MPAA Praises Government Censorship And Lack Of Due Process

from the that-might-come-back-to-haunt-them... dept

You would think, of all industries, the movie industry would be particularly careful about praising US government censorship of content, since it's not that far down the slippery slope until the government justifies censoring movie content as well. But, apparently, as long as it's on the "internet," it's fine to censor. The MPAA has come out, once again, with praise for Homeland Security's blatant censorship of websites without due process or any concern for prior restraint. Not only that, but the MPAA is delusional. It claims that seizing the URLs has "put illegal sites out of business" and also "raised public awareness."

First of all, nearly all of the sites seized for copyright infringement claims reappeared on other domains pretty quickly. So, claiming that these seizures put them out of business is simply incorrect. And if it's "raised public awareness" of anything, it's how the MPAA and the US government are censoring websites and eschewing the basic principles of due process. It's really amazing how many people have been following this story and realizing just how far the US government is going, and how ridiculous it is. There's simply no way to make that look good. This is making the MPAA and the US government look like bad third world dictators, seeking to censor websites that they don't like.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Hiiragi Kagami (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 10:06am

    Yet...

    ...people still won't care while giving the movie industry another record-breaking year in box office receipts.

    To most people, piracy comes in a Disney movie starting Johnny Depp.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 10:07am

    This is a recording.

    no due process.

    fourth amendment.

    first amendment.

    protected speech.

    court hearing.

    BEEP. Now rewinding to replay again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Markus Hopkins (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 10:13am

    Re: Yet...

    Every time I tell someone that this is happening, and what's wrong with it (including at my law school), they stare at me shocked and ask, "Why haven't I heard about this?!?" Apparently, only us freetards are paying any attention to this stuff at all.

     

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  4.  
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    jimbo, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 10:14am

    they are not interested in how they look. they are only interested in getting their aims met, by any means they can. surely, sooner or later, the governments everywhere, not just in the US will realise they are being used and the benefits are to the movie and music industries alone, not to those governments or, in particular, to the citizens they are supposed to represent?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 10:14am

    Re:

    The president of the Untied States can also unilaterally declare war without asking anyone first. It's about time that they president has the same powers as a king!

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Rich, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re: Yet...

    Well, at least you get that. I get a shrug and a change of subject.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 10:28am

    Re:

    governments everywhere will continue to bend over backwards for these entities, as long as the cash keeps flowing.

    that is what needs to change first.


    of course, it doesn't help at all when the most powerful man in the world puts those former, industry players in such high-level positions. conflict of interest much?


    US doesn't really produce much these days except IP. i can understand why they're doing it, but it is still ALL wrong. morally, ethically


    This is the USA; we are supposed to be better than this.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Ron, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 10:29am

    Re:

    Yeah, im just calling to say that someone is sitting on my front porch copying one of my books with a pen and paper. I told them that copying was illegal and they just laughed at me... Can someone there send over the FBI??

     

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  9.  
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    Adam Bell (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 10:37am

    If Wikileaks was hosted in the USA, you can bet it would be seized too.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    bob, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 10:43am

    Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions

    Not when the government stops you from expressing someone else's. As I've said many times, lumping this together with the First amendment battles that were fought by Martin Luther King and many others is a terrible mistake.

    These sites are all largely automatic and there's little or no expression going on here at all. Certainly the directory of files doesn't rise to the level of expression as defined in the Feist decision.

    If anything, the group that's doing the most from shutting down expression are the pirate sites that are destroying the marketplace for the artists. But you continue to show any hostility toward anyone who takes the sides of the artists.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:00am

    Re: Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions

    No, It is the fact that there is no due process. It is the one that you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. The way that it is being done now is assume they are guilty and they have already made a mistake.

     

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  12.  
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    xs (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:01am

    Re: Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions

    If people supposedly supporting artists start using sensible argument, then maybe people will listen to their reason.

    Just because a site is largely automatic doesn't mean government can freely take it down. If I have a billboard that I allow anyone to stick a piece of paper on it with their opinion on something, say a local government. Would it be OK under any circumstance for government to seize that billboard without first going through due process?

    Physical billboard, electronic bulletinboard, same concept, should have same treatment.

