Pat Roberston Claims Gays Intentionally Spreading AIDS; Abuses DMCA To Stifle Criticism

from the holy-hell dept

Okay, I'm beginning to notice something of a trend. It seems to me that while we typically highlight instances of copyright law and the DMCA process used for censorship purposes, an odd bit of momentum is building up behind advocate and evangelical (not to be read strictly as religious) groups, which you would think generally want their ideas and concepts spread as far and wide as possible, being the perpetrators of this intellectual property bullying. Serving as examples are a "straight pride" group going ballistic when their own arguments are put on display and a doctor who advocates against home-birthing trying to silence her own provocative speech. I simply don't get it.

Yet we continue to see examples in which IP law is used to censor self-speech in this way. Take another foray into technology by Pat Robertson, whom we last saw saying that crimes committed in video games were equal in sin to crimes committed in real life. This time, the Christian Broadcast Network, which carries the flagship The 700 Club led by Robertson, has been issuing DMCA notices for clips of the show in which Robertson informs the faithful that homosexual activists are intentionally spreading AIDS among the pious by shaking their hands while wearing a ring with a sharp puncture device that has infected blood on the tip.


Now, let's be clear: For the purposes of this article, my view, your view, anyone's view on sexuality is irrelevant. We're here because Robertson said this, other groups are using the video as commentary, and the CBN is actively attempting to censor the videos using intellectual property law. That's the issue at hand. Case in point, the Rightwingwatch.org site linked above is obviously also an advocacy group with their own agenda with which you may not agree. That doesn't matter. They have their right to speech the same as anyone else and the CBN abusing the law to try and stifle the inevitable backlash over Robertson's false statement is wrong no matter whom you agree with. The good news is that, in this case, the other DMCA shoe has dropped and some of the videos that had been taken down by YouTube are now back up after the appropriate counter-claims were filed. That said, it's ridiculous that any counter-claim was necessary in the first place. Robertson is an evangelist; you'd think he'd want his words out there as much as possible, if he actually believes what he says. Censorship using government law is something you'd think religious groups would be actively opposed to, not employing.

And, in the meantime, this story is now traveling in far wider circles than it would have if the CBN hadn't raised a censorious finger. Way to go, all around!


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 1:56pm

    Stupid and ignorant people don't like their stupidity or ignorance being pointed out to the world lest we think they are stupid and ignorant.

     

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    S. T. Stone, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 2:01pm

    Even gay-hating Christians can run afoul of the Streisand Effect.

    It's a Christmas miracle.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 2:11pm

    Incorrect assumption in the article..

    Robertson is an evangelist; you'd think he'd want his words out there as much as possible, if he actually believes what he says.
    Robertson may, and (if he believe what he said, which I'm willing to bet he does) he likely does want his words out as much as possible.

    But he's the performer here - he's not the copyright holder. CBN is the copyright holder, and (given the fact that they deleted this clip before it hit the air) they know how insane this makes Robertson sound. CBN, not Robertson, are the ones who deserve the flack for issuing the fraudulent DMCA notice.

    Oh sweet FSM, look what you made me do - you have me defending Pat Robertson! I feel dirty, I'm gonna go have a shower and see if I can wash some of this shame off me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 2:12pm

    There's a paraphilia based on that

    Bugchasing, google it. I guarantee you'll regret doing so, but that does exist. Apparently.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 2:15pm

    OOTB: NO GUISE this is just anomaly 1474732662645483

    No big deal.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 2:22pm

    DMCA takedowns: Easier than admitting to being wrong and/or crazy.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 2:39pm

    Tim, that should be the "holy shit what an idiot department"

     

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    PRMan, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 2:44pm

    He needs to get off the air quick...

    Pat's always been known to make some questionable statements in the past, but those were largely the media taking his words out of context.

    But this year, he's turned into a raving stooge like the uncle that makes racist jokes all the time while everyone just winces. I mean, even if the "on purpose needle" thing has happened, it's certainly not a regular occurrence and definitely not something that happens often enough to put on a nationally syndicated TV show.

     

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  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 2:51pm

    You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    Since we're confining this to STRICTLY copyright, it's a fairly clear and perfectly valid use of property rights to prevent enemies from using your own material.

    The attempt by CBN does not in any way stifle the free speech of someone who themselves state Robertson's views.

    That may be a VERY narrow distinction, but in the black-white world of law, CBN has all the inherent rights to control use of the video: critics have none. I don't see any "fair use" argument made here; Timmy is just having fun with an easy target.

    "Robertson's false statement" -- WELL, that's Timmy's manifest bias: he doesn't know, just assumes it's factually false. But as his own malicious streak shows, intentional infection is not out of the question; just because they're "AIDS activists" doesn't make them automatically in the right, EITHER.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 2:56pm

    Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    Uh, no actually, making criticism and commentary on something, using the source material like that very clearly falls under 'Fair Use', so they do not in fact have the right to take down the clips to stifle criticism/commenting on what he said.

     

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    CK20XX, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 3:02pm

    Ironically, there's probably a special place in hell for people like Pat Robinson.

    I think even the bible he doesn't seem to read says something about that, something about bewaring of hypocrites and false prophets, and when they finally meet God face-to-face, they'll go, "But Lord, we made many prophecies and performed many miracles in your name!" and he'll be like, "What the hell are you talking about? I never knew you, you great frauds."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 3:17pm

    Re: Incorrect assumption in the article..

    I'm convinced that the people actually running CBN are happy to let Robertson do mostly whatever he wants. Whatever it takes to keep viewers happy and sending in money.

    What I want to know is what are they doing with that money, not Pat but his handlers, his administrative team, the people helping him make decisions.

    I think the recent documentary about his ministry's actions in Africa, "Mission Congo" is likely tugging at a tiny loose string that could lead to bigger snarls and get others caught up in the mess.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 3:25pm

    Well priests don't need to believe in god: He can make inflamatory statements without believing in them.

    It does bring him in hypocricy territory but there is nothing wrong with that in this day and age!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 3:38pm

    Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    You've set a new record for "most wrong." Congratulations.

     

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    DB, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 3:50pm

    Actually, to have a new record for "most wrong" you have to assert that you also can't use his name because it's trademarked, throw in a statement about a "right not to be offended", and toss something new and big on top of the heap.

    BTW, his god is *way* more of an asshalo than my God. And my God used to turn people into pillars of salt just for looking in the wrong direction."

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 4:10pm

    Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    You never ever see Fair Use anywhere, because you have no understanding what it is.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 4:13pm

    Re: There's a paraphilia based on that

    and this adds what to the discussion at hand?

    Or did you think you could just try and dilute the insane mewling of this old man and the attempt to use the law to hide the statements.

    The discussion is abuse of a legal system meant to serve a single purpose and that purpose is NOT to cover up making oneself look like a flaming cockhammer.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 4:15pm

    Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    ""Robertson's false statement" -- WELL, that's Timmy's manifest bias: he doesn't know, just assumes it's factually false. "

    Right, except unlike you I actually clicked on that Snopes link that demonstrates that it's a false statement. Way to be an idiot, Blue. At least you're consistent....

     

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    S. T. Stone, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 4:23pm

    Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    Under this train of thought, The Daily Show couldn’t criticize Fox News by using clips from Fox News.

    The criticism of others' words, actions, and expressions via replaying, quoting, or otherwise ‘using’ copyrighted material clearly meets the requirements of the Fair Use defense against copyright infringement (and would have a clear-cut First Amendment defense on their hands to boot).

    it's a fairly clear and perfectly valid use of property rights to prevent enemies from using your own material

    If the government decided that someone doesn’t deserve First Amendment protections for quoting copyrighted material because the copyright holder considers them an ‘enemy’ in any sense, such a decision would chill free speech everywhere.

    The attempt by CBN does not in any way stifle the free speech of someone who themselves state Robertson's views.

    It does, actually. Printing words said by a person does not offer the same context as listening to/watching that person say those words. Offering up the video both validates any quotes (because it proves he said those things) and presents the exact context, delivery, and voice behind the quotes. Commentary on those things damn near requires viewing the original video, and CBN using copyright to either stifle or lessen the impact of such commentary reeks of an attempt to circumvent the First Amendment so it doesn’t have to deal with any embarassment.

    And last I checked, embarassment doesn’t qualify as a solid reason for gutting the First Amendment rights of others.

    CBN has all the inherent rights to control use of the video: critics have none. I don't see any "fair use" argument made here

    You don’t see ‘fair use’ because you don’t want to see it. You’d rather see the Fair Use defense drawn and quartered in the middle of a highway than admit it both exists and serves a useful purpose in protecting the freedom of expression.

    So let’s see…you hate due process, you hate reading articles in full, you hate Fair Use…but you totally love black-and-white readings of copyright law that have the potential to gut the First Amendment at its very core. (And need I remind you, any censorship brought about by copyright amounts to government-sponsored censorship since the government controls copyright.)

    he doesn't know, just assumes it's factually false

    When you can prove that multiple gay people have begun to use "AIDS rings" to infect anyone with the disease, you can call Robertson’s claims true. Until then, do everyone a favor and go back to crying over Charles Carreon’s defeat.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 4:24pm

    How is it that everyone outside of Washington can see that the DMCA is flawed and being abused, and yet is unable to get Washington to finally repair it?

    Here is yet the latest high profile example of the poorly written law being used in ways not intended. How many of these abuses of our rights don't get as much attention?
    What they allow happen to the least of us harms all of us, it is time to fix this and stop burdening 1 side over the other, and have even punishments for BOTH sides when they violate it.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 4:46pm

    Two reasons probably

    1. Fixing it would require work, something that pretty much everyone in D.C. is deathly allergic to.

    2. Fixing it would step on the toes of some very large 'contributors', who quite enjoy having a broken system in place that allows them to go after competition or people/sites they don't like without having to worry about any 'accidental' collateral damage that may occur in the process.

     

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    S. T. Stone, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Two reasons probably

    3. Nobody in Congress has to worry about copyright biting them on the ass, so why bother worrying about it biting the people who elected them?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 5:03pm

    Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    That's it, I'm calling Bullshit. ootb is a fake.

    He's not a copyright maximalist, he's trying to make the maximalists look as psychotic as possible. Now we're supposed to add "bigot" to all of the despicable adjectives used to describe him? That's just too easy of a path to generate additional scorn.

    Of course, thanks to the NSA, these days I assume the lies go all the way to the top. Is Mike paying him to generate traffic? (I have to admit, the complete debunking of his barely decipherable rants by the audience here is one of the most entertaining aspects of this site) Or could it even be Mike's alter ego?

    ootb, the copyright maximalist, is about as real as reality TV.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Re: Two reasons probably

    It has a handful of times, it's just for them all it takes is telling someone else to take care of it, a single phone call is made, and their content is back up, which means they have no idea what it's like for everyone else who gets hit by it, hence their inability to see just how broken it is.

     

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    Tman, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 5:31pm

    Re: Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    Well, there wasn't a separate section for inane rambling; he didn't call Mike chubby or pirate. I think this was from a wanna be Blue. How sad is that?

     

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    James Burkhardt (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 5:43pm

    Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    I don't see any "fair use" argument made here

    Then lets do an amateur 4 factor test here, see what I come up with. But first, how about a definition of the fair use doctrine from Cornel University: (emphisis mine)
    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

    Given that you yourself admit you are talking about criticism (quote: "...critics have none.... it becomes clear that fair use is automatically a consideration. Its the first purpose that Cornell university cites as a possible fair use application.

    Now, since you can't read into a statement and need a outright four factor test every time we claim fair use, here is one:
    The first Factor is Transformative use (Purpose and Character of Use):
    In this consideration the fact that, as you admit, the work is being distributed to highlight and comment on a small piece of a larger segment indicates the transformative nature of the use. In sharing this specific piece, it allows commentary and discussion and new information to focus on the area being criticized.

