The Italian government has modified its "Decreto Urbani" (Urbani Decree), which would have lifted most legal impediments to illegal file-sharing of copyrighted music content.

The Italian government has modified its "Decreto Urbani" (Urbani Decree), which would have lifted most legal impediments to illegal file-sharing of copyrighted music content.

Under the original decree, only the file-sharing of copyrighted film content (primarily for financial gain) would have been treated as a criminal offense. Music content, literary works and computer software would have been largely unprotected. The modified version now extends legal protection to all forms of copyright, including music.

In another modification, internet service providers (ISPs) will be obliged to communicate information about copyright infringers to the authorities. ISPS will also remain liable for failure to remove illegal content from their servers. Under the EU Copyright Directive -- which was approved in Italy prior to the introduction of the decree -- ISPs are obliged to remove illegal content when notified by the authorities.

The changes to the decree follow a hearing of the Italian senate's culture commission in Rome April 29, at which representatives from Italian labels body FIMI gave testimony.

FIMI describes the latest decision as "satisfactory."

In a statement, FIMI president Alberto Pojaghi says: "We see this latest draft as being a good compromise, but it is essential that it gets passed as soon as possible by the Senate, without further modifications, if it is to be an effective weapon in the fight against on-line piracy."