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Mayor of Florence Sues Wikipedia 196

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the vote-quimby dept.
ZioBit writes "Florence Mayor Leonardo Domenici and one of the city assessors are suing (Google translation) Wikipedia on the basis of a (possible) defamation regarding the handling of public parkings assignation to a private company, "Florence Parking". The apparent problem is that both of their wives are members of the board of directors of "Florence Parking", and Wikipedia is reporting it."
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Mayor of Florence Sues Wikipedia

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  • by James_Duncan8181 (588316) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:06AM (#22609790) Homepage
    * Domenici also recently launched a widely castigated suit against Wikipedia Foundation.

    Nice work on drawing attention to the original problems also...it's always amusing how much political types don't get it.
    • by NatasRevol (731260) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:33AM (#22609902) Journal
      Citation, or it never happened!

    • by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:23PM (#22610136)
      Not quite. Politicians end up using the lawsuit weapon as a damage minimization tool. When the damaging information is already out and there is no possibility to make it go away, to avoid looking corrupt they usually start a bunch of lawsuits so that they can get some spotlight time to announce the world that the entire scandal is nothing more than a smear campaign targeting an innocent, upright citizen. They use that time to tell the world (at least their constituents) that the accusations are nothing more than vicious lies and that they are going to fight those nasty, evil liars and bring them to justice. Then the lawsuit goes on very uninterestingly, the media loses interest on the case, everyone forgets the whole thing and then it doesn't matter the outcome of the case. After all, the last thing that their constituents have heard about that problem was that that honorable politician was fighting those liars who were trying to smear his good name.
    • by erlehmann (1045500) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:58PM (#22610328)
      Here it is, it has even been corrected in virtually no time:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Leonardo_Domenici&diff=195140090&oldid=195132037 [wikipedia.org]
    • Nice work on drawing attention to the original problems also...it's always amusing how much political types don't get it.

      ...Striesand!!!

    • Okay, I don't see the part in the entries on wikipedia for "Florence Parking" on either the English nor Italian pages - where are the purported defamations?
    • by PPH (736903) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @03:14PM (#22610990)
      Someone needs to get a translation of the Streisand Effect [wikipedia.org] for them ASAP.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by kaizokuace (1082079)
        Why does the streisand effect work? It cant just be because internet exposure blows up out of nowhere when someone makes a statement. It's as if the Internets Collective Consciousness (ICC) only enjoys pointing out and bitchslapping stupid people's idiocy for everyone to see. Just for the purpose of pointing it out and not to get anything done in the world.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Headcase88 (828620)
          It's a matter of spite. If someone is trying to bury information that should be public, webmasters will want to make sure it's the most well-known piece of information on the internet, mainly to show what you get for trying to hide it. I rather like the effect myself.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by PPH (736903)

          Why does the streisand effect work?


          I don't think its spiteful behavior so much as the perceived value of a limited or (artificially) restricted commodity.


          Anyone who wants can look at my back yard on Google Earth. Nothing there but weeds and a few cars up on cement blocks. But if I expend an inordinate amount of energy hiding it, then there must be something really interesting to see. At least that's the way most people's minds seem to work.

  • Defense (Score:5, Informative)

    by Grax (529699) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:06AM (#22609794) Homepage
    IANAL, but I looked into this type of lawsuit when someone threatened to sue me for defamation.

    An absolute defense against defamation is that the stated item is the truth. For their lawsuit to succeed, it has to be premised that something untrue was said that hurt them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Grax (529699)
      FYI, I overlooked the Italian nature of this issue. I looked into this in the United States.
    • Re:Defense (Score:5, Informative)

      by autocracy (192714) <[slashdot2007] [at] [storyinmemo.com]> on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:10AM (#22609812) Homepage
      In America, yes; the truth is not, however, a defense on its own in all countries. [wikipedia.org]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rozz (766975)

        In America, yes;

        the very source u cited contradicts you .. it says:

