Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft
------- Forwarded message follows ------- Date sent: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 11:31:48 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Declan McCullagh <email@example.com> Subject: FC: More on Italy requiring news sites to register, pay fees Send reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 03:32:22 -0500 (CDT) From: Michael Brennen <email@example.com> To: Declan McCullagh <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: FC: Italy reportedly requires news sites to register, pay fees
Two general information sites, both in Italian:
http://www.interlex.it/ (IL for short) http://punto-informatico.it/ (PI for short)
Two particularly interesting pages:
The statute: http://www.camera.it/parlam/leggi/01062l.htm
The law is a series of modifications to prior statutes dating back as far as 1948; without detailed knowledge of these older laws, which are not linked from this new one, it is impossible to evaluate the impact of many of the provisions.
This is my summary of the situation based on readings to date. There is a great deal of conjecture and discussion going on, and many are awaiting test cases to force judicial review of the law. I welcome updates or correction from those in Italy that are closer to the story.
The new law redefines web sites that publish information, thus essentially all sites, as 'editorial content'. As such they fall under long established Italian law (1948) governing paper publishing, which is now extended to electronic media as well. "Exclusively corporate information, whether for public or private use," is excluded. Sites that carry recorded sounds, voices or film works are also excluded.
Beginning April 5, 2001, any web site that publishes information must carry the name and address of the editor and the physical location of the publisher/server, both of which must be correct. If information is published periodically, the site must register with appropriate official agencies and pay the appropriate fees. The number I've seen cited is around 1,000,000 lire (at 2100 lire to the dollar, about USD 475.00.)
Anyone not meeting these requirements is considered part of the 'clandestine press'; the specific punishments that I found were fines from 200,000 lire to 1,200,000 lire and up to two years in prison.
It is not sufficient to have a server physically outside of Italy. The new law applies to information that is sent to the server originating from Italy or to information that is transmitted into Italy. I could not find the complete original Italian statement in the law of this last provision of transmission into the country; I only saw a passing reference.
Certainly one of the major results is to subject online publishing to the national journalists' union. Translating a quote by Paulo Serventi Longhi, the head of the union, as reported by PI:
"Thus ends, at least in Italy, the absurd anarchy that permits anyone to publish online without standards and without restrictions, and guarantees to the consumer minimum standards of quality in all information content, for the first time including electronic media."
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 11:27:24 -0400 Subject: Re: FC: Italy reportedly requires news sites to register, pay fees From: "Wendy Leibowitz" <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Declan, As I understand it, the press has long been regulated in Italy in a way roughly similar to the way we were under the Crown. One entity, Agcom, regulates all communication media. They set policy, register the media, etc. in a way that would make Americans' hair stand on end. I wrote about a DC lawyer who is advising the Italians--James J. Halpert at Piper Marbury. My article, which is a fluffy thing mostly about food, is at: http://www.wendytech.com/articlesitaly.htm
Wendy R. Leibowitz Legal Technology Columnist 1140 23rd St. NW Washington, DC 20037 http://www.wendytech.com 202-293-1693 "We must study the future. After all, that's where we'll be spending the rest of our lives."
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