The Italian parliament has passed the 2007 budget law which includes legislation with specific fiscal benefits for the music industry. The budget, which was presented by the centre-left coalition led by prime minister Romano Prodi, was debated and amended in the Senate and (lower) Chamber of Deputies for several weeks and became law on Thursday (Dec. 21).

The measures specifically concerning the music industry are in Article 282 of the budget. Under this, music labels with a turnover of less than 15 million Euros are entitled to claim back up to 100,000 Euros a year invested in either the first or second album of an artist. These tax benefits apply to a number of areas, including production, development, digitalization and promotion. They concern the production of accompanying videos, as well as the recordings. The sum of 100,000 Euros applies to each individual work or album. The exclusion of companies with an annual turnover of more than 15 million Euros is in compliance with European Commission's regulation 69/2001 of January 12, 2001. Companies that are directly or indirectly controlled by a radio or television publisher are also excluded from these measures.

Enzo Mazza, president of FIMI, which represents the country's majors, tells Billboard.Biz: "This is an important step forward. First and foremost, it shows that the Italian government finally recognizes that music is an industry, like any other. For too long we have been considered a form of entertainment, rather like a circus. I think this act of financial recognition will also help record labels get better treatment from banks and other financial institutions. The government still needs to do a lot for the music industry, but we are pleased."