Vietnamese Officials Say New Censorship Law Is About Protecting Copyrights

from the copyright-as-censorship dept

For years we've pointed out that copyright law is often used for censorship, and plenty of authoritarian governments figured that out a long, long time ago. So, when the US goes around strongly advocating for stricter copyright laws, it's really not that surprising to see some countries turn around and use that to justify censoring of political speech and free speech. Last week, we wrote about how Vietnam had passed an incredibly broad new censorship law, which says that blogs and social media cannot "quote, gather or summarize" information from the media or government websites. Instead, people using such social media can only talk about things having to do with their own lives, rather than the news.

This is incredibly broad censorship, designed to massively stifle public participation, especially in the political process. So, wouldn't you know it? Among the ways that Vietnamese officials are defending this program is by claiming it's necessary to "protect intellectual property."
State media reported that the vice minister of information and communications, Do Quay Doan, said the curbs aren't designed to limit free speech but to manage the rapid growth of the Internet in Vietnam. Other officials said the rules also will protect intellectual property.
Expect to see this more and more as authoritarian governments realize that US pressure to ratchet up copyright laws gives them the perfect excuse to hide behind when they focus on censoring the public: just say it's to protect intellectual property, and frame it in the same language that the US is pushing, and it's a free ticket to censor nearly anything.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 13th, 2013 @ 5:45am

    Expect to see this more and more as authoritarian governments realize that US pressure to ratchet up copyright laws gives them the perfect excuse to hide behind when they focus on censoring the public: just say it's to protect intellectual property, and frame it in the same language that the US is pushing, and it's a free ticket to censor nearly anything.

    Excuse for censorship: copyrights and trademark
    Excuse for mass surveillance: terrorism (or the children if you think UK)
    Excuse for economic capture: patents

    Depressing.

     

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  2.  
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    rw (profile), Aug 13th, 2013 @ 5:48am

    "Authoritarian"...Like the US is becoming??? I mean with all the surveillance, lying government officials, coverups, etc ad nauseam.

     

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  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 7:52am

    CLASSIC MASNICK STRETCH: "Other [Vietnamese] officials said the rules also"

    to attack the everyday good of copyright here in the US.

    There's almost less than nothing to this, so I'll have to offset with TWO taglines (yes, a world first innovation!):

    Masnicking: daily spurts of short and trivial traffic-generating items.

    Techdirt. It's where the wrongness is.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    out_of_boredom, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 7:56am

    Re: It's where the wrongness is.

    if its so wrong go elsewhere. please.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 8:00am

    Re: CLASSIC MASNICK STRETCH:

    Mike didn't say copyright doesn't have positive effects, but that it is used as an excuse/tool for censorship

    Which is true

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 8:02am

    Re: CLASSIC MASNICK STRETCH: "Other [Vietnamese] officials said the rules also"

    Bloggers aren't allowed to mention news, you see nothing wrong with this?

    And fyi your post makes almost less than no sense (again). Maybe try the preview button next time?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 8:13am

    It's time to ban out_of_the_blue for life

    This single person (or multiple people hiding behind a single username) is trashing this site. His/her/their/its constant, abusive, offensive, idiotic ranting detracts -- and in a major way -- from the discussions here. Not that every single comment is always cogent and focused, not that all the rest of us are always insightful and literate; but this username is never so.

    It's time for Techdirt to stop suffering this fool AND to stop allowing this person to inflict their nonsense on the rest of us. It's time to ban them for life. (Yes, they'll whine and complain. Too bad. They add no value here, therefore they don't deserve to speak.)

     

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  8.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Aug 13th, 2013 @ 8:27am

    Re: It's time to ban out_of_the_blue for life

    I disagree.

    Although, Blue does derail conversations with his abusive, offensive and idiotic ranting, he has as much right to express his views as you or I. I may not agree with what he says, but I will fight to the death for his right to say them.

    The correct response to incorrect, offensive, abusive or ignorant speech is to counter with more speech, not to suppress it.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: It's time to ban out_of_the_blue for life

    He (she? they?) certainly have the right to their views, no matter how insanely stupid. And they are free to express them on their OWN web site, on their blog, on their mailing list, on their (fill in the blank with anything else they have).

    What they do not have is the right to express them here. Neither do I. Neither do you. We enjoy this privilege by the courtesy of this site's operators/owners. That privilege may be revoked at any time for any reason they deem fit -- or even for no reason at all.

    And I am asking that in the case of the out_of_the_blue that they revoke it permanently, because this person/persons are clearly not here to participate in discussion and debate; they're here to be a total asshole. There's simply no reason to tolerate that kind of behavior either in person or online. (I'm pretty surprised that it's gone on this long: I would have acted after a day or two of this obvious nonsense.)

    It is, of course, the option of this site's owners/operators to do as they wish. But for the sake of civil, productive, readable, useful, enlightening, entertaining, educational discussion, I hope they'll act.

     

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  10.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Aug 13th, 2013 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: It's time to ban out_of_the_blue for life

    he has as much right to express his views as you or I
    While technically true, your rights here are limited to what Mike allows, since this is his page. Free speech rights do not apply to private property. Otherwise, I agree with your premise.

