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Italy Approves Jail for P2P Users 533

funkdid writes "Italy has made transferring content via the Internet without the permission of the copyright holder a criminal offence.Those found guilty of the unauthorised distribution of copyright material now face a fine of between 154 and 1032 ($185-1240), a jail sentence of between six months and three years, the confiscation of their hardware and software, and the revelation of their misdeeds in Italy's two national newspapers, La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera."
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Italy Approves Jail for P2P Users

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  • by WigginX ( 104107 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:00PM (#9270083)
    Can I still forward emails to Italy?
  • Italian law? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GrouchoMarx ( 153170 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:02PM (#9270111) Homepage
    Perhaps someone can explain to this ignorant American exactly how the government can use publication in a newspaper as a punishment for a crime (whatever the crime may be). At least here in the US, we at least pretend to have freedom of the press.
  • Italian bootlegs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vic ( 6867 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:03PM (#9270114) Homepage
    It's interesting that this would happen in Italy. From my understanding (I'm not an expert in this), Italy has had very relaxed laws about bootlegged music, especially live recordings. That's why so many concert CDs come from Italy.

    Anyone care to comment on this or clear it up?

  • by Etcetera ( 14711 ) * on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:04PM (#9270122) Homepage

    (Linked via the Drudge Report [] -- hopefully more articles like this will further add to the drumbeat of realization... by the public at large):

    Single mom overwhelmed by recording industry suit []

  • GPL violations? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by j-beda ( 85386 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:04PM (#9270128) Homepage
    Since the GPL is a copyright lisence - does this mean that if somone violated the GPL in Italy it could get them thrown in jail?

    And people complain that they are afraid of the viral nature of the GPL - this would really scare them!

  • Newspapers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:05PM (#9270144)
    Does that mean their government controls what is printed in the newspaper?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:06PM (#9270156)
    Does that mean the prosecutor will get tossed in jail if he uses it without my permission?
  • Welcome Italy! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kannibal_klown ( 531544 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:10PM (#9270216)

    Don't get me wrong, I think this is complete BS and wrong on soooooo many levels...

    But it's nice to know that America isn't the biggest (or the only) a$$-hat when it comes to p2p. Up until now, we've looked draconian in our handling of such matters compared to other parts of the world.

    This makes what the RIAA is doing look like a slap on the wrist. Hopefully they don't get any ideas.
  • Re:Italian law? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:10PM (#9270223)
    Well, think about it from this perspective --

    Every year, there are people who are charged with crimes that they didn't actually commit. However, their names are splashed around newspapers and people begin to know them as "the person who did [insert crime]." So, even if they are found innocent, they will never TRULY be innocent in the public's eyes.

    Carry this over to what's going on in Italy. If you are caught for theft of copyrighted works, your boss, your friends/family -- everybody will see what you have done. This will bring disgrace upon everybody you are associated with. (Not everybody is as forgving for P2P acts as Slashdotters are.) This may result in a loss of your job/friends/whatever. bad.

    Also, a good exmaple about what I discussed above can be found in one of the short stories in Frederick Forsyth's book, No Comebacks. (Yeah, same guy who wrote "Day of the Jackal")
  • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:11PM (#9270245) Homepage
    Google Cache has always operated in at least a slightly gray area legally, in that there's undoubtedly unauthorized copyrighted material [] available via the cache that authors wouldn't want there if they knew about it. Google obviously is on the up-and-up, and will remove content from cache [] when specifically requested to. However, with a minimum jail sentance of six months, anything questionable like this may be deemed to risky. Is it possible that Google cache (and anything similarly risky) may be disabled for the .IT section of the internet?
  • by nacturation ( 646836 ) <> on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:12PM (#9270252) Journal
    Now all we need to do is to find some areas where one of the officials who voted to pass this legislation violates this law themselves. Scrutinize everything the Italian government puts out to try and catch them posting material which is copyrighted. Time to make examples of them of how passing such a shitty law will come back to bite them in the ass.
  • Yet... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NickRipley ( 142042 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:13PM (#9270265) Homepage Journal
    Did you ever notice how almost any "silver" or manufactured bootleg CD comes from Italy? Their law (unless it's changed lately) is that as long as you pay the artist/publishing company something, it's legal to make any recording for sale.

    This results in a lot of these bootlegging companies paying less than a cent per unit manufactured to the record companies for "compensation." This new law seems sort of extreme if they still allow this other behavior.
  • by kannibal_klown ( 531544 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:14PM (#9270285)
    The fine isn't what deters me from speeding...

    It's the insurance companies that do.

