Recording Industry Exec Says It's Not Censorship To Block Sites He Doesn't Like

from the oh-really? dept

We see this kind of claim every so often, but usually not from a high-ranking legacy entertainment industry executive. However, TorrentFreak has the story of how the CEO of IFPI in Austria (IFPI is basically the international RIAA), Franz Medwenitsch, claiming that blocking websites like the Pirate Bay isn't censorship, because how can it be censorship to block stuff that he doesn't like?
“Censorship is the suppression of free speech and everyone who lives in a democratic society categorically rejects censorship,” the IFPI chief says.

“But what has freedom of expression got to do with generating advertising revenues by illegally offering tens of thousands of movies and music recordings on the Internet with disregard for creators and artists? And yet the freedom of the author to determine the use of their works themselves is trampled!”
Except, of course, that's not all that the Pirate Bay and other sites do. They offer plenty of legitimate content as well -- public domain material, works that creators want to be distributed in that way, etc. Furthermore, it's not these sites that are doing the distribution. They're effectively acting as a meeting place or a search engine to match different users who are offering up the content, authorized or not.

But there's this fundamental disconnect here which is scary to people who actually believe in free speech. Medwenitsch appears to have the dangerous belief that free speech only covers the kind of speech he likes. That's not free speech. It's really not that hard to see how someone could take Medwenitsch's half-baked argument and flip it around:
"But what has freedom of expression got to do with generating recorded music revenues by illegally promoting misogynistic music on the internet with disregard to the feelings of women? And yet the freedom of those women to be free from insults and offensiveness is trampled!"
I'm sure you can come up with your own variation as well. The second that you start to insist that certain kinds of speech are somehow "not worthy" of free speech, because you, personally, don't like them, you're opening up the door to widespread censorship and you don't believe in free speech at all. Medwenitsch highlights this problem perfectly. By his words he is pro-censorship and yet he believes he's anti-censorship.

As we've said in the past, it is perfectly legitimate to have the opinion that sites like the Pirate Bay should be illegal and blocked. We may think you're wrong, but you can have that opinion. But it's simply being dishonest to argue that taking down the site is not censorship. It is. It's just censorship you approve of.
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Filed Under: blocking, censorship, copyright, franz medwenitsch, free speech
Companies: ifpi

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2014 @ 9:32am

    'the freedom of the author to determine the use of their works themselves is trampled!'

    he needs to look at the number of times the artist gets absolutely nothing from the works produced because the labels keep everything! how many times have we read about 'Hollywood Accounting' and the way the studios and labels create 'shell companies' so as to make it appear to the artists that there has been no profit made from a work. look at how the most successful film of all, one of the Star Wars epics, has still not made a profit so that one of the stars of the movie hasn't received anything since it was made! this argument is the pits and you have stated exactly why this isn't free speech. his 'free speech' is a total prepared statement showering the industries with glowing praise. if the industries were so good and so unafraid of 'free speech' why is it that there has been no effort from them to put up sites that give people the same quality that appears on 'alternative' sites? why is it that not once has anyone from the industries tried to come to an amicable agreement with those who run the alternative sites, so that instead of closing them down, a partnership happens. that way the quality of release will remain, the public get the best available and pay sensible money, with no DRM. as there has been none of this, it can be concluded that the industries are only interested in getting as many people as possible bankrupted, loosing family and friends as well as all property and getting them imprisoned! if there was any other purpose, it can only be to ensure they keep control of the various media, while taking over the Internet. they have been doing the same thing now for decades, spending an inordinate amount of time, money and effort. if achieving something like the above, anyone with half a brain would have given up so whatever it is, it has to be a hell of a thing. with governments doing as much as possible to help them too, there has to be serious gains for them and i doubt very much that it is to get a few private showings of the movies not released to the public!!

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