    The second factor is the nature of the work:
    Because the data being shared is Factual, namely this is an actual recording of actual opinions expressed by actual people, it is not a fictional work and therefore we the public have greater leeway for fair use (few creative elements are present for us to infringe)

    The third factor is The Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Taken:
    As highlighted in the Transformative test, the clips being shared narrow around the comments being discussed, with the necessary context. Not sharing this portion of the broadcast removes the 'proof' of what was said, and the proof that it wasn't a mistake of context.

    The Effect of the Use Upon the Potential Market:
    While an argument could be made that the criticism of the clip reduces the market for Pat Robertson, that is not what the test looks at. The test considers whether fulfills the demand for the original. This clip fulfills the need for the clip, but not the need for the show. It does not in any way replace the show it was taken from. It might harm the market, but so would a bad review. Copyright infringement cases are not determined on harm to the market, they are determined on the ability for the work in question to replace the original work.

    While I am not a judge, nor a lawyer, I look at this work and see fair use, and therefore not infringement. Since you claim it is not, I ask you perform a four factor analysis and come to a different conclusion, so we can analyze it. I highly doubt a defense lawyer would look at such a clear case of journalistic commentary and criticism involving a real person making highly inflammatory commentary with no validation, source, or justification (that looks like hate speech), and not support a fair use claim.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 6:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    Blue generally doesn't call Mike chubby; that's average_joe's thing. And he's abandoned that to be Old McDonald.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 6:10pm

    Re:

    One can only wish. I don't even believe in evangelism; too many idiots in there giving atheists even more fodder.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 7:59pm

    Re: Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    There's no need for false statements when they REALLY ARE intentionally spreading AIDS through other means. www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/05/hiv-missouri-man/2769257/

     

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    Anonymous, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 8:36pm

    Re: Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    And now Robertson has given them an idea.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 9:24pm

    FYI: typo in your title-- "Pat Roberston..."

     

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    AndrewLee, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 9:40pm

    Pat Robertson is the reason I say thank god I'm an Atheist.

     

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    Matthew Cline (profile), Sep 21st, 2013 @ 2:04am

    Re: Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    He's just an attention seeking troll.

     

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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2013 @ 4:45am

    Re:

    Maybe that's not a typo.

     

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    Shon Gale (profile), Sep 21st, 2013 @ 5:26am

    What's really sad are the number of people who watch this devil incarnate. I am a very religious person and Pat Robertson is scary. SCARY!!! He frightens me. He really wants judgement day to come and end the world. He wants to go to God more than he wants anything else, even life. He wants the world to end now. I thought it was up to God when the last days come. SCARY!! It's people like this who will cause World War III the end of the world.

     

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    liz allen, Sep 21st, 2013 @ 6:33am

    Pat Robertson is an evil person

    Pat Robertson cares nothing about Christianity, if he did he would focus on the New Testament and help poor, disabled, veterans etc, etc. But this buffoon used millions of dollars of other peoples money and bought a diamond mine in Africa...he is a self serving for profit hater of human life. He has no dignity, no credibility and should be shunned by all human beings.

     

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    DS, Sep 21st, 2013 @ 10:11am

    Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    I thought you gave up trying to fight stupid fights, Charles.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 21st, 2013 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Incorrect assumption in the article..

    if he believe what he said, which I'm willing to bet he does


    I knew one of the cohosts for The 700 Club, and she assures me that Pat Robertson really believes what he says. And that he's batshit insane.

     

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    mmehmet (profile), Sep 21st, 2013 @ 5:28pm

    i thought he was dead?

     

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    techflaws (profile), Sep 21st, 2013 @ 10:17pm

    Re:

    Only his brain.

