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Medieval times for Italian websites?
April 18th 2001, 17:08 CEST by Buccaneer

At the end of March this year, the Italian government enacted a new law that can restrict the freedom of speech on Italian websites.

Paolo Scandaletti from the <a href="http://www.ucsi.it/">Catholic Press Union</a> states that <i>"it should be required by law that Websites spreading information be registered as press outlets at local Courts, just like newspapers and TV news programmes."</i>

Do you know a single website that doesn't publish any information?

Therefore everyone who wants to issue texts on the web must, according to the new Italian press law, also fulfil requirements like paying taxes of over 200$ and naming a director who has to be member of a journalistic union. To become a member in that union, you must have written articles for a print media - online magazines don't count.

Obviously this could be the end for most of Italians homepages. As a protest, many private websites like <a href="http://www.archeologia.com/">Archeologia.com</a> went offline temporarily. The opponents of that law already wrote a <a href="http://www.peacelink.it/censura/pressrelease.htm">press release</a> to express their rage about this new law.
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#1 by "Flamethrower"
2001-04-18 17:12:04
patch@evilemail.com http://www.portalofevil.com
Technology freezing retared wogs begin at Milan?
#2 by "Morn"
2001-04-18 17:12:16
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
More "Europe is Internet hell" goodness. Thanks Buccaneer for sending this one in!

- Morn
#3 by "Skunk"
2001-04-18 17:30:39
skunk@gameplay.com www.skunkeh.com
That's pretty screwed up.  I've got a friend who lives in Italy, shall have to get in touch and see what the vibe about this is like over there.
#4 by "FritzTheCat"
2001-04-18 17:37:31
illuminati@zombieworld.com
Man they have been attacking the net and the free flow of information on all fronts lately. Austrailia is currently working on something similar Here is the USSA we recently had a bill pass through it's first hurdle called the McCain Feingold campaign finance reform bill which would designate any group ie. website, that so much as links to any political news stories or political rhetoric as a political lobbyist group and impose taxes and legislation on them as such. Our collective populations have reaped the benefit of their idiocy by allowing their freedoms to be systematically eliminated through legislation in the deluded belief that they wouldn't outlaw it if it wasn't bad. Seems we are surrounded by people who are unable or unwilling to think in any manner that conflicts with the standard party line which is always the same no matter what country you are in at this point.
#5 by "Chet"
2001-04-18 18:02:46
chet@oldmanmurray.cm http://www.oldmanmurray.com
Do you know a single website that doesn't publish any information?


Besides the moron half-life fan fiction guy who was stalking me - does anyone go to Italian websites?  I know the web is International and many people are from outside the USA on this forum - but how many people go to Italian websites?*  It is not like they are a power house of Internet publishing.

This article is kinda like if you said a trailer park was closing down their exhibition of bottle cap art because it was blasphemous.  Yeah... but does it matter?

Chet
*This of course does not count scott miller who I am sure is an avid fan of Italian websites and has read many, many books on the subject.
#6 by "jxqvg"
2001-04-18 18:14:50
jxqvg@hotmail.com
The Italian law sounds way over the top, but there's an essence here that can't be denied:  Websites are capable of influencing business on a very real level.  Look at sites like PlanetCrap 5.0.  People like Scott Miller read it every day.  A few well planted rumours here and there could affect his decisions, rippling throughout the business world and indirectly affecting the future of gaming as we know it.

Okay, so this is all tongue in cheek so far, but I'm trying to make my point and not too outrightly ridicule Italian law.  What I'm trying to say is that this law looks like a reaction to irresponsible news sites that can't help but have an agenda.  There's something to it, even if this particular implementation is a far cry from perfection.  Who had a perfect 1.0 version, anyway?
#7 by "jxqvg"
2001-04-18 18:17:43
jxqvg@hotmail.com
forum - but how many people go to Italian websites?* It is not like they are a power house of Internet publishing.


I think the real problem here is if they "pull a France" on us all and start demanding money or special regional blocking for anything related to Italian matters.
#8 by "Morn"
2001-04-18 18:27:48
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
Test -- sorry
#9 by "szcx"
2001-04-18 18:34:58
szcx@bersirc.com http://www.leslienassar.com/
but how many people go to Italian websites?

Where else can I troll Italian Soft-Core Porn Gameshow message boards?
#10 by "JMCDaveL"
2001-04-18 18:47:35
jmcdavel@mailandnews.com
Oh no someone set up us the Rocco Siffredi!

