Dumb Idea... Or The Dumbest Idea? Seize Terrorists' Copyrights And Then Censor Them With The DMCA

from the no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no dept

At this point, we all know that the DMCA is a tool that is widely abused for censorship purposes. We have written post upon post upon post upon post upon post upon post upon post upon post upon post upon post upon post upon post upon post upon post upon post upon post detailing this (and those were just from the first page of my search results).

Most people, once aware of this, would recognize that perhaps there's a problem with the DMCA and that it should be fixed. However, some people seem to look at that and say "hey, that's an awesome censorship tool, perhaps we should expand it to other content I don't like." That's why we see people talk about expanding it to cover revenge porn or mean people online.

Or, apparently, terrorism. Yes, terrorism. Paul Rosenzweig, who (believe it or not) really once was a high ranking official in the Department of Homeland Security thinks one way to fight ISIS is to seize their copyrights and then use the DMCA to censor them. He's not joking. Or, at least I think he's not. There's a small chance that it's really a parody, but Rosenzweig has a history of truly nutty ideas behind him, so I'm pretty sure he's serious.

That model might, with a small legislative change, be adapted to the removal of ISIS terrorist speech.  All that would be required was a modification of the law to assign the copyright in all terrorist speech to a non-terrorist organization with an interest in monitoring and removing terrorist content.  Here are the essential components of such a plan:

  • Identification of terrorist organizations to whom the law would apply;
  • A definition of unprotected content associated with that terrorist organization;
  • An extinguishing of copyright in such unprotected content; and
  • Transfer of that copyright to a third party.
I love that "all that would be required" because what he's really saying is that "all that would be required" is we upend basically all concepts regarding free speech and copyright just to silence some people I really don't like. No biggie.

At this point, you should probably already be banging your head on a nearby hard surface, but it gets worse. He actually then worries about how much work it would be for the government to take all these copyrights and issue all those darn takedowns, so instead he suggests handing the copyrights to a third party, which he suggests could be set up similarly to the Red Cross (?!?) and saddling them with the task of issuing takedowns. Perhaps we can name them the Silencing Cross or something along those lines.

He insists that the First Amendment isn't really a problem here because terrorist speech can be seen as "material support" of terrorism and the Supreme Court has already wiped that away.

The most salient case on point is Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 561  U.S. 1 (2010), a Supreme Court case that construed the USA PATRIOT Act's prohibition on providing “material support” to foreign terrorist organizations (18 U.S.C. § 2339B). The case is one of the very rare instances of First Amendment jurisprudence in which a restriction on political speech has been approved, and the only one of recent vintage.

The Humanitarian Law Project (“HLP”) had sought to provide assistance to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey and Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.  According to HLP, their goal was to teach these two violent organizations how to peacefully resolve conflicts. Congress had, previously, prohibited all material aid to designated organizations that involved “training”, “expert advice or assistance,” “service,” and “personnel.”  HLP argued that its assistance was protected political speech.  The government countered with the argument that a categorical prohibition on speech in the form of assistance was required because even non-terrorist assistance would "legitimate" the terrorist organization, and free up its resources for terrorist activities.  The Court approved the limitation on speech because it was narrowly drawn to cover only “speech to, under the direction of, or in coordination with foreign groups that the speaker knows to be terrorist organizations” and served a national interest of the highest order – combatting terrorism.

It would follow, in the wake of Humanitarian Law Project, that just as speech “to” or “under the direction of” or “in coordination” with a foreign terrorist organization may be limited, so too may the content actually published “by” the terrorist organization.

I'm not so sure that First Amendment scholars would agree with him that the shift from speech "to" to speech "by" is that simple, but that's really besides the point.

Let's go back to basics here. Congress only has limited power over creating copyright law. Here it is:
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
I've read that a few times now and I really am struggling to find the part that says "and to censor terrorists."

I mean, I guess the single redeeming idea in Rosenzweig's proposal here is that it's a pretty blatant admission that copyright law is about censorship much of the time. The ISIS-insanity-freakout among political types is really kinda crazy to watch in action. First they wanted to use net neutrality to censor ISIS and now they want to use copyright law? What will they think of next? Defamation law is always popular. Perhaps we can amend Section 230 to silence terrorists. Or, I know, why don't we use the ITC. Or trade agreements. Oh wait, that's basically the MPAA's playbook to censor speech... and now surveillance state apologists can make use of it too!

Meanwhile, hey, maybe instead of trying to censor the folks at ISIS, you watch what they're saying and use that for surveillance purposes. I know, I know, crazy thought. But at the very same time we're having this debate, these very same people are arguing that we need less encryption so law enforcement and the intelligence community can see what ISIS is saying. Yet here's a way to see what they're saying and the focus is on "how do we silence such speech and make it harder to track!"

But, really, Paul, congrats -- we thought we'd heard the dumbest idea in a long time with Joe Barton's "use net neutrality to censor ISIS," but you've topped it. This is the dumbest idea we've heard in a long, long time.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: censorship, copyright, dmca, first amendment, isis, paul rosenzweig


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 9:26am

    Authors

    Article I, Section 8, Clause 8:
    To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 9:31am

      Re: Authors

      Let's go back to basics here. Congress only has limited power over creating copyright law.
      I read Paul Rosenzweig's piece yesterday. I suppose I should have read your entire post, before hitting the submit button. Sorry 'bout that.

