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Censorship Government Your Rights Online

Italy May Censor Torrent Sites 194

Posted by Soulskill
from the giving-them-the-boot dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Following a Pirate Bay block more than a year ago, Italy continues its attempts to censor torrent sites. The Italian Supreme Court has ruled that copyright holders can now force ISPs to block BitTorrent sites, even if they are hosted outside Italy. The torrent sites which 'hold' copyrighted materials are accused of taking part in criminal activity. It seems someone should enlighten Italian jurists about technology."
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Italy May Censor Torrent Sites

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @06:19AM (#30591770)

    It's not a technological matter. If a country wants to censor a communication medium, it can certainly do so. It will never be 100 percent effective, but censorship does restrict availability of information. We should not fall back to a "we can get around it" position. While that is true, most people will not get around it and controlling their access to information is an undue power.

  • Not the point ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by golodh (893453) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @06:36AM (#30591812)
    Knowing a thing or two about Italy and its love for byzantine legal constructs, I fear that the effectiveness of such measures isn't their primary purpose. Their PR effect, however, is.

    Italy has plenty of laws that would totally paralyze every aspect of public and private life, were they to be rigorously enforced. Such laws look terrific on paper but don't have any practical effect except in lawsuits where they can be (and are) routinely used to club people over the head with. Anyone who has ever driven a car in an Italian city South of Rome (Naples for example, or tried to cross the street in the same city at a pedestrian crossing that's showing a green light for pedestrians) knows all about the practical value of laws in Italy.

    This little decision will satisfy officials who can now tout it as a bold step towards curbing piracy. This is important. Just remember that their prime minister, Berlusconi, owns a whole chain of content-creating enterprises. He can't afford to look "soft on piracy" and retain his credibility in business circles.

    As one or two nerdish forum members may already have figured out, blocking a torrent site or two won't necessarily stop people from finding or downloading torrents. To put it mildly.

    The only thing it *will* do is to slowly erode yet another form of legal freedom in Italy and afterwards in the rest of Europe.

    That's all folks.

  • by cperciva (102828) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @06:46AM (#30591852) Homepage

    Jurists != Jurors.

    A jurist usually means anyone with a law degree, although in some countries it is generally reserved to refer to judges.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @07:07AM (#30591926)

    There are hundreds and thousands of other sites that facilitate crime in the same way as The Pirate Bay, including Yahoo, Microsoft Bing, and Google.

  • by AGMW (594303) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @07:12AM (#30591942) Homepage
    Like most people (here at least!) I'm not happy about the way the big media companies are rail-roading governments around the world to shore up their failing businesses - and even more unhappy at how the Governments are cow-towing to the media moguls and allowing themselves to be manoeuvred into generating more legislation (and don't get me started about ministers feathering their nests before the next election!) ... but copyright isn't all bad! If you create something it isn't unfair to expect people to pay for it!
  • by the_xaqster (877576) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @07:18AM (#30591960) Homepage Journal
    The problem will come when another of the EU countries (yes, I am looking at you, England) will hold this law up as a shining example of government doing good, and then enact a law that embraces and extends this law into something completely different, more costly, more annoying, but ultimately just as useless.

    Just don't get me started on what will happen if Brussels gets hold of it....
  • by AGMW (594303) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @08:00AM (#30592072) Homepage

    But if you go that way then they should also block search engines as they after all facilitate the search for illegal material. ...

    .. and so, reductio ad absurdum [wikipedia.org], we end up banning the internet (which, as we all know, is a series of tubes) because it too facilitates crime.

    OK, let's take a few steps back from the precipice and discuss where we actually want to draw the line, indeed, where is it sensible to draw the line. Yahoo? Google? Well, obviously not, we're still firmly on terra-absurdum there. But The Pirate Bay? Come on ... it even has "Pirate" in the damn name! That's like a shop called "Burglars-R-Us" selling lock-picks, crowbars and bricks in velvet bags - buy two items get a personally engraved cosh free! That is going to attract unwanted attention from the powers that be and it deserves to!

    Assuming most of us are in the IT business we have to stop looking at illegal copying as some sort of freedom fight or otherwise worthy cause. I agree whole heartedly that the media barons are just trying to protect their outdated business model, but having people advocate, or otherwise support, the cause of software and/or content theft (ie taking without paying when payment is requested) is foolish as it all adds fervour to the content companies cries and it would appear that no government can resist the tears of a media mogul weeping into their bolly as they moan about all their lost sales, darlings!