    If I get caught speeding, sure, I have to pay a fine to the town / county. No biggie.

    But then, I get "points" on my insurance. And while those points stay there, I have to pay a higher premium.

    Frankly, getting jail time for P2P scares the crap out of me. I'm glad Im not in Italy.

    I mean, paying the RIAA a few grand is bad, but getting tossed in the slammer would really suck. Besides the obvious suckiness, you'd probably lose your job, and then have to admit you're a fellon for your interviews.
  • by j_sp_r ( 656354 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:15PM (#9270295) Homepage
    berlusconi (president of italy) is a strange politician. He's accused of corruption and has called a german politician a nazi or something like that. But he's more fasist I think then anyone in europe
  • Re:Italian bootlegs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by michael path ( 94586 ) * on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:18PM (#9270318) Homepage Journal
    Kiss the Stone was there for quite a while at and They were a prominant live CD seller because the way things worked was they could have shows recorded, and sell the recording IF they allocated money for the artist featured in the recording (I believe through an escrow account). IF the money went uncollected after XX length, they could keep it. This would put the responsibility on the artist to collect the money.

    They took advantage of this to make money both through recordings and artists failing to collect.

    My understanding is that the US threatened their operations, maybe the RIAA via proxy, and they ceased for that reason.

    I know the full story is out there, as my friend dealt with them often. I'll post more once I know more.
  • by mobiux ( 118006 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:23PM (#9270388)
    are we bound to accept copyright laws from other countries? I know the US government tries to push their restrictions on less strict countries.

    Does this mean that a US citizen could face extradition for copyright violation?

    Oh yeah, I blame this squarely on the Italian PM, who I am pretty sure owns most of the media in the country.
  • by yintercept ( 517362 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:25PM (#9270411) Homepage Journal
    Those found guilty of the unauthorised distribution

    P2P is a form of publishing. When you publish information, you really should play by the rules of the publishing industry.

    You are correct in that the short blurb does not drawing a clean line on the difference between private communications and publishing. If Italy failed to draw this line then they have a flawed law.

    It seems to me that the aim of such measures is to draw a distinction between private communications and publishing. Forwarding to an email to a friend is just communication. Forwarding an email to a mailing list or posting it online is a form of publishing.

    calling P2P private communications to the world does not change the fact that it is a form of publishing.

  • by famazza ( 398147 ) <fabio,mazzarino&gmail,com> on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:27PM (#9270428) Homepage Journal

    I think that world record industry should apapt instead of sue.

    They must find a way to distribuite music easily and and cheaper. Music stores are getting obsolete, webshops like Amazon takes too long. How long does it take for downloading a whole CD?

    Prices are too high. But downloads aren't fast enough. They must avoid people from downloading any kind of music by giving them reasons to do so.

    Jailing your own customers aren't a good options. Nobody buys CDs in jail.

    The solution is to lower price, I think that US$ 5/CD or US$ 0,25/track are good prices, low enough to avoid people for downloading music. In Brazil piracy is so evolved that you can buy a CD for US$ 2,00, and you can buy a CD on every corner. Many people prefer to low quality CDs because it's cheaper, easier and faster, there's always somebody selling pirated CDs.

    That's the solution. Make downloading boring and time-consuming, so it's better to buy a CD (or tracks) then to download it from any P2P network.

  • Re:Idiots... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by anonicon ( 215837 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:31PM (#9270472)
    "it would be nice if Slashdot would at least pretend to be a news site every now and then instead of just trying to sell us ads by playing off of reactionary attitudes on this site."

    Why? Your major and local media do the same thing on a daily basis. In that sense, Slashdot is as every bit a news organization as you pretend they're not.

  • Re:GPL violations? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RickHunter ( 103108 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:33PM (#9270493)

    Best way to get this law taken off the books? Start strictly enforcing it against software companies.

  • So let me guess... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:33PM (#9270500)
    ... in Italy this punishment is harsher than for discharge of a firearm in a public place? For careless driving that gets someone killed?

    Where is proportionality? Where is "punishment fits the crime"? WHAT are they smoking over there???

  • by Greedo ( 304385 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:38PM (#9270558) Homepage Journal
    Here's a quote from that article (emphasis added):
    The record companies follow the songs when they're downloaded onto computers, and they also note how many copyrighted songs are stored on that computer's hard drive memory, because those songs are often "uploaded" or shared with others through the file-sharing service.
    How, exactly does one "follow the songs" once they're downloaded? The only thing that comes to mind is that the RIAA must be offering the files for download. Then, when little Cassandra downloads the song, the RIAA has her IP, and can browse what she has on offer.