      But I did see the Constitutional issue immediately.

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 25 Nov 2015 @ 2:54am

      Re: Authors

      Ah, but that was then, this is now. Per the maximalists' charter Article 1, the purpose of copyright is:

      to create and maintain property rights over words, pictures, music, and other cultural and scientific items by securing for all eternity to the rightsholders the exclusive right to control the dissemination of their respective writings and discoveries in every way, shape, and form.

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

  • identicon
    DigDug, 20 Nov 2015 @ 9:35am

    No No No No

    Here's the 20 minute solution to ISIS.

    Warn all countries with known or suspected ISIS peeps within their borders.

    Tell them that within 1 week's time, all countries that we still suspect have ISIS members within their borders, we're going to nuke their entire country into molten glass.

    I guarantee that within 48 hours every ISIS/ISIL member will be dead.

    ISIS wants to pretend they know what's "scary" or "bad".

    Fuck ISIS, we can take "BAD" or "SCARY" or "TERROR" to levels they can't even imagine.

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:02am

      Re: No No No No

      ISIS supporters have been found in the United States and most other western Democracies. One can guarantee that this is still the case, even without lowering the bar to "suspected." Do you plan to glass over the United States, Britain, France, etc.?

      How about terrorists from other organizations? For example Jeb Bush arranged the pardon and residency in the US for Orlando Bosch with his dad. This after Bosch was responsible for bombings from South America to Florida to Canada, and even a car bombing in Washington DC. His "greatest hit" was bombing an airliner out of the sky, killing 73 people.

      He only died in 2011, having been given refuge in the US all through the "War on Terror." Are you calling on the US to nuke itself, or for another country to do it?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:08am

      Re: No No No No

      so your solution is to nuke the entire planet? hmm..

      on second thought, i'm good with that

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:44am

      Re: No No No No

      You'd fit right in to a government organization.

      The problem with "terrorism" is that it's in the eyes of the beholder. Sure, with ISI*, we've got a group with a name, similar to what we had with Al Quaeda, but this time with a physical plot of land they want to claim for themselves.

      I suggest, however, that you read Animal Farm, and maybe read up a bit on Fascist Italy (and Nazi Germany for that matter).

      Then I suggest you read up on the Bastille and the French Revolution, which really has the best parallel I can think of here.

      The French revolutionists basically said "You've got a limited time to turn over to us all monarchists. Failure to do so will be seen as harbouring monarchists, and such people will be executed."

      The result? Everyone was turning over everyone they thought odd or just plain didn't like as a monarchist. They were mostly killed, or placed in the Bastille.

      Meanwhile, the real monarchists were smart enough to either sneak away to somewhere else and pretend they had nothing to do with this, or pretend to be revolutionaries so nobody would suspect them.

      This entire mess was supposed to be the French equivalent of the revolution a few years earlier in British North America. The difference was that the BNA revolution created a constitution that protected freedom of speech and movement. History has shown us how both approaches worked out in the long run.

      PLEASE don't (seriously) suggest we undo all that work and remove the safeguards that made things work.

      Hopefully you're doing something more along the lines of "A Modest Proposal."

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

      • identicon
        Daydream, 20 Nov 2015 @ 3:24pm

        Source & Salem?

        Huh, interesting (the bit about 'turn over all monarchists' and the false accusations). Can I ask for a source? I want to read more about it.

        -----

        You know, I'm reminded of the Salem Witch Trials.
        I remember reading once about how when people were accused of being witches, they'd go on to accuse others (who'd then be arrested) in order to save themselves from execution.

        *looks around*

        http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/SAL_ACCT.HTM

        I don't know how accurate this article is, but it talks about how the 'witches' were convicted based solely on questionable testimony.
        There's also a suggestion near the end that some of the people making accusations stood to gain land and property if those they accused were executed.

        I guess it goes to show that if you...uh...
        What is the moral of this story, exactly?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:52am

      Re: No No No No

      Donald?
      Is that you?

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

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 1:03pm

      Re: No No No No

      so the USA will nuke itself for allowing their intelligence agencies to support such terrorist groups?

      I somehow doubt most countries will believe their hypocrisy if they ever made such a threat.

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

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 21 Nov 2015 @ 12:00pm

      Re: No No No No

      ... we're going to nuke their entire country into molten glass.

      I take it you're unfamiliar with the phrases "collateral damage" and "innocent non-combatants"? Doesn't it sound just a little insane to you to postulate that entire countries could be populated exclusively by terrorists or other sorts of bad guys?

      Let Curtis LeMay rot in hell. We don't need anyone channeling that fool.

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

    • identicon
      aerilus, 21 Nov 2015 @ 5:27pm

      Re: No No No No

      have you been sitting in on Russian cabinet meetings?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 12:51pm

      Re: No No No No

      We're going to nuke Europe?