        " Some U.S. statutes preserve historical common law exceptions to the defense of truth to libel actions. These exceptions were for statements "tending to blacken the memory of one who is dead" or "expose the natural defects of one who is alive." "

        so no, the truth itself is not always a fool-proof legal defense in America ... and if u think about it a bit more, you may also find that truth and legal-truth are quite different things.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Those statutes are as likely to be used in a real case as Ohio's "It is illegal for more than five women to live in a house." law, or North Carolina's "Elephants may not be used to plow cotton fields.", or Tennessee's "Stealing a horse is punishible by hanging." laws

          Just because a stupid case established precedent, doesn't mean constitutional law, or statutory law doesn't trump it. Therefore, the only way to test these laws is to be brought to suit using them.
        • Re:Defense (Score:5, Insightful)

          by donscarletti (569232) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:54PM (#22610298)

          Firstly, these exceptions are narrow and not relevant to this discussion, bringing them up is immature pedantry. The politician's wives being discussed are not dead and their place on a board is not a natural defect. These exceptions are there because speaking ill of the dead and teasing physical defects achieves no purpose, the general spirit of the law remains that someone has the right to say the truth if it has a point.

          Secondly, truth is actually narrower than legal-truth in defamation cases (as discussed in the wikipedia article) since in most cases the defendant must only show that they had a reasonable belief that it was true, rather than it actually being so. If you misunderstand reality you are not liable for speaking your mind unless it can be proven that you were negligent with your facts, i.e. published without checking them. As for real truth, well truth is truth, the courts aren't far enough up their own arse to start calling black white when it comes to facts outside the courtroom, they have enough to confuse inside.

          Thirdly, for fuck's sake, if you're going to discuss law at least write "you", capitalise the first letter of sentences and stop using ellipsis as a comma. It makes it easier to read and makes people take you seriously. A little sloppy spelling and grammar is fine, but deliberately garbling a word just to save two letters from your sentence is just pathetic.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          is there any particyoular reason u youse the word you half the time and letter u the other half? Are you conserving energy by avoiding yousing two keystrokes every other yousage?
      • by julesh (229690)
        In America, yes; the truth is not, however, a defense on its own in all countries.

        Wikimedia, however, is a US company, operating only within the US, and therefore only has to comply with US laws.

        Individual Wikipedia contributors may or may not be liable, depending on local laws in their own jurisdictions, but I see no grounds on which anyone could sue Wikimedia under any national law other than US.
    • by kinzillah (662884)
      In the US, sure, but does anyone know how it works in Italy? That would be an important piece of info.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by vajrabum (688509)
        This raises about as many questions as it answers but the Britannica say: "In Italy truth seldom excuses defamation, which is criminally punishable there."
        • by kinzillah (662884)
          Yeah, I had a nasty feeling it was something like that.
      • by drsquare (530038)
        IANAM (I am not a mobster), but I assume that in Italy the outcome is based on who bribes/threatens the judges most effectively.
    • by debrain (29228)
      For their lawsuit to succeed, it has to be premised that something untrue was said that hurt them.

      It appears that itneed not have been intentional. This quick excerpt from a case, citing the Supreme Court of Canada (since the US hasn't gotten their case law online yet): The necessary elements of the tort of defamation are well established. In addition to the obvious need for a defamatory statement, it is an essential element of the cause of action that the defamatory statement be published and then read or
    • by owlnation (858981)

      An absolute defense against defamation is that the stated item is the truth.
      In which case they'll lose. There's plenty of truthiness on Wikipedia, but very little truth.
    • But the Truth is VERY damaging! That must be clear to even the most innocent eyes. The Mayor's reputation will be irrevocably damaged if these truths are allowed to go uncontested in the public mind. Wikipedia is obviously liable for any lessening of his reputation in Florence when the people there know what he does behind the scenes.
  • welcome (Score:2, Funny)

    by yakumo.unr (833476)
    Welcome to the new age of Streisand.

    Recent events are just the beginning.

       
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:21AM (#22609852)
    According to Wikipedia, this guy is a total douchebag! *edit* *edit*
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by thedeadswiss (573599)
      I like the fact that, according to wikipedia, "he graduated in moral philosophy".
    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      According to Wikipedia, this guy is a total douchebag! *edit* *edit*
      I have also read that he is personally responsible for the tripling of elephant populations in the past six months.
      • I have also read that he is personally responsible for the tripling of elephant populations in the past six months.
        Hey, Stephen's Formula 401 works. Someone's gotta put some real conservatives back in the GOP. By the time he's done, it'll look like a Hindu temple in there.
  • Just like Wikileaks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:45AM (#22609958)
    It's the new hip thing. When you've done something wrong or at least sketchy, and someone's reporting on it, sue them to shut them down. In the old days, it was a lot harder for stuff like this to come out on a national or global scale, but nowadays, with the Internet, anyone with a camera or basic research skills can bust you. It's gotta be driving people white-collar crooks and sleazeballs crazy.

