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Mayor of Florence Sues Wikipedia 196

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 CriminalNerd ( 882826 ) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:05AM (#22609788)
    Technically, we slashdotted the original article so that Google's translator couldn't translate the page, hence the error.
  • 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:Defense (Score:5, Informative)

    by autocracy ( 192714 ) <> 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. []
  • Re:Defense (Score:2, Informative)

    by vajrabum ( 688509 ) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:37AM (#22609924)
    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 Toe, The ( 545098 ) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:05PM (#22610048)
    From []

    "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. :)
  • Re:Defense (Score:3, Informative)

    by rozz ( 766975 ) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:06PM (#22610054)

    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.

  • 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 ( [] ). I assume that is the organization being sued.
  • Re:Defense (Score:3, Informative)

    by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:35PM (#22610188) Journal

    please note that this "slander." Had already circulated in the past and that in 2004 the Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Florence had opened an investigation which led to a conviction in a trial. La voce però (al momento di riportare questa notizia) non è stata modificata e si presenta tutt'ora nella forma contestata da Domenici. The voice but (when reporting this story) has not changed and is still in the form contested by Domenici.

    Sounds like the real beef is these guys were convicted but wikipedia isn't report that one of them is appealing the conviction.
  • Re:Defense (Score:2, Informative)

    by vajrabum ( 688509 ) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:37PM (#22610202)
    If you look here [] , it indicats that Italian courts have decided that if the content is availble in Italy, then Italian courts have jurisdiction.
  • by erlehmann ( 1045500 ) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:58PM (#22610328)
    Here it is, it has even been corrected in virtually no time: []
  • Re:Sue whom exactly. (Score:2, Informative)

    by efalk ( 935211 ) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @01:07PM (#22610378)
    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 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 Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 01, 2008 @02:31PM (#22610778)
    Funny, "assignation" is one of those English words with a spelling very similar to an Italian word but a quite different meaning.
    I think that "grant" would be a more accurate translation.
  • Re:Defense (Score:-1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 01, 2008 @03:26PM (#22611050)
    Wikipedia is not a newspaper. It is a medium of collaborative editing. If one editor notices missing information, that editor is entirely free (provided they can cite) to add the information. I gather, based on the headline of this Slashdot article, that "the real beef" these guys have is not merely that some info they want in the online encyclopedia is missing. Sounds like something more because a lawsuit has been launched.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 01, 2008 @03:26PM (#22611052)

    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.
    As if anyone would believe them! (For the bemefit of any American readers, Florence is in Italy).
  • by rcw-home ( 122017 ) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @05:11PM (#22611578)

    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 [])
    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 have to be a violent one (18 USC 3181).
    4. Even if it was, it'd also have to be a crime in the US (18 USC 3181).

    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.

    The concept of nationalism is based on the idea that your country will protect you. It's kind of lost on a lot of Americans since it's been quite a while since we've gone toe-to-toe with a foreign army on our own soil. But if such a thing happened, I would expect a lot of diplomatic saber-rattling, perhaps an embargo of the country that extradited you (likely ruining their tourism economy), and if that fails, a military response. With such a flowchart on most leaders' minds, they will generally refuse extraditions for political reasons.

  • Re:Florence. where ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Random832 ( 694525 ) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @07:19PM (#22612306)
    However, Wikipedia is _not_ located in Italy. Remember the case a while back when Germany tried to get wikipedia to censor stuff? All they could do was take away the domain name "" - which isn't even what's normally used to access it (the canonical url for german wikipedia articles starts "" )
  • by kaizokuace ( 1082079 ) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @10:27PM (#22613142)
    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.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire