Online film circulation, copyright enforcement and the access to culture: The Italian case | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2047-7368
  • E-ISSN: 2047-7376



Despite the general emphasis on the positive implications of digital disruption in terms of freedom, democratization, disintermediation and cultural diversity, the digital impact on film production and distribution is more complex and nuanced, and maybe less disruptive, than what we would be inclined to believe. With respect to the effects of digital media on the film industry this article aims to provide an insight into film circulation in the digital environment, and into the multiple ways in which the Internet can affect and especially undermine the traditional system of film distribution. Based on this general framework, the article also aims to map the main features of contemporary Italian online distribution ecology, with particular reference to the quality of access to film culture and to the copyright issue. The article is structured into six sections. The first three sections provide a general contextualization and address in particular the relationships between the Internet and the window release system (Section 1), the question of piracy (Section 2), the changes in gatekeeping mechanisms and patterns of demand, and the issue of access (Section 3). The remaining three sections focus on the Italian context: Section 4 presents the main theoretical categories used to map contemporary Italian online film distribution; Section 5 discusses the main features of the map; finally, Section 6 provides an insight into the current legal framework and scope of the new Italian ‘Regulation about copyright protection in electronic communication networks’, ratified by AGCOM in December 2013.


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