Regulatory Czar wants to use copyright protection mechanisms to shut down rumors and conspiracy theories

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Guest Post by Alec Rawls

As Congress considers vastly expanding the power of copyright holders to shut down fair use of their intellectual property, this is a good time to remember the other activities that Obama’s “regulatory czar” Cass Sunstein wants to shut down using the tools of copyright protection. For a couple of years now, Sunstein has been advocating that the “notice and take down” model from copyright law should be used against rumors and conspiracy theories, “to achieve the optimal chilling effect.”

What kinds of conspiracy theories does Sunstein want to suppress by law? Here’s one:

… that the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud. [From page 4 of Sunstein’s 2008 “Conspiracy Theories” paper.]

Freedom of speech requires scope for error

At present, limits on speech are governed by libel law. For statements about public figures, libel requires not just that an accusation must be false, but that it must have been:

… made with ‘actual malice’—that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard to whether it was false or not. [New York Times v. Sullivan, 1964]

The purpose of the “actual malice” standard is to leave wide latitude for errant statements, which free public debate obviously requires. Sunstein thinks that room-for error stuff is given too much weight. He’d like it to see errant statements expunged. From Sunstein’s 2009 book On Rumors (page 78):

On the Internet in particular, people might have a right to ‘notice and take down.’ [T]hose who run websites would be obliged to take down falsehoods upon notice.

Further, “propagators” would face a “liability to establish what is actually true” (ibid).

Suppose you are a simple public-spirited blogger, trying to expose how Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Tom Wigley, and other Team members conspire to suppress the research and destroy the careers of those who challenge their consensus views. If Sunstein gets his way, Team members will only have to issue you a takedown notice, and if you want your post to stay up, you’ll have to go to court and win a judgment that your version of events is correct.

Today that should be doable, at great expense. But before the first and second batches of climategate emails were released there were only tales of retaliation, with one person’s word against another’s. Thus at the most critical juncture, when documentary proofs of The Team’s vendettas were not yet public, even a person who was willing to run Sunstein’s legal gauntlet might well have been held by a judge to be in error.

Escalation

The path from Sunstein’s 2008 “Conspiracy Theories” article to his 2009 On Rumors book is straightforward. According to Sunstein’s 2008 definition, a conspiracy theory is very close to a potentially libelous rumor:

… a conspiracy theory can generally be counted as such if it is an effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role. [Abstract]

At this time, Sunstein’s “main policy idea” was that:

government should engage in cognitive infiltration of the groups that produce conspiracy theories….

… government agents or their allies (acting either virtually or in real space, and either openly or anonymously) will undermine the crippled epistemology of those who subscribe to such theories. [“Conspiracy Theories,” pages 14-15]

Government funding of trolls? Sounds like a bad joke, but Sunstein quickly upped the ante. In On Rumors he followed the conspiracy theory as slanderous rumor angle as a way to justify adopting the “notice and take down” artillery from copyright law. So Sunstein already has a history of escalation in his legal crusade against ideas he does not like. If SOPA and PIPA are enacted and the machinery of copyright protection becomes vastly more censorious, its pretty much a certainty that Sunstein will want to use these more powerful tools against rumors and conspiracy theories as well.

Sunstein’s target has always been the very core of the First Amendment: the most protected political speech

In On Rumors, the rumor that Sunstein seems most intent on suppressing is the accusation, leveled during the 2008 election campaign, that Barack Obama “pals around with terrorists.” (“Look Inside” page 3.) Sunstein fails to note that the “palling around with terrorists” language was introduced by the opposing vice presidential candidate, Governor Sarah Palin (who was implicating Obama’s relationship with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers). Instead Sunstein focuses his ire on “right wing websites” that make “hateful remarks about the alleged relationship between Barack Obama and the former radical Bill Ayers,” singling out Sean Hannity for making hay out of Obama’s “alleged associations” (pages 13-14).

What could possibly be more important than whether a candidate for president does indeed “pal around with terrorists”? Of all the subjects to declare off limits, this one is right up there with whether the anti-CO2 alarmists who are trying to unplug the modern world are telling the truth. And Sunstein’s own bias on the matter could hardly be more blatant. Bill Ayers is a “former” radical? Bill “I don’t regret setting bombs” Ayers? Bill “we didn’t do enough” Ayers?

For the facts of the Obama-Ayers relationship, Sunstein apparently accepts Obama’s campaign dismissal of Ayers as just “a guy who lives in my neighborhood.” In fact their relationship was long and deep. Obama’s political career was launched via a fundraiser in Bill Ayers’ living room; Obama was appointed the first chairman of the Ayers-founded Annenberg Challenge, almost certainly at Ayers’ request; Ayers and Obama served together on the board of the Woods Foundation, distributing money to radical left-wing causes; and it has now been reported by full-access White House biographer Christopher Andersen (and confirmed by Bill Ayers) that Ayers actually ghost wrote Obama’s first book Dreams of My Father.

Whenever free speech is attacked, the real purpose is to cover up the truth. Not that Sunstein himself knows the truth about anything. He just knows what he wants to suppress, which is exactly why government must never have this power.

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Soulmates (cue music)

You, on the other hand, are the enemy

In climate science, there is no avoiding “reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.” The Team has always been sloppy about concealing its machinations, but that doesn’t stop Sunstein from using climate skepticism as an exemplar of pernicious conspiracy theorizing, and his goal is perfectly explicit: he wants the state to take aggressive action to make it easier for our powerful government funded scientists to conceal their machinations.

Cass Sunstein may be the most illiberal man ever to present himself as a liberal. He also holds the most powerful regulatory position in existence, overseeing every federal regulation. For a sample of his handiwork, realize that he oversaw the EPA’s recently issued transport and MACT rules, which will shut down 8% of current U.S. electricity generation.

Maybe you don’t think it’s a good idea to unplug critical energy infrastructure just to achieve marginal further reductions in micro-particulates that have already fallen to well below half of their 1980 levels:

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Sorry but there is no place in Sunstein’s EPA for such doubts and, as far as he is concerned, no place for them in the realm of public debate either. The environmental bureaucracy has everyone’s best interest at heart. To question that is the very definition of conspiracy mongering.

Next people will be claiming that Obama actually intends for energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket.” Such vile rumors need to be silenced, and this can easily be done. Once the SOPA/PIPA machinery is in place, it will only take one line in some future omnibus bill to extend it from copyright to criticism.

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I am often confused by old liberals who don’t realize that the current generation is 100% about control of nearly every aspect of the population. Calling this guy unliberal, is a perfect example of the cognitive dissonance which has pervaded our society. Listen to what they are all saying not what you hope they are saying. This guy fits right in.

Presumably unless you make it illegal to view – the answer is just to use servers outside the US?
Politicians in all countries still don’t get the internets do they?
They either have to shut the whole thing down or clean their own acts up and stop being self serving chisellers. You can’t get this toothpaste back in the tube.

Charles.U.Farley

Shutting down critical opposition is always the aim of scoundrels with something to hide.
They must really be scared of the truth. But still, out it will come.

Brad

You do a good job of building up Mr. Sunnstein’s political views and wants, but do little to show any evidence of his want to use copyright law to stop anything. Copyright law cannot stop the type of speech you discuss in any case.
Anthony’s allowance of other posters without review is really dropping the quality here at WUWT.

R Barker

First Amendment under attack!

Jeff Wiita

Glenn Beck was right. He warned everyone about Cass Sunstien.

JoeH

Such partisan regulation needs to be opposed on every level. The use of unelected “Czars” also needs to be opposed. Bureaucracy throughout the western world needs to be pruned.

I’ve passