DMCA As Censorship: Citibank Doesn't Want You To Remember What It Said About Obama's Bank Reform Policy

from the streisand-enters-stage-right dept

We’ve been discussing quite a bit lately how copyright law is often used not as a tool to provide incentive to create, but as a tool for censorship. Here’s the latest example. John Bennett points us to the news that Citigroup filed a DMCA takedown request with over the site LBO-news’ 18-month old post that presented a copy of Citigroup’s analysis of Obama’s (then new) bank reform plan, which noted that it was actually quite bank-friendly. The key quote in the report: “the US government is following a relatively bank-friendly, investor-friendly approach.”

Of course, these days, Wall Street is looking for more favors, and has been complaining about the regulations that the administration put on them as being too onerous. So, firms like Citigroup aren’t too happy about anyone remembering the fact that it knew the regulations weren’t at all onerous, but were extremely friendly to banks and Wall Street. So it issued the DMCA takedown on the report. Of course, as economist Brad DeLong has noted, this is clearly not about copyright issues. It’s not a case where the infringement is harming the “market” for that report. The only reason to file a DMCA is to try to hide the report:

Today–nineteen months after this document was written–it is of historical interest only: none of Citigroup’s paying clients would pay a cent for the information contained in it, for nobody could in any way profitably trade today on Citigroup’s February 2009 analysis of the policies of the Geithner Treasury….

Whatever you think about the DMCA, it should not be used to prune the historical record of primary sources about how various economic policies were perceived at the time.

DeLong is now hosting the document himself (pdf), so if anyone wants to see what Citigroup would prefer you don’t see, check it out (oh, whoops… or is that contributory infringement?).

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Companies: citigroup

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Comments on “DMCA As Censorship: Citibank Doesn't Want You To Remember What It Said About Obama's Bank Reform Policy”

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Bengie says:


They need to pass a law that Frivolous law suits are illegal and carry some huge fine/punishment.

The abuse of a law should carry a fine horrible enough to make people scared to even attempt it.

Like having your accounts frozen, or having half of your estate value donated to charities, but only charities with low management overhead.

Obviously, it should never put someone out in the streets, but plenty of people can live on wages in the 30-40k range. So someone worth $1 billion can be just fine living on $500 million. Heck, should be able to live just fine on $1 million. They’ll just have to move to a cheaper place.

That sounds like a law I can live with. Abuse a law, and you forfeit all of your estates value, down to the last (10* average yearly income).

The current average is ~$80k, so no matter how much they’re worth, they’d only be left with $800k. That’s plenty to live on.

Anonymous Coward says:

One would think that 19 months ago, Citi’s position was quite different than it is today. They may have been looking for Govt. help. Think they would come out and bite the hand that they were asking to help them at the time?

Were I starving, I might thank you for feeding me crap. Were I rich, I would look at your offer and call it crap. Has anything changed besides my perspective?

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