Deputies in the Italian parliament are lobbying the Parliamentary Budget Commission for amended legislation allowing ballet dancers to retire between the ages of 47 and 49. The new legislation covers dancers employed by Italy’s opera and ballet companies including dancers at La Scala and the Rome Opera House. Source: The Times 5th November 2004

IFPI Announces A Wave of International Legal Actions Against File Swappers

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Artists, Music Publishers IFPI and the recording industry associations in Denmark, Germany, Italy and Canada have announced the first wave of international lawsuits charging individuals with illegally file-sharing copyrighted music. A total of 247 alleged illegal file-sharers face legal action in a move that steps up the record industry’s international campaign against online copyright theft. Further waves of lawsuits against major offenders will be launched in different countries in the coming months. The legal actions charge the individuals with illegally making available hundreds of music tracks for copying, transmission and distribution via file-sharing services. However the move comes against a backdrop of criticisms in the United States where the Recording Industry Association of America has already used similar tactics. Critics point out that the European legal download market is still hampered by a lack of available rights and that the use of lawsuits is heavy handed. However the IFPI argue that More than 600,000 consumers in Europe alone are now accessing a large catalogue of 300,000 tracks that are available from 50 legal online sites. Jay Berman, Chairman and CEO of IFPI. said: “Today’s announcement should come as no surprise. Over the past year the record industry…

Massive Piracy Raid in Italy
Copyright , Record Labels / December 2003

COPYRIGHT Record Labels Police in Italy have dismantled a major organised ring involved in the mass duplication of music, movies and software. The raids, in the Naples area, struck a blow against organised CD-R and DVD burning and distribution in the country. The raids followed months of investigation, and involved 50 of Italy’s Fiscal Police who located and seized six undercover burning laboratories in the suburbs of Naples on October 24. The raids netted 496 CD and DVD burners, including 200 CD burners found at one location. Over 60,000 burned CDs and DVDs ready for distribution throughout Italy were also found. They included the latest film and music titles, such as Tomb Raiders II and The Best of R.E.M. The value of related equipment, including computers, burned CDs and DVDs and blank discs is estimated at hundreds of thousands of Euros. Nine people have been charged with criminal copyright law infringement. The BSA (Business Software Alliance), FAPAV (the Italian branch of the Motion Picture Association) and FPM (Italian Record Industry and the IFPI) assisted in the raids. See:


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers The PRS/MCPS Alliance have announced a number of global successes in combating the sale of illegal music product. In ITALY collection society SIAE joined with the police in a series of high profile raids across the country targeting 454 premises and resulting in charges brought against 137 people with 78,000 CDs, 5,000 DVDs and 6,000 VHS cassettes confiscated along with 17 sets of mastering equipment. In RUSSIA a number of government agencies have joined forces with the trade mark protection agency and various intellectual property organisations to tackle counterfeiters. Russia has one of Europe’s highest piracy levels with well over half of all music product sold being illegal copies. In THAILAND the British Government has formally asked the Thai Government to clampdown on illegal copies of music product flooding onto the world market. Thailand is the third largest exporter of illegal music product after China and Taiwan. See Mbusiness7 (PRS/MCPS magazine Spring 2003)