Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet

Italy Wants to Restrict Blogs 242

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-wiat-a-minute-here dept.
nx writes "Italy wants to restrict bloggers' rights by forcing everyone to register their blogs, pay a tax and have a journalist as a "responsible director". This law is clearly designed to curb critical voices and free speech, although it has yet to be approved by parliament."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Italy Wants to Restrict Blogs

Comments Filter:
  • In other news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by UbuntuDupe (970646) *
    [Every country in the world] wants to restrict entrepreneurs' rights by forcing everyone to register their businesses, pay taxes on undistributed and phantom profits, and get a license for all activities that compete with politically-powerful groups. The law is clearly designed to curb competition with government monopolies and free association, although it has yet to be approved by its legislature.

    I just wish y'all would worry about economic regulation *before* it starts getting applied to World of Warcra
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      just wish y'all would worry about economic regulation *before* it starts getting applied to World of Warcraft and blogging.
      Nobody cares about economic regulation. For the average American, as long there's beer in the fridge, two new SUV's in the driveway, a white picket fence, bowling on Friday night and Monday Night Football, no one will ever complain, no matter how far they go. It doesn't even matter who wins the presidency, really, at this point.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Elemenope (905108)

        For the average American, as long there's beer in the fridge, two new SUV's in the driveway, a white picket fence, bowling on Friday night and Monday Night Football, no one will ever complain...

        I've heard this meme quite a bit, and while I agree that bread and circuses play a significant role in pacifying the public, I think it is quite overselling the point by implying that the middle class standard (2.2 kids, SUV, owned home) is representative of many peoples' condition. On the contrary, the middle cl

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)
          The SUV and the white picket fence are far out of reach.

          The former is demonstrably false, just take a drive anywhere in town. Either you are yourself driving an SUV, or the idiot woman driver who hits you is.

          As for the second, that's only because people are unwilling to move further than Eagle's Creek, Deer Run, Craggy Highlands, or any number of other 2nd rate housing developments in the suburbs. I think you'll find that there are quite a few places in the US that offer the white picket fence at a reasonab
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Firethorn (177587)
            As for the second, that's only because people are unwilling to move further than Eagle's Creek, Deer Run, Craggy Highlands, or any number of other 2nd rate housing developments in the suburbs. I think you'll find that there are quite a few places in the US that offer the white picket fence at a reasonable price. And considering the ability to telecommute for those of us in the IT business, the only real reason to stay where the prices are high is vanity and the desire to live there.

            Besides work, there's als
        • "The SUV and the white picket fence are far out of reach."

          US home ownership has been increasing for years and continues to do so.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeownership_in_the_United_States#Historical [wikipedia.org]

          • Actually, unless you're a true homesteader, you neither own your home, nor ever will. Unless you're willing to pull your estate OFF the economic market, you'll always be paying rent to your local, state and federal leeches (taxmen).

            Home ownership is up only if you count the UNPAID mortgages that are skyrocketting.

            No surprise there. In typical true geek fashion, many of us still count the numbers on the screen as a measure of true wealth.

            As a friend of mine told me several years back... "Those numbers on p
            • When you said "rent," I think you actually meant "fees necessary to provide essential services, including fire-fighting, police protection, and an educated local population."

              Also, I would love to see you tell Warren Buffet that his portfolio is worthless because stock certificates aren't "real, tangible, physical goods."

              You know you're a bit of a kook, don't you?
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by DaedalusHKX (660194)
                Hmmm, "essential services" ? I don't seem to recall the fire fighters in my local jurisdiction being paid out of taxes. In fact, the local pool for the firefighter is all volunteers and donations, taxes go to pay cops to give speeding tickets.

                Local population "education" isn't worth the cash and never was or will be.

                Warren Buffet is smart enough to have plenty of physical wealth. What he uses to make a profit isn't what he uses for physical assets. In the end, what you cannot get during a "bank panic" i
                • In the event of a bank run, only checking/savings accounts could be hard to redeem. Stocks and bonds can't simply vanish in a puff of fractional-reserve magic. In that way, these items really do represent real wealth.

