Corporate liability for copyright infringements in Italy?

Among the measures to fight the economic crisis announced by the Italian Government, sect. 15 para 1 lett. c) of the Anti-Crisis decree deserves a special mention: to put it short, the provision asserts corporate liability (under legislative decree 231/01)  for copyright infringement committed by top management.

Although it may seems that the new law is of a little impact on corporate life (is highly unlikely that a top manager has time to waste doing file sharing) a second glance prove this first opinion not entirely correct.

The inclusion of copyright infringements into the list of crimes implying specific corporate liability forces a company to revise its (mandatory) prevention model to reflect new changes; thus – de facto – establishing a specific set of controls aimed at downloads, website surfing and file sharing. Failing to do so might lead some zealous prosecutor to think that the company actually allows copyright abuses.

A side effect of this regulation – when it will come into full force – is that workplace privacy will get another heavy blow. For the sake of copyright abuse prevention, indeed, all of employees’ Internet activity will be deeply inspected.

So long, Mr. Data Protection Commissioner…

Italian Data Protection Authority and workplace (Internet) privacy

Today the Italian Data Protection Authority issued an official position re: (internet) workplace privacy protection. The bottom line is: employers cannot control how do employees use the Internet during working hours, providing a few exemption to this general “block”. They are simply wrong and tell just the half of the story. Italian courts (including Corte di cassazione – the Supreme Court), indeed, ruled in favour of a more flexible approach when the employer must investigate misbehaviours or crimes. But the data protection people seems not to be aware of it.

What is worse is that to protect employees’ privacy, the Authority is strongly advocacing for preemptive web filtering and content blocking.

That’s a brilliant trade-off: privacy for censorship… and chicks for free!