Downloading copyrighted material in Italy


(First an off-topic rant: after writting a lot about this issue, this "new and improved" - and buggy - version of blogger decided to send it to /dev/null, so I'm writing this again but I'm not feeling like expanding myself again on the issue...)

Several news sources, but none as extensive and factual as I would like, are reporting that "Italy's top criminal court has stated that downloading computer files containing films, music or software is not a crime if not done for profit", while "analysts noted that violating a copyright, for example by breaking a copyright protection, remained illegal even if downloading the material had been decriminalized."

First, take into consideration that, by analyzing various sources, I reached the conclusion that analysts don't really said that, but "insinuated" that what the court ruled goes against the Italian laws. SIAE, the Italian RIAA, said in a statement that
the ruling did not bring any "revolutions" in terms of author's rights because the case predates current legislation calling for a fine for anyone who shares protected material over the Internet without financial gain.
What I want you to know about this issue is that, regardless what the media are saying:
  • file sharing never was and it is not illegal whatsoever in Italy nor in any other country that I know of;
  • despite some attempts, no country that I know of state peer-to-peer networks as illegal;
  • downloading the copyrighted material has not "been decriminalized";
  • a court rule isn't law, even if this case can be referred by the defence of a similar one in the future.
So what does all this mess means?
Simply that all this issues aren't, and should be, clarified. Not only in Italy, not only the judges, record and movie industries, the media, the laws, but everything and everyone else. There should be a real effort, by states, governments and people - and never companies, to state clearly what's all this about: IP, copyright, download, file-sharing, peer-to-peer and all those buzzwords that, everytime that appear on the media, are used in an insulted way for technologists, artists and consumers.