Misusing Copyright To Stifle Speech
from the again? dept
We’ve had a variety of stories lately about companies abusing the copyright law to stifle critics, and it seems that Disney is the latest practitioner. Against Monopoly points us to a story where a critic of some talk radio hosts was shut down by ABC/Disney by using copyright law. The individual in question had been sending detailed letters to advertisers of a Disney owned radio station, highlighting some of the statements he found objectionable by the radio station’s hosts, who were also reading live promos from these advertisers. Apparently, the campaign was effective in getting some advertisers to pull their ads — but rather than responding to the substance of the complaint, Disney forced the critic’s website offline. In sending out these letters to advertisers the anonymous critic was linking to short audio clips to demonstrate his points — and Disney filed a takedown notice, alleging copyright infringement. These were clearly fair use clips, but since Disney can spend lots of money and this guy can’t defend against it by himself, his website got pulled. Also, since he wants to remain anonymous for fear of threats against him, he’s worried about defending himself more strongly — even though he knows he’s right. Luckily, it sounds like the EFF is going to at least help him deal with the issue. Whether or not you agree with the guy, it seems like a pretty clear misuse of copyright law. He wasn’t using the content to compete with the radio station in any way — but to critique it.