                  Personally, I only keep about a month of expenses in the bank. Everything else goes directly to the investment brokerage. I expect my investment dividends to exceed my personal income from work in about 15 years. If I kept everything I earn in "physical" goods, as you suggest, that would never
          • I see the last two years are missing. I can guarantee you that even if 2006 stays even with 2005 and 2004, 2007 will show a massive drop in home ownership. Estimates are that about 2 million people are at risk of losing their homes, and, barring some not-so-self-less concessions from companies like Countrywide and government bail-outs, the percentage quoted by Wikipedia is going to drop significantly.

            Furthermore, I can also tell you that that house depicted in the article is not worth 550K. It's more likely
        • Re:In other news (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Kadin2048 (468275) * <slashdot DOT kadin AT xoxy DOT net> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:59AM (#21100009) Homepage Journal

          The SUV and the white picket fence are far out of reach.
          If you want to stay out of debt, sure. But just looking around, there are a whole lot of people with multiple 6000-lb road monsters and McMansions, who have no business owning either, thanks to easy mortgages.

          "Middle class" used to mean a small home and a single car, or a modest apartment if you lived in a city -- plus entertainment/disposable income that's a fraction of what people spend today (as a fraction of their income, but probably in absolute terms when you adjust for inflation, too). Today, people don't consider themselves successful unless they live in a large house, have two or three cars, boatloads of entertainment expenses, eat prepared food constantly, and go on jet-setting vacations: none of that was ever part of "middle class" life a few generations ago.

          One of the reasons the 'middle class' has disappeared is because expectations have become unrealistically high as a result of shady credit practices. A person living debt-free and within their means on a moderate income can still be quite comfortable in many parts of the country, but they won't live as well -- to an outside observer, anyway -- as their neighbors who are racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars of mortgage and consumer debt. That creates a lot of social pressure to do the same, particularly since it forces class definitions in a community to creep upwards.
      • by Pig Hogger (10379)

        Nobody cares about economic regulation. For the average American, as long there's beer in the fridge, two new SUV's in the driveway, a white picket fence, bowling on Friday night and Monday Night Football, no one will ever complain, no matter how far they go. It doesn't even matter who wins the presidency, really, at this point.
        Panem et circenses [wikipedia.org].
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oliderid (710055)
      IMHO it is classic amongst European politicians. But this example is clearly the worst of all.

      They write down law proposition for the Internet without using it.
      They don't know how it works, all they know about it is what they read in the newspaper or what they heard in their pompeous conferences. They don't use emails, staffs check their mailbox for them..And print the relevant ones. They don't type, they 've got an assistant for that. A computer is a black box for them, like black magic. So they get scared
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LuSiDe (755770)
        Its all about control, and that goal isn't limited to Europeans. Not at all. Think of Putin. Or Bush..
    • I can imagine a world without money,
      I cannot imagine a world without speech.
      • At risk of sounding too reductionist, they're more similar than you might think.

        Speech is expression of information.

        Money is expression of information [paulbirch.net]. (scroll to part 3)
        • So what your saying is that what this guy did [theregister.co.uk].
          Linking to some sites that had bomb making info in them. Is equivalent to donating money directly to terrorist organizations.
          • I don't think they're morally equivalent. However, they do have a subtle similarity.

            Give money to terrorist group = "Hey world, you actually owe me $500 worth less in goods, and these guys over here, $500 more."

            Post bomb-making materials = "Hey world, this is actually how you can make an explosive device."