     

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    Khannea SunTzu, Sep 22nd, 2013 @ 7:34am

    Whoo hoo prancing about in your rosy cloud of anxiety again, Pat?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 1:14am

    Re: Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    Meh, he's been the record holder for so long he doesn't appreciate the status.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 1:27am

    Re: Re: Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    So do heterosexuals:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/04/19/us/man-knowingly-exposed-62-women-to-aids-virus. html

    The false statement is pretending that this is unique to gay men, and using that misdirection to spread bigotry.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 4:11am

    Well, I blame Robertson for intentionally infecting people with stupidity. Can we jail him?

     

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    Pragmatic, Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 6:08am

    Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    Since we're confining this to STRICTLY copyright, it's a fairly clear and perfectly valid use of property rights to prevent enemies from using your own material.


    Wait, what? Citation, please. Good luck with finding any statutes or case law to back up that lunatic statement. What next, title deeds for copyright?

    The attempt by CBN does not in any way stifle the free speech of someone who themselves state Robertson's views.


    Which they can't if they're not made available. Reportage is one of those things fair use is for. Besides, how do you prove that Robertson said any of those things if you can't link to anything? It's your word against his, and the evidence has been suppressed.

    That may be a VERY narrow distinction, but in the black-white world of law, CBN has all the inherent rights to control use of the video: critics have none. I don't see any "fair use" argument made here; Timmy is just having fun with an easy target.


    No, they have the right to control distribution of the whole for profit, not snippets for comment. You don't know much about copyright law, do you? Are you really suggesting that reviewers ask for permission to review items like broadcasts, etc.?

    "Robertson's false statement" -- WELL, that's Timmy's manifest bias: he doesn't know, just assumes it's factually false. But as his own malicious streak shows, intentional infection is not out of the question; just because they're "AIDS activists" doesn't make them automatically in the right, EITHER.


    Can you point to even ONE example of someone putting infected blood on a ring, then shaking hands with someone to cut them and pass on the infection thereby? Just one. Of course not. Bigot!

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    Can you point to even ONE example


    There are a lot of people in the world, and so a lot of crazy people. I could believe that one of the crazy people might have tried something like this at one time (although it does sound an awful like like that ancient phony scare story of gays putting used hypodermic needles in the coin return of pay phones).

    So there might possibly be a single example. But one crazy person does not a conspiracy make.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: You can't censor yourself! -- Everyone is free to criticize Robertson WITHOUT using CBN material.

    "Can you point to even ONE example of someone putting infected blood on a ring, then shaking hands with someone to cut them and pass on the infection thereby?"

    Even if he could, it wouldn't prove the assertion. The claim is that "the gays" are doing this, so a single example wouldn't prove anything of the sort. There would need to be evidence of a trend, of some sort of pre-agreed agenda, of numerous attempts to do this. Evidence of a single individual doing this doesn't mean he did it because he was gay any more than because of his race, age or eye colour (although, interestingly, it could be down to religious beliefs) - and even if he claimed it was, that wouldn't prove he was anything other than delusional by itself.

    I doubt that a single documented example exists, but even if it did there needs to be a higher burden of proof to target a group rather than an individual with such criticism. Not that this matters to bigots, of course, who are quite happy to latch on to even urban legends to justify their hatred.

     

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    Bergman (profile), Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 11:38pm

    Projection

    I think it says quite a lot about how Robertson would act if he were persecuted, that he ascribes such actions to those he persecutes.

    Evil in a suit mouthing the word of God is still evil. How else would the Devil lead so many astray, than by appearing as a false man of God like Robertson?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    from_the_bleachers, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 11:21am

    If gay people are intentionally spreading Aids, then christian people are intentionally spreading pedophilia..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Mr. Jonz, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 4:25pm

    Re:

    Freedom of speech is ultra important so stupid people will make their stupid statements so we know how stupid they are.
    - Ted Nugent

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    edward, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 8:46pm

    gays intentually spread AIDS

    In the Bible Belt we are trying to stop the sin of homosexuality and interracial sex by creating a nation of Dixieland. Dixieland(dot)20fr(dot)com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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