Copyright As Censorship: Newport Television Abusing DMCA To Try To Silence Criticism

from the that's-not-a-copyright-claim dept

Another day, another case of someone abusing copyright law (and the DMCA specifically) to try to stifle criticism. Before we get into the details, let me be clear on one thing: as I was just discussing last week, I don’t think the panics about “media consolidation” are really that reasonable in this day and age. As such, I find myself very much on the other side, philosophically, with Free Press on its new “Save The News” campaign against media consolidation. As far as I’m concerned, if dinosaur media organizations want to merge, let them. That just opens up more opportunities for upstarts. So, even as someone who isn’t impressed by the campaign, I’m 100% behind them on their response to Newport Television, an operation so upset by this campaign that it’s abusing copyright law to stifle Free Press’ criticism.

The crux of Free Press’ argument is that local TV stations are skirting media ownership rules by setting up joint operations with other channels to share costs. Basically, it allows operations to consolidate without technically being owned by the same operation. As an example, they pointed to Newport’s WAWS-TV and WTEV-TV, which share services and have a consolidated news room. They included a screenshot of the two websites and logos briefly in a video discussing this. Free Press points to this video, but, for the life of me, I can’t see either station mentioned or their logos anywhere.

Either way, showing a screenshot and a log in such cases is clearly not a copyright violation at all. But Newport Television not only sent a bogus cease-and-desist (embedded below) to Free Press, but also issued a bogus DMCA takedown to YouTube, who took down the video. Free Press, of course, is not one to back down and has filed a counternotice and responded sternly to Newport Television, which has just called a lot more attention to its news sharing practices, whether you think they’re a good idea or a bad idea.

This is a clear case of Newport Television abusing copyright law and the DMCA, in particular, to stifle and censor critical commentary. Even if you disagree with Free Press on this issue (as I do), I at least believe they have the right to be heard. In fact, if anything, Newport Television’s actions here make me more sympathetic to Free Press’ position here than I would be otherwise.

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Companies: free press, newport television

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Comments on “Copyright As Censorship: Newport Television Abusing DMCA To Try To Silence Criticism”

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Anonymous Coward says:

But, but, but … Censorship!!!

Wait … censorship is real. This video was only taken down because it shows how ridiculous IP maximists were and what absurd ideas they tried to sell the public and they are now embarrassed to have the public ridicule IP maximists.

Censorship is real. The government establishes corporate monopolies on broadcasting spectra and cableco infrastructure and these corporations use those monopolies to censor ideas and criticisms that IP maximists don’t like. The MSM abuses their govt established monopoly power to broadcast pro-IP propaganda from an uneducated book writer with no merit, while censoring the perfectly valid criticisms of those like MM (among others).

When the FCC took over broadcasting monopolies, they did so under the pretext that they will ensure competition so that censorship doesn’t happen. Yet, despite the fact that our current IP laws are absolutely indefensible (ie: 95+ year copy protection lengths), we reached a point where corporate entities mostly control broadcasting spectra and cableco infrastructure and they censor IP cricisms. They censor all the many things wrong with our IP laws, and all the harm it causes in expensive lawsuits and whatnot, and the skepticism that our founding fathers held against IP. Almost the only thing that they broadcast is pro-IP propaganda. That’s censorship.

IP maximists assert that we exaggerate the censorship complaint. But the complaint is valid, because censorship is already a reality. Even IP maximists on techdirt have commented that the mainstream press does not pay much attention to IP criticisms.

Anonymous Coward says:


People don’t realize that censorship is already a reality. Look around you. Watch T.V. Our IP laws are absolutely and completely indefensible, yet our laws are used to prevent IP criticisms from ever being broadcasted on cableco infrastructure and on broadcasting airwaves. That’s censorship. IP maximists and other government established monopolists want to do to the Internet exactly what they did to everything outside the Internet, they want to monopolize and censor it. Just like they used broken laws to censor broadcasting airwaves and cableco infrastructure.

out_of_the_blue says:

Mike, you're actually a corporatist:

