Covert advertising: Italian Antitrust Authority opens investigation against BAT and influencers
On May 31, the Italian Antitrust Authority (in Italian, “Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato”, the “AGCM”) announced the opening of an investigation against BAT Italia S.p.A. and influencers Stefano De Martino, Cecilia Rodriguez and Stefano Sala.
In particular, the AGCM contests the dissemination on the influencers’ Instagram profiles, linked by a business relationship with BAT Italia S.p.A., of posts inviting their followers to publish content related to the advertising campaign of Glo Hyper, a device for heated tobacco produced and marketed by BAT.
The invitation above, which has an advertising effect, is not identifiable as commercial, since there are no graphic or textual warnings indicating its promotional purpose.
Italian Antitrust Authority fines Ryanair for failure to refund cancelled flights
On May 24, the AGCM announced that it had imposed a fine of €4.2 million on Ryanair for unfair commercial practices.
The fine follows those already imposed by the AGCM in May on EasyJet and Volotea for failure to refund consumers the cost of flight tickets cancelled due to the Covid-19 emergency.
In particular, according to the AGCM, the three companies acted in a seriously unfair manner, cancelling numerous scheduled flights and issuing vouchers without refunding the price paid for the cancelled tickets.
Italian Ministry of Economy launches the First Playable Fund
The “First Playable Fund”, a €4 million fund instituted by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (in Italian, “Ministero dello Sviluppo economico”, the “MISE”) aimed at supporting the development of the digital entertainment industry by granting funds for projects intended to create a video game prototype for commercial distribution, will be operational from June 30, 2021.
Applications may be submitted, starting at 12:00 noon on June 30, using the computer platform available on the website of the MISE and the National Agency for Inward Investment and Economic Development (in Italian, “Agenzia Nazionale per l’attrazione degli investimenti e lo sviluppo d’impresa S.p.A”).
Law transposing the European Electronic Communications Code published on the Italian Official Gazette
With Law 2021/53, the national legislator established the criteria for transposing Directive 2018/1972 on the so-called European Electronic Communications Code.
Specifically, in Article 4 of the law in question, the legislator has identified the principles and criteria for the implementation of the above mentioned Directive, including:
- reorganize the provisions of the Italian Code of Electronic Communications;
- provide new competencies for the Italian Communications Guarantee Authority (in Italian “Autorità per le garanzie nelle comunicazioni”, the “AGCOM”); and
- introduce simplification measures for the development of connectivity and to boost investments in ultra-wideband networks.
Italian Communications Guarantee Authority has what it takes to be the Italian Digital Service Coordinator the Authority, President Lasorella siad
On June 15, 2021, AGCOM President Giacomo Lasorella, during his hearing at the Italian Chamber of Deputies, stated that AGCOM could play the role of Italian Digital Service Coordinator, as provided for by the European Commission’s Digital Services Act.
In particular, the Digital Services Act requires each Member State to designate one or more competent authorities for the specific sectors covered by the Regulation, introducing the figure of the Digital Services Coordinator, responsible for facilitating the coordinated application of the Regulation’s rules in the various States.
In this context, AGCOM already meets the requirements set out in the European legislation and, therefore, is the most appropriate body to cover the role in question, Lasorella said.