Last week, Mike posted the tale of ABC/Disney trying to misuse copyright to stifle criticism of one of its radio stations. The company filed a takedown notice with the hosting provider of a blogger who was posting short clips of radio broadcasts as part of his campaign to discourage advertisers from buying airtime at the station. The clips were obviously fair use, but since the campaign was apparently successful in spooking some advertisers, the company sent the takedown notice. Now, the EFF notes that the radio station will spend three hours discussing the controversy, adding that it's the right response to respond to critical speech with more speech, rather than resorting to legal action. However, the rhetoric the station's DJs are using to describe the situation is pretty ridiculous, as they try to paint the bloggers' actions as censorship, and that he's trying to "take away [the DJs'] free speech rights." While hyperbole is a key tool of radio talk-show hosts, this is simply preposterous. Free speech isn't a zero-sum game; when somebody with whom you disagree makes a more convincing argument than you can, that doesn't mean you're being censored or your rights are being trampled. Also, as the EFF further points out, the Constitution makes no guarantee about advertiser-subsidized speech. The blogger simply illustrated to the stations' advertisers behavior by its DJs that he didn't think they'd want to be associated with -- that's hardly akin to censorship, which is only something a government or official body can do in any case. If anybody's stifling free speech here, it's the station, its corporate parent and its lawyers.
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