Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
blogs, italy, registration

Has Italy Outlawed Unregistered Blogs?

from the if-you-outlaw-blogs,-only-outlaws-will-have-blogs dept

Over the past year or so, we've noticed a string of stories coming out of Italy that suggests a rather odd legal viewpoint when it comes to the internet. There was the government's decision to release everyone's tax returns publicly online. Then there was an effort to put some Google executives in jail over videos that were uploaded to Google (not by those executives), and then, of course, Italy's attempt to ban access to The Pirate Bay (since rescinded).

However, the latest report is that Italy was able to force a blog offline permanently by using a law that requires news publishers to register with the government. A judge ruled that since a blog has a headline and some text, it counts as a news publication, and thus anyone who hasn't registered has violated this law. Of course, a politician (who used to be in favor of the law) is now warning that this could make an awfully large number of websites in Italy illegal, if the law is interpreted strictly. Basically, the Italian government now has the ability to force pretty much any blog site offline if they don't like the content, just by making this type of claim.

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  • identicon
    ASSWIPE, 26 Sep 2008 @ 5:25pm


    Main Entry: fas·cism
    Pronunciation: ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm also ˈfa-ˌsi-
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces
    Date: 1921
    1often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
    2: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control
    — fas·cist -shist also -sist noun or adjective often capitalized
    — fas·cis·tic fa-ˈshis-tik also -ˈsis- adjective often capitalized
    — fas·cis·ti·cal·ly -ti-k(ə-)lē adverb often capitalized

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bunny, 26 Sep 2008 @ 6:15pm

    No Subject

    So... remove the headlines. Problem solved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 26 Sep 2008 @ 7:47pm

    This Post is Illegal

    My comment has a headline and some text. Techdirt is now banned in Italy. Muhuahahaha!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    sean, 27 Sep 2008 @ 12:36am

    No rush to judgement!

    One thing I have a hard time adapting to here in Italy is that judgements at a lower court have no weight until the entire appeals process is exhausted - which is why the former President of the Region of Sicily is now a Senator in Rome, despite being convicted of mafia association.

    The guy mentioned, Giuletti, is a member of the "Italy of Values" party, which is run by one of the famous "Clean Hands" prosecutors, di Pietro, and has a habit of pointing out the absurdities of the political/economic/legal house of cards, so Giulietti is just sticking to the party line in this instance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chainsaw, 27 Sep 2008 @ 11:24pm


    I give 'em 2 out of 4, and point out that the USA has tried 3 out of 4.

    1 - I think online tax returns is a GREAT idea, especially if it includes the details of corporate returns, as well as individuals. Everyone we DON'T want to, already has that information. It will only help to level the playing field that we all have it.

    2 - good principle, wrong application. I think it in general a GREAT idea if the law starts holding corporate executives personally responsible for crimes committed by the corporation as a whole. And it does happen here occasionally - just try getting financially tangled up with a medical marijuana operation that gets busted by the Feds.

    The experiment of limiting the liability of financial actors has failed. It's time to give it up. Violating IP shouldn't be a crime, but that's a different discussion.

    3 - it seems to me the silliest sort of cultural imperialism to insist that everyone in the world accept the opinions of the lawless in general as the only correct way to behave. I think that true diversity involves lots of societies choosing to exclude certain things as well as emphasizing others, and while personally I completely support violating intellectual property laws whenever one can get away with it, I don't think every civil organization on the planet is obligated to assist in this. Though I'd prefer a society with less stupid in the first place, there seems to be something to be said in our existing society for putting prohibitions in place that sufficiently govern the stupid, but can be bypassed by the reasonable.

    4 - I haven't yet found whether registering costs an onerous amount of money, nor whether the government can arbitrarily deny registrations. If it were practical, the obvious solution is for everyone in Italy with a blog, and everyone elsewhere with a blog that they would like to be read by Italians, to go ahead and register. Perhaps this could be coordinated so that it happens all on the same day. And of course, if you have more than one blog, you will want to register repeatedly. And include a long letter explaining in detail why you find the registration process onerous, and would like the government to implement a better system.

    On the other hand, if the registration process really is used to screen who may publish, this is NOT a good thing. In this case, a coordinated campaign to get the EU involved may be helpful. Or something else. Whatever it takes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nime, 29 Sep 2008 @ 4:43am

    An Italian's point of view

    Hello. I'm Italian.
    I'm proud to come from the land of Dante, Michelangelo, Galileo and many other great men of the past. However, today's Italy is very weird. It really looks like a satiric-ironic comic where everyone is trying to "hide himself behind a finger" and others believe him despite the truth right in front of their eyes.
    Italians usually complain about everything, get ironic about it, then adapt and pass by. Always.

    Be confident about the fact that the law about blogs and registrations will never be applied, just like many others (es. the "don't phone while driving" one). Sometimes someone gets picked, but it doesn't hurt so much so it's worth risking. Bloggers can even move their blogs on foreign servers, so no big deal. You'll see.

    Italian cheers to everyone. ;>

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Scott, 29 Sep 2008 @ 9:05am


    If you think that the United States' political system is messed up, then take a look at Italy's election process. Berlusconi, their prime minister is one of the most corrupt men in politics. He was under charges of corruption and lost the last election, only to run a campaign to have the prime minister who succeeded him ousted, due to ineffective governing. Then once back into power he removed the judge from his corruption case, and things haven't moved much since.
    Italy has a long standing issue with collecting taxes as well. It is estimated that only 50% of people pay taxes, and of those who do, they pay nothing near what they should. The Prodi administration that published the taxation info, did so under the pretenses that it is public information.. It's just this made it grossly public. Apparently you can see anyone's tax information at the centers of government.
    Although as bad as Italy is.. France may be worse...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kamagra, 1 Nov 2010 @ 6:24am


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    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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