--jmc
#11 by "Ergo"
2001-04-18 18:48:23
stu@dsl-only.net
Where the hell's Cicciolina when you need her?
#12 by "Darkseid-D!"
2001-04-18 19:24:15
Darkseid@captured.com www.sluggy.com
#11 - Cicciolina is in the Italian parliament....


take from that what you will.



Ds
#13 by "Narcopolo"
2001-04-18 19:37:06
#9 szcx -
Where else can I troll Italian Soft-Core Porn Gameshow message boards?


Link please, before it's too late. :)


#12 Darkseid-D! -
#11 - Cicciolina is in the Italian parliament...


Are you sure?  I thought she was voted out after her first term.


Does Italy have anything like a constitution, or checks on the power of the legislature?

#5 Chet-
but does it matter?

Stupidity is a catching disease, just look at the monster Indrema thread.  It's growing like a cancer.
#14 by "ghost"
2001-04-18 19:42:40
duncans@apple2.com http://www.dstanley.com (not working)
why don't the italians do what any child-porn loving american does and set up their servers in some country that doesn't have any crazy ass laws?

Duncan
#15 by "Speed"
2001-04-18 19:45:50
speed@crew.fragland.net http://www.fragland.net
I find this pretty amusing actually.
Italian websites don't necessary need to be hosted in Italy, which means that Italian government has no legal issues against them.
Boy, government can be so incredibly stupid ! (or is the mob behind this in an evil plot to shut up all wannabe-pentiti that tell stories about their illegal activities on websites no-one will ever read ?)

Speed
Fragland.net
#16 by "jason"
2001-04-18 20:11:30
jason@loonygames.com http://www.bluesnews.com/
Besides the moron half-life fan fiction guy who was stalking me - does anyone go to Italian websites?


I don't know if i'd casually browse to any, but NextGame.it frequently has interesting content, like the interview they just ran with one of the Westwood founders.

-jason
#17 by "BobJustBob"
2001-04-18 20:34:10
kevinakabob@mindspring.com
I just went to an Italian website today to check out that press release that Morn linked to.
#18 by "Buccaneer"
2001-04-18 20:42:00
buccaneer@planetcrap.com http://www.konsumsklave.de
#17 by BobJustBob:
I just went to an Italian website today to check out that press release that Morn linked to.

*Ahem* who write that topic? ;-)
#19 by "brennan"
2001-04-18 21:04:26
scott.gs@home.com
FritzTheCat:  "Here is the USSA we recently had a bill pass through it's first hurdle called the McCain Feingold campaign finance reform bill which would designate any group ie. website, that so much as links to any political news stories or political rhetoric as a political lobbyist group and impose taxes and legislation on them as such."

Whoa, hey there, I haven't heard anything to this effect about McCain-Feingold at all.  The main chilling effect it would have that I'm familiar with is that it would prohibit a group from airing political ads for like 60 days before an election (I'm going from memory here, and may be wrong).  If you can find a link indicating that M-F would impose taxes on websites posing mere links to political news, I'd like to see it.

Personally I expect to see the ban on political advocacy and/or issue ads with 60 days of an election struck down by the Supreme Court.  The rest will probably survive.

-brennan
#20 by "BobJustBob"
2001-04-18 21:40:58
kevinakabob@mindspring.com
#18 "Buccaneer" wrote...
#17 by BobJustBob:
I just went to an Italian website today to check out that press release that Morn linked to.

*Ahem* who write that topic? ;-)


I believe that the non-editing of posts is a conspiracy spearheaded by Morn. I believe that any reference to the writer of a topic is instantly changed to "Morn". I know that he is doing this but I do not yet know why.

Sorry Bucc =(
#21 by "FritzTheCat"
2001-04-18 22:46:49
illuminati@zombieworld.com
brennan:


I was only half right, I had written of the top of my head, evidently it attacks groups or websites which can be considered political or lobbyist in nature instead of designates them as such but it does bring them under it's legislative powers. It does stop them from linking to politically ( candidate ) based information for the time period you stated however. I didn't read the whole deal but here is a analysis by the Cato institute. It does severely limit the ability of grass roots organizations to correspond with their members or publish information during election times from what I can tell. Since the net is growing as formidable force in grass roots political activism this is certainly a nasty blow to freedom of speech.


http://www.cato.org//pubs/pas/pa393.pdf
#22 by "Needle"
2001-04-19 00:03:23
mrklp@hotmail.com
I think we're going to be seeing a lot more stories like this in the near future.  The internet is still a relatively new medium as far as the mainstream is concerned, and government's haven't had much time to react to it.  While I can't speak for any EU governments or the States, the Canadian government recently admitted that the electronic spy wing of the Security & Intelligence Service has been intercepting email transmissions in the interest of "national security."