     

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  13.  
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    lrn2postnubs, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:05am

    The level of technical ignorance of ICE and the MPAA/RIAA absolutely astounds me. These seizures mean nothing. Anyone with any actual understanding of DNS knows how ineffective this is. At best they could claim that they are just cleaning unwanted sites out of the top level domains they administer. Which basically means they are at best, performing a manual scavenging process.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions

    When you learn that "due process" doesn't mean "instant process", your life will be easier. Until then, you will always think that the police have to take you to court and have a hearing before they can even write you a speeding ticket.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:06am

    Re:

    OMG did you know that the US Government also seizes CHILD PORN and TERRORIST websites??? I can't believe they've been doing it for years!!!! What fascists!!!!! Don't they know that when they seize ANY WEBSITE no matter what law it breaks they're no better than IRAN?????

    Wake up people!!!! The Internet should not be subject to the rule of any country's laws!!!!!

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions

    Or accuse you of being a child pornographer. No biggie!

     

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  17.  
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    Rich, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions

    Giving you a ticket is not the same as taking away your car until you prove your innocence.

     

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  18.  
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    Mike42 (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:28am

    Re: Re:

    Two Words: Due Process.

     

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  19.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:29am

    Re: Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions

    Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions. Not when the government stops you from expressing someone else's.

    The censorship being talked about is that of the speech on the websites, not the supposedly infringed content.

    As I've said many times, lumping this together with the First amendment battles that were fought by Martin Luther King and many others is a terrible mistake.

    I disagree. The reduction of a right is a reduction of a right regardless of the reasons behind it and shouldn't be tolerated.

    These sites are all largely automatic and there's little or no expression going on here at all. Certainly the directory of files doesn't rise to the level of expression as defined in the Feist decision.

    More than a few of the sites were blog sites, the very definition of expression.

    If anything, the group that's doing the most from shutting down expression are the pirate sites that are destroying the marketplace for the artists.

    What about the rap blogs that were shutdown where the labels themselves were using them to create interest (ie: marketplace) for their products.

    But you continue to show any hostility toward anyone who takes the sides of the artists.

    Not sure what you are talking about here, I have seen very few hostile comments directed at the artists themselves, I have however seen a lot directed at the legacy gatekeepers.

     

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  20.  
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    Chris-Mouse (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:35am

    When you learn that "due process" doesn't mean "instant process", your life will be easier. Until then, you will always think that the police have to take you to court and have a hearing before they can even write you a speeding ticket.
    Due process does not mean instant process, but it does mean you get a chance to defend yourself before any punishment is applied. That cop can write all the tickets he wants, he cannot take your money without giving you a chance to defend yourself in court first.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Who ever said that "Due Process" has to come before the criminal act is stopped?? In these cases, the order is 1 - stop the criminal offense 2 - due process. If it is found that an innocent person was wrongly hurt than part of that due process will be retribution.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:51am

    Re:

    You think it is ok to broadcast state secrets to the entire world. You think transparency of your government is your right. Grow up. What government in the history of the world was transparent? What country do you truly believe will ever be transparent?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:53am

    Re: Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions

    These sites are all largely automatic and there's little or no expression going on here at all.

    We've already highlighted a bunch of *blogs* that had plenty of noninfringing speech that was in fact censored.

    If anything, the group that's doing the most from shutting down expression are the pirate sites that are destroying the marketplace for the artists. But you continue to show any hostility toward anyone who takes the sides of the artists.

    The sites I'm talking about were *promoting* the artists, and the artists LOVED them, and promoted them back.

    I am taking the side of artists. You're just not paying attention.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions

    So you believe that every car in an impound lot belongs to a person that has been through due process and convicted of a crime?

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:58am

    Re:

    Any party whose property was seized is entitled to a post-seizure hearing at which the opportunity is afforded to challenge the seizure. Due Process demands no less.

    Where the arguments here seem to go awry is the belief that due process can only be satisfied if there is an adversarial hearing prior to a seizure. Good, bad, or indifferent, this is not a requirement of law under all circumstances.

     

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  26.  
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    jon day, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 12:00pm

    cops make up a charge resisting arrest they take your car your money your clothes your freedom of speech. the only way to maintain freedom is to have consequences for government actions meaning jail time! Then they are less likely to cross the line. is this a free country when they do what they want and the consequences are us paying for it out of our tax money (lawsuits)

     

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  27.  
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    Bruce Ediger (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Except that for copyright infringement (one of the Most Sacred "Intellecutal Properties") one cannot really tell if one infringes or not. It has to go to trial, in all reality, and trials have yielded judgements like reproducing a whole newpaper article isn't infringing, while reproducing just a few words of a song is infringing.

