Italy is to introduce a mandatory delay between the display of Italian films in cinemas and the display of them on streaming websites, such as Netflix, in order to protect the home film industry.
The law arises after the sensitive issue became the head of this year's Venice Film Festival, where several films came from American Netflix or Amazon streaming giants, including from the winner of the Golden Lion festival "Roma".
The movie of the Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron was the first to win Netflix, winning the main festival prize. Thanks to the festival's success, it will be released in cinemas around the world on November 21, and then in Netflix on December 14th.
In contrast, the French Film Festival in Cannes only decided on films with a guaranteed cinema recording to protect theaters.
The French law says that a 36-month period must pass between displaying a movie in theaters and when it can be viewed using a streaming service or video on demand service (SVOD).
As a result, jet producers have to wait 36 months before they can show their videos on their own platform, if they show them also in cinemas.
As a result, the Venice festival attracted several famous directors using products created for streaming, including Coen brothers, Paul Greengrass and Cuaron, who could not compete in Cannes, drawing on many of the Italian film industry.
They slammed what they saw as an attack on the cinema, saying that every festival winner should be available to a wider audience than just Netflix subscribers.
The Italian film industry appealed to the Minister of Culture Alberto Bonisoli to rule on this matter and introduced a law defining the "statutory window" between cinema and streaming.
The 36-month French clause is the strictest in the world, and most other countries decide for themselves, or allow the producers, producers and broadcasters to negotiate individually in each case.
Bonisoli, from the anti-establishment Five Star movement, this week announced a new law that has already been challenged by the Italian press as "anti-Netflix", which requires all films produced in Italy to be screened before the broadcast.
The Act provides for the current practice of a 105-day delay and adds some flexibility, as the delay can be reduced to 60 days for films screened in less than 80 cinemas or viewed by fewer than 50,000 people in the first three weeks.
"With this decree we urge some films to move directly or faster towards commercialization," said Bonisoli.
At the same time, "it is important to protect theaters that need videos that can guarantee their income".
The head of the Italian Agis show business association, Carlo Fontana, said the new law protects against "unfair competition (from streaming services) that could have created a dangerous short circuit".
"Jet giants such as Netflix earn a lot of money in Italy without creating any jobs, and their (budget) policy is far from transparent," Francesco Rutelli, former mayor of Rome who presides over the Italian cinema and Anica's audiovisual association.
Nevertheless, he told the newspaper Il Messagero, "blocking the path of Netflix or other platforms that will only increase the number is illusory because it is useless."
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