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

  • identicon
    Rikuo, 20 Nov 2015 @ 9:37am

    I wonder if Paul is a Christian and subscribes to the following site
    http://www.cuttingedge.org/news/n2032.cfm

    In my online debates with certain Christians, one person pointed me to that site. I noticed at the bottom the following lovely gem

    "Copyright © 2004 Cutting Edge Ministries. All rights reserved. This password protected article and its contents are protected under the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. This article is provided by subscription only for use by the subscriber and all other rights are expressly reserved by the copyright owner. Copying and pasting this article, in whole or in part, into e-mails or as attachments to e-mails or posting it on the Internet is strictly prohibited and may subject the offender to civil liability and severe criminal penalties (Title 17, United States Code, section 501 and 506).

    Copying and distributing this article in violation of the above notice is also a violation of God's moral law."

    So apparently, copyright law is a religious law now. Should've expected it.

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

    • identicon
      TDR, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:04am

      Re:

      I wouldn't be too sure. There is no more misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misrepresented faith in the world than traditional Biblical Christianity. And nowhere in the Bible is the ownership of ideas ever even mentioned, let alone promoted. Quite the opposite, actually. I suppose those people you debated with and the owners of the website are unaware of the Jesus' feeding of the 5,000 and 7,000, which involved mass miraculous sharing, and the work of the early missionaries, whose entire goal was the sharing of the faith that drove them. Jesus' condemnation and rebuking of the Pharisees could also apply almost word for word to our politicians, military officials, and anyone else who pretends to be something they're not.

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

      • identicon
        Rikuo, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:29am

        Re: Re:

        I know not to take it seriously, it's just something that gave me a chuckle. The person who pointed me towards that site also believes that Satan was an alien who came down to Earth and who subscribes to Freemasonry conspiracy theories. I honestly doubt myself that they read that part about copyright being God's law, or the implications of such a claim (given that copyright has only been in existence for about 300 some odd years, that would mean that copyright was for some reason not mentioned at all in the Bible. Was it a forgotten Eleventh Commandment?)

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:51am

          Copyright History [was Re: Re: Re: ]

          … given that copyright has only been in existence for about 300 some odd years…
          You know, of course, that I'm not going “give” you that.

          See Ronan Deazley's 2008 ”Commentary on the Stationers' Royal Charter 1557” in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900).
          The grant of the Charter ensured that the Company's licensing procedures became the standard by which members of the book trade secured the right to print and publish literary works, giving rise to what is generally referred to as ‘stationers' copyright'.
          Dating the “Stationer's copyright” to the 1557 charter gives one-and-a-half centuries of copyright before the statute of 8 Anne.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 11:21am

            Re: Copyright History [was Re: Re: Re: ]

            The stationer copyright, like imprimatur was permission from government or church for a printer to print some work, in other words an instrument of censorship, and had nothing to do with authors rights.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 12:08pm

              Re: Re: Copyright History [was Re: Re: Re: ]

              The stationer copyright, like imprimatur was permission from government or church for a printer to print some work, in other words an instrument of censorship, and had nothing to do with authors rights.
              Not quite. The Stationer's copyright was rather a different animal than the state licensing regime set up by the 1559 Elizabethan Injunctions, continuing through milestones such as the 1637 Star Chamber decree, and culminating in the 1662 Licensing Act.

              The Stationer's copyright was primarily aimed at the economic regulation of the printers. Yes, the Stationer's Guild cooperated with the state censors—the economic monopoly went hand-in-hand with the licensing regime. But it's quite inaccurate to say, as you wrongly asserted, that the Stationer's copyright was “permission from the government or church.”
              The company's primary interest lay solely in securing to its members exclusive control over their published works, and in the general regulation of the book trade. In the words of Arber: "So we must think of these printers and publishers as caring chiefly for their crowns, half-shillings, and silver pennies. They bore the yolk of licensing as best they could, but only as a means to hold themselves harmless from the political and ecclesiastical powers. Their business was to live and make money; and keen enough they were about it".
              Thus, with the end of state censorship in the final non-renewal of 1695, the printers and publishers and booksellers still had their economic interests to think of. Those economic interests stimulated the bookseller's lobbying that led up to the 1710 act.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 12:20pm

              Re: Re: Copyright History [was Re: Re: Re: ]

              And how do you describe the modern system that gives broad, sweeping powers to the grandchildren of author's, stuck up celebrities, and self entitled massive corporations with no actual creative input into the works they own often times OVER the original author of the work?

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

          • identicon
            tanj, 20 Nov 2015 @ 8:20pm

            Re: Copyright History [was Re: Re: Re: ]

            How about, the current state of copyright in the USA started with the passage of the 1976 copyright act?

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 8:46pm

              Re: Re: Copyright History [was Re: Re: Re: ]

              How about, the current state of copyright in the USA started with the passage of the 1976 copyright act?
              The 1909 Act still comes up in the occasional court case.

              Further, if you read through materials such as House Report 94-1476, you'll notice places where Congress intentionally did not alter the then-current law.

