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SoftwareLibero.it: The Italian law 248/2000: a menace to software professionals

Feb 25, 2001, 13:43 (11 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Don Marti for this link. ]

"The Italian Parliament recently approved an amendment to copyright law. The new rules have been in force since September 18, 2000 as law 248/2000. The new mechanism is as yet unclear, but we suspect that it might hinder or even put a stop to the work of anyone producing software or using it in their business. The main problem of the law lies in the requirement for a compulsory stamp (the "bollino SIAE") on any physical medium containing computer programs (Art 181-bis, 1). This requirement adds to previous rules that consider any unauthorised copying of computer software a criminal offence (rather than simply a civil offence). As a consequence, possession of computer programs on non-stamped medium, either legally or illegally, may lead to a prison sentence."

"The scope of the new law is not limited to software, and can also be damaging to other spheres of personal freedom. We will concentrate here on the issues of computer programs, as we consider them the most serious. It has been observed that the law, in fact, introduces a sort of tax on freely distributable software. We think that these concerns are valid, but the problem as we see it is much more serious."

"Since we were not able to find any substantial commentary on this law on the net, we made our own research, by interviewing SIAE officers, Guardia di Finanza1, Postal and Telecommunications Police, magistrates and copyright lawyers."

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