REEDOM ON THE
The website Avaxhome.ws was blocked on November 23, 2012, after a Milan court received a
complaint from Mondadori, a publishing company owned by the Berlusconi family.
things, the site hosted links to several global newspapers and magazines available in PDF form.
Since the website profited from the hosting of copyrighted publications, Mondadori argued that it
could not enjoy the protection granted to ordinary news websites. Nevertheless, information on
how to circumvent the blocking was soon abundantly available on social media and elsewhere.
Following an order from a court in Monza, near Milan, ISPs were also asked to block the web
forum downloadzoneforum.net, which hosted links to movies and other copyright protected
Both of these actions were made possible by a 1941 Law on Author Rights,
amended by the Berlusconi government in 2005 to include the web.
In April 2013, the Postal and Communications Police of Rome blocked 27 websites that allowed
users to illegally download or stream music and movies online.
Italy’s Guardia di Finanza (GdF,
Finance Guard) has continually targeted file-sharing websites for disseminating material that
Several popular BitTorrent sites, such as The Pirate Bay and BTjunkie, remain
blocked. Access to Proxyitalia.com, a proxy often used to circumvent government censorship, is
also blocked since April 2011.
At the end of 2011, Italy’s Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s verdict by declaring that
editors of online magazines were not responsible for defamatory comments posted by readers,
taking note of the difference between the printed and electronic press.
Nevertheless, in the
ensuing years defamation cases have still been brought against online content providers and
intermediaries that have led to the removal or blocking of content (for more on Italy’s legal
environment, see “Violations of User Rights”).
For example, in February 2010, three Google
executives were sentenced in absentia to imprisonment for allowing the circulation of an offensive
video on YouTube.
However, since early 2011, other decisions have ultimately asserted that
Il Messaggero “Avaxhome sotto sequestro per ricettazione: sul sito giornali pirata”, November 28, 2012,
http://www.ilmessaggero.it/primopiano/cronaca/avaxhome_sequestrato_sito_edicola_digitale/notizie/234594.shtml. The web
site is originally from Russia, and for the first time the charge was that of “receiving of stolen goods” (a more serious action) in
addition to copyright violation.
Giornalettismo “Avaxhome chiuso: come raggiungerlo”, November 28 2012,
http://www.giornalettismo.com/archives/629365/avaxhome‐chiuso‐come‐raggiungerlo/. As of February 2013, the web site is
Mauro Vecchio “Italia, DownloadZone al cimitero warez”, January 31, 2013, http://punto‐
Law n.633 of April 22, 1941, available at http://www.altalex.com/index.php?idnot=34610
Law decree n.7 of January 31, 2005, available at http://www.altalex.com/index.php?idnot=5918.
“Italian police blocks access to 27 file‐sharing websites,” Telecompaper, April 24, 2013,
Enigmax, “Italian Court Orders All ISPs to Block KickAssTorrents,” TorrentFreak, May 24, 2012,
“Italian Supreme Court: web magazines are not to be held responsible for readers’ comments,” Law & the Internet (blog),
December 14, 2011, http://www.blogstudiolegalefinocchiaro.com/wordpress/?p=279.
M. Del Vecchio, “Espressione digitale, libero bavaglio”, Punto Informatico July 9, 2013Il senatore Torrisi (PdL) http://punto‐
This is related to a video posted by a user that showed a mentally disabled child being bullied by his classmates, although
Google removed the video as soon as it was notified. The appeal decision for the “Vivi Down” case, as it was known, was
expected at the end of December 2012, but as of early 2013, there had been no update. See Cristina Sciannamblo “Caso