Italy's problem is NOTHING compared to what the government is trying to do over here, IMO.  Of course, this is Canada I'm talking about, where most people don't seem to give a shit, or are just too lazy to do anything about it.  I suspect there would be rioting if a government publicly admitted to shit like this in any other country.  I'm sure they do it as well, but to come out and say "Yeah, we do it.. nothing can you do about it.  Deal with it." wouldn't sit too well.

The internet is still young.  It may take a while, but governments will eventually gets their claws deeper and deeper into it, just like they do with everything else.
#23 by "BobJustBob"
2001-04-19 00:25:34
kevinakabob@mindspring.com
I just finished reading the Illuminatus! Trilogy today, and in one of the appendices it is mentioned that government control and popular outrage follow the latest technology. They said it went from speech to writing to movies to tv and that once a new medium of communication emerged it would be the new scapegoat of legislation.

Hmm....
#24 by "Rambar"
2001-04-19 01:21:21
Of course, this is Canada I'm talking about, where most people don't seem to give a shit, or are just too lazy to do anything about it.


Heh, Canada does not have a monopoly on public apathy.
#25 by "jxqvg"
2001-04-19 01:29:37
jxqvg@hotmail.com
Heh, Canada does not have a monopoly on public apathy.


Yeah, but who cares here in the good 'ol USA?
#26 by "Quicken"
2001-04-19 03:05:33
geoffrey@access.com.au http://www.warmage.com/
Hmm... yet another classic example of goverments in a panic to control the uncontrolable internet. We get some pretty crazy laws down here in Australia but nothing this loopy (yet).

re: Who cares about Italy?

Italians do obviously. Don't be so selfish.

re: They can just host elsewhere?

Which basically screws ISPs. They'd find it difficult to even promote their services on the internet (name an ISP that does not have their own web site). So pretty soon you'll end up with only the few ISPs that can afford to pay their way in and even they can't offer free web hosting which almost every civilised ISP does. And if you're running a business (online sales?) then you would wonder why you'd setup in Italy at all. There's certainly enough penalties so any internet based business is just going to pack up and leave Italy.

So basically it's a policy that attempts to control what is published but in effect destroys development of internet related businesses in the country. I only wish it wasn't so common a trend.
#27 by "Bracket"
2001-04-19 03:58:20
thebracket@yahoo.com http:/www.tsghelp.com/
#21

I didn't read the whole deal but here is a analysis by the Cato institute.


Since there probably aren't many other Political Science types around (I picked up a Masters in it a couple of years ago - and whatever Scott Miller says, it's a squishy science and nobody has accurately formalized prediction of human behavior...), I guess I should note that the Cato institute aren't known as a reliable source. Their research is okay, but they have a heavy political axe to grind (basically a libertarian angle on things) - and as such, anything they say should be taken with other sources for good measure. Remember: there's no such thing as a value-neutral secondary source. :-)

I'd recommend:
A recent draft of the bill. For an utterly biased (in the other direction) version, here it is, straight from the horse's mouth.

It's worth noting that just because the Senate passed it, that doesn't mean it will become law. It has to get through Congress. W will probably then veto it (predictability is about his only virtue so far), meaning it has to pass both the Senate and Congress again - this time with a 2/3rds majority. Along the way, any of these bodies can add to it/change it as they see fit... so what it says today is probably not particularly close to anything that might reach law!
#28 by "bagofmice"
2001-04-19 04:19:42
rcastle@microsoft.com
More brilliance from the people that want to keep the politics out of politics. Can't express for you for the fear that your view will be listened to. Can't have that.

Government should be unaffected by the will of the people. Those in the government are superior people who can judge the situation FAR better than you ever could, and always choose the best answer. Now shut up and give us your money for protecting you from yourselves.
#29 by "Ward Cleaver"
2001-04-19 06:05:12
wcleaver@litb.com http://www.leaveittobeaver.com
When the electorate is finally excluded from the political process we will have true democracy.  As it is now, too many people think they have a valid opinion about things and end up voting Dubya or some other clown into office.  I guess I will have to suffer the burden of casting the sole vote remaining...

btw, this is really a Britney Spears interview you just read...go back to reading your Archie comics now, thank you.
#30 by "TheToadWarrior"
2001-04-19 08:38:20
toadwarrior@hotmail.com http://www.toadwarrior.org
Ward Cleaver (#29):
When the electorate is finally excluded from the political process we will have true democracy. As it is now, too many people think they have a valid opinion about things and end up voting Dubya or some other clown into office. I guess I will have to suffer the burden of casting the sole vote remaining...

btw, this is really a Britney Spears interview you just read...go back to reading your Archie comics now, thank you.


