Italian copyright law

Josef Dalcolmo dalcolmo at
Wed Mar 14 13:40:57 UTC 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "Alessandro Rubini" <rubini at>
To: <discussion at>
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2001 1:27 PM
Subject: Re: forwarding of e-mails not illegal after all... (fwd)

> Unfortunately, I don't think the SIAE isn't the one which applies the
> law.  It's an association of authors and publishers that has been
> elected by law as official representative of all authors. ...

It seems to me that the law itself is inadequate. Applicants of the law only
interpret it, unfortunately often more according to the word than according
to the intent. What is therefore the right entity or person to contact in
order fo facilitate a change or even cancellation of this law? Ultimately it
is up to politicians to make or change laws, but I do not know what the
exact process for this is in Italy. The objective is to get the people who
have the power to change laws, to understand the consequences of this law,
and hopefully to get them to change it.

In the meantime it might be possible to get a judge to issue an injunction
against the law, because it poses an undue burden on a certain group of
professionals, and obviously should not be used on free software, since that
cannot possibly be the INTENT of the law (at least not from the perspective
of the politicians - the lobbying industry obviously would like to see it
that way). Again I have no idea if such a thing is even possible in Italy.

I heard about a similarly injust copyright money collection in Germany.
There is a "tax" (I forgot the name) on each and every data carrier (empty)
which goes to a list of authors. Since free software authors are certainly
not on this list, I must pay the musik industry money, to put Linux on a
CDR, or even have to pay them money if I use the medium for software I wrote
myself!  Fortunately the German law does not require any registration and
doesn't drive any software seller into bankruptcy (Imagine having to put
4400 stamps for the 4400 software packages in GNU/Debian 2.2. on the set of
diskettes! - p.s. how much does it cost?)

This is actually an opportunity to get free software to some level of
recognition by the lawmakers. I think it is important that they begin to
understand that free software is an invaluable asset for the Society at
large, and should not be jeopardized by the aggressive actions of the
established companies. This law is undemocratic, since it favors a rich
minority (the large established software companies) against the interests of
the small and many (just about anyone else who tries to make money with
software in Italy).

- Josef

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