There has been a certain amount of concern on the web due to the Authority’s deliberation regarding the regulation of audiovisual and radio online services,published at the end of 2010.
The most widely criticized aspect of the regulation is the possibility of its being applied equally to all audiovisual media providers. Therefore it would affect YouTube and traditional audiovisual media providers, such as television broadcasters. In point of fact this regulation will be applied to all commercial audiovisual media services which exceed 100.000 euros per year income derived from advertising, Tv-shopping, sponsorships, contracts with public and private bodies, public funding and pay-per-view offers.
This regulation will also affect user generated content website organizations when they have editorial responsibility and also indirectly or directly generate economic profits from their activities.
According to the Authority’s second deliberation, the concept of “editorial responsibility” also includes a video cataloguing service provided by such user generated content sites. Simple automatic indexing of audiovisual content also appears to be included in the definition.
Thus, the regulation would appear to exclude small Web Tvs and amateur videoblogs, but it would include video portals such as YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion and so on. Such sites will now be subject to the same legal obligations fulfilled by television networks, among which direct responsibility for audiovisual content.
In particular, new obligations for the major audiovisual content websites will therefore include the obligation of rectification within 48 hours, the protection of minors, and copyright infringement responsibility.
According to many analysts, the concept of editorial responsibility will in future play an increasingly important role in all those trials in which broadcasters and copyright owners claim compensation and removal of content from video sharing sites.
Some experts have also raised the question of the difficulty in applying norms which are traditionally applied to television, such as the introduction of safe time slots for children.
However, there are serious doubts as to whether the Authority’s regulation could be effectively applied to websites operating in other countries of the European Economic Zone.