Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) criticises Draft Legislative Decree implementing the Copyright Directive

We are very glad to see the Italian antitrust watchdog (AGCM) issuing its opinion to the Italian Parliament this week, in which it underscores several issues EIMP and its members have repeatedly come out against in the past.

AGCM’s opinion points out that the proposed Italian law can harm smaller and new publishers and favour incumbents. Specifically, the new Article 43-bis of the Law on Copyright determines parameters of fair compensation, using criteria such as historicity of publishers, number of journalists, which¬†very clearly discriminate against new and smaller publishers, in favour of large, established legacy media. This was already emphasised by the Italian EIMP member ANSO in August 2021, when the proposed law transposing the Copyright Directive was made public.

Furthermore, it is positive to read that AGCM acknowledges Article 1(b) introduces elements going beyond the Copyright Directive, creating new negotiation mechanisms limiting contractual freedom, as well as noting that the definition proposed for “very short extracts” is excessively general and difficult to apply in practice. We have said this in the past, and will say it again: any limitation on contractual freedom should be avoided.

On Article 15, the antitrust authority rightly points out the proposed law would be ineffective and create unjustified competition discrimination, as well as being significantly non-aligned with other Member States that have already transposed, such as Germany and France.

Discussions on the Copyright Directive are very much ongoing in different Member States, we are monitoring the situation closely in order to ensure the interests (and the survival!) of small and digital media publishers – and thereby also media plurality – are safeguarded.

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