Italian Public Prosecutor Says Project Gutenberg's Collection Of Public Domain Books Must Be Blocked For Copyright Infringement

from the protecting-the-copyright-of-dante? dept

Back in 2013, we made clear our concerns with the Italian communications watchdog AGCOM setting up new administrative copyright enforcement powers that would allow them to simply up and declare sites to be infringing, at which point ISPs would be ordered to block websites. Soon after that Italy's public prosecutor seemed to decided that part of his job was also to order websites blocked based solely on the public prosecutor's say so.

In the latest such order from the Public Prosecutor's office declaring a list of sites to be infringing, apparently Italy has decided that the famous and wonderful Project Gutenberg website, which is a repository of public domain books, must be blocked. I don't know about the other 27 sites listed in the order, but Project Gutenberg is no piracy site. Yet here it is at number 25 on the list:

They even go to the trouble of looking up the whois info. You would think that maybe someone would recognize that a site founded in 1996 maybe is not a giant piracy site:

The Italian Library Association is asking what the fuck is going on (translation via Google Translate):

As everyone knows, Project Gutenberg promotes the widest dissemination and knowledge of the registered cultural memory. For years it has been hosted by large universities that made their servers available, before becoming an autonomous organization, one of the main of this type and inspiring model for many other similar ones (such as the Manutius Project in Italy), mainly supported by work. of many volunteers. We reiterate that it is one of the most qualified projects on the net, with a large amount of documents accessible for free in compliance with the US Copyright Act, because it is in the USA that it is based: they are works in the public domain, out of rights because they have always been public domain (such as the Bible) or because the maximum terms of duration of copyright have passed.

Seeing the Gutenberg Project linked to a whole series of domains that contain pirated editorial materials for commercial purposes causes bewilderment and disapproval in the world of libraries.

It appears that neither the Italian Public Prosecutor nor the Court even attempted to contact Project Gutenberg which only found out about it after a visitor to the site in Italy made them aware of it:

And, if you want to understand how this happened -- which also might raise some huge questions about how the public prosecutor's office works -- it appears that they were monitoring some Telegram private channels, and saw someone there link to some pirate sites and link to Project Gutenberg, and rather than, you know, investigate, they just decided to ban the entire list. Pretty incredible that they'd look up the whois, but apparently not check out the actual website. Because of copyright, apparently, they must censor all.

Filed Under: censorship, copyright, culture, due process, italy, public domain, site blocking, takedowns
Companies: project gutenberg


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2020 @ 3:52am

    Can we just replace "gutenberg.org" with "agcom.it" on that list? Obviously those guys are pirates since they publish handy lists of alledged pirating sites...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2020 @ 9:25am

      Re:

      Your joke is bitter reality in Germany, with the ban on abortion advertisement. But that doesn't just include ads, but also plain information that you are offering abortions. As a doctor, you either not disclose the fact or face being hounded by moral asses (hmm, their shit sure smells like roses). The result is, the only public listings of abortion doctors can be found on the asses websites, where they gloat about their victories and intersperse their excrement.

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

      • identicon
        Wisdom teller, 3 Jun 2020 @ 5:12pm

        Completely OK

        that killings of humans remains banned in Germany.

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

        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 3 Jun 2020 @ 8:42pm

          Re: Completely OK

          What does that have to do with anything?

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 3 Jun 2020 @ 11:37pm

            Re: Re: Completely OK

            It means he's outing himself as an asshole who considers women as nothing more than passive incubators as soon as someone rapes them. A lot of these "pro life" types don't seem to include adult women among the lives they want to save.

            Then, such people are like vegans and cross fit enthusiasts - they have to tell you whenever something adjacent comes up.

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

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 3 Jun 2020 @ 4:48am

    "Pretty incredible that they'd look up the whois, but apparently not check out the actual website"

    Not really. Someone takes a list from Telegram assuming everything has to be pirated, an intern or script grabs the WHOIS, no independent thought is applied.

    It should absolutely not happen, but it's hardly incredible. The current copyright cult favours those who put in the least thought and effort.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2020 @ 7:25am

      Re:

      The current copyright cult favours those who put in the least thought and effort.

      Oh, they like thought and effort all right. Just so long as it helps their bottom line.

      The cult's desire is for everything to require permission. They don't care if people think about it, just so long as they get paid for the privilege.

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

    • icon
      Celyxise (profile), 3 Jun 2020 @ 9:57am

      Re:

      Applying thought and effort would create a derivative work of their marching orders, and they don't have the license to do that.

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

  • identicon
    Philip, 3 Jun 2020 @ 4:56am

    I have occasionally wondered if these copyright enforcers think they're a Warhammer 40K Commi-

    INFRINGEMENT!

    :BLAM:

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

  • identicon
    Daydream, 3 Jun 2020 @ 5:02am

    Wait, back up a bit. What was that about monitoring private channels on Telegram? Is this prosecutor's office spying on thousands of private conversations in case they link to an un-Italian site?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2020 @ 9:30am

      Re:

      channels are not chats. private (and encrypted) chats should still be secure, given that Hong Kong protesters used it extensively and were not subverted. (now, that info is already a few months old, so take it with salt)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2020 @ 5:05am

    Italians should start sharing list that mix pirate sites with local major paper and TV sites.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2020 @ 5:11am

    "...the Italian Public Prosecutor..."

    Proving yet again that Italy should be silent on everything not directly related to Italian cuisine.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2020 @ 7:34am

    "Oh fuck," squealed John Smith, "I'm going to cum! Hold me, Tero!"

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

  • icon
    Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 3 Jun 2020 @ 7:38am

    The wheels of justice turn slowly...

    but grind exceedingly fine.

    At last someone acts on behalf of all the Italian scribes thrown out of work by the original Gutenberg's hellish invention!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2020 @ 10:49am

    Streisand effect

    I for one (of millions probably) would like to thank the Italian Public Prosecutor. 🙌

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

  • icon
    Ray Trygstad (profile), 3 Jun 2020 @ 11:27pm

    Interesting

    I was wondering where AvaxHome had gotten off to...now I know.

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

  • icon
    Federico (profile), 4 Jun 2020 @ 3:37am

    Order by the judge

    Minor correction: technically the order is from a judge at the Court of Rome, requested by a prosecutor (pubblico ministero or PM) there. The "GIP" is similar to an "examing magistrate" and comes into play before a trial actually starts.

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


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