As a general rule, the European Mandate Law merely sets out the implementation framework for the various EU directives and regulations that must then be implemented within the Italian legal framework. The implementing details are normally regulated in ensuing ad hoc legislative decrees. In addition, from a general standpoint, the European Mandate Law usually takes five to seven months to be approved by the Parliament. However, the COVID-19 pandemic further slowed the approval process for the 2019–2020 European Mandate Law and the process took even more time than it typically does. Indeed, parliamentary discussions on the 2019–2020 European Mandate Law began in February 2020 and only ended in April 2021.
As stated above, the 2019–2020 European Mandate Law contains several provisions that are poised to reshape and impact greatly the Italian legal framework for media services.
Audiovisual Media Sector
Article 3 of the 2019–2020 European Mandate Law sets forth the implementation principles for Directive (EU) 2018/1808 concerning the provision of audiovisual media services. In particular, that article requires the reorganization of the provisions of the current audiovisual media services code (i.e., Legislative Decree No. 177/2005). In any case, the scope of application of the new rules on audiovisual media services will be extended to encompass video-sharing platforms as well. In addition, the Italian government is required to introduce new provisions regarding the promotion of European works (only partially implemented as of this time), consumer protection of audiovisual media services, and, most importantly, the protection of minors, as well as commercial communications.
Article 4 of the 2019-2020 European Mandate Law sets forth the implementation principles for Directive (EU) 2018-1972, which instituted the European Electronic Communications Code. To this end, Article 4 of the 2019–2020 European Mandate Law requires the Italian government to adopt a new Italian electronic communications code (currently provided under Legislative Decree No. 259/2003). In addition, the provision also requires the enactment of measures aimed at (i) providing the Italian Communications Authority (Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni – AGCOM) with new powers vis-à-vis providers of electronic communications services; and (ii) reviewing the administrative and criminal sanctions system provided under the previous regulatory framework.
Article 8 of the 2019–2020 European Mandate Law sets forth the implementation principles for Directive (EU) 2019/789 on the exercise of copyright and related rights applicable to certain types of online transmission on the part of broadcasting organizations and retransmission of television and radio programs.
In addition, and of great relevance, Article 9 of the 2019–2020 European Mandate Law sets forth the implementation principles for Directive (EU) 2019/790 on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market. That implementation framework has been long awaited by editors and authors, who will be afforded greater protection vis-à-vis remuneration for the use of online journalism publications. Article 9 of the 2019–2020 European Mandate Law has also been welcomed by the Department of European Policies of the Italian government, which stated that “we are among the first in Europe to legislate on the DSM copyright directive, a fair balance between users’ rights, platforms’ needs, and support for publishing.”
Article 18 of the 2019–2020 European Mandate Law sets forth the implementation principles for the Title III “Cybersecurity Certification Framework” of Regulation (EU) 2019/881 on ENISA (the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity) and covers information and communications technology cybersecurity certification and the repeal of Regulation (EU) No. 526/2013 (Cybersecurity Act).
Contracts for the Provision of Digital Services, Sales Contracts, and Accessibility Products and Services
Lastly, Annex A to the 2019–2020 European Mandate Law requires the Italian government to implement the following: (i) Directive (EU) 2019/770 on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services; (ii) Directive (EU) 2019/771 on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sale of goods, amending Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 and Directive 2009/22/EC and repealing Directive 1999/44/EC; and (iii) Directive (EU) 2019/882 on accessibility requirements for products and services.