Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

Italian bloggers are protesting at a proposed law that would force them to register with the government in order to write a blog, even a personal one with no commercial purpose.

Political blogger Beppe Grillo has highlighted the passing of a draft law by Italy's Council of Ministers which he says requires every blogger to register with the state.

"The law lays out that anyone with a blog or a website has to register it with the ROC, a register of the Communications Authority, produce certificates, pay a tax, even if they provide information without any intention to make money," said Grillo on his own blog.

The law still has some hurdles to clear before it comes into force and is designed to clarify Italy's publishing laws, but one Italian politician has already said that the law draws comparisons with those of repressive regimes such as that in Burma.

Italian minister Ricardo Franco Levi, who is said to be behind the law, claims that it has yet to be decided whether ordinary bloggers will fall within the remit of the law or not. The confusion arises from the proposed law's application to 'editorial products' and confusion about exactly what those are.

One translation of the law says that it defines editorial products as "any product aimed to inform, educate, divulge or entertain and which will be published regardless of its form or distribution", a definition which could easily be stretched to cover amateur blog publishing.

Grillo made it clear in his blog the extent of his objections to the proposal. "If the law gets passed, it’ll be the end of the internet in Italy," he said. "My blog won’t close. If I have to, I’ll transfer lock stock, barrel and server to a democratic state."

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