              Notice, for example, 17 U.S.C. § 113(b)
              This title does not afford, to the owner of copyright in a work that portrays a useful article as such, any greater or lesser rights with respect to the making, distribution, or display of the useful article so portrayed than those afforded to such works under the law, whether title 17 or the common law or statutes of a State, in effect on December 31, 1977, as held applicable and construed by a court in an action brought under this title,

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

              • identicon
                tanj, 21 Nov 2015 @ 12:15am

                Re: Re: Re: Copyright History [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                Are you saying that the 1976 copyright act was not a substantial expansion of copyright?

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2015 @ 11:43am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright History [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                  How about, the current state of copyright in the USA started with the passage of the 1976 copyright act?
                  […blah, blah, blah…]
                  Are you saying that the 1976 copyright act was not a substantial expansion of copyright?
                  Use of the term “expansion” implies a previous state, a current state, and a delta between those two states. When “expansion” is modified by “substantial” then that further implies a non-trivial delta, that is to say a non-negligible difference between the prior state and the current state.
                  Δ = Sb - Sa
                  Δ∥ ≫ 0
                  Iow, “substantial expansion” presuppposes some other initial state amenable to “expansion”.

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

                  • identicon
                    tanj, 21 Nov 2015 @ 2:47pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright History [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                    I think we're talking about two different things.

                    Your point seems to be that the concept of copyright goes back to at least 1557. I'm trying to point out that copyright in the US changed drastically with the passage of the 1976 copyright act.

                    Copyright in the US needs to account for free expression, a restriction which is not necessarily a concern in other legal systems such as the UK's.

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2015 @ 4:31pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright History [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                      Your point seems to be that the concept of copyright goes back to at least 1557.
                      Oh, I'm making a much stronger claim than that.

                      Specifically, when the statute 8th Anne, c.19 (1710) refers to the “Register Book of the Company of Stationers” and directs that entries shall be made “in such manner as hath been usual”, then anyone reading those phrases must necessarily ask ‘What manner hath been usual already in 1710?’
                      That nothing in this act contained shall be construed to extend to subject any bookseller, printer, or other person whatsoever, to the forfeitures or penalties therein mentioned, for or by reason of the printing or reprinting of any book or books without such consent, as aforesaid, unless the title to the copy of such book or books hereafter published shall, before such publication, be entered in the register book of the company of stationers, in such manner as hath been usual, which register book shall at all times be kept at the hall of the said company, and unless such consent of the proprietor or proprietors be in like manner entered as aforesaid, for every of which several entries, six pence shall be paid, and no more; which said register book may, at all seasonable and convenient time, be resorted to, and inspected by any bookseller, printer, or other person, for the purposes before-mentioned, without any fee or reward; and the clerk of the said company of stationers shall, when and as often as thereunto required, give a certificate under his hand of such entry or entries, and for every such certificate may take a fee not exceeding six pence.
                      (Emphasis added here; capitalization and punctuation according to linked source.)

                      Further, when one reads the current provisions of 17 U.S.C. § 411 and § 412 —one reads echoes.

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

                      • icon
                        Kal Zekdor (profile), 22 Nov 2015 @ 5:01am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright History [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                        You have a claim, but do you have a point? Seriously, I cannot fathom what relevance any of this has to any topic currently being discussed here.

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

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2015 @ 11:24am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright History [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                          Seriously, I cannot fathom what relevance any of this has
                          Try skimming back over the discussion in thread view. In the comment that initiated this sub-thread, Rikuo made the (parenthentical) claim:
                          … copyright has only been in existence for about 300 some odd years
                          In making that claim, he was —of course— referring to the 1710 passage of the Statute 8 Anne, c.19. It is an oft-repeated myth, that copyright then and there sprang forth, full-grown and arm'd, as if from the brow of Zeus.

                          Looking at history, there is not much controversy that the 1710 English statute formed the model, 80 years later, for the United States Copyright Act of 1790.

                          Peering back into the history before 1710, though, one must carefully distinguish legal history from legal advocacy.

                          It is certainly not my intent to take sides in the great thirty-year ‘Battle of the Booksellers’ that began to rage upon the expiration of the initial copyrights which had been granted under the statute enacted in the 8th year of Queen Anne. The antagonists in court pressed history into the service of their legal arguments, and were not overly scrupl'd about it. In the cases of Millar v. Taylor (King's Bench 1769) and Donaldson v. Becket (House of Lords 1774) ( —and there were other cases, as well, before those two— ), the parties argued for legal outcomes, and the learned judges' opinions were aimed to support the legal decisions made in those cases back then.

                          If it is not my intent to controvert either Lord Mansfield or Lord Camden, then neither is it my intent to controvert that able lawyer James Madison. Certainly, the United States Supreme Court decision in the 1834 case of Wheaton v Peters, grounded upon Justice McLean's opinion, remains unassailable law on this side of the Atlantic today.

                          But having paid due regards to the entirely well-settled law, one may still have a keen interest in accurate legal history —daresay I truth?

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 9:05pm

              Re: Re: Copyright History [was Re: Re: Re: ]

              How about, the current state of copyright in the USA started with the passage of the 1976 copyright act?
              And how would you propose to interpret Justice Ginsburg's 2003 statement in Eldred?
              But when, as in this case, Congress has not altered the traditional contours of copyright protection, further First Amendment scrutiny is unnecessary.
              Do the “traditional contours of copyright” reach back to Burrows-Giles Lithographic v Sarony (1884), or to Folsom v Marsh (C.C.D.Mass 1841), or to Wheaton v Peters (1834) ?

              How would you propose to interpret Justice Ginsburg's “traditional contours” today?

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 9:16pm

                Re: Re: Re: Copyright History [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                … reach back to Burrows-Giles Lithographic v Sarony (1884), or to Folsom v Marsh (C.C.D.Mass 1841), or to Wheaton v Peters (1834)…
                Oh, geezers —in a list like that— it's intolerably remiss to fail to include Baker v Selden (1880). My apologies.

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

              • identicon
                tanj, 21 Nov 2015 @ 12:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Copyright History [was Re: Re: Re: ]

                The CTEA, in contrast, does not oblige anyone to reproduce another's speech against the carrier's will. Instead, it protects authors' original expression from unrestricted exploitation. Protection of that order does not raise the free speech concerns present when the government compels or burdens the communication of particular facts or ideas. The First Amendment securely protects the freedom to make— or decline to make—one's own speech; it bears less heavily when speakers assert the right to make other people's speeches. To the extent such assertions raise First Amendment concerns, copyright's built-in free speech safeguards are generally adequate to address them. We recognize that the D. C. Circuit spoke too broadly when it declared copyrights "categorically immune from challenges under the First Amendment." 239 F. 3d, at 375. But when, as in this case, Congress has not altered the traditional contours of copyright protection, further First Amendment scrutiny is unnecessary. See Harper & Row, 471 U. S., at 560; cf. San Francisco Arts & Athletics, Inc. v. United States Olympic Comm., 483 U. S. 522 (1987).[24]

                She's clearly referring to the CTEA. Which did not significantly alter the 1976 act other than extending the term.

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

    • identicon
      PRMan, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:42am

      Re:

      Actually, religious institutions are explicitly mentioned in copyright law as an educational environment where you CAN share these types of materials for learning purposes.

      All these "Christian" organizations trying to peddle their wares don't seem to understand the "Fair Use for Education" exemption.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 11:11am

      Re:

      What do you expect from a god that supports slavery (not servitude but the kind where you can own people as property and beat them as long as they don't die in 2 days).

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 25 Nov 2015 @ 2:57am

      Re:

      That's why I opposed the appending of property rights to copyright. They MUST be kept firmly separate.

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

  • icon
    rw (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 9:44am

    I don't know why they would need to transfer any copyrights to use the DMCA. After all, we already have people using it to censor material that doesn't belong to them.

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

  • identicon
    kallethen, 20 Nov 2015 @ 9:45am

    Ugh. Can I sue for breaking my nose from facepalming so hard?

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

  • icon
    drewdad (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 9:49am

    Known nut says nutty thing

    This seems to be a regular theme here, which is to focus attention on idiots who would otherwise be (rightfully) ignored.

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

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 21 Nov 2015 @ 12:19pm

      Re: Known nut says nutty thing

      ... which is to focus attention on idiots who would otherwise be (rightfully) ignored.

      Yes, TD's great for this. The problem is you and I dismiss them as clueless nutbars, but there's a lot of ignorant twits out there in positions of power whose opinion is swayed by said nutbars.

      "Know thy enemy" and "forewarned is forearmed" are good, lasting truths. TD's a good barometer watching the collapse of civilization.

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

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 9:49am

    Ministry of Censorship

    Don't be shy. Call it what it is.

    Don't bother to cloak it in euphemisms.

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

  • icon
    metalliqaz (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 9:52am

    Typical homeland security

    What a dumbass. At this point, I'm picturing DHT as Spaceball One, filled with cross-eyed assholes.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:00am

    Does the US really want to start a censorship war that totally destroys the Internet? Who thinks they will benefit from such a war? Hello RIAA and MPAA.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:08am

    That can't go wrong at all...

    First they shutdown ISIS. Then they start shutting down any other group they dislike. With all the tension in this country, that could be anybody but most likly Christians under the current administration.

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:23am

      Re: That can't go wrong at all...

      We've been hearing about the "War on Christianity" from the wingnut blogosphere all through the Obama administration, but we still haven't seen any such attack.

      No, refusing to allow someone to use her government position to force her personal interpretation of her religion's marriage policy on everyone else, is not an attack on Christianity. Especially not when other major Christian denominations endorse and perform same-sex marriages.

      No, not putting snow flakes on Starbucks cups is not an attack on Christianity.

      Etc. Etc.

      If you don't like "all the tension in this country", then stop trying to create it.

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

      • identicon
        PRMan, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:45am

        Re: Re: That can't go wrong at all...

        Kim Davis going to jail for following her conscience ISN'T an attack?!?

        She went to JAIL for her religion. Even the Pope recognized this attack on religion and met with her. And it was proven in court if she were ANY other religion besides Christianity, accommodations would have been made (and have since been made).

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:55am

          Re: Re: Re: That can't go wrong at all...

          If her religion stops her from doing her job functions then perhaps she is in the wrong field.