    Also, copyright infringement by and large isn't a crime, it's a civil matter.

    So, "Due Process" before stopping copyright infringement seems like a damn good idea. Either you're for "Due Process", or you're a Royalist, you monarchical scum, you.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    V, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 12:35pm

    Evil...

    Only the evil and the ignorant rejoice when evil wins.

    Which are you?

     

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  29.  
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    Bruce Ediger (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions

    No, I've had a car stolen from me, and then it ended in an impound lot. Note: stolen, not infringed upon. By the Bad Car Analogy, anything infringed upon, but not legally acknowledged as such should be impounded (seized!) until someone drops by to pick it up, after paying "towing fees" and "storage costs" for their stolen Most Holy Intellectual Property.

    So you believe that ever bad analogy in an argument belongs to a person who has been through a logic class and awarded a good grade?

     

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  30.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re:

    Where the arguments here seem to go awry is the belief that due process can only be satisfied if there is an adversarial hearing prior to a seizure. Good, bad, or indifferent, this is not a requirement of law under all circumstances

    But the circumstances do matter. I don't know why you ignore that. It's really intellectually dishonest of you.

    As you well know the *purpose* of pre-hearing seizures is get evidence that might otherwise disappear. That's not the case here.

    Here, the purpose was censorship.

     

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  31.  
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    Chris-Mouse (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Who ever said that "Due Process" has to come before the criminal act is stopped??

    Criminal act? What criminal act? The police do not have the authority to decide if someone is or is not a criminal. That is something only the courts can do.
    The police do have the authority to stop a criminal act if they see it happening. Being told about it by a third party is not seeing it happen.
    the police also have the authority to seize evidence to prevent it from being destroyed. A domain name is not evidence of anything, nor can it be destroyed.
    ICE, the arm of the government that did the seizing, has neither of those police powers. ICE has the authority to detain people illegally in the country, and seize illegally imported contraband. A domain name is not a person, and neither imported, nor contraband. ICE simply does not have anything even remotely resembling the authority to do what it did.

     

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  32.  
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    The eejit (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re:

    Yes, especially if that government is more corrupt than Russian government. At least they're honest about it.

     

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  33.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re:

    Where the arguments here seem to go awry is the belief that due process can only be satisfied if there is an adversarial hearing prior to a seizure. Good, bad, or indifferent, this is not a requirement of law under all circumstances.

    Still doesn't answer why an adversarial hearing couldn't take place before the seizures. These obliviously aren't about preserving evidence. The domain name can't flee the country.

    The domain name would be seized after the hearing when the judge signs off on it, just like without a hearing - no difference.

    It seems that ICE/DoJ are doing these seizures without an adversarial hearing because they are afraid that their legal theory and flimsy evidence wouldn't stand up to scrutiny.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions

    Actually, much of the non-infringing speech was just posts with infringing videos in them and such. Mike, you know of course that the courts have long sinced ruled that some free speech may get hurt in the process of eliminating illegal or unprotected speech, and that this is an acceptable trade off, right?

     

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  35.  
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    JMT, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions

    "If anything, the group that's doing the most from shutting down expression are the pirate sites that are destroying the marketplace for the artists."

    The marketplace for selling music has been disrupted by a fundamental technological change and a corresponding change in societal attitudes, not by "pirate" sites. Boo hoo for you, adapt or die.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Yet...

    Then you are doing it wrong.
    If you start with "They are destroying us..." that is bad.
    Most people I know get aware of the situation when they see me downloading music and videos without fear, then they ask if I'm not afraid, I say no because all I consume is GPL, CC Commons products and explain to them that they are free to distribute and share and in the case of the GPL you can even sell it without having to ask permission to no one, they then get excited and want to be able to do the same and ask me how it is done and I show them how to recognized free culture and pay attention to the licenses, after that I show them where to find music, movie and videos and how to use filters to find the licenses that are free.

    Works every time.

    The cherry on the top is asking "I don't want some big company to tell me what I can and cannot do, do you want that?"