    Besides, I think it's quite charitable of Mike to allow mentally ill people like OoTB an outlet to express themselves.

     

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  11.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Aug 13th, 2013 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Re: It's time to ban out_of_the_blue for life

    While I wish OOTB and the other trolls would just shut the fuck up, there is no way really for Mike to block them. IP adress, MAC address, user-name etc. If he were to try blocking any of them, he'd also be blocking any other users of those devices who do comment in a nice and polite fashion. For all we know, OOTB/AJ/et al use the same computer/phone/router as me, Gwiz, Tim, Great Mizuti, silverscarcat, Ninja, etc.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 9:07am

    Re: CLASSIC MASNICK STRETCH: "Other [Vietnamese] officials said the rules also"

    "here in the US"

    Congratulations, dickwad, you just posted something alluding to your identity - that is, something that alluded more than the fact that you're a colossal chronic masturbator for the RIAA and their wallets.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 9:18am

    and as usual, the ultra democratic (I DONT THINK!) USA is fucking the World up, just as it has/is fucking itself up, all in the name of protecting a bunch of doddering old wankers in Hollywood and other places of copyright maximalism! when is everywhere gonna learn that while it can continue to chuck the same crap over everyone else, the US is gonna carry on doing so, just so it isn't on it's own!

     

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  14.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Aug 13th, 2013 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re: It's time to ban out_of_the_blue for life

    What they do not have is the right to express them here. Neither do I. Neither do you. We enjoy this privilege by the courtesy of this site's operators/owners. That privilege may be revoked at any time for any reason they deem fit -- or even for no reason at all.


    Yes, I am aware of all that. Mike has always tried to keep the comments here open to all and free from moderation because his beliefs on free speech. It's one of the main reasons I remain a part of this community.

    AFAIK no one has ever been banned from Techdirt for any reason and starting now would only tarnish Mike's reputation and undermine the views he has expressed concerning free speech.

     

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

  15.  
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    ahow628 (profile), Aug 13th, 2013 @ 10:18am

    Delete this post...

    This post needs to be deleted because I read another article on Techdirt that said that copyright can NEVER be used for censorship.

     

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  16.  
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    demockrazy, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 10:30am

    Darkages

    It's sad that our once great nation that used to be a beacon for democracy and freedom .. has been so perverted by financial gain and greed.. that its inspiring or rather pushing us into another dark age .and smaller nations are following suit , we gave them the excuse now they're off and running with scissors.. well done

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It's time to ban out_of_the_blue for life

    AFAIK no one has ever been banned from Techdirt for any reason and starting now would only tarnish Mike's reputation and undermine the views he has expressed concerning free speech.

    What OOTB is doing isn't speech: it's abuse. It is undeserving of the noble/lofty protections that you (and I) (and Mike) would accord to speech.

    To illustrate that distinction: if someone stood on a streetcorner in my neighborhood espousing the most vile racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic garbage imaginable, I would find that very offensive -- but I'd defend it as free speech. However, if they stand on the sidewalk outside my house at 3 AM with a bullhorn, I will seek to have them arrested, shot, deported, defenestrated, remonstrated, castrated (as applicable) -- because that's not speech, that's abuse.

    The defense of free speech is a worthy goal. I've put my job on the line for it. But there's no point in defending abuse, it just encourages assholes like OOTB to do more of it.

     

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  18.  
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    atease, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It's time to ban out_of_the_blue for life

    Can't have a conversation about Censorship If you yourself condone or allow it .

     

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  19.  
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    David Woodhead (profile), Aug 13th, 2013 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It's time to ban out_of_the_blue for life

    To Gwiz: I agree that banning is not the way to go, and that Mike would lose the moral high ground if it could be argued that there was any censorship going on other than the user reporting mechanism (not that I think that Mike's aiming for a moral high ground, but you know what I mean).

    To be scrupulously fair, there have been a few times over the past year when OOTB has written something that has been reasonably insightful and not barking mad, and on those occasions his comments have been left unreported - and have even received some favourable responses. However, for several weeks now it's just been getting more and more bizarre (or out of the blue, if you will).

    So leave things as they are, and just keep reporting the wilder flights of fancy and continual ad hominem attacks. Who knows: at some point this could be used as a case study in someone's PhD thesis on how to deal with attempted disruption to online discussion groups.

     

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  20.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Aug 13th, 2013 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's time to ban out_of_the_blue for life

    What OOTB is doing isn't speech: it's abuse. It is undeserving of the noble/lofty protections that you (and I) (and Mike) would accord to speech.

    No offense, but that is only your opinion and everyone's opinion of what may constitute abuse are different. I'm sure that Blue feels what he is saying is valid and important. We should strive to allow all speech unless it will cause demonstrable harm to others. Period. Full stop. Your judgement of another's speech isn't really relevant to the discussion of whether it should allowed or not.



    To illustrate that distinction: if someone stood on a streetcorner in my neighborhood espousing the most vile racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic garbage imaginable, I would find that very offensive -- but I'd defend it as free speech. However, if they stand on the sidewalk outside my house at 3 AM with a bullhorn, I will seek to have them arrested, shot, deported, defenestrated, remonstrated, castrated (as applicable) -- because that's not speech, that's abuse.

    First off, this example isn't relevant. We are commenting on a website, not via bullhorn on the street corner.

    Secondly, in your example the speech itself wouldn't be the problem. It wouldn't matter one bit if I was bellowing at 3am about inhuman treatment of fuzzy kittens or a desire to return to the ideals of the Nazis. It would be more of matter of violating local "disturbing the peace" laws than a free speech issue.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 10:55am

    I just found tyis site a few days ago(happily). You guys seem to feed the trolls much more than elsewhere. I guess in a way I'm feeding this ootb character right now as well. Damn him/her. Here's my revenge: Hey, OOTB, every time you masterbate a fat midget with an unusually plump vagina shall pop into your fantasy. Try your best not to think of her, i dare you. You can't.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 11:30am

    The excuses !

    It's Mike's website he can do what he wants.

    It's only free speech we don't like that we censor.

    Wouldn't it be nice to be able to block people all together !

    Trouble is Mike wants to portray himself and the bastion of free speech and constitutional rights.

    But when it suits him he allows and even promotes censorship, for no other reason then what is said is not agreed too.

    Mike also like the excuse "It's not me, it's the users!", no it's masnick, he encourages this practice and designed it into his site for that purpose.

    Now I could understand if it was used responsibility, but it is abused like so many other forms of power from censorship, something Mike constantly fights AGAINST. (except at his house).

    As for blocking IP address, YES MASNICK ROUTINELY DOES THAT, not based on the comment, but based on the PERSON.

    It is at least an interesting experiment in social behaviour, make a web site claiming being for free speech and against censorship, but provide a tool for users to choose power over freedom and see what happens.

    It's clear when people are given the power to censor they will do so for their own gains, even if that gain is simply their opinion over someone else's.

    So if people are given that power THEY WILL USE AND ABUSE it for their own gains. Even on a web site that claims to fight against that very thing.

     

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  23.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 13th, 2013 @ 11:44am

    Re: The excuses !

    You don't understand the concept of free speech at all. Free speech does not mean that everybody is obligated to allow you to use their soapbox. If you're in my house, it is not a violation of your free speech rights if I tell you to shut up.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Postulator, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 5:08pm

    Do as we say, not as we do

    It's almost as if George Orwell wrote a user manual for the 21st century government.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 5:42pm

    Re: The excuses !

    Where's your blocked IP address, darryl?

    Or are you masking your IP address to post here? You know that that's considered morally reprehensible by copyright supporters, right?

    But then, we wouldn't expect you to be moral. Your country has 1984 in its public domain and your government encourages its citizens to lie about their location for cheaper Photoshop.

    You're a lying, thieving freetard, just like your filthy public domain government.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 8:38pm

    Re: Re: The excuses !

    I said he blocks IP address, I did not say he was good at it.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 8:40pm

    Re: Re: The excuses !

    um, do you know what "dynamic IP" means ??

    I guess not..

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2013 @ 8:42pm

    Re: Re: The excuses !

    This web site is not Masnicks house, it's a PUBLIC and COMMERCIAL web site.

    Intended to promote free speech, fight against censorship, and stimulate debate, and sell products and make money.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2013 @ 12:12am

    Re: Re: Re: The excuses !

    No, the RIAA doesn't know what dynamic IP address means, but that hasn't stopped them from suing grandmothers to fulfill your wet dreams.

    Just goes to show that you're as filthy and immoral as your government is, masking its citizens' IP addresses to get cheaper Adobe Photoshop.

    You're a freetard and according to you, you should be ashamed of yourself.

     

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

  30.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 14th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re: Re: The excuses !

    It appears that you also don't understand the difference between public and private. This is a private website run by Mike's company -- so yes, it's his house.

     

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

  31.  
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    fairuse (profile), Aug 27th, 2013 @ 2:45pm

    3 Monkeys of Government: See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil

    Since the utopian dream of a state where the 3 monkeys live in harmony with the internets is impossible, I am happy to announce, it is also impossible in this comment block. People will say stupid things about anything. I am not immune to inciting a response via carefully crafted "below the belt" rant which has gone wrong. However, the best response to poster(s) being lynched with "ban forever" talk is shunning, in other words, ignore.

    Society is everything but polite these days and the internets have taken that to levels I didn't expect back when I used BBS via acoustic modem to post comments. What is interesting is the growth to forums via dialup allowed every person who could master the tech a voice on any subject; it also allowed me to IP ban idiots. Today I am here via 16Mb/s cable with software my non-tech mother can use. Has this had the effect of presenting human nature unfiltered? Pretty much.

    I was called an elitist in a forum post in the early 1990's by someone who felt forums did not need policing. Right, thread locked. This site, techdirt, is not a forum it is OP-ED with comments. Ban one wingnut and it subverts the message that all points of view need hearing.

    Lastly, if some comments are psychotic just click report and hope it gets hidden. If that fails do what I do -- Up the dose man.

     

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


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