          You would be shown the door in any other job, what makes her so special?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 11:03am

          Re: Re: Re: That can't go wrong at all...

          Accommodations were always available.

          She went to jail because she was actively blocking all attempts to accommodate her.

          She is not required to issue marriage licenses for gay marriages. She is required let someone do it in her office, and she tried to stop that as well.

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

        • icon
          Roger Strong (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 11:33am

          Re: Re: Re: That can't go wrong at all...

          > She went to JAIL for her religion.

          Incorrect. She went to jail for using a government position to force her religion on others. It's not the same thing.

          Nor did she do it for Christianity as a whole; other Christian denominations endorse and perform same-sex marriages. She did it for her own personal interpretation of Christianity.

          > Even the Pope recognized this attack on religion and met with her.

          Incorrect. The Pope briefly met with a group of "several dozen" people that she happened to be in. She did not have a private audience. Comments that her fan club misrepresent as supporting her, were made to reporters on the flight back to Europe and had nothing to do with her.

          > if she were ANY other religion besides Christianity, accommodations would have been made (and have since been made)

          Incorrect. What's been shown - and no-one denies this - is that accommodations are often made for other religions IN ADDITION TO Christianity. Jews and Muslims may be allowed to refuse to serve pork for example, while Christians may be allowed to refuse to work on Sundays. All may refuse to perform or attend same-sex marriage ceremonies.

          But Christian or otherwise, those accommodations don't extend to letting a government official force their religion on OTHERS as Davis tried to do. Jews and Muslims can't use their government positions to deny food licences to restaurants serving pork. A Catholic with Davis's job could not have used her Catholic beliefs to deny Davis a licence for her second, third or fourth marriages. A Jehovah's Witness can't use a government position to stop blood donations and transfusions.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 1:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: That can't go wrong at all...

            Jews and Muslims can't use their government positions to deny food licences to restaurants serving pork.
            Maybe not Jews, but Muslims, definitely. Don't you remember what South Park said about how you can pretty much get away with doing whatever you want as long as you resort to violence?

            Muslims can definitely force TV stations and newspapers to follow the Islamic rule against selfies of Muhammad. When the rule of law won't let you get your way, upgrade to explosives and guns and people will cave out of fear.

            Oh, and lest anyone resort to PC namecalling of "Islamphobia," need I remind you of what Bill Maher has been saying about there being only one group sticking out like a sore thumb who does this over and over and over and over again? IIRC a whopping zero Catholics blew themselves up at movie theaters showing Life of Brian. Even Scientology isn't this insane...

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

            • icon
              tqk (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 5:54pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: That can't go wrong at all...

              Oh, and lest anyone resort to PC namecalling of "Islamphobia," need I remind you of what Bill Maher has been saying about there being only one group sticking out like a sore thumb who does this over and over and over and over again?

              Uh, religious extremists?
              IIRC a whopping zero Catholics blew themselves up at movie theaters showing Life of Brian. Even Scientology isn't this insane...

              No, Catholics don't blow themselves up. Centuries of warfare between states, however, and genocidal colonization, persecuting heretics and witches, the Inquisition, the Crusades, ... Scientology are amateurs in comparison.

              Pretty selective view of history you have there. Yes, you are an Islamophobe if you blame only Islam. Then there's Japanese Shinto and Zen Buddhism, the Inca, Aztec, and Mayan cults, Egyptian Pharaonic cults, ...

              Islam's just the latest to join the party, and Christianity's only starting to slow down lately.

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

        • icon
          orbitalinsertion (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 12:15pm

          Re: Re: Re: That can't go wrong at all...

          Never mind she could have just quit in protest.

          And it doesn't matter how a person identifies, if they behaved the same as Davis. Some Christians do not have a monopoly on believing what Davis does. Plenty of other Christians believe differently, at least insofar as to government representatives attempting to enforce their personal faith on others, if not thinking that some cherry-picked words from their book are simply odious, or at least as worthy of disregard as nearby words about wearing mixed fibers.

          Davis actively interfered with normal operations of our secular government. Others would be fired or go to jail for doing the same, regardless of whatever thing they claim is the source of their behavior. Religion already gets enough privilege and leeway in this respect, far more than any other claim of conscience. (Unless it is currently a religion in disfavor, then we see whether secular law is upheld or not.)

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

        • icon
          David (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 12:45pm

          Re: Re: Re: That can't go wrong at all...

          Actually, she went to jail for failing to follow a court order to DO HER JOB as an elected government official.

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

        • icon
          Padpaw (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 1:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: That can't go wrong at all...

          Here I thought she went to jail for denying people their rights she was obliged to give as part of her job.

          Her rights are not more important than anyone else's. The moment she denied people her rights was the moment she lost any sympathy.

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

          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 25 Nov 2015 @ 3:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: That can't go wrong at all...

            Christian here, and I concur. As long as no one's life is at stake, if you're in a position where your job makes you violate your conscience, get out of Dodge. Resign. You're in the wrong job. I'm sick and tired of hearing about religious zealots who take up jobs they know will put them in positions in which they may have to do something that goes against their convictions specifically so they can act as blockers on that thing happening. This is particularly prevalent among pro-lifers, who will actively block ob-gyn care that they see as "abortifacient" or "encouraging fornication, etc."