            You said you can't imagine a world without money. That includes all worlds in which people don't collectively change decisions about who is entitled to what, because that process is functionally equivale
            • that's why I can imagine a world without money, there are currently systems called LETS that operate without money and aren't always subject to taxation etc....
    • by Pig Hogger (10379)

      [Every country in the world] wants to restrict entrepreneurs' rights by forcing everyone to register their businesses, pay taxes on undistributed and phantom profits, and get a license for all activities that compete with politically-powerful groups. The law is clearly designed to curb competition with government monopolies and free association, although it has yet to be approved by its legislature.
      Hey! You're stealing Dada21's lines!!!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bhmit1 (2270)
      Sadly, in any democracy where money and votes result in power, entrepreneurs will always lose. We are a minority of the vote, so all the wealth redistribution fans will put people in power that take money from anybody but them. And when it comes to money, the shoe-string garage operations just don't compare to the mega-corporations and their government sponsored monopolies.

      This is why we are seeing more and more laws passed that tax hotel guests, reckless drivers, smokers, the self employed, and um-teen o
    • by Arthur B. (806360)
      I wish I could mod you +6

      Notice however that if said economic regulation applies to Microsoft, Google or [insert any big company] then concern for rights seamlessly vanish on Slashdot and everyone magically becomes turns to law positivism.
    • by Arthur B. (806360)
      Didn't you write a while ago:

      "I like to be in favor of strong employment laws that give the government full audit power over every corporation's decision to fire any one whatsoever."

      Where was your concern for rights and free association then?
      • That was satire. I was mocking people's support for selective enforcement of laws to satisfy their (inconsistent) intuitions about what "just law" is.

        Which is the exact same thing I'm complaining about now, and here [slashdot.org].
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:29AM (#21098787) Homepage Journal
    I expect blogs to be taxed and licensed almost everywhere, eventually. We can't have people saying things critical of the governm....errr...I mean, we can't have people saying anything offensive. Will someone please think of the children????
    • What amazes me is that some poster a few posts up was *surprised* that it was a socialist that proposed this. Damned ignorance is going to head us all into totalitarism.
  • Blog (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:29AM (#21098793) Homepage
    So, what is the definition of a "blog" anyway?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Marcion (876801)
      Exactly, just remove the word blog and call it a website.
    • by madman101 (571954)
      Anything they don't like. The other websites are news outlets.
    • So, what is the definition of a "blog" anyway?
      It's what squares call a 6109.
    • Re:Blog (Score:5, Funny)

      by aicrules (819392) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:42AM (#21098953)
      A Blog can be identified via the following characteristics:

      1. There is very little traffic to the site other than the bots posting link back comments still trying to fool google.
      2. There is a flurry of postings near the creation date of the site waning down to many once a month with the six of the last 10 postings being the message "No time to post today, too much work. Will try to catch up later."
      3. The posts with content contain many unsubstatiated statements proclaimed as fact all discussed in an exasperated matter in a hardly subtle attempt to garner emotional support from people they don't know.
      4. There are very few comments to postings other than self-posted comments providing clarification or an update.

      I'm sure there are other identifying characteristics, but these are the ones that you can count on...
      • You did forget one important characteristic:

        5. There are banner ads framing the text and graphic ads peppered throughout the body in a not very subtle attempt to generate AdSense income.
      • -Terrible spelling
        -Most articles are about the latest boys band, or who dates who in the classroom, except a few "nazis aren't good" or "we should ban war" vain attempt to bring some intersting content.
      • by Jugalator (259273)
        Very funny, is this from your own experiences with your blog or something? ;-)

        This sure applies to many, but far from all, and many, many blogs are quite popular over time.

        But I hope I don't even have to tell that, and that was mostly just a joke on generalizing blogs.
        • by aicrules (819392)
          Okay, you're right. It only applies to blogs that would say that they are part of the "blogosphere" then...
      • 3. The posts with content contain many unsubstatiated statements proclaimed as fact all discussed in an exasperated matter in a hardly subtle attempt to garner emotional support from people they don't know.