    Disclaimer: I don't know the facts of this particular case. I'm just talking about a general trend.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ImaLamer (260199)
      The best part is that 'weblogs' like Slashdot pick up these stories and their likelihood of becoming common knowledge explode. Wikipedia is 'reporting' this story and they are being sued over spreading this 'untruth' - now Slashdot has just reported it too. Will the mayor of Florence sue CNN when it hits the mainstream media?

  • The apparent problem is that both of their wives are members of the board of directors of "Florence Parking", and Wikipedia is reporting it.

    Um... I fail to see the problem.

    If a conflict of interest exists and someone points it out, you can't (successfully) sue them for defamation. Stating the truth counts as a rock-solid defense.

    Also, not too long ago we heard about a similar situation of a blog owner sued for comments posted by a third party - And the courts found that you can't hold the blog owner
    • by NormalVisual (565491) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:54AM (#22609996)
      If a conflict of interest exists and someone points it out, you can't (successfully) sue them for defamation. Stating the truth counts as a rock-solid defense.

      Apparently this is not the case in Italy though. Maybe we should send the good mayor an hour long looping clip of the scene in "A Few Good Men" where Jack Nicholson rails, "you can't handle the truth!"
    • Stating the truth counts as a rock-solid defense.

      In the U.S. most of the time ... but not everywhere in the world, that's for sure.
    • If a conflict of interest exists and someone points it out, you can't (successfully) sue them for defamation. Stating the truth counts as a rock-solid defense.
      Two questions must be answered:
      1. To what extent is truth a defense in Italy?
      2. To what extent does Wikimedia Foundation have assets in Italy?
  • Parking Corruption (Score:5, Interesting)

    by armada (553343) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:49AM (#22609970)
    Too good. I wonder when they will learn this sort of tactic only fules the public's knowledge of what they are doing. Similar thing happened in the City of Miami Beach (still is as far as I know). The city made a sweet deal with a towing company for the whole island (miami beach is an island) as far as Police Towing was concerned. After this deal, the police started calling businesses on the beach to "help them see" that other methods like the boot were not a good idea. In one case, the chief of police actually visited a strip mall to help them "come around" and use the same company the city was using. They city then quietly stopped allowing the renewal of licenses to other towing companies.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by armada (553343)
      Here is some irony:

      Leonardo Domenici (born July 12, 1955) is an Italian politician. He has been the Mayor of Florence since June 13, 1999. Domenici was born in Florence, from where he graduated in moral philosophy Article [wikipedia.org]
  • Florence. where ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:50AM (#22609972)
    (There are Florence's in Florida, Georgia, California and for all I know every state in the Union.)

    Since this particular Florence is the one in Italy, the laws on defamation are pretty different from the US. I would not trust any legal
    analysis in Slashdot for any jurisdiction, but for Italy I would trust it even less than usual.
    • Re:Florence. where ? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by k33l0r (808028) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @01:02PM (#22610338) Homepage Journal

      (There are Florence's in Florida, Georgia, California and for all I know every state in the Union.)

      I'm happy that slashdot continues to have some sort of respect for the intellect of the reader. I'm pretty sure that everybody here made the mental connection to Italy, and if they didn't, they should be reading Geography 101 instead of slashdot. Espicially with the "Google Translate" link. And the original document in Italian.

      Crafications such as 'London, England' are only necessary when it is likely that the reader could be confused. Hence there is no need to write 'Beijing, China', for example

      The "dumbing down" of American media isn't really apparent until you compare similar publications from the US to their closest British counterparts. Compare Newsweek [newsweek.com] or Time Magazine [time.com] to The Economist [economist.com] or The New York Times [nytimes.com] to The Guardian [guardian.co.uk]. And this isn't just my opinion, it has been validated in studies of the matter.