    IANAL, but isn't that a form of entrapment? And isn't that ... uh, like ... bad? Especially if you are entrapping a minor?

  • by Fulkkari ( 603331 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:41PM (#9270595)

    The article states earlier:

    The Italian parliament yesterday voted in favour of imposing jail sentences of up to three years on anyone caught uploading or downloading unauthorised copyright material to and from the Net.

    In my eyes it looks like you get to prison by using Google cache or similar. Am I wrong?

    Besides, how do you know if the copyrightholder have allowed you to download the content? Hell. It would even be dangerous to download "terms of service", because it is copyrighted.

    This thing is not going to work out very well.

  • by sabat ( 23293 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:42PM (#9270605) Journal

    Since the web works by transferring content, and since in the EU all content is automatically granted copyright protection from the moment of inception: isn't the WWW now illegal in Italy?
  • by AgentTim3 ( 447311 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:49PM (#9270699) Journal
    The whole problem is that we've allowed corporations and other commercial entities to redefine what "illegally copy" means. I mean really, who was it that decided to give them this kind of Godlike power, without any associated responsibility or accountability??

    Anyway, I think there's a way to fix it that would be simple and fair for everyone. We need to change the legal definition of what a copyright means. Simply put, a copyright should grant the creator of a work the sole ability to collect revenue based on any use of that work. That's it, that's what you get, and nothing more. You write a book, record a song, make a movie, and you're the only one allowed to make money from it.

    If someone is doing something with your work but not cashing in, guess what? Tough beans. You don't get to pull out any bullshit about "lost profits", because all that does is make for more lawyers arguing what that means, and God knows we've got enough of those. You've been granted the right to be the only person in the country who can legally make money from any use of your work, and that's an immensely powerful right. Sorry, but you don't get to have that, AND make that money by sitting on your ass suing people.

    Now likewise, if you ARE using someone's copyrighted work to make money, we're going to come down real hard on you. Money always leaves a trail. And the Justice Department will have more than enough bulldogs freed up from hunting fileswappers to chase you down. Not to mention that income has to be -reported-. Try avoiding that, and see how quick the IRS gets after you too. Changing the currently unbalanced copyright laws to be fair to all sides means there will be more serious enforcement.

    Ok, I don't really know how great a solution this is and it was a quick explanation, but this being Slashdot I'm sure someone can add something to it.
  • Wrong (Score:3, Interesting)

    by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:58PM (#9270797)
    Not when the vast majority of them are for pot,

    Currently, just over 1/2 (54.7%-2002) in prison for all drug offenses, and declining from a high of 61.3% in 1994.

    The BOP [] has lots of stats on this.
  • by WildBeast ( 189336 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @04:04PM (#9270856) Journal
    Berlusconi is a wannabe dictator. He controls all the media in his country, he uses censorship, he even tries to make himself immune to certain laws because he's the PM.

    The guy is a nut.
  • by Lochin Rabbar ( 577821 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @04:21PM (#9271021)

    You're right that you're not as up to date on Italian politics as you should be, but I can assure you that I don't wake up in the morning thinking I wonder what's happening in Italy today. I am however fortunate that my sources of news are such that big stories like Berlusconi's fascist tendencies and links are unlikely to pass me by. If I were you I'd be asking myself how come nobody told me about this, after all it's through control of the media that Berlusconi has been able to assume power in Italy.

  • by lightspawn ( 155347 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @04:25PM (#9271076) Homepage
    Not long ago another law introduced a fixed 30 cents tax on *each* CD-R on the assumption it will be used to pirate music. All this tax money goes to SIAE, the italian RIAA

    So if you're burning your downloaded MP3s to CDs you should be OK, right? After all, you did pay the RIAA for being able to do it.
  • by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @04:30PM (#9271126)
    Since this is Italy, I assume this law only really applies to downloading materials that come from companies that Berlusconi owns a controlling interest in.

    Which, since this is Italy, is practically everything.

    Speaking on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Italian P2P users, what are Italian jails like?
    Are they sex torture rape factories like American prisons? Are they government profit centers like Mexican prisons (where you have to buy your own food)? If you download really big files and get the death penality, do they charge your family 50 cents like the Chinese do? Are they just 'work the zeks until they drop' slave-labor camps like the Soviet Gulags?