Without the elctoral college, too much power is in a handful of cities. Do we really want California to determine the outcome of an election? The assholes there won't build power plants and seem content on living in the stone age with no power. They knew about this problem last year, knowing full well this would happen they choose to be the free thinking hippy asses they are and now they gotta live with black outs. Not to mention, that just forces politicians to stick to a handful of states like California, NY and probably Washington. They'll be catering primarily to one type of person. People who have no real clue about the needs of the rest of the nation. Sure the midwest is filled with a bunch of rednecks waiting to blown away by a tornado but without those low population farm states, this country would be in alot of trouble. Where'd we get out meat, Europe? Do you really want to import food from other countries? Face it, those people are more valuable to us than anyone in the city. Folks in the cities like to think they're intelligent because they sit at the internet cafe on their l33t Imac but if they had any intelligence, half of 'em wouldn't be on welfare and we wouldn't need to raise H1-B Visa limit to import more intelligent people from other countries to do out tech work. We need to make sure that people with a variety of  opinions get to voice their opinions and get politicians to help them, having no electoral college pretty much caters to one type of person. As it is now, the big states like NY and CA get attention as well as the smaller ones. The only people that seem to want to do away with the electoral college are those lefties that are pissed that Al Gore lost. Most republicans and democrats realize the system works better this way. Perhaps if people were more spread out across the US, we wouldn't need the Electoral college but that's not the case now.
#31 by "Martin"
2001-04-19 11:00:59
martin@theplace.nu
Yay, it only took 30 posts for this thread to mutate from discussing Italian anti-Internet laws to the US political system (which I would guess the entire world outside the US has grown pretty tired of by now).
#32 by "Desiato"
2001-04-19 11:04:35
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com www.spew2.com
I was sick of it after the first few political-posturing days. Christ, yes - lets talk and talk again about how "America's Wang" had problems selecting the token figurehead of the USA....

*vomit*


Desiato
#33 by "Pucci"
2001-04-19 12:31:08
pucci@multiplayer.it http://www.multiplayer.it
Hi guys,
i read PlanetCrap from months. Now i've my chance to help you all to understand this thing. I'm the web master and owner of Multiplayer.it, a good italian site about gaming. My company was one of those "touched" by the new infamous law. Infamous, but only at first impression. After a great public contestation of the e-people, the italian government sent out an explanation about the new law:
"Only the sites who wants to obtain public funds for editorial purposes have to sign at the public register".
In other words, if you don't want anything from the Italian State, it doesn't want anything from you.
Definetly nothing has changed... still...
#34 by "Pucci"
2001-04-19 12:34:13
pucci@multiplayer.it http://www.multiplayer.it
Another thing... this law was created to shut down some pressions of the newspaper and magazine journalists lobby (that has fear about internet deregulation)..
#35 by "Paparazzi"
2001-04-19 14:11:34
tom187@dingoblue.net.au
#33 and #34

I dont know much about these internet laws and restrictions that are poping up all over the place, but the way Pucci explained it sounds quite fair.
#36 by "Martin"
2001-04-19 15:16:04
martin@theplace.nu
Yeah, if it's like Pucci said, then there's no real harm done I guess. Unless the fine print says something else that is... 8)
#37 by "Bracket"
2001-04-19 15:52:33
thebracket@yahoo.com http:/www.tsghelp.com/
My take on the Italian law: it won't last. A great many Italian laws don't, and if a law isn't enforced it's effectively dead (and legally dead in some European legal systems - IIRC, Italy is one of them.) Italy has passed other absurd laws (as have other countries), and generally they fade away if they aren't actively pushed. Given the volatility of Italian politics, I can't see anyone bothering to enforce this: nobody wants people fined/jailed for having a homepage! I suspect that the law was passed by lawmakers who didn't comprehend the extent of what they have written, rather than constituting a vast government conspiracy to reduce public participation.

Of course if it were a vast government conspiracy, then everyone would just move to Geocities, Angelfire, Tripod and all the other free - non-Italian jurisdiction - hosts.
#38 by "Flamethrower"
2001-04-19 16:00:48
patch@evilemail.com http://www.portalofevil.com
Itallian Law:

1. Does it increase the power or wealth of the Mafia or the Vatican?

2. If No, reconsider Law.
#39 by "^mortis^"
2001-04-19 17:00:11
mortis@goddamnindependent.com http://www.goddamnindependent.com
#38 by Flamethrower:
Itallian Law:

1. Does it increase the power or wealth of the Mafia or the Vatican?

2. If No, reconsider Law


no kidding...i posted this link in another thread, but the goddamn Vatican Radio won't even reduce their electromagnetic emissions.  SO, the Vatican MAY be the cause of several Leukemia cases near the area.
I KNOW you gotta break a few eggs to make a cake, but DAMN...conversion at the cost of CANCER?!

sheesh...

^M^
#40 by "BobJustBob"
2001-04-19 17:50:16
kevinakabob@mindspring.com
#39 "^mortis^" wrote...
#38 by Flamethrower:
Itallian Law:

1. Does it increase the power or wealth of the Mafia or the Vatican?

2. If No, reconsider Law


no kidding...i posted this link in another thread, but the goddamn Vatican Radio won't even reduce their electromagnetic emissions. SO, the Vatican MAY be the cause of several Leukemia cases near the area.
I KNOW you gotta break a few eggs to make a cake, but DAMN...conversion at the cost of CANCER?!

sheesh...

^M^


Hey, the Pope is simply favoring those closest to him with a speedy ascent to the Promised Land ;)
#41 by "G-Man"
2001-04-19 18:37:00
jonmars@earthlink.net http://www.shiftlock.org
#37 "Bracket" wrote...
Of course if it were a vast government conspiracy, then everyone would just move to Geocities, Angelfire, Tripod and all the other free - non-Italian jurisdiction - hosts.

Actually GeoCities just opened their Italian division last week or so.

 -[g.man]
#42 by "Blood_GC"
2001-04-19 18:55:06
blood@roflmao.com
Who cares
#43 by "Gunp01nt"
2001-04-19 18:58:35
supersimon33@hotmail.com http://planetp01nt.tmfweb.nl
what's the fuss about Italian internet restrictions? there would be several things to undo or reduce the effects of that law, being:
-getting your site hosted on US hosting services (I have 2 Webjump sites, it's easy to do)
-not getting caught putting illegal content on your site: how in the hell are they gonna find out? check every italian website? come on! you know the italian government!! :) (no offense, mi amici italiano)

I mean... there are ways around Geocities' porn and MP3 restrictions, so I'll bet the italian wizkids will come up with ways around this law.
#44 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-04-19 18:58:51
warren@epicgames.com epicboy.flipcode.com
Martin (#31):
(which I would guess the entire world outside the US has grown pretty tired of by now).

No, people in the US are pretty fucking sick of it as well.  I was sick of it after the first day actually.

Blood_GC (#42):
Who cares

About you?  Can't think of anyone ...
#45 by "Gunp01nt"
2001-04-19 19:02:31
supersimon33@hotmail.com http://planetp01nt.tmfweb.nl
No, people in the US are pretty fucking sick of it as well. I was sick of it after the first day actually.

I have a dream. I see a day when a PlanetCrap discussion reaches the magic number (sorry... I'm copying a De La Soul album at the moment:) ) of one hundred posts before getting off topic.
And I have been to the mountaintop! :)
#46 by "circle"
2001-04-19 20:18:26
circle@bellsouth.net
Is it really such a negative thing for a discussion board to go off topic?  There's certainly
some lively discussion Re: marketing and physics in the Indrema thread.  Isn't that what
PC is for?  It's been somewhat entertaining...
#47 by "Martin"
2001-04-19 20:43:47
martin@theplace.nu
#44, Glad to hear. 8)

#46, Well why bother with a topic at all if we all plan to go off-topic? Perhaps the topic acts like some sort of seed() for the thread? 8)
#48 by "circle"
2001-04-19 20:52:52
circle@bellsouth.net
#47

#46, Well why bother with a topic at all if we all plan to go off-topic?  Perhaps the topic acts like some sort of seed() for the thread? 8)


Exactly.  The topic is [surely] engaging for it's lifetime (relatively short, in this case), then we move on...  Nothing wrong with that - that's the only way that it CAN work, unless we're provided with some sort of new topic daily [hourly?]...
#49 by "Martin"
2001-04-19 20:55:29
martin@theplace.nu
#48, Or if we're provided with an interesting topic that encompasses a lot of different viewpoints and isn't to narrow (like this one perhaps?) for everyone to have an opinion about.
#50 by "circle"
2001-04-19 21:13:28
circle@bellsouth.net
#49

Yeah, what's to discuss?  
"Topic: [something obviously bad] sucks.  Doesn't [thing] suck?!  This could cause [obvious, bad ramification of thing]!"

Oh, well.  I still love PC, if only for the catty, would-be physicists verbally pulling each other's hair.
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