      • by Jardine (398197)
        Crafications such as 'London, England' are only necessary when it is likely that the reader could be confused.

        There's a sizable city in Ontario also named London. It's usually pretty easy to figure out which London is being referred to (if the news source isn't based in Ontario, it's almost certainly the one in England). The really annoying thing is there are duplicate names for other locations within the two cities. Both have a Hyde Park, a Thames River, and a Covent Garden Market. It's probably a good thi
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Wizard Drongo (712526)
      Just wanted to make a point about one of my pet hates; that is, americans always putting a country's name after the place name. E.G. Paris, France, or Rome, Italy, as if there was another more famous populous Rome or Paris somewhere. I suspect the tradition started as a result of american isolationist tendency's meaning a majority of americans didn't actually know where Paris was (as opposed to Paris in Louisiana) , but regardless, it sure is annoying and condescending as hell. Especially since I, along w
      • by FooAtWFU (699187)

        Just wanted to make a point about one of my pet hates; that is, americans always putting a country's name after the place name. E.G. Paris, France, or Rome, Italy, as if there was another more famous populous Rome or Paris somewhere.

        The United States has stolen a lot of city names from elsewhere. As other posters have pointed out, there is a Florence in Florida. (Also, Alabama, Oregon, Kentucky, Mississippi, Colorado, Wisconsin, Montana, and Massechutses. We have Rome in Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, Oregon, and Mississippi. There are also at least 9 Parises. This disambiguation is a matter of convention, and in general it helps prevent confusion. Is it such a travesty that someone then uses this more-specific naming

      • by jc42 (318812)
        Just wanted to make a point about one of my pet hates; that is, americans always putting a country's name after the place name. E.G. Paris, France, or Rome, Italy, as if there was another more famous populous Rome or Paris somewhere.

        Funny, I've often found myself asking questions on mailing lists due to the omission of the country name from an announcement of an event. Thus, recently on a dance-related list, I asked whether the events in Manchester a Dublin were in New Hampshire, or in England and Ireland.
        • See, that might work, and what you say may be valid, were it not for another annoying tendency of Americans that is to assume we all a) have 'states' (Makes it real fun on web-based forms for the 80-odd other countries in the world that don't live in a 'state') and b) we all know what some random obscure two letter abbreviation after a place name means (I know it's a US State, but which one? There are like 50). My argument was not that we shouldn't identify which country somethings in, merely that 9 times
  • Wikipedia is headquartered in the US. Do they have an Italian office? I see that a ping to "it.wikipedia.org" returns the same IP address (208.80.152.2) as "en.wikipedia.org". So I'm not sure that wikipedia actually has any sort of physical presence in Italy.

    Of course, IANAL, but I'm pretty sure it can be difficult to sue someone in a different country, particularly if you aren't going to their country to file the suit. If they file suit against them in Italian court, I'd expect it would be difficult
    • by Toe, The (545098) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:05PM (#22610048)
      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia#Software_and_hardware [wikipedia.org]

      "Wikipedia currently runs on dedicated clusters of GNU/Linux servers, 300 in Florida, 26 in Amsterdam and 23 in Yahoo!'s Korean hosting facility in Seoul."

      P.S. Gotta love those network topology diagrams. Pretty dang nice for a nonprofit. :)
      • by Pig Hogger (10379)
        Dunno, but to me, those cones look a bit too much like MIRVs [wikipedia.org]...
      • by Jesus_666 (702802)

        P.S. Gotta love those network topology diagrams. Pretty dang nice for a nonprofit.
        Of course. They just made a node called "Wikipedia Design Principles" and when they were sure that the smartest minds of Wikipedia had contributed, they used it to build their network. That's why they have such a robust computer network and Monster Deluxe power strips with gilded contacts for 99.5% lower impedance in the crucial 220 Hz level.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The Snowman (116231) *

      Wikipedia is headquartered in the US. Do they have an Italian office? I see that a ping to "it.wikipedia.org" returns the same IP address (208.80.152.2) as "en.wikipedia.org". So I'm not sure that wikipedia actually has any sort of physical presence in Italy.