  • by timmarhy (659436) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @08:00AM (#30592076)
    hang on a second. a few weeks ago slashdot ran a story about how MPAA memebers enjoyed a record box office year, so how are they failing and making record sales at the same time?
  • by mrpacmanjel (38218) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @08:04AM (#30592100)

    If someone is overdrawn by £2 and then the bank charges a £35 unauthorised-overdraft is "fair"

    If someone is in financial difficulty and the bank keeps charging £35 unauthorised-overdraft fees every month thus compounding the problem. That person could have lost thier job.

    These are not hyperthetical scenarios - this has happened to people I know and to a certain degree myself too.

    I'm all for personal responsibility and "free" banking is nice.

    "..they can charge the customer agreed to.. " - Yeah we all know how banks responsible banks have been recently.

    I'm tempted to say your post is troll-like but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and put it down to retarded-like ignorance.

  • by AGMW (594303) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @08:07AM (#30592108) Homepage

    Is it goverment allowing themseles to be maneuvred or media moguls being played to be white horses?

    ---

    So you end up with censorship infrastructure for your use and with someone else taking blame for all of it happening. Its quite a victory!

    True, never attribute to incompetence that which could be malice!

    Governments trying to grab more power!? The Hell You Say! Oh ... yes ... OK ... yer, that might be happening too. Certainly having an infrastructure that gives power to the Gov isn't going to be something they fight against too hard - Lord Voldeson-er-Mandlemort's new digital bill amendment for example, that allows new powers to be drawn up without recourse to any discussions or voting on the matter in Parliament!

    See also all this climate change shenanigans: That's going to give Governments even more power (and I'm not saying the climate isn't changing, or, indeed, that it might be us at least partially responsible!).

  • MOD PARENT UP! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JRGhaddar (448765) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @08:28AM (#30592198)

    Parent is absolutely correct. Please mod it up, and go ahead and mod me flaimbait or troll I know it's an unpopular position on here, but than again most people that stand up for fairness get shot at.

    And don't tell me well the lawsuits the MPAFIAA and RIAFFIA aren't fair because I agree they are extreme, but than again so is the brazen attitude that piracy is OK. It's like Neocons vs Anarchists
    both are extremes and both are stupid.

    First off people on here need to stop hiding behind the veil of "Oh they are trying to restrict information" and "The don't host the files so how are they at fault!? defense. That is not working any more and it never did.

    When the internet came about it was like the wild west. No rules or regulations an open space. But without law things got out of hand quick looting, murder, gambling, prostitution etc. The laws of the internet are now being written in countries and when it comes down to data links to replicas of copy-written material there weren't any rules set forth to protect the works or understanding of what was really going on to try those who were "just hosting links yo".

    Yes isohunt, the piratebay, and others are indeed accessories to piracy. Which is against the law.

    If you give a map of the building to a thief knowing full well what he intends to take and he robs a bank yeah you are liable.
    "But I didn't rob it I was just showing him paper and ink?!" doesn't work.

    And people need to learn fast that the free ride days are going to come to an end. If you want to watch a movie, download a song, or use a piece of commercial software buy it. Stop being so damn cheap, and stop saying "well I want to preview what I see before I buy it" is a huge load of crap.

    There are trailers/teasers for movies as well as selected scenes released for free for you to preview them.

    There are plenty of free streaming samples of songs, on amazon and itunes, and lala, and last.fm, and pandaora, and XM/Sirius , and traditional radio, and internet radio

    There are typically trial versions of most software applications

    So really the preview attitude is really a poor defense.

    I can't go into a restaurant and preview an entire meal and then decide if I want to pay for it. You order you consume you pay for it.
    And don't say "well I can send it back.. at the theaters I can't send back a movie!"... actually you can.... within 30 minutes of a film's start time you can tell the box office that you didn't like it and they will give you back your money or venue credit. Got another excuse captain cheapo?

    But you haven't had to pay with this loop hole before?!...waaaaah.... and now you don't wanna?....waaaaah

    Tough shit suck it up and pay what you owe.

    If you don't want to pay THEN don't watch/download/use it!

  • by golodh (893453) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @08:33AM (#30592220)
    What "crime" are you talking about? Even though this is Slashdot, it helps to pay a little attention to how you formulate your posts.

