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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."
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Italy Wants to Restrict Blogs

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  • In other news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:27AM (#21098757) Journal
    [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 Warcraft and blogging.
  • 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????
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • Re:In other news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:33AM (#21098833) Homepage Journal

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • USSR? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:43AM (#21098965)
    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"
  • Re:In other news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Elemenope (905108) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:44AM (#21098975)

    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 class is vanishing, such that of all the things you listed, perhaps only the beer and the TV with football are still affordable for many, many Americans. The SUV and the white picket fence are far out of reach.

  • Re:In other news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oliderid (710055) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:48AM (#21099041) Journal
    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, they need a way to connect this new tool to the old bureaucratic society that they understand.

    And when you mix ignorance with the european left tendency to regulate/classify anything crawling on the surface of this planet. You end up with this monstruosity.

  • Re:In other news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:50AM (#21099067)
    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 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.
  • 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*
  • Unlikely to pass (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:51AM (#21099091)
    The proposed law has very little change to pass unaltered,
    or pass at all, most of the ministers already have dissociated
    themselves from the law and various parties on the parliament
    will not vote the current form.
    Pretty dumb, this demonstrates that the governement don't read
    their own laws, since the proposal was voted unanimously.
    Also, this is not the first time: the preceding government tried
    the same trick (registration of all news related site with very
    vague terms) but resulted in the same outraged response and the
    law being trashed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:59AM (#21099191)
    It was cleared but at current state the law is dangerously vague,
    it not need to be 'explained' it need to be corrected to be more
    explicit.
    Fortunately this seems the route that will be taken, corrections
    to avoid any misinterpretations.
  • by Phil-14 (1277) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:05AM (#21099255)

    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.

  • Re:In other news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Firethorn (177587) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:34AM (#21099623) Homepage Journal
    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 also the concern of services. Living in a small town(1 bar/restraunt, no gas station), I batch my trips to somewhere larger for shopping. For example, there's no good chinese restraunt in at least four hours drive. Schools are pretty good, but a good distance away. Going to the store is a fairly major expidition, not something jumping on a bicycle for something forgotten for dinner is an option(did that as a kid quite a bit, two grocery stores within 3 miles).

    On the other hand, my house cost less than half a year's income for me, and it's quiet with no crime.

    Life is tradeoffs.

    Picket fence living is not ideal for everyone - some prefer not having to worry about a yard, like not having to drive to eat out, etc...
  • Re:In other news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bhmit1 (2270) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:45AM (#21099761) Homepage
    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 other small groups to fund something like (to use Virginia as an example) our traffic problems when the gas tax is forbidden from being touched, not indexed to inflation, and unchanged since I was born. The more we tax the minorities, the more the minorities will go elsewhere, and eventually they will come for those in the majority because there's no one else left.

    I'd much rather see taxes targeted at people that use the given service. Every person needs to fund the police, property owners need to fund the fire departments, families with children need to fund the schools, drivers with cars or people buying gas need to fund our roads, etc. These kinds of taxes should encourage people to live a more efficient lifestyle and for those that want to pay more to live better, that's their choice. Today, we have a system setup to encourage the poor to have more children to collect a bigger welfare check, I'm paying for their school, and some smoker is paying for the roads that I drive on. The disconnect means that roads are overcrowded and under maintained, schools use trailers to handle the overflow, and every politician promises to do something to cut down on the high property taxes.
  • Wouldn't you know (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:46AM (#21099785)
    Italy seems to have this vicious circle about it when it comes to these sort of things, huh.
  • by blueiron (700956) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @11:01AM (#21100033)
    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.
  • by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @11:18AM (#21100265) Journal
    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" is what you "don't have".

    I'm sure I'm a kook to you. And a good thing it is, too.
  • by feanor981 (1177295) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:19PM (#21101165)

    AlbertoP and the other one above citing corriere.it article are forgetting how facts actually evolved:

    1) Draft law has been approved October, 12th

    2) First on-line concernments exploded October, 19th

    3) Asked about that, Mr Levi first replied: "It's not up to the government to establish that. It'll be for the Communications Authority to indicate with regulations, which people and which companies will have to register. And the regulations will arrive only after the law has been discussed and approved by the Lower House." - in other words "I don't care too much about what could happen to web sites and blogs. Eventually, someone other will fix (later) what i'm breaking (now)."

    4) After many politicians expressed serious concern about the draft, and literally menaced to leave the government coalition (see: Antonio di Pietro's Blog [antoniodipietro.com] - October, 20th) Mr Levi suddenly "changed opinion", releasing the interview AlbertoP refers to, in date October 23rd!!


    So, the REAL STORY is:

    Mr Levi has been caught with hands in the jam and immediately changed opinion. Wouldn't have been so, we in Italy were going to be mass-censored - exactly as posted by nx!

    Cheers, Feanor.
  • by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:40PM (#21101467) Journal
    Last point.... my properties are generally far enough that short of a nuclear blast , I do not, and would not require ANY of their so called "essential" services, and even IN the case of said blast, I wager I can survive longer hiding in my basement and washing my veggies than living in a concentration camp or "safety zone" as they call it.

    There is honestly NOTHING that government does that could not be BETTER handled by a local business or a local coalition. Monolithic government as an entity, instead of a PACT between NEIGHBORS is nothing short of criminal... it drains resources, accomplishes little short of its own propagation, and ends up harming everyone involved, with the exception of those who cannot enjoy life without controlling others, who invariably end up at the helm of said monolithic government entity.

    gotta go, lunch awaits
  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @01:55PM (#21102629) Homepage

    There is honestly NOTHING that government does that could not be BETTER handled by a local business or a local coalition.
    There are some nobel prize winning economists who disagree with you. You're falling in to a trap called "reductionism," where we want simple answers, so we oversimplify to the point of being wrong.

    Also, you DO use the public education system. If it weren't for public education, the US wouldn't even HAVE the economy that enables you to earn the money to buy the computer you are typing on. If it weren't for public education, your income would likely decrease by an amount FAR GREATER than what is currently spent on taxes.

    In other words, your rant is just factually incorrect in multiple ways.
  • Re:In other news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LuSiDe (755770) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @02:38PM (#21103227)
    Its all about control, and that goal isn't limited to Europeans. Not at all. Think of Putin. Or Bush..

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