At the end of a process started in 2010, after three public
consultations on an equal number of proposals, on December 12, 2012
AGCOM (i.e. the Italian Communications Authority), adopted
regulations that established the powers that it can exercise in
case of breaches of copyrights in the Internet. The legal framework
that has been created is unprecedented in Western countries, since
an independent administrative authority is granted the power to
impose, in the course of a shortened proceeding, exceptionally
severe injunctions and other restrictive measures, traditionally
falling under the competence of the judicial authority, and imposed
at the end of proceedings where the right of defense is fully
AGCOM's decision to provide itself with strong coercive
powers, which can be exercised in the course of unusually short and
informal procedures, coupled with the absence of clear legislative
grounds on which AGCOM's (self-)regulatory powers might be
based, induces to think that, prior to the entry into force of the
regulations (scheduled for March 31, 2014), Italian administrative
judges will be called to rule on its legitimacy, which was already
questioned by various stakeholders in the course of the three
aforesaid public consultations, and has been the object of
inquiries by the European Commission and the UN Rapporteur on
Freedom of Expression and Access to Information.
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