Italy: Video sharing sites subject to broadcast TV rules

Video-sharing sites such as YouTube could be subject to the same regulations as traditional broadcast television, according to controversial rulings by the Italian Communications Authority (AGCOM).

Two rulings published by the Communications Authority state that some streaming and on-demand video sites would require a government licence to operate and be subject to similar editorial controls as traditional TV.

Sites such as YouTube, Daily Motion and Vimeo will be subject to broadcast regulations if they generate annual revenue of more than €100,00, exercise editorial control over their content and make available more than 24 hours of audiovisual material per week, the rulings state.

Stefano Mannoni, one of the Communications Authority commissioners, said even the limited editorial control exercised by YouTube gave it the same status as a traditional broadcaster.

“YouTube creates a hierarchy of its content, even if only through its algorithm and automatically, and that amounts to the exercise of editorial control,” Mannoni told the Rome daily La Repubblica.

Some of the details of the Authority’s rulings remain unclear, however. It is not clear, for example, how video websites with permanently available content and operating from abroad will be able to fall into line with the requirement to respect children’s television viewing times.

Published reports suggested YouTube, which is based in Ireland, and DailyMotion, a website controlled by Telecom Italia and based in France, will in any case be subject to the regulations in their country of origin, rather than the new Italian rules.