Demonoid Is Blocked in Italy.

A number of record labels, including Sony, Warner and Universal, have forced the Italian Communications Regulatory Authority to order all Italian Internet service providers to block access to the popular BitTorrent tracker. Demonoid was blocked under new regulations that do not require legal overview, but the industry experts point out that such process may be ruled unconstitutional in the future.

Demonoid has been down for 20 months during 2013 and 2014 and recently came back online. The once popular service slowly started to rebuild its community and has now gained millions monthly visitors back and attracted attention of various copyright owners.

The Italian Communications Regulatory Authority (AGCOM) has received a complaint on behalf of record labels submitted by the Italian anti-piracy group FIMI against the BitTorrent tracker a few weeks ago. The Authority is a regulatory body able to order website blockades without court interference, provided that websites are deemed to be infringing copyright.

The complaint listed a number of tracks by Italian musicians that were made available on Demonoid. After consideration of the complaint, the Italian Communications Regulatory Authority has ordered ISPs to block the entire website instead of separate infringing works. So, Italian users can’t access Demonoid any longer – at least not in conventional way.

The Italian lawyer specializing in online and copyright disputes explained that the scope of the preliminary injunction seems way too broad and disproportional. The suggestions are that this practice can be canceled in the future, as the Court of Rome repeatedly ruled that blocking orders must be directed only at the infringing content, and not the whole website.

For example, earlier in 2014, the Court of Rome recalled a blocking order against, the local video streaming service, arguing that partial blocking of a specific content is preferred over site-wide bans. Apparently, this clearly didn’t happen with Demonoid, which can contest the measure that appears to be illegitimate, and the AGCOM procedures appear unconstitutional.

The problem is question has also been raised by a number of consumer groups asking the court to review legitimacy of the Italian Communications Regulatory Authority. These complaints were finally referred to the Constitutional Court to examine whether this procedure violates right to freedom of expression and free speech.

In the case that AGCOM is deemed to be unconstitutional, all existing blockades can be lifted in the future. Moreover, the lawyer believes that the wrongfully blocked services can even receive compensation for the damages caused by the blockade.

But as long as the Constitutional Court lingers with the decision, AGCOM continues to operate normally. The Italian anti-piracy group is happy with the decision and the new blockades against the BitTorrent tracker.