Hmmm… This is one of those cases wehre the cock-up theory of history probably provides the best explanation. But here’s The Register’s take on the story so far:
Italian bloggers may be required to register with a national database, unless an ambiguously-worded new law is amended before it comes into force.
Widespread outrage among bloggers and IT-savvy journalists has reached the mainstream press, and the government now appears to be keen to revise a draft law which has led politician Francesco Caruso to remark: “This is Italy, not Burma.”
The law got its initial approval from Mr Prodi’s Cabinet of Ministers in mid-October, as part of a package attempting to tidy up Italy’s publishing-related regulations, and requires further approvals before coming into force.
According to many legal experts, the murky text of the law (pdf) can be construed to include non-professional, not-for-profit blogs and websites among “editorial products”, giving them the same duties and liabilities as magazines and newspapers.
This would require even the lowliest Italian blogger or MySpace account holder to go through the hassle of filing personal details with the national registry of “communication operators” currently reserved for professionals of the publishing sector.
And The Register’s conclusion?
The chances of this law becoming effective in its current form are exceedingly slim, so there is no immediate cause for concern. The blog brouhaha may turn out to be another storm in a teacup, but it has certainly shown Italian netizens once again that their government is remarkably out of touch with the realities of the internet age.