            Authoritarians can be found in every sphere but let's be honest, they tend to favour religion as they believe it gives them moral back-up.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:18am

    tsk, tsk, dear oh dear! glad you said he WAS a high ranking official in the Department of Homeland Security! it's stupid idiots like him with equally stupid ideas that get us into these pickles in the first place!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:20am

    Only a moron would use DMCAs as a form of censorship. This applies in allcases.

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

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:22am

    How to actually succeed at stopping terrorism

    There's actually a tried-and-true method of shutting down a major terrorist group. Unfortunately we'll never use it on Islamic terrorists because the politica implications are unpalatable to a lot of decision makers. (For the wrong reasons; it would actually be in our national interest to do this even if it had nothing to do with terror either way.)

    First, context. Who all remembers The Troubles? It was the name given, with stereotypical British understatement, to a decades-long terror campaign in Ireland and the, well, trouble that arose from it. Like al-Qaeda and ISIS, the Irish terrorists claimed religious motivation for their reprehensible acts.

    Unlike al-Qaeda and ISIS, the Irish terrorists are basically no longer a thing.

    It's not like British authorities didn't try really hard to wipe them out. They tried every trick in the book--the same book, by and large, that we're employing against Islamic terror--including police action, military action, and signing truces with the terrorists. (Which, terrorists being terrorists, generally ended up not being worth the paper they were printed on. But in the end, it was Amercans who put a stop to The Troubles, and not even by something they did, so much as something they stopped doing.

    The USA is home to a significant Irish immigrant population, many of whom live in New York or nearby states, and it was not uncommon for many of them to send support to Irish terrorists out of a misplaced sense of kinship. (It looks a lot less ugly when all the ugly stuff is going on literally half a world away.) But 9/11 changed everything: suddenly it was very unacceptable to support terrorism!

    That source of funding dried up almost overnight, and The Troubles came to an abrupt halt without the terrorists' principal source of funding.

    So, applying the lesson learned here, how do we shut down Islamic terror?

    It's a bit of an elephant in the room, an ugly truth that no one wants to acknowledge, that a significant amount of funding for them comes from legitimate oil revenues, and one of their patrons' largest customers, if not the largest, is the USA.

    If we were serious about fighting terror, we would divert some. serious money from the military budget to fund research and development of electric cars, Hyperloops, and renewable energy, and export the technology worldwide, doing everything we can to make petroleum fuel obsolete.

    But just try getting the turkeys in DC to sign off on that plan...

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

    • identicon
      Michael, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:41am

      Re: How to actually succeed at stopping terrorism

      If we were serious about fighting terror, we would divert some. serious money from the military budget

      Just that would hit the oil industry pretty hard. Tanks, planes, and ships use an awful lot of oil.

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

    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 23 Nov 2015 @ 1:06pm

      Re: How to actually succeed at stopping terrorism

      I think that the easiest way to stop terrorism is to stop creating terrorists.

      This can be done by NOT bombing third world nations into the stone age so our corporations can steal their national resources, and by NOT trying to make the world safe for Christianity, by destroying the basic social infrastructure of nations who have competing religious beliefs.

      This would of course, make the Military Industrial Complex and many Christians rather unhappy.

      It would however, save a shitload in taxes.

      ---

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

  • identicon
    Michael, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:38am

    If England had thought of this plan a couple hundred years ago, we would still be a group of colonies.

    It really is amazing how quickly a country goes from "free speech is important" to "our speech is important".

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

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 11:17am

    Let me start the censorship ball rolling . . .

    How about ${political_party_A} start issuing DMCA takedowns to censor ${political_party_B}.

    politican critters . . . start your engines . . .

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 11:26am

    My brain hurts.

    If I'm reading this right the proposal is: US government seizes a copyright and then issues a takedown notice on material covered by that same copyright.

    So...now that they own (or control) the copyright does that mean the US government would be censoring itself ???

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 12:22pm

      Re:

      Only their terrorist content. So business as usual.

      You know with the torture report... or any information they produce about their nation wide local surveillance.

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

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 12:19pm

    Not only is this mechanism stupid, horrible, and just plain wrong from a legal standpoint, the desire is idiotic and the results will never be what they want.

    The correct thing is to make this "bad content" available to a wider audience where people can comment on how wrong it is. Or wow, throw your own official government propaganda on top. Plus, you'd think it would perfectly suit their intentions to try and scare everyone into supporting other things they want to do in the name of The War On Terror.

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

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 1:01pm

    Why not instead stop the funding and training of ISIS from the US government? That might put a damper on their ability to do terrorist acts.

    It is curious that Obama recently had to amend a law preventing the government from assisting terrorists legally, to allowing it without being charged with treason. If they were not already breaking said law there would have been no need to retroactively make it legal.

