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Italy’s Uffizi Gallery wins US court battle against ‘bloodsucking’ ticket touts

The world-famous Uffizi Gallery in Florence is celebrating after a US court barred online ticket touts from using the Italian museum's name.

Italy's Uffizi Gallery wins US court battle against 'bloodsucking' ticket touts
Florence's Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi) is one of Italy's most important, and most-visited, museums. Photo: AFP

The Arizona court ruled on Thusday against third parties using several addresses including Uffizi.com and Uffizi.net, the museum said, hailing the “historic” ruling.

Visitors to historic museums and sites around the world are frequently confronted with a plethora of websites masquerading as official sites when seeking to buy tickets online.

“These websites have been exploited to date for the sale of tickets to the museum at grossly inflated prices through improper use of the name Uffizi in a deliberate attempt to trick visitors,” the gallery said in a statement.

Visitors queue to get into the Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi) in Florence. Photo: AFP

“This was no mere small-time legal tussle: huge sums of money are involved in the phenomenon of online ticket touting, and it is money stolen from the community as a whole that ends up lining the pockets of the web's artful dodgers.”

The legal battle was with BoxNic Anstalt, a company that had registered numerous domains containing the word Uffizi in Arizona, said the museum, one of the most visited in the world.

The Arizona Federal Court has now declared the “museum's superior right” over that company to use the Uffizi name, brand and logo.

BoxNic had argued that the term “uffizi” was simply an old-fashioned spelling of the Italian word “uffici” or “offices”

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The court “has obliged the company to transfer the registration of the domains it had misappropriated to the Uffizi within 15 days,” the gallery said.

“We have delivered a devastating blow to the web's bloodsuckers who have been exploiting our heritage illegally and in bad faith for years like parasites, depriving the community of resources,” said gallery director Eike Schmidt.

“The Arizona court's ruling sets an extremely important international precedent,” the museum said.

The director of Florence's Uffizi Gallery museum, German Eike Schmidt. Photo: AFP

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CRIME

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

Italian police on Saturday arrested a mafia member suspected of killing two alleged Chinese prostitutes and a Colombian sex worker in Rome, local media reported.

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

The bodies of the two Chinese women were discovered in a residential building in the upmarket Prati district on Thursday morning, while the body of the South American was found in an apartment in the same neighbourhood an hour later.

All three victims were stabbed, according to Italian media reports.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, footage from surveillance cameras allowed police to identify 51-year-old Giandavide De Pau, who had been prosecuted in the past for drug trafficking and sexual assault.

The suspect is reportedly a member of a mafia clan headed by Michele Senese, who is currently serving a life sentence. De Pau is believed to have been one of Senese’s closest collaborators, acting as his personal driver and handyman.

In 2008 and 2011, the suspect had also spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

It is unknown whether the suspected killer was carrying out a mafia hit or acting alone, possibly under the influence of drugs, which were found at the home of some family members where he is believed to have sought refuge after the police manhunt got underway, Corriere della Sera reported.

Several newspapers had warned of a possible “serial killer” in the Italian capital.

The body of one of the Chinese victims was spotted by a neighbour where it lay, naked on a landing. The woman, believed to be in her 40s, had suffered head and stomach injuries, the newspaper said.

When police entered her apartment, they found the body of the second Chinese woman.

Nobody in the building appeared to have heard the murders take place, according to residents.

“Everybody knew there was a house of ill repute here, I’d see people arriving at 2:00 am, 3:00 am,” a woman who lived in the building told reporters.

The body of the Colombian, who was 65, was found by a friend, Corriere della Sera said.

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