    Downloading copyrighted material never was a "crime". At most it's an actionable infringement of someone's copyright. Actionable by the copyright holder that is, not the State. It's not even a misdemeanor.

    Besides, torrent sites in and by themselves were never "criminal", as they only facilitate an exchange of information which, among many other things, allows people to infringe copyrights.

  • by Znork (31774) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @08:39AM (#30592238)

    If you create something it isn't unfair to expect people to pay for it!

    If I create something and sell it to someone I expect them to pay for it. If they create a copy of what I sold them and they sell that further, I certainly have no right to expect them to pay me for that. They created the copy, I didn't, so why should I get paid for their work?

  • Re:MOD PARENT UP! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RobVB (1566105) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @08:53AM (#30592312)
    While most of your post at least made SOME sense, you made a big mistake here:

    I can't go into a restaurant and preview an entire meal and then decide if I want to pay for it. You order you consume you pay for it. And don't say "well I can send it back.. at the theaters I can't send back a movie!"... actually you can.... within 30 minutes of a film's start time you can tell the box office that you didn't like it and they will give you back your money or venue credit. Got another excuse captain cheapo?

    This shows that you don't see the difference between copyright infringement and theft. I could make another post explaining the difference, but I'm sure you could have read thousands of them here on /. if you cared.

  • by Krneki (1192201) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:09AM (#30592384)
    This stupid laws won't stop Italians from downloading. But it will limit the amount of stuff they can share with the rest of the world.

    Italian culture will suffer from stupid laws like this.
  • by mrpacmanjel (38218) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:12AM (#30592396)
    Was that the first time?

    According to this article it has now been passed
    http://www.v3.co.uk/v3/news/2249617/french-pass-revised-three/ [v3.co.uk]
    (article dated 16 sep)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @10:22AM (#30592962)

    If you're protesting against autotuned pop crap, then why bother actually downloading the pop crap? If today's music is so bad, why waste the disk space on it?

    If you really want to encourage a counterculture or better music, go and SPEND your hard earned money on the music you like. That sends a real message.

    I can't see what your protest accomplishes at all.

  • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @11:13AM (#30593682)

    Arn't they run by judges who are also lawyers? It would be neat if normal people AKA jurists were in charge but I don't think that is/ever will be the case.

    When the geek faces the "normal people," the judge and jury in an American court, how often does he come out a winner?

  • by Kijori (897770) <`ward.jake' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @11:25AM (#30593882)

    Sadly. And the fact that the content industry generates taxes that are badly needed by our nearly-broke governments won't help improve the situation. In an economy that is so reliant on commercializing (and taxing!) imaginary "goods", I have no hope to see those copyright excesses be repelled anytime soon.

    I think we might be coming at this from different points of view. I don't see anything wrong with an economy that is reliant on commercializing "imaginary 'goods'" - in fact I don't really see how we could have anything else. Aside from the content industries, the insurance industry, the stock market, futures trading and any number of other sectors work by commercialising something other than physical goods. And while it may not strictly speaking be stealing, making use of these services without paying does harm the industry and does, undoubtedly, have serious consequences for its future. When talking about the content industry this means illegal file sharing, which is and should be punished.

    Where I object is when we lose perspective and abandon the very principles of our justice system in order to pander to the content industry - that is what is happening now in the UK, in France, in America and probably in many other countries, and it is against this that we should be protesting. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but people calling for the abandoning of copyright and legitimization of file sharing cause a problem for those people opposing the laws currently being passed, since they make it easy to characterise the opponents of the law as selfish, short-sighted "pirates".

  • Re:MOD PARENT UP! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Croakus (663556) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @02:10PM (#30596990)

    Simply not true.

    I assume you think this because the restaurant invested money in the food. Do you think the software materialized out of thin air?

    Software companies invest in talent, research, marketing, physical computers, office space, electricity, and more ... all the things that are required in order to create the software you are stealing (taking without permission). This is a real physical investment of money and resources and the product they produce is the software - just like the restaurant produces a plate of food. If you take a copy of the software without paying for it, then you have taken money from the company.

    Attempting to justify it by saying you didn't steal a physical thing is immature, selfish and betrays an unreasonable sense of entitlement. You are in the wrong.

  • by toriver (11308) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @07:48PM (#30601066)

    The Chinese legal system said Akmal Shaikh should be killed for drug smuggling. Despite this use of the legal system there, Britain found it necessary to protest.

    So why should others not protest if we consider a law to be wrongly applied?

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