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Autistici wins case over railroad parody site

Autistici | 24.09.2004 23:37 | Free Spaces | World

The Italian hostingprovider Austici does not have to remove a satirical
website it hosts with a parody on the website of the Italian railroad
company Trenitalia, by a court decision.

On 14 September 2004 the court of Milan rejected a
request from Trenitalia to remove the 'offending content' and impose a
fine on the provider.

The court decided that the parody fell under the
protection of the constitutional right on freedom of expression granted in
Article 21, and decided Trenitalia had to reimburse the legal costs of
5.100 euro.

Trenitalia could opt for a (much longer and more expensive) civil case
against Autistici, but given the clear motivation from the court on the
right to create satire, it seems unlikely such an appeal will yield any

The case started half July with a letter from Trenitalia to
announcing the court case. Trenitalia demanded the provider should
immediately remove the site, publish an advertisement in 2 national
newspapers about the removal of the site and do not use any metatags
referring to trenitalia. On top of that, the railroad lawyers demanded
refunding of moral and actual damages to the company.

After a first hearing on 3 August 2004 the judge ordered to
comply with all these demands, including the obligation to invest aprox.
20.000 euro in publication of advertisements in the 2 national newspapers.
Fortunately, the court of Milan, after having heard the defense of
autistici on 7 September 2004 decided to overrule the preliminary
proceeding, and acquit the provider from all charges.

Autistici file on Trenitalia case

Preliminary judgement (in English, 03.08.2004)

Final judgement (in Italian, dated 07.09.2004)

Parody website



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  1. Satire is still legal in Italy. — J