Italo law change kills piracy cases

75% of antipiracy cases to be affected

Hollywood and international music orgs are up in arms after Italy on Tuesday cut its statute of limitations on criminal cases pending trial from 7½ to six years, which will nix hundreds of antipiracy trials.

The Intl. Federation of the Phonographic Industry estimates that 75% of all cases brought against Italian music pirates will be affected by the new law, which is designed to deal with a monumental backlog of court cases.

Motion Picture Assn. of America chairman Dan Glickman along with the Intl. Intellectual Property Alliance and Recording Industry Assn. of America recently fired off a joint letter urging the Italian government to refrain from what they said was “a colossal error.”

Also urging Italian legislators to reconsider, IFPI chief John Kennedy said earlier this month that the bill “will erode investment in music, encourage organized crime, fuel corruption and cost the Italian government tens of millions of euros in lost revenue.”

Piracy in Italy is estimated to cost the audiovisual industry E180 million ($212 million) and the music industry $176 million a year.

Rome reps for the U.S. majors could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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