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Italy moves ahead with online video restrictions

Italy is moving ahead with controversial plans to force anyone uploading video to the internet to obtain a licence from the government, as well as other measures that could adversely affect the businesses of companies including Google and Sky Italia, as part of the Berlusconi government’s new media law.

Deputy economic development minster and communications under-secretary Paolo Romani yesterday organised a series of meetings with industry representatives to explain the measures, according to press reports. The latest batch of measures proposed by Romani would restrict freedom to upload web video content as well as placing the content of online video sites under the jurisdiction of communications regulators.

The government has also reportedly proposed to ban adult content from being aired on TV during daytime hours, a measure that could affect pay-TV provider Sky Italia. Also included in the bill is a proposal to restrict advertising on pay-TV channels.

Romani has claimed that the internet video measures are necessary because of European Union restrictions on product placement in TV programmes, widely seen as a highly contentious interpretation of the EU rules.

Mediaset, the commercial broadcaster owned by a trust for the family of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, recently won a court case against Google for airing its content on the YouTube site.