    Come on, Italian politicians, you passed a law to put tens of thousands of your own young people in prison for activities that few civilized people consider to be a crime. Now that you have your 'law', what are you going to do with it?
  • by mubar ( 676606 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @04:40PM (#9271233)
    Don't forget that Berlusconi's government was, and still is, one of the most important supporters in that invasion. Situation in Italy was pretty much similar to Spain with over 80% of country against the war, but their prime ministers joined the attack nonetheless. Last year Italy had some of the biggest anti-war demonstrations in history, in the largest there were over 3 million protestors in Rome alone.
  • by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @04:43PM (#9271257)
    The Mafia was formed to protect ordinary people from laws like this coming from Rome. Just as soon as you get the gangsters under some form of control, the politicians do something totally stupid to revive it.

    Did the Mafia help get this law passed in order to revive their ancient public image as the last bulwark against total Roman oppression?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, 2004 @04:45PM (#9271278)
    You forget what the father of fascism said about it:

    "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."
    - Benito Mussolini

    Benito would say that you are both right.
  • Re:Italian speeding (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, 2004 @04:51PM (#9271362)
    Here []

    That took about 2 seconds to find
  • by xerph ( 229015 ) <> on Thursday May 27, 2004 @05:18PM (#9271624) Homepage
    I'm going to change my name to a copyrighted haiku. Then the two Italian newspapers won't be able to publish my name online without facing criminal charges themselves. ;)

    Why stop there, as long as you're having some fun with the laws of the land there's plenty of other ways to play. AFAIK, it would seem that in the US for example it would be fully possible to copyright a virus and add some sort of encryption to it. As soon as an anti-virus company reverse engineered it to release a fix you could hit them for DMCA violations.
  • by hunterx11 ( 778171 ) <hunterx11@gma i l . com> on Thursday May 27, 2004 @06:15PM (#9272075) Homepage Journal
    Actually the Scientologists got pissed off because their ubersecret documents which you have to spend years and thousands of dollars to get to are now a matter of public record since they were evidence in court.
  • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @06:24PM (#9272130) Homepage
    Thats it, equate a democratic government protecting property rights with fascism. I'm sure all those who died in the Holocaust are thankful for you honoring their memory.

    The Nazis were elected to office in a nice democratic fashion. Hitler was a democratically selected protector of property rights. For select people.

    Fascism is not the opposite of democracy. Fascism ARISES from democracies. For the keystone of any really successful fascist takeover is the mainstream support of the majority of the population.

    Fascism: popular leader. fingering of the Enemy. State support of corporate power -- that's Mussolini's definition, by the way. Militarism (war porn). Dismissal or suppression of dissent -- especially when the suppression comes from the majority of the people themselves.

    This definition of fascism contrasts with dictatorship, which is imposed with or without the consent of the governed. Fascism is popular support of a suppressive government.

    On the other hand, this is a good indication of how prosperous our lives these days. Instead of worrying about being killed in a concentration camp so your race can be ethnically cleansed, we are worried about not being able to get a free copy of a Brittney Spears song.

    Or reading the Secret Scriptures of a highly corrupt corporate/religious cult. All you have do do after declaring copyright violations a federal crime is simply change the definition of what a copyright IS, and then you can control what people can and cannot read, forever. For instance, simply redefine copyright terms as unlimited. Ooops -- already done.

    The concept of copyright was a compromise. In exchange for the ownership of the right to copy, the owners have to give up the copyright after a brief period so that the work could enrich the commons.

    That deal is broken. Now we simply have corporations owning blocks of human endeavor for all time, never giving it up, trading the knowledge and lore of humanity like blocks of downtown real estate.

    This is not what copyright was meant for. This new corporate power grab spells the end of the line for human arts, since every new work is in some way linked to something done before.

  • Jurisdiction (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dirtside ( 91468 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @06:41PM (#9272279) Journal
    I've recently begun to wonder why patent and trademark infringement lawsuits are entirely handled in civil court, but copyright infringement has become a criminal matter. Why shouldn't copyright be handled strictly in civil court, just like patent and trademark?
  • by ratamacue ( 593855 ) on Friday May 28, 2004 @11:50AM (#9277715)
    Capitalism implies the lack of government (force) in the market, not the presence of it. When government is entangled in the market, tilting the scales in favor of special interests, it's not capitalism! There may be elements of capitalism present, but it is just plain wrong to label any society where government is heavily entangled in the market as "capitalist". Government is force. Force is the exact opposite of voluntary association, which is the core principle of capitalism.

    Contrary to popular belief, capitalism does not require profit; it requires only voluntary association. Profit, or the creation of wealth, is a desirable outcome of capitalism, not the core concept. The core concept is simply freedom -- the freedom to operate on the principle of voluntary association and mutual benefit (trade).

APL hackers do it in the quad.