More than 60 Italian artists -- including Andrea Bocelli, Eros Ramazzotti, Elisa and Tiziano Ferro -- have signed a petition calling on the government to step up its regulation of the online music mar

MILAN -- More than 60 Italian artists -- including Andrea Bocelli, Eros Ramazzotti, Elisa and Tiziano Ferro -- have signed a petition calling on the government to step up its regulation of the online music market.

The petition was presented to the Italian Senate and the Ministry of Culture on July 14. Industry body FIMI helped to gather the signatures.

In the petition, the artists declare that they support legal music sales on the Internet and the private use of downloaded material, but are opposed to music theft.

They are also critical of what they refer to as the current "demagoguery" concerning free music. This is a reference to the protest by Internet users after the passing of what is known as the "Urbani decree" on illegal file-sharing.

The Italian Senate -- in a motion initiated by culture minister Giuliano Urbani -- voted May 18 for tough measures, including prison sentences, for serial file-sharers. But after hackers temporarily shut down the Web sites of collecting society SIAE and some government ministries, the government announced that the measure would be softened.

FIMI, which accused the government of "giving in to blackmail by pirates," hopes that it will now reconsider its position.

In other news, Italian anti-piracy organization FPM is reaching out to parents in a campaign on the dangers of peer-to-peer piracy that will emphasize the risks of encountering child pornography, which is increasingly being distributed through file-sharing platforms.

The initiative follows a recent investigation by members of Italy's "Carabinieri" law-enforcement agency, who discovered that several hundred users were exchanging pornographic material via WinMix, E-Mule, KaZaA and IMesh.

In recent months, members of the fiscal police (Guardia di Finanza) have reported 160 individuals for distributing child pornography via KaZaA.