[Foundation-l] Blackout at Italian Wikipedia - What exactly does the proposed law say?

Andreas Kolbe jayen466 at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 5 10:49:58 UTC 2011

Note changes to the statement on Italian Wikipedia:

(Edit summary translation: In short, the law doesn't say that)

(Edit summary translation: removal, replacement, impossible to assert that on the basis of the proposed law)

Even this corrected version does not seem to be right. As I understand the proposed law, 
the subject would have the right for a statement to be shown, unaltered, on the page (which 
actually would be possible for Wikipedia to do, via a transcluded and protected template). 
They would *not* have the right to have the content replaced by their version. (The Italian
statement now says "chiedere l'introduzzione di una rettifica", i.e. "request the introduction 
of a correction", while the English version says "request to publish a corrected version".)

Frankly, given some of our past BLP problems, I am in part sympathetic to BLP subjects 
having some easy comeback against online writings which they feel portray them in an 
unduly poor light. There are two sides here -- see the Robert Fisk article from a few years 

Just as legal cases are lengthy and expensive for bloggers and the like, they are also 
expensive for BLP subjects who feel they are being defamed by an anonymous source on 
the Internet, including Wikipedia.[2] 

I think the WMF statement[3] is a bit over-optimistic here! If anonymous crowds were so 
effective at writing neutral BLPs, the board resolution and years of hand-wringing on BLPs
would not have been necessary. 

I'm not saying the Italian law as written is a good idea, but I think our analysis should 
be a bit more measured. Note also that there seem to be far more press freedom issues at
stake here than just the posting of corrections. Last year, the entire Italian news industry 
went on strike for a day over the same bill, which is, after all, known as the *wiretapping* bill, 
governing the right to publish wiretapping transcripts. Apparently the initiative was sparked 
by the publication of some of Berlusconi's private indiscretions. See Guardian report.[4] 
Giving those written about the right to have a statement or correction posted is just a small
part of this bill.

The statement shown on it.wikipedia looks like it was knocked up in a hurry. For such 
a prominent action, it should have been vetted in a bit more detail, and the errors emended
before it went live. We shouldn't be misinforming millions of people.


[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-caught-in-the-deadly-web-of-the-internet-445561.html

[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/8498981/Mayfair-art-dealer-Mark-Weiss-in-disgrace-after-admitting-poison-pen-campaign-against-rival-Philip-Mould.html
[3] http://blog.wikimedia.org/2011/10/04/regarding-recent-events-on-italian-wikipedia/

[4] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/09/silvio-berlusconi-media-gag-lawAndreas
--- On Wed, 5/10/11, John Vandenberg <jayvdb at gmail.com> wrote:

From: John Vandenberg <jayvdb at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Blackout at Italian Wikipedia - What exactly does the proposed law say?
To: "Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List" <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
Date: Wednesday, 5 October, 2011, 6:23

On Wed, Oct 5, 2011 at 9:25 AM, Federico Leva (Nemo) <nemowiki at gmail.com> wrote:
> John Vandenberg, 05/10/2011 00:16:
>> On Wed, Oct 5, 2011 at 8:42 AM, Thomas Morton
>> <morton.thomas at googlemail.com>  wrote:
>>> http://www.camera.it/_dati/leg16/lavori/stampati/pdf/16PDL0038530.pdf
>> Is this public domain?
>> If it is, we can put it on Italian Wikisource, annotate it and
>> translate it into other languages.
> It's PD in Italy at least for local laws.

Which Commons template applies to Italy laws?

On English Wikisource we have the following template to cover foreign laws


There is a slightly differently worded template


John Vandenberg

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