RIP, the infamous attempt of creating a State-managed one-stop touristic information website is definitely passed away on Jan. 18, 2008. The (now former,since the government just fell down) minister of innovation, Luigi Nicolais, finally decided to shut down the project and the minster of cultural assets, Francesco Rutelli, asked Corte dei conti (a magistrate court acting as “public spending watchdog”) to look for the responsibility for the waste of public money (5.800.000,00 Euros right now, to be precise).

Mr. Rutelli asked Umberto Paolucci – former Microsoft top manager in Italy and Europe – and now head of the ENIT (Italian Governement Tourist Board) to handle the issue.

Will open source technologies be take in consideration for the new super-duper portal?

Italian copyright law. A momentary lack of reason?

Yesterday the Italian Parliamen passed another amendment that adds Law 633/1941 (Copyright Law) Sect 70 bis thus allowing the free publication on the Internet of protected works (music and images) for cultural purposes. The law will enter into force as soon as it will be published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale (the official law list). Here is the exact text (translation is unofficial):

 ?1-bis. Low resolution or downgraded images and/or music publication through the Internet is allowed, for teaching and/or scientific purposes and if this use doesn’t imply an economic gain. The Minister of cultural assets – with the advice of the Minister of the university and research, and with the opinion of the concerned Parliament committees – shall set the limit to the teaching and scientific uses ?.

It is obvious to remark that an MP3 or a jpeg file meet – technically speaking – the requirement of the law (both are based on the concept of lowering the quality of the original file). Thus – from now on – in Italy is legal to publish on line or share through Peer-to-Peer copyrighted images and music, just meeting the requirement of “teaching and/or scientifc purposes”.

Is this an astonishing cultural achievement of Italian legislators (showing they finally have understood the main use of the Internet) that decided to fight back against entertainment lobbies’ superpowers, or an incredible essay on incompetence?

I really would like to sponsor the first answer, but I fear that the Italian Parliament simply didn’t understand what was going on…

Apple’s “Misprint” get-a-mac ad actually misleading?

A few days ago Apple released a new “get-a-mac” ad titled “Misprint” where the characters argue about – a statement published by PC WORLD – Mac being the fastest notebook they tried to run Windows Vista. The PC guy call the publisher to complain about the statement claiming that it is not possible that a Mac would run Vista faster then a PC.

This ad seems misleading for a series of factors:

  1. From an hardware standpoint, a Mac IS a PC,
  2. The difference between a Mac and a PC is the operating system,
  3. PC WORLD statement is relative (Mac is the fastes among the notebook we tested); thus no generalization can be inferred ? (or suggested).

I don’t think Apple – or its advertising agency – should play this kind of tricks. A Mac is good enough to speak for himself.

Italy. The rise of a new copyright law

Francesco Rutelli (PD), Italian minister of culture appointed a committee to review and propose amendments to the current Italian Copyright Law (L. 633/41).

The Committee appointed a tenth of Working Group to handle the technicalities of the legal wording. ? Members of the WG come from the industry (telco, etertainment, publishers) and from a (self professed and never actually heard before) left wing oriented NGO.

The lack of ? true civil society representativeness in these Working Groups raises serious concerns about the future of right of author in Italy.

Do we need an Internet Bill of Rights?

During the Internet Governance Forum Italian meeting (Rome, Sept. 27 07) Stefano Rodotà (former Italian Data Protection Commissioner) and Fiorello Cortiana (former Senate member) strongly supported the need of an “Internet Bill of Rights” (IBR) as tool to protect netizen’s free speech, privacy and other human rights. Is this a good idea?

The answer – as ALCEI pointed out during the same meeting – is no.

Continue reading “Do we need an Internet Bill of Rights?”