      Of course, IANAL, but I'm pretty sure it can be difficult to sue someone in a different country, particularly if you aren't going to their country to file the suit. If they file suit against them in Italian court, I'd expect it would be difficult to e

      • For this to work, I believe they would need to convince a U.S. Federal court to extradite people to Italy, and given the merits of this case, I doubt that would happen.

        Can people actually be extradited to face a civil case? I know that criminals can be extradited to face criminal charges - but I am not aware of anyone having been extradited anywhere to face a civil suit.

        Of course, as I've already stated, IANAL. So if someone knows better, please let us know. I guess I just figured since civil cases don't really represent the interests of the state per se, that the state wouldn't be interested in moving for extradition for the parties involved.

        And of course we do

  • Someone owns the right to everything, so lets just have everyone sue everyone else then call a truce before we bankrupt the entire planet.
  • by Toe, The (545098) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:58AM (#22610028)
    I can't understand how anyone can sue anyone for statements made in an openly editable living document.

    Wouldn't it be a bit simpler to click the edit button and change the perceived falsehoods in an encyclopedic manner?

    I imagine one could even hire a geek to do it for quite a bit less than the price of hiring a lawyer, filing a lawsuit, then pursuing that suit.
    • It's still there in the history, and publicly available. Others have pointed out that truth may or may not be a relevant factor in the case.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by headpushslap (583517)
      The point is not that you can edit it, but that libelous statements can permanently damage someones' reputation.

      Suing for money is one remedy, you could also sue for a written or posted apology or retraction, or many other things.
      • The point is not that you can edit it, but that libelous statements can permanently damage someones' reputation.

        Suing for money is one remedy, you could also sue for a written or posted apology or retraction, or many other things.
        The Corriere article states, "The entry [...] has still not been edited, hence the decision to go ahead with the lawsuit." This implies that he's suing because he doesn't understand that he can change it at any time.
  • Sue whom exactly. (Score:5, Informative)

    by qbzzt (11136) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:10PM (#22610068)

    The Wikipedia Foundation is a US corporation, which does not hold assets in Italy, so it can't be sued in an Italian court. Or, to be more accurate, it can be sued but the verdict would be meaningless.

    However, Wikipedia does have an Italian chapter ( http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Local_chapters [wikimediafoundation.org] ). I assume that is the organization being sued.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by efalk (935211)
      There's a lot more to it than where you're incorporated.

      If you do business in Italy, you can be sued there. In fact, the determining factor on whether or not you can be sued in Italy is whether or not an Italian court says you can.
      • by lexarius (560925)
        Exactly what business does Wikipedia do in Italy? Aside from delivering HTML to Italian IP addresses for free on request? I can see that going well.
        Italy: Come over here so we can sue you, or else we'll start blocking your packets!
        Wiki: Suck it, and good luck with that.
        • Re:Sue whom exactly. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by jefu (53450) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @01:46PM (#22610552) Homepage Journal

          How about something like "Remove this vile calumny or we'll ..." :
          1. Remove Wikipedia's DNS entry in Italy. (See recent Wikileaks problems.)
          2. Publish (in Italy at least) routing information that redirects Wikipedia requests to a black hole. (See recent You Tube problems.)

          I think the Mayor's goal may not include preventing random residents of (say) Nevada from reading about his (alleged) corruption (after all, what does he care about what someone in Vegas thinks?), but probably does include preventing people in Italy from doing the same.

      • by julesh (229690)
        There's a lot more to it than where you're incorporated.

        If you do business in Italy, you can be sued there.


        That's not actually true. The general standard is that a company can be sued in a country in which it has a "permanent establishment", which normally translates to an office or an employed agent. It's the same rule that determines whether they have to pay tax there or not.
  • Does Wikipedia even have servers or an office in Italy? If not, then their lawsuit is pretty damn pointless.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by WWWWolf (2428)

      Does Wikipedia even have servers or an office in Italy? If not, then their lawsuit is pretty damn pointless.

      Basically, the tendency is that you're not supposed to sue Wikipedia; it's better to try solve the issue first through ordinary channels [wikipedia.org]. It's a procedure that's being used in a lot of subprojects too, due to practical reasons. I'm pretty sure they failed to follow this in this case...

