Legal Issues

by Glyn Moody

Filed Under:
blogs, italy, libel

Italian 'Blog Killer' Law Rises From the Grave

from the zombie-apocalypse dept

As if Italians didn't have enough problems, it seems that their government is trying to sneak through a proposal supposedly designed to provide those who are libelled online with an automatic recourse, which activists thought they had managed to kill off five months ago. Here's the plan:

In order to protect people from online defamation, this law states that each webmaster of whatever website must rectify within 48 hours (even if you’re a private blogger who just left for the weekend!) any page on the website itself, if somebody just tells him or her (how?) that they consider themselves wronged by that page. No discussion or reply allowed, no judge needed, and the fine for not "rectifying" within 2 days is 12K Euros [about $15,000].
The newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano gives an example of just how absurd that might be in practice (original in Italian):
A site writes about an arrest; the person arrested in prison could perhaps get his lawyer to say that it is not true that he has been arrested, and the Web site would be obliged to print this correction (without comment), or face a big fine.
Although it would be nice to think that such an absurdity would be thrown out once again by the Italian politicians, that's by no means certain, not least because the ACTA technique is being employed here:
As it too often happens in Italy with similar small but surely unpopular norms, it is "hidden" as a sub-section of a wider law proposal on an unrelated issue, in this case wiretapping.
Let's hope Italian bloggers spread the word about this shabby trick -- while they still can.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 3:38am

    Oh the miss read

    Read this as Italian Bog Killer Rises form the Grave and thought I had stumbled onto some obscure Italian Horror Fanzine............

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 5:20am

    What a great idea! I can start my own political party in Italy, and then when they report the results on the Internet I can 'inform' any site reporting on who won the election that they are incorrect, and I actually won the election.

    Those sites will have to either hand over lots of cash to me for refusing to 'correct' their articles, or report that I'm Italy's new Prime Minister! If enough people start saying I won the election, then maybe people will start to believe it and I'll be sworn in as Italy's new prime minister!

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

  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 6:13am

    No one gives a shit. NO ONE!

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 6:21am

    If the Italian government copies the US government then that means that the Italian law is applicable world wide in violation of the US First amendment.

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

  5. icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 6:32am

    Well, this is Italy, isn't it?

    The same Italy that has had about sixty-something governments and 25 prime ministers since WWII? They have not had a stable government in memory, and this is just one more example of the chaos that pervades it, and is why most Italians consider anything the government says or does a joke. If their entire government died overnight, the net effect would be negligible to the common man or woman.

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

  6. icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 7:37am

    It's a habit legislators and governments have gotten into to slide something ridiculous or that they know will be highly unpopular into a huge "omnibus" bill that is presented as something that's supposed to clean up things in existing legislation.

    Canadian federal governments to this all the time, particularly with the Criminal Code. It's such a good way to sneak in something silly like this into otherwise needed legislation which, the government will say, absolutely and positively must pass or the sky will fall and civilization will end.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 8:59am

    In civilized nations, the fact what you said was true is a defense against slander/libel charges. Not so in Italy. I've never understood how anyone can ever be convicted of a crime there, if saying or writing anything unfavorable about anyone is a crime.

    As for the blog killer the government exempted? If not, someone ought to report every government page as being offensive (without saying why, since the law doesn't require it).

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

  8. icon
    hmm (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 11:44am


    Except in the Italian version of Techdirt, I'll make Mike change your comment to "I give a fact this is the most important thing in my life, so I dumped my wife, put my kids in an orphanage and shot my dog just to concentrate on this".........

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

  9. icon
    hmm (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 11:46am


    If this passes, then really we should make the official government page say how they want to turn back the clock and start putting people into death camps again.......

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

  10. icon
    BeeAitch (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 12:33pm


    The fact that you took time out of your day to respond proves, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that at least one person gives a shit: YOU.

    Way to utterly disprove your own statement, moron.

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

  11. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re:

    He must have meant "no one whose opinion matters" cares. He's still wrong, though.

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

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  13. identicon
    Marc, Apr 28th, 2012 @ 9:54pm


    For information, this news had already justly caused a wave of protest in October 2011. Wikipedia had blocked access to its pages in Italy :

    Italy wiretap law: Wikipedia hides pages in protest : Wikipedia's Italian edition has taken all entries but one offline in protest at a draft privacy law restricting the publication of police wiretaps.

    See here :

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

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