“I don’t think the panics about “media consolidation” are really that reasonable in this day and age.” — That leads inevitably to Rupert Murdoch and limiting the number of voices, the exact situtation that’s causing a number of problems such as nearly unopposed cheerleading for unnecesary foreign wars. So you just blithely dismiss current /power centers/ as “dinosaur media organizations”, no need to worry about them, old story, move on. Exactly as those corporations wish. — Is there ANY level of merger that you’d oppose? ONE WORLD NEWS is fine by you? No worries at all that it might not put out any other message than repeating gov’t press package?

jjmsan (profile) says:

Mike, you're actually a corporatist:

It is more that he is against government interference in the marketplace. I think he expressed it badly here. He is not saying he is for only one media outlet. Since there currently so many methods of transmitting information you could not achieve one world news. Mike would be against any law that allowed this as he is against laws prohibiting consolidation. At least that’s what I took away from it.

Anonymous Coward says:


Also, how often do we hear about criticisms to cableco, broadcasting, taxi cab, and any of the many other government established monopolies over cableco infrastructure and across broadcasting spectra? The answer, probably never. Outside the Internet, people are probably unaware of the fact that the U.S. is a far cry from a free market capitalistic society and that the government establishes monopolies on almost everything. People are falsely lead to believe that this is a free market capitalistic society. Censorship is real, and the government is responsible for it.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Mike, you're actually a corporatist:

He is not saying he is for only one media outlet. Since there currently so many methods of transmitting information you could not achieve one world news. Mike would be against any law that allowed this as he is against laws prohibiting consolidation. At least that’s what I took away from it

Yeah. The point is that it’s *impossible* to have “one media outlet” today. Everyone can be the media today and if there’s a vacuum in the market, it’s easy for someone new to fill it.

Niocet (user link) says:

similar, from the "Trademark as Censorship" dept.

A case of “Trademark as Censorship”: legal notice on
“Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights of Global Indian Foundation Limited”. The notice offers 48 hours to recepient for takedown of the blog that “references our client’s name much more than necessary“.

Hey, did I reference that name much more than necessary ?

Drizzt says:

Still not convincing IMHO (was: Mike, you're actually a corporatist)

You assume that the majority of people, especially those with some sway, would use such alternative news resources. I seriously doubt that, if the person in question is above a certain age. I see that all the time in discussions: if you talk to younger/more tech-savvy people the probability, that they’ve used additional sources or alternative media channels to form their opinion is high. For elderly people (say, e.g. 50+) this is not so true. Those people just listen to “their” channel on TV and read “their” newspaper. And they don’t know where they can e.g. look up who is owning their newspaper for real. If you show them, that can lead to really eye-opening moments.

Thus, I’m not too happy with a too concentrated “legacy media” system for the time being. Maybe in ten to twenty years, it won’t be a problem anylonger.

out_of_the_blue says:

Mike, you're actually a corporatist:

“The point is that it’s *impossible* to have “one media outlet” today.”

But that’s the way the world is going, Mike, as you report here frequently. Media corporations are locking down content and getting the gov’t and ISPs to do actual policing for file-sharing. — In any case, the common situation of media oligarchy is no real obstacle against them having ONE voice and acting to fix prices, and it’s no better than outright monopoly. Markets are usually carved up by a few “families”.

NOPE, you CANNOT reconcile your blithe unconcern about “dinosaur media” with any hope that won’t lead directly to eliminating other opinions and especially dissent. We’ve seen that ever since Reagan dismantled the “fairness doctrine”: the dominant voice has become that of neo-cons: militant “conservatism” — which is simply playing up the authoritarian instincts of most people by convincing them that they’re the “in” group and under external threat.

And your implicit notion that we’re free because can rant on the Internet: first, it’s minor and useful as a safety valve; 2nd, it’s being brought under control right now.

You keep putting little poison pills in your writing, Mike, that have the effect of promoting corporatism. Rest of your writing seems only to build credibility for that by “advertising” what readers want, then tricking them.

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

Free Press

Again, pegging on an extreme.
There are plenty of (mostly older) people who have been indoctrinated to do what the media tells them to do (well, they are heavily influenced by it), and they VOTE!
Result? The world is largely run by Rupert Murdoch, etc., and are fixated on “welfare for the wealthy” and other ideas that are causing our decline as a nation.
So, eventually – I think you are likely right; but “unit step” unbridled media?
I sincerely hope you aren’t serious.

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