      However, it should be noted that some Wikimedia projects (Finnish Wikipedia, for example) do apply local laws in a very limited fashion. For example, as far as I know, Finnish Wikipedia it only applies to copyrights (the U

      • Something I haven't seen here and will probably be wildly explained away, is: Is it Wikipedia's place to be a forum for news reporting and political social change? Is that outside the scope of an "encyclopedia"? Is this type of content really relevant is an encyclopedic article on Florence?

        Obviously it's a conflict of interest for the mayor of Florence, but how is it relevant in an encyclopedic article on Florence?

        If Wikipedia wants to include this type of political activism the will have to accept the cons

        • Re:Jurisdiction? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by jefu (53450) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @03:51PM (#22611164) Homepage Journal

          Is it Wikipedia's place to be a forum for news reporting and political social change?

          Wikipedia's place? While Wikipedia as a bunch of servers may belong to the Wikimedia foundation, Wikipedia as content belongs to its readers and to its editors. The content provided by these people is what they agree (with whatever mechanisms) it is. No more, no less. The question is rather like those proposed by ./ readers who wonder if "Slashdot" is not being inconsistent when there are multiple, often contradictory, opinions offered - by slashdot users - on various topics (patents, copyright... ).

          • The question is rather like those proposed by ./ readers who wonder if "Slashdot" is not being inconsistent when there are multiple, often contradictory, opinions offered - by slashdot users - on various topics (patents, copyright... ).
            Not at all. Wikipedia is an on-line encyclopedia, which to be taken seriously as an on-line encyclopedia needs to be strictly NPOV. Getting involved in local politics is not NPOV.
  • Italy is the inventor of bureaucracy. Italians know how to stifle their opponents through paperwork.

    Defamation is one of the proffered decoys. I experienced this twice on me and I felt ashamed to be an Italian.

    I lived abroad for over 30 years and I can see the perspective clearer than Italian inhabitants can. The stupid bureaucratic attitude is what is preventing the country to flourish.

    The excuses for this behaviour are: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Alfa Romeo. Not just a small consolation but
    • by Swampash (1131503)
      The stupid bureaucratic attitude is what is preventing the country to flourish.

      Maybe they remember running the world for thousands of years, and just can't be f*cked any more?
  • by BUL2294 (1081735) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:46PM (#22610252)
    First off, I think Wikipedia should ignore the Italian courts and give a big virtual F-U. I think more companies are going to start doing that over Internet posts, sites, etc. and claim they're only bound by their home laws. (The French charges against eBay for allowing the sale of Nazi memorabilia come to mind). I think this lawsuit thing is the tip of the iceberg--companies and individuals will start getting sued in foreign jurisdictions because a particular comment, post, etc. was "made available" to a computer in that foreign country...

    Which makes me start to realize something... Let's say a government pressed criminal charges. Here's a hypothetical example that doesn't seem so far-fetched... I make an anti-Chinese government site/post/blog from my home PC in the US, and that really pisses the Chinese government off. Since there's no free speech in China (but my website manages to get past the Great Firewall of China), I get criminally charged with "disrespecting the government" or some crap like that and they issue an international arrest warrant. I could then be arrested in the US and would have to hire a lawyer as to why I shouldn't be extradited to China--even though I exercised my right to free speech according to the US Constitution, while in the US . Even if I persuade a judge to not grant the extradition request (in all likelihood, at great expense to me), I could never travel outside the US as I could be arrested at any time and extradited from a country with no vested interest in preventing a foreigner from being extradited to China. Frightening, isn't it?
    • by imipak (254310)
      You think this is frightening? Just wait 'til you see what Zebedee and Dougal have got planned.
    • by HexaByte (817350)
      You don't understand the process. No country accepts the right of another to charge anyone with a crime that was not COMMITTED in that country, or by a citizen to that country abroad.

