Those involved in the illegal distribution of movies, TV shows and live sports are the most common targets but in response to a push from local publishing companies, suppliers of pirated newspapers and periodicals are also prone to enforcement measures.
New Operation Targeting Distributors of Editorial Content
On Wednesday the Guardia di Finanza (GdF), a law enforcement agency under the authority of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, announced yet another operation designed to limit the spread of such content within Italy.
“[The] Economic and Financial Police Unit of the Guardia di Finanza of Bari has implemented an urgent preventative seizure order, issued by the local Public Prosecutor’s Office, against 10 pirate websites through which the illegal distribution of newspapers, magazines and eBooks has taken place, in violation of copyright law,” a GdF statement reads.
In keeping with the normal practice of hiding the names of the sites from public view, none of the nine sites have been named. GdF simply says that the platforms allowed people to download for free by providing links to content hosted on servers abroad. There is no indication that the seizure order has taken those foreign servers down or disrupted them in any way.
Complaint Originally Filed By Publishers
The action this week forms part of Operation “# CHEGUAIO!” which was launched following an initial complaint by the Italian Federation of Newspaper Publishers (FIEG).
Running since 2020, the operation has reportedly led to the ‘seizure’ (blocking/disabling) of 329 Telegram channels responsible for illegally distributing editorial content in breach of copyright, in addition to the sites affected by this week’s action.
In a statement, GdF welcomed the crackdown on the pirate sites.
“This activity, carried out by the Economic and Financial Police Unit of Bari and coordinated by the local Public Prosecutor’s Office, confirms that the publishing piracy market represents a flourishing illicit business,” GdF said.
“It involves a vast audience of users who feed it, often unaware of the consequences, also of a criminal nature, to which they are exposed and of the enormous economic damage that this practice causes both to the holders of copyright and to the national economy in a broader sense.
“Therefore, the investigative action carried out by the Guardia di Finanza of Bari continues in close synergy with the local judicial authority for the repression of this insidious criminal phenomenon that alters the dynamics of the market.”
Pressure on Telegram
Last April, FIEG President Andrea Riffeser Monti estimated that publishing companies were losing around 670,000 euros per day due to piracy. According to FIEG, a sample 10 Telegram channels were believed to have around 580,000 users, all obtaining newspaper content without paying the publishers.
Following discussion with Telegram, FIEG said that the platform had deleted seven of the eight channels initially reported as infringing but the problem continued, resulting in many additional complaints since.