    LoL

     

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  37.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Yet...

    Well, at least you get that. I get a shrug and a change of subject.

    So true. Sometimes they even try to look under my wizard's hat to see if it's tinfoil lined.

    I usually respond with something like this:

    Which is worse?

    Going through life with blinders on thinking that the government and big business ALWAYS has my best interest in mind.

    or

    Keeping yourself educated and aware that abuses of power do happen and realizing that the only person who really cares about my best interest is me.

     

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  38.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Yet...

    Actually, those very Disney movies regarding Pirates help defeat their anti-"piracy" efforts.

    As we know, the largest crowd that loves those movies are the teens and young adult crowds. I don't know if it has to do with Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp or what, but they love it. These movies make pirates out to be great people. The cool ones and the good guys.

    On the other hand you have all these groups saying if you download music you are a pirate. I actually don't know anybody these days who thinks pirates (ship sailing) are bad. Everybody thinks they are neat and cool.

    One would think that with the public opinion of pirates being as high as it is, maybe the lobbying groups should have chosen a different name for music downloaders.

    The only time piracy is actually looked down upon is when talking about Somalia. .. And that's about it.

     

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  39.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions

    Actually, much of the non-infringing speech was just posts with infringing videos in them and such. Mike, you know of course that the courts have long sinced ruled that some free speech may get hurt in the process of eliminating illegal or unprotected speech, and that this is an acceptable trade off, right?

    Wait. Why wouldn't all of the speech on the site be protected? Unless it's libelous or something like that of course.

    And wouldn't the alleged infringing video usually be links to completely different sites that are actually hosting the material?

    So really it's not a "process of eliminating illegal or unprotected speech", it's removing ALL of the speech because there links to *possibly* infringing material.

     

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  40.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    er...obviously*

    Curse you spellcheck!

     

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  41.  
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    Richard (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Re:

    You think it is ok to broadcast state secrets to the entire world.

    Yes

    You think transparency of your government is your right.

    Yes

    What government in the history of the world was transparent?

    What person in the history of the world lived without doing anything bad? None. Does that justify doing bad things? No.
    Grow up - it is you that is making the childish arguemnt.

    You are saying " Please Miss - he did it TOOOOO..."

    What country do you truly believe will ever be transparent?
    None (as no- one ill ever be a morally perfect human. Unlike you however I don't think that that is an excuse not to try.

     

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  42.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 5:10pm

    Re: Re:

    What government in the history of the world was founded with the acknowledgment that its own citizens will be able to overthrow it, and in fact should do so every few years?

     

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  43.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 5:12pm

    Re: Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions

    But you continue to show any hostility toward anyone who takes the sides of the artists.

    The sides of the what, now?

     

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  44.  
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    abc gum, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    civil != criminal

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Re:

    "You think it is ok to broadcast state secrets to the entire world."

    If you've got nothing to hide ... back at ya dude.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
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    abc gum, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 7:05pm

    Wow, the anti bill of rights crowd is scraping the bottom of the barrel here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anunimus Kowerd, Apr 1st, 2011 @ 2:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Amen brother! Better that ten innocent people suffer than risk one guilty person escaping, right? /s

    Moron.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 8:09am

    Re: Re:

    This is the USA; we are supposed to be better than this.

    While there are a *few* good people in the US, it has become largely a nation of hypocrites.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Censorship is when the government stop you from expressing your own opinions

    Mike, you know of course that the courts have long sinced ruled that some free speech may get hurt in the process of eliminating illegal or unprotected speech, and that this is an acceptable trade off, right?

    Yeah, especially is some middle eastern countries, and look what's happening to some of those governments now. Maybe that's what needs to happen i the US.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re:

    Due Process demands no less.

    Due process demands no less, it demands more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "While there are a *few* good people in the US, it has become largely a nation of hypocrites."

    Building and maintaining a good society is kind of like farming. You need a place to plant good seeds and then you need to take care the crop. Part of taking care of the crop is a process called "weeding". That's what the U.S. needs, otherwise the weeds will start trying to take over and choke out the good plants. Weeds should be taken out where ever they are found.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 5:28am

    Re: Re:

    You think transparency of your government is your right.

    Yes because without it democracy is meaningless. How do we know who to vote for if we do not know what they are actually doing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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