Wednesday, January 5, 2011

YouTube is like a TV, has editorial responsibility

The year 2010 ends with a “gift” unwelcome for YouTube, DailyMotion and other popular sites hosting user-generated video. Two resolutions have been published by the Italian Communications Authority (AGCOM) will equate to broadcasting services, with all the consequences. Italy is probably the first Western country to make this leap of interpretation from which obligations unusual for websites. Even the highly contested decree Romans 1 was pushed to the hypothesis for sites “ugc”, ie made of user-generated content, tasks such as those found by Agcom.
The two resolutions are those on web TV and web radio, approved last month 4. But only now have been published that you can read the first confirmation of a flap is not clear now: the new rules include some sites with video provided by users. Exactly as YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo and many others. “If we read the resolutions, it is clear that also relate those sites,” says Guido Scorza, attorney of law on internal. Iugc sites thus become “audiovisual media services” if two conditions are true together, “exploitation” of the video and “editorial responsibility, exercised in any way,” by third parties that aggregation of content. ”
The first condition is obvious: just a bit ‘of advertising. But it is also clear that Agcom recognizes editorial responsibility to sites like YouTube, even if you do not mention them directly. “To confirm this, just read the parts of the resolution where Agcom explains why he wanted to introduce the notion of editorial responsibility for ugc sites,” says Scorza. “It is said that the aim is to ensure equal legal treatment to all those who use editorial content, regardless of the means used.” In another part of the resolution specifies that the editorial responsibility rests on the last actor in the chain of video (not the user then but who aggregates and organizes the content).
Confirmation also comes from the interpretive Stefano Mannoni, Agcom adviser: “Youtube is a hierarchy of their content,” he says, “even if only with the algorithm and automatically, and this amounts to editorial control.”
After all, if not for YouTube, it is not clear to what other sites Agcom would take the trouble to introduce the notion of editorial responsibility associated with the UGC. Concept that in fact there was in the decree Romans Audiovisual, hence the regulation Agcom. Yes, to the alleged sites ugc, Agcom was more severe than the same (alleged) order the Romans, who instead exclude them explicitly. The consequences are many and far-reaching: Once a web site like YouTube is considered audiovisual service, will pay a small fee (500 €), but this is not. The most serious problem, Scorza observes, is that “in the various lawsuits against YouTube, such as those brought by Mediaset 5 for breach of copyright, it will reinforce the concept that the site has an editorial responsibility. After this decision, will difficult for the court to establish the contrary. ”
The sites also become subject to new rules, which will give them a hard time. Shall be made by weight, in fact, than those of traditional media and ill-adapted to the reality of the Internet. For example: “duty of correction within 48 hours of their request, they feel defamed by a video. Prohibiting the publication of content unsuitable for children during the time periods covered,” says Scorza.
In the coming days you’ll discover how ugc sites intend to react to the new rules. Google (owner of YouTube) and DailyMotion (Group Telecom Italy), contacted by, are currently analyzing the issue. Telecom added that they are talking in technical tables just opened by AGCOM. Very hard the first reaction of, citizen journalism site inspired by archive videoreporter scattered throughout Italy: “We arrived at the paradox that those who are responsible for protecting the freedoms and rights related to communication intervenes heavily to kill those rights” , wrote in a note the site owners. “But, in our opinion, a decision can never erase Agcom EU directives and national laws.
And above all, can not transform initiatives by members of the network publishing venture. This is an absurd law and violence done to reality. ”
The new resolutions but undoubtedly exclude web TV and web radio minors by the new rules. Do not apply it to those who bill less than 100 000 € from this specific activity (audiovisual) or has a weekly programming less than 24 hours of video.

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