        3.14. Posts of obvious falsehoods or urban legends, followed by helpful comments from readers linking to Snopes...

        ...followed in turn by a long response by the blogger praising the many-eyes editorial power of the blogosphere and how this example shows that "citizen journalism" is so much superior

      • by Kamineko (851857)
        Fetching green stripes.
      • 5. Any attempt to simply suck money out of the blog so some government can spend it on yet more crap will be interpreted as a crime against humanity, genocide, and the basic human right to babble on about nutritional supplements, cat pictures, the new world order, and whether that chick in history class is hot or not.

        You need to talk to some Italians about the Italian government's propensity to tax anything and everything, thus basically creating a nation of expert tax cheats. Indeed, a continent of tax che
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:30AM (#21098801)
    I remember a news story from way back when I was a kid, of some group getting raided in the USSR for possessing an unregistered mimeograph machine.

    As this and the current Burma censorware article show, nothing threatens the powerful like a free exchange of ideas.
  • by ameoba (173803) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:31AM (#21098813)
    Does Italy have some sort of registration/licensing of journalists or periodicals? Are their already laws in place that force professional, mainstream journalists to be "responsible"?

    It might go against my USian belief in free speech, but I'd have a hard time arguing against this law if its merely placing blogs & websites under the same scrutiny as other publications. OTOH, I see enforcement of the law as a colossal failure waiting to happen.
    • by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:51AM (#21099085) Journal
      It might go against my USian belief in free speech, but I'd have a hard time arguing against this law if its merely placing blogs & websites under the same scrutiny as other publications.

      Actually, that's what a lot of people find objectionable about these types of laws: that stringent regulation of "bad people" might actually apply to them too! (Sort of a variant of "a liberal is a conservative who's been arrested".)

      I see this kind of thing all the time:

      ***

      "I think it's HORRIBLE how corporations EXPLOIT all these tax loopholes to avoid paying their FAIR SHARE!"
      "To consistently enforce tax law, we will have to monitor MMORPGs like World of Warcraft so as to insure income earned there is taxed."
      "WHAT???? That's RIDICULOUS!"

      ***

      "I think there should be STRINGENT regulations on businesses to make sure they don't DISCRIMINATE."
      "Excuse me sir, your site, 'Craig's List' has acted in contravention of Fair Housing law so we're suing you."
      "Er, what? I mean, those laws are for bad people, not me."

      ***

      common internet discussion:

      "Corporations are OBVIOUSLY inefficient. Look how easy it is to make something and sell it cheaper."
      "Yeah, but you didn't obey these regulations and pay these taxes."
      "Well ... those shouldn't exist!"
      "And if they didn't, the corporation could sell for less."
      "No, because they're inefficient."
      *falls out of chair*
  • No need to worry. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ZwJGR (1014973) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:32AM (#21098819)
    Like all laws in Italy which are unpopular and/or unenforceable they will be totally ignored by law-enforcement and people alike...

    Although I'd be surprised if this law makes it through parliament without being heavily diluted, or at all...
    • by cryfreedomlove (929828) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:39AM (#21098917)
      I am worried. Yes, the law is silly and unenforceable. However, having lots of unenforced and silly laws on the books makes everyone a criminal and subject to capricious arrest anytime anywhere. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, maybe even George Bush love laws like this because they can employ them at a moment's notice against their perceived threats.
      • I'd like to point out that the mass killings conducted by Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were never within the law and done in a semi-secret fashion. Concentration Camps existed because no one dared to object (lest you be sent there yourself) and because more than a few people tacitly approved of them. Stalin just exterminated those who were a threat - laws be damned. Pol Pot - idem. Mao - idem. They were killers not because the laws allowed them to be, but because everyone carrying out their orders though
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Phil-14 (1277)

      Like all laws in Italy which are unpopular and/or unenforceable they will be totally ignored by law-enforcement and people alike...


      And that's just the sort of laws the bureaucrats like, laws everyone's guilty of violating and which they can selectively enforce.

