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US Gov't Thinks Censorship Is Bad, Unless It's Paid For

from the funny-how-that-works dept

Aaron DeOliveira sends over an amusing statement summarizing the US government's views towards "censorship" on various issues:
Person: Hey, there are child porn sites everywhere!

Government: We are working on it.

Person: Hey, there's these pro-anorexia sites telling young girls to starve themselves!

Government: W/e. (editor's note for the old people: this means "whatever")

Person: Hey, registered hate groups like the KKK have websites!

Government: Well we can't stop them.

Person: I downloaded a movie from ThePirateBay.

Government: PIRATED MOVIES HARMING NOBODY? Time to censor the Internet!
It may seem quite amazing that the government seems to have a massive blindspot to how copyright conflicts with the First Amendment, but one big difference (of course) is that it's only that last situation that has a group of legacy industry players with strong lobbyist ties to DC pushing for such censorship to protect their outdated business models. And, suddenly, the rest of the chat makes a lot more sense.

Filed Under: censorship, first amendment, the pirate bay


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  1. icon
    halley (profile), 21 May 2012 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "The beginning of copyright law" is long before 1970 or the Copyright Act or the First Amendment.

    Ben Franklin was a bookseller and author, and yet also opened the nation's first subscription library, hired the first librarian, and talked at length about how these things had to be balanced.

    Balance is the whole point of the Constitution's phraseology.

    I just finished reading Don Quixote, published in two parts in 1605 and 1615. The fictional characters start volume two by becoming aware that someone wrote of their exploits in a fictional volume one (ostensibly the same as the real volume one). And part of the plot of the second volume is that the characters have to contend with a rogue who rushed to market with a volume two. Don Quixote visits the bookmaker, notes the production of the "apocryphal" volume two, and has a peaceful inner dialogue on the topic of the copyrights and the balance between the bookmaker's livelihood and the facts. (This from a character who will work himself to a froth if you suggest the merest hint of un-chivalrous notion.) In the year 1615!

    Older discussions of how copyright conflicts with expression surely exist, but law around copyright started to form more rigorously a hundred years later, so I didn't want to dig too hard.

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