Columnist Claims Italy's Google Verdict Makes Sense

from the someone-edited-that? dept

Ted Rall is a columnist/cartoonist, who, a couple years ago, wrote one of the most ridiculous opinion pieces we've seen in a long time -- suggesting that the answer to newspapers' current economic woes is that they should all take their websites down. That column was so full of economic and legal ignorance I thought there was a good chance that it was actually satire -- but people insisted he was serious. Now reader Mandy alerts us to a new column from Rall that again is so devoid of basic logic that I wonder if it's satire. This time he's standing way out on a limb arguing that Italy got it right in finding three Google execs criminally liable for a video some kids posted to Google Video.

Rall's reasoning once again defies logic. He seems unable to comprehend the difference between a publisher and a tool or service provider. Instead, he just insists that Google (and any other online service provider) should be forced to carefully review and fact check every piece of content uploaded before it can be available. Apparently, he doesn't quite recognize what he's asking for. On YouTube alone, more than 20 hours of video are uploaded every minute. And that's just YouTube. Rall also suggests that every blog post, every Tweet and every Facebook message should first be reviewed by an editor before it can be posted.

I think this really goes back to Rall's previous clueless column. He can't stand competition, so his solution is to put in place ridiculous free speech destroying rules and regulations to effectively kill off the internet, because someone might misuse it. His argument is based on the scenario that what if he ran a story falsely accusing you of being a drug-addicted child pornographer. He claims -- falsely -- that if he just published it online, there's nothing you can do about it. He later admits he's lying by saying you could sue him, but he brushes that off by saying no one would sue him because he has no money. Of course, people sue for libel all the time -- even those with no money.

But the really scary thing is that Rall seems to think that basically destroying the freedom to communicate and to express yourself online makes sense, just because the tool might possibly be used to spread a false statement. Does he not recognize the unintended consequences of this? Does he not realize that his "suggestion" for fixing the internet is effectively how much of China's internet censorship program works? Does he not think there might be more effective ways of dealing with such situations? For example, if Rall were to falsely accuse you of being a drug-addicted child pornographer, and it's clearly bogus, then you have an opportunity to fight back, and point out that Rall is wrong, destroy his reputation, and make sure he never gets another job again. Why not let free speech combat free speech?

Instead, Rall seems terrified of free speech, and would prefer that it only come from the "professionals" like himself.

Filed Under: communication, editors, filters, free speech, italy, ted rall
Companies: google


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  1. identicon
    Catherine jennifer fusco, 10 Mar 2010 @ 5:19am

    "Rall's Frre Speech issue "Italy Got It Right"

    RE: the "lifting of the written word?' Is Free Speech being twisted into Free Access? When HaperCollins[e-mailed Masnick,telling him this story] re:Harper "stole" a cover-design from an unpublished novel[expose'][hear that "Win-Free?[[private joke]re:James Frey's[He's Back!] wondering what catagory his book should have been under[like "LIES" maybe? Rall has a point,maybe extreme but still isn't there a thin line between "taking words" or using the same subject when the original 1st subject matter was never published..?If a book is Unpublished[copywritten] & a publisher publisher accepts annother book thus giving away the original 1st subject expose'[while making a foul mockery of the 1979 novel] how then can HaperC get away w/ such anticts? How can the person reponsible actually give merit to a 24yr old whose book re:"waiting"[the stigma sill lives!] while an almost 70yr old woman who worked all her life lifting heavy trays,the written word suprpassing the foul,ethnic orientated smut,customer interactions,but the real events that happened,[one couldn't invent in the original book].. RALL makes sense to say..& also Amazon..said. ."usingthe word "{Novelists[&writers are always boasting how they steal other work"..How does a publisher say "Oh,he didn't know the author[?}? which meant it was ok to use her "Just Tip Me Mister!by Cecilia Sacco Fusco's original 1st subject matter..well written w/ descriptive writting one rarely sees today..any publisher who knows the copyright laws doesn't say "Oh he didn't know the author"[what} then the nerve to utter {Oh,she's not published?'[instead of the term {UNpublished]to add..what is going on here..would they have done this to a famous person..?would they have published this "ungorgetable"mess if it had the truth..NO..it was a mockery of the true,article already written in 1979..because of the "stigma" associated w/ the servitude,this "sleeper" has been stolen[NBC's "It's A Living"[80's sitcome] was aited,then cancelled after the author suspected her printer "pitched" the idea to the produsers..they "cancelled" why? Because the dialoge was about to become "theirs"..the prinetr actually was never sued by mom& me..but what happened to NBC & the printer who took the book to L.A. saying [must have told them she gave the rights],even if..which wouldn't have EVER happened..why didn't they see the bbok belonged to the author..why were they ready to aire another's lifetime work,without any questions?The call to L.A. asked them where did you get this idea,nobody ever though of it before,I am the author of "Just Tip Me Mister![Cecilia Sacco Fusco] I know the printer was there to see you..That is my book..I saw your show,the waitresses are composites of my characters..[these women were parading in clad simple black dresses,high heels..hardly the true drama it was meant to convey!No comedy was meant for this..the producers said "what makes you think we got the idea from your book[continued from the last paragraph..was asked..after the call,the show was cancelled..wonder why?..We should have sued the printer,but att'y said it would be too much to pay[cost] looking back after a year..anyone would have,no court would have thought this a coninciedence..the HaperCollons book[I will not give advertizement to his foul,no experienced,nobody who was complimented by Bordain for his humoress[humorless],lack of talent..What does an author do to get her book read,again[her appearances on many shows,{Donohue} "Cosmo-"article..all media.how long does an author have to watch other's make it,while her book is continuing to be ignored? The background itself could make another book! Rall has a point,same subject..but what about the 1st original,subject not a novice who had nothing better to do..a person who didn't have to support a child,nor did he accomplish anything in his 24 yrs..Women from all over the country wrote in asking "where can I find the book?{Auther had 500 copies left after att't told him to RETURN the copies in leu of a lawsuit instead!But waitresses of America,must be honored for the hard work they do..the phyciatry,the diplomacy,the bosses disiplinaery attitudes,,it's not the waitresses fault[she[author] gained the respect of the cooks!"Quiting" was never an option..this foul book w/ the same cover was sent to an att'y,he said "we can't do anythign[?]Oh yes,we only called one..like they say,a Jewish att'y has the "hudspa",unlike the ;awyers who either are in league w/ HarperC..or cowardess? I am an Italian but unknown to many is they are jealous of their own kind,whereas the Jewish people stick together,so had we called a Jewish att'y he'd have asked questions..that was a lawsuit indeed..The att't told my mom[auther] to monitor the dialoge in the "Its A Living",they were indeed her characters..there's the line RALL means..if one can write the same subject,but the 1st genuine is ignored,because the publishers though it was a joke instead of the truth,then how would any writer feel to see "THEIR" cover[bill-of-fare] on another book...???tell me that!!No body will ever steal one word from her book,so I will not give you her introduction,you would be,any so called "critiquing"or critic would ever disagree w/ such a book like this,can you address this subject,Mr.Mike masnick? This cannot be the literary laws..!!cjenn@ptd.net[1-570-828-1725 talk to the author,the statement often heard from Cecilia Sacco Fusco on waiting..was "they should write about this business" well someone has in 1979..

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