    • It's gonna be one of those "just in case" laws. Like

      Officer1: "Dammit. I just KNOW that guy's hiding something, but we don't have anything 'gainst him."
      Officer2: "Does he have a blog?"
      Officer1: "Yeah, but he doesn't write anything..."
      Officer2: "Get your gun and let's roll."
    • Like all laws in Italy which are unpopular and/or unenforceable they will be totally ignored by law-enforcement and people alike...

      For example, their traffic laws. Anyone who has ever visited Italy will understand this.
  • One day soon (Score:5, Interesting)

    by davegravy (1019182) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:33AM (#21098827)
    PirateBay will have a new torrent section called "thoughts", where one can download all the latest illegal ideas people have uploaded.
  • Sounds like a vote for sanity to me....
  • Surely the EU will overrule this law with regard to Human Rights Legislation. UK national law has been deemed illegal on a number of occasions by the EU, so I'd expect the same with this.

    Also how are they going to stop it. It'll be difficult to prove as the bloggers can use proxies and the like and how are the authorities going to prosecute 1000's of people.

     
  • I'm in favor of at least taxing that guy's blog. Interesting approach to using boldface he has.

    On a somewhat serious note this is regardless of whether the blog is intended to be profitable. Yikes!
  • What we all want is more assurances that we're safe, more flag-waving, and more cores in our CPUS, and more pictures of Britney, Paris and Lindsay stumbling through life.
  • by dws90 (1063948) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:40AM (#21098923)

    This law is clearly designed to curb critical voices and free speech, although it has yet to be approved by parliament."

    That's one interpretation, yes, and in fact a good one. Nevertheless, it shouldn't be there. Linking to a blogger with strong opinions about the issue is one thing, but could we at least avoid biased summaries? The summaries are supposed to be about news, not opinion. If I wanted one-sided views, I'd read Digg.

    Give us the story, facts-only. Let us decide if it's an assault on free speech. Allowing the reader to come to that conclusion on their own is far more powerful and effective.

    I'm guessing links to articles with different opinions would be too much to ask for.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Give us the story, facts-only. Let us decide if it's an assault on free speech. Allowing the reader to come to that conclusion on their own is far more powerful and effective.

      I don't care what the motivation is, anytime someone needs to get permission from a government to express their views, that's an assault on free speech.

      The more controversial question is whether it's an assault on free speech designed to stifle criticism of the government.

  • Il Duce (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ukab the Great (87152) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:40AM (#21098931)
    Don't be paranoid. You'll still be able to blog about how great it is that the trains are running on time.
  • This does not need to be censorship. It could be that the proposed law simply needs to be tweaked to define which sort of blogs need oversight. As the lines between online magazines/newspapers and blogs blurs it becomes important to define the new criteria of what is and is not a "trusted" new source. Although the proposed law seems to attack all blogs, I think it could be tweaked to define a certain type of blog that fits the definition of a news source rather than an opinion source.

    The simplest solution i
  • by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:42AM (#21098963)
    The headline in this rather implies that Italy as a nation is behind moves to limit blogs in general, when it would be more accurate to say that certain parts of the Italian government approve of moves to limit blogs in their country. Can we be a bit less gung-ho with the article titles, please?
    • You must be new here. The titles are sensationalist all the time yet the articles rarely deliver 100% of what the title promises.
  • USSR? (Score:2, Insightful)

    It seems like every day we get closer and closer to changing the name of the planet from Earth to "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics"
    • I Agree, and I think that as Schumpeter has sadly predicted (or sort of) it's unavoidable.
      So, let's see this on the bright side:
      - No more Eminem
      - No more problems with obesity (it's hard to get obese with socialist-style supermarkets, unless, of course you are a high head in the Party)
      - Plenty of space on even the most crowded highways.
      - Your daughters will learn to play oboe instead of listening to Britney Spears

      Of course, I will have to burn all my Rush's CDs, and that books are going to help me keep warm
  • by dan211a (928395) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:46AM (#21099011)
    The post is very inaccurate. Editors, please check the facts before posting sensationalistic headlines.

    There is a law being discussed in the Italian parliament which intends to set the rules for online publications, and define their responsibilities.
    The goal is to recognize and treat professional online news sites in the same way as traditional newspapers, where there is an editor ultimately responsible and accountable for the information
    published. This is not unlike press laws in most western countries: if, for instance, the New York Times publishes unfounded corruption allegations against a politician, its editor is ultimately responsible for those allegations, and the politician could sue him for defamation.

    There was some initial concern in the blogging world that this law could also apply to bloggers, but this concern was already cleared by the undersecretary to the Cabinet, Ricardo Franco Levi, which is the main curator of the text of the proposed law. He clearly stated that the new law would only apply to professional journalists, and that it would absolutely not apply to bloggers of any kind.

    More information (in italian): http://www.corriere.it/politica/07_ottobre_23/levi_legge_editoria_no_bavaglio_ai_blog.shtml [corriere.it]

    • Oh. So it's more or less like. We used to restrain the freedom on traditional media, so what's the point on restricting freedom on the internet?
      And if a law needs clarification by it's owner because it's not clear enough if it applies to a certain situation or not, what blocks him from changing his idea after the law is approved?
      Man, you trust government too much.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by blueiron (700956)
        Marcos Eliziario wrote:
        "And if a law needs clarification"

        It's not a law, it's a proposal. There is a huge difference. It still has to go through several steps.
        • Can you see that if it wasn't for the complaints the proposal would become a law, verbatim?
          • by Shambly (1075137)
            If a law had no people complaining about it, wouldn't that law be fair and just?
            • No. People may be uninformed, People can be misleaded, it may more or less dangerous in your country to complain.
              What is funny in your comment, and that this proposal, on its original form would be another restraint on free press, and thus, in the long range would increase the chance of more unjust and unfair laws being passed without a single complaint.
    • by Kamineko (851857)
      > He clearly stated that the new law would only apply to professional journalists, and that it would absolutely not apply to bloggers of any kind.

      What about a professional journalist's personal blog?

    • by Shihar (153932) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:56PM (#21101715)

      , for instance, the New York Times publishes unfounded corruption allegations against a politician, its editor is ultimately responsible for those allegations, and the politician could sue him for defamation.
      No, not in the US. The US has some of the weakest defamation laws in the world, and they become even weaker when talking about a public figure. In order for an editor to get sued in your example he would have to knowingly and blatantly lie AND do it for the purpose of causing the politician in question harm. If he can point to even a scrap of evidence to show that he could have thought what he was printing was true, he is off free. Even then, the fact that the politician is a public figure means that the burden of proof is so high, he basically has to be caught on camera laughing melavolantly while declaring out loud that his false and horrible lies will finally bring down politician X. You think I am joking, but I am not. It is nearly impossible to get sued in the US for libel and or defamation against a public figure.

      Now, the editor might very well get skewed for writing false alligations, but he will get skewered by his boss and adveritsers, not by the law. He might very well find himself out on the street, but the law will have no part in it.

      There are a lot of things to not love about many American laws. US free speech law (or lack there off) is not one of them. When it comes to free speech, the US kicks ass and takes names like few others in the world. You will find yourself very hard pressed to find a nation with more liberal free speech laws.
  • It has been a long going joke that Italy would not be able to join the EU, if they had to sign up today.
    Silvio Berlusconi has done a good job of dragging them back in the hole.

  • by Baumi (148744) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:53AM (#21099109) Homepage
    BoingBoing covered [boingboing.net] the story, too, and the comments on it are rather encouraging.

    Especially this one:

    For now, I can report that this proposal is apparently not going anywhere: Paolo Gentiloni, one of the ministers involved in drafting the law, admitted of "not having thoroughly read the proposal" because he thought that "it was not going to alter the status quo". He is now declaring that this law will certainly be changed in order to keep blogs out of the picture, and
    that he's sure that Mr. Ricardo Franco Levi is the first who will be willing to take action to change it.

When you don't know what you are doing, do it neatly.

Working...