Only a journalist can run a website in Italy?

On May, 8 2008 the Court of Modica (Sicily) ruled that a website identified by a “heading” and publishing contents on a periodic basis is subjected to the regulation of newspapers or magazines and – in general – or in ? press.

The result is that an anti-mafia webmaster has been indicted for committing the crime of “clandestine publication” because he didn’t request the Tribunal’s authorisation to publish his site www.accadeinsicilia.net.

The “Catch 22” comes because to obtain this authorisation, this webmaster should have been a journalist, member of the national journalist association or the permit wouldn’t be granted. Then, nobody but a journalist can run a website, because nobody but a journalist can obtain the Court registration.

The legal paradox is a consequence of the fact that, before the internet came, publisihing a newspaper meant investing huge money in equipment, people, distribution etc. Thus it was easy for ? “power” to control the press with a series of adminstrative burdens. Now, with the free availability of content management system like WordPress, and the low cost of internet-based services, ? publishing a magazine is absolutely affordable. So the “power” – namely, Law 62/01 – tried in a very messy way to reassert its control over the information flow.

It is simply a nonsense affirm that since a website has a “heading” and publishes daily information, then it is a newspaper. Following this line of reasoning, it is enough – to not infringe the law – to “restrain” from publishing on due dates… Killing free speech starts from here.

Italian Biotech Law Conference 2008

IBLC fourth edition deals with the impact of building a forensic oriented Italian DNA database.

Just for the curious, here is the programme:

Tuesday, Apr 8, 2008 – h 14,00/18,15
Palazzo delle Stelline Sala PORTA
Corso Magenta 61 – Milano (IT)

h. 14,00/14,15 – Registration

h. 14,15/14,30
Opening and welcome speech

Chairman
Leonardo Santi President
National Committee for Biosecurity, Biotechnology and Life Science – Council of Ministers

Moderator
Guido Romeo, Journalist, Nòva24 – IlSole24Ore

Discussant

h. 14,30/15,00
Personal DNA-based identification: from collection to sample analysys
Salvatore Pece
Researcher, IEO – Europea Institute of Oncology

h. 15,00/15,30
DNAbase Security: hardware and software infrastructures
Andrea Cocito, Campus IEO-IFOM

h. 15,30/16,00
Biobanks and Italian Biotech industry role
Leonardo Biondi, Biopolo S.c.r.l.

h. 16,00/16,30 – Coffee break

16.30/17.00
Case history: the National DNA Database in the UK
Stephen Firth, Firth Consulting

h 17.00/17.30
Myth and reality of DNA-based investigations
Andrea Monti,
Vice President, ALCEI – Electronic Frontiers Italy

h 17.30/18.00
“Of Crime and Gene”
Giovanni Boniolo, Professor of philosophy of Science, Università degli Studi di Padova – IFOM Milano

h. 18.00/18.10
Closing
Leonardo Santi

WHAT IS IBLC

IBLC stands for Italian Biotech Law Conference, the first Italian scientific conference dealing, from an interdisciplinary perspective, with life-science, information technology and law.

IBLC father is Andrea Monti, an Italian lawyer and legal scholar,researching, since more than 14 years, the field of ICT legal issues.

IBLC was born in 2004 as an Italian Cyberspace Law Conference; spinoff, with title Bioinformatics Research between IP protection and information free flow.

The discussant where dr. Marcella Attimonelli (associate professor of molecular biology at the University of Bari) and dr. Paolo Vezzoni (researcher at the National Research Council’s Institute of Biomedical Technologies).

IBLC second edition (2005) the title Protection of Biotech Assets, Market, Freedom of Research has been discussed by dr. Enrico Dainese (associate professor at Teramo University Comparative Biomedical Science Dept.), dr. Giampiero Di Plinio (professor of Public Comparative Law at the University of Chieti), dr. Piero Fariselli (researcher at the Department of Biology – University of Bologna), dr. Andrea Cocito (FIRC Foundation of Molecular Oncology’s bioinformatics group.)

Third edition (2007) has been possible with the invaluable help ho FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology and asked the question: Who owns bioinformation? (Possible) answers came from the following high profile scholars and researchers, managed by Giovanni Boniolo (conference chair – University of Padova, IT, Dept. of Philosophy): Pier Paolo Di Fiore – Andrea Cocito FIRC – IFOM, Luciano Floridi – Oxford University (UK), Giovanni Ziccardi – University of Milan, IT, Marco Ventura – University of Siena.

IFOM-FIRC and Biopolo sustained the fourth edition: Gen-ethics and BioBanks: between market and law enforcement profiling that obtained the endorsment of the National Committee for Biosecurity, Biotechnology and Life Science – Council of Ministers.

Past edition’s speakers talked about:

* What is bioinformatics (M. Attimonelli)

* Human genome variability: privacy and social-ethics issues (M. Attimonelli)

* Open source and bioinformatics software licensing (A. Cocito)

* Bioinformatics and protein structure analysys (E. Dainese)

* Biosequences analysys: database, technics and standard. A technical introduction for “the rest of us” (P. Fariselli)

* Open source, copyrights and bioinformatics (A. Monti)

* Genetic research, biotechnology, information access, economic applications (P. Vezzoni)

* How to build bioinformation (A.Cocito)

* What is bioinformation (L.Floridi)

* Semantic ambiguities, intellectual property, law (G.Ziccardi)

* Bioinformation and Public Policies (M.Ventura)

School for Biotech Industrial Innovation Management 2008 is on

Prof. Marco Ventura‘s School for Biotech Industrial Innovation Management will start its Fourth Year on April 2008. The School is an initiative of the University of Siena, Italy, funded by the Fondazione Monte dei Paschi di Siena in the framework of the Siena biotech pole.

Last year I have been invited to give a speech on “Copyright and Bioinformatics” and I had the chance to appreciate both audience and speaker “quality”. Marco Ventura’s initiative is really a unique place – in Italy – to learn about the interaction of two of the most complex (biotechnology) and confused (law) branch of human knowledge.