      For them to charge you would be meaningless, unless you are a Chinese citizen. Even being (legitimately) charged, they have to request extradition, and hire (local)lawyers to represent them at the hearing. It's not cheap, and not very likely they would try it unless they thought they had a good chance of success.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Are you sure about that? I've heard that there was an Australian citizen arrested in Australia and extradited to the US to face charges that were committed in Australia. I think it was for criminal file sharing, but I don't recall the specifics.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rcw-home (122017)

      I could then be arrested in the US

      Assuming that your local police are really stupid and/or bought off...

      and would have to hire a lawyer as to why I shouldn't be extradited to China

      China would be footing your legal bill (18 USC 3195) but even the average public defender could argue that successfully:

      1. The US has no extradition treaty with China. (Wikipedia [wikipedia.org])
      2. Even if they did, you'd have to actually commit a crime in Chinese jurisdiction (i.e. be in China) (18 USC 3184).
      3. Even if you did, the crime would
  • by lbbros (900904) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @01:56PM (#22610602) Homepage
    Notice, this was done in haste and may not be good English, but I hope it's better than an automated translation.

    FIRENZE- Firenze's Mayor, Leonardo DOmenici, and local government member Graziano Cioni have given the order to sue for defamation the Wikipedia web encyclopedia (sic).

    THE ACCUSATION - The reason, explained in a brief communication, is because in the "Leonardo Domenici" page on the site there are references to decisions made by the Mayor and his staff that, quoting, ''caused criticism from the citizens'', quoting in particular the award of a contract related to the management of the town's parking lots to the "Firenze Parking" company, of which Dominici and Cioni's wives have seats in the board of directors.

    THE INQUIRY - The communication from the Mayor reminds that such a "defamation" had circulated in the past and that in 2004 the office of the public prosecutor had started an investigation, resulting in one indictment and a request for a trial. The Wikipedia page, however (at the time of writing) has not been modified and is still now present in the form challenged by Domenici. Hence the decision to sue for defamation and libel.
  • by bcrowell (177657) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @02:11PM (#22610702) Homepage
    Personally, if I'm going to have an assignation, I'll typically do it in a romantic restauraunt, or maybe a motel. Public parking lots? I guess those Italians are pretty hot-blooded.
  • This lawsuit probably won't succeed, but more will undoubtedly follow. I would suggest to either help me [thepiratebay.org] mirror wikipedia(admittedly that link is english and english-meta only), or you could alternatively get a complete fresh copy from them, and seed it on bittorrent [thepiratebay.org].
  • If they hadn't resorted to suing Wikipedia, I'd never hear about this corruption.

    Now I know. And their lawsuit doesn't make me thing for a SECOND that they're not guilty. Quite the opposite.

    • by lbbros (900904)
      Now, even if I'm Italian I don't really know about the matter related to the parkings in FIrenze, but aren't people jumping to the gun too soon? I mean, a suit against Wikipedia *is* a bad idea, but how come people think that Wikipedia is in the right and the mayor in the wrong? (Let me reiterate that suing Wikipedia was a bad idea in general) Personally I don't know. It may be right, or wrong, but I wouldn't trust Wikipedia to be in the right all the time. The information may be correct, lacking, or down
  • I went through the history of the English article and couldn't find anything about the parking issue, but I found it in the Italian wikipedia, here [wikipedia.org]. It's just a brief item in a list of criticisms attributed to opposition parties:

    l'affidamento dei parcheggi cittadini alla società "Firenze Parcheggi" del cui cda fanno parte le mogli di Domenici e dell'assessore Cioni

    I don't see how this is actionable. It is merely a correct report of what other people have publicly said.

  • For my standards, Wikipedia is way too much centralised and easy to censor. There is a central not-for-profit foundation and a master database. That's wrong. There should be absolutely no organisation and the database should be replaced by a P2P-like system. I especially pay attention to the need to have no identifiable legal entity associated with Wikipedia. Some might say an organisation is needed to handle donations and payments for servers. I don't believe that, a community of people sharing a com
  • by julesh (229690) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @06:50PM (#22612150)
    Barbara Bauer [nielsenhayden.com], described by SFWA as one of the twenty worst literary agents they know of [sfwa.org], and who has a history of threatening people who are critical of her [nielsenhayden.com] and getting ISPs to shut down web sites that are critical of her [nielsenhayden.com] and claiming her name is her intellectual property and cannot be published without her permission [writersweekly.com], sued Wikimedia (among others) for repeating some of the above claims about a year ago. But I've heard nothing about the case since. Can anyone comment?

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