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 1:25pm

      Re:

      Forgive me, but I believe it's because your model of what happened is more than a bit oversimplified. I prefer how a Vox.com writer put it over a year ago:
      "The absurdity runs deep." America uses American military equipment to bomb American military equipment that ISIS captured (from inept Iraqi soldiers, inept in part since America disbanded Iraq's professional military in 2003). America's Kurdish allies, fighting ISIS, use inferior Russian weapons they captured in the 1980s. ISIS has a so-far-safer haven in Syria because America declined to arm moderate Syrian rebels, largely out of fear that radicals like the future ISIS would capture weapons America provided. "So now (America is) bombing the guns that (it) didn't mean to give ISIS because (America) didn't give guns to their enemies because then ISIS might get guns." [Vox.com, 8-8-2014]

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

  • icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 1:56pm

    Everyone is missing a big point here

    As an "illegal" organization, do terrorists even get copyrights on their materials? (Also, are any of them suing anybody for infringement?) In much the same was as criminals are not allowed to profit from their crimes, I would think the same concepts would apply here.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 3:41pm

    I would love to remove Copyright Monopoly's copyrights.

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

  • identicon
    Zonker, 20 Nov 2015 @ 4:39pm

    How do you effectively revoke that pesky First Amendment and silence Free Speech for good? Like this:
    That model might, with a small legislative change, be adapted to the removal of [free] speech. All that would be required was a modification of the law to assign the copyright in all [free] speech to a non-[free] organization with an interest in monitoring and removing [free] content. Here are the essential components of such a plan:

    • Identification of [free] organizations to whom the law would apply;
    • A definition of "unprotected" content associated with that [free] organization;
    • An extinguishing of copyright in such "unprotected" content; and
    • Transfer of that copyright to a third party.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 1:09pm

      Re:

      How do you effectively revoke that pesky First Amendment and silence Free Speech for good?
      Chillingly, this is exactly what the petulant whiners on college campuses are trying to do. They want the entirety of the constitution shredded because there wasn't enough diversity casting among the Founders. A new Pew poll indicates that a whopping 40% of Millennials believe the First Amendment should itself be amended to make microaggressions a crime under the law.

      They want U.S. law modeled on E.U.-style "hate speech" codes that even prevented the Rotherham police force from investigating the rape epidemic there -- because identifying the girls' attackers would be offensive to Muslims and might (gasp) cause Britons to think ill of them. Guess what happened when the truth finally leaked...

      I shudder to think that there might be enough of these "useful idiots" in public office someday to force a constitutional convention or get enough states on board to amend or scrap the 1A. Look how many of them are in the Ivy Leagues, where a significant chunk of our legislators have come from to begin with -- including presidents. Long march of the institutions and all that.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 7:25pm

    All that would be required was a modification of the law to assign the copyright in all terrorist speech to a non-terrorist organization with an interest in monitoring and removing terrorist content.





    So make it legal for them to assign anyone's copyright to a non-terrorist like the USA? Where would the head office be, Guantanamo?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 9:48pm

    Let's go back to basics here. Congress only has limited power over creating copyright law. Here it is:

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

    I've read that a few times now and I really am struggling to find the part that says "and to censor terrorists."


    Unfortunately, I also don't see the part where the heirs of the Author/Inventor, or other assignees are given rights either. By rights, the Author would have to be the one to sue regarding copyright, not an owning company, not the "Estate of", not the "inheritor of".

    Correct me if I am wrong, but hasn't the battle I'm pointing to already been lost? Folks here have pointed out particular cases to illustrate other points. Perhaps they could point out where this one went off the rails?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:37pm

      Re:

      Unfortunately, I also don't see the part where the heirs of the Author/Inventor, or other assignees are given rights either.
      I would simply refer you to the United States Copyright Act 1790. Rather than reproduce a lengthy extract merely to highlight repeated uses of the phrase “his or their executors, administrators or assigns”, I would just note that the phrase is used four times in Section 1, and encourage you to search within the PDF.

      The 1790 Act was adopted close in time to the Constitution itself, and —at least the courts do generally presume— the Second Session of Congress was both familiar with and faithful to the meaning of the Constitution.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2015 @ 4:35am

    Mike Masnick, people have been found guilty of treason in the United States of America for spreading enemy propaganda. Free speech only goes so far. Also, yes yes yes yes yes, seize the terrorist propaganda just like the nazi propaganda that americans have found guilty of treason for producing. The material actually has to be true to fall into free speech or freedom of the press. Terror recruitment is not legal to produce

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2015 @ 5:12am

      Re:

      1) Treason is an act carried out by a citizen of a country, and the middle east is not part of the USA.
      2) This is trying to set a dangerous precedent whereby a country claims the copyright over, and the ability to remove from the internet any information that it does not like. Other countries could use this to claim ownership over and takedown anything that they consider promoting terrorism inside their borders, such as China considering that articles promoting free speech to be promoting terrorism.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2015 @ 10:07am

      Re:

      The material actually has to be true to fall into free speech or freedom of the press.
      So opinion, speculation, hyperbole, satire, etc. are all unprotected? I hear that a guy named Ken White has a perineum that is in need of vigorous olfactory sampling.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

Introducing the new Techdirt Insider Chat, now hosted on Discord. If you are an Insider with a membership that includes the chat feature and have not yet been invited to join us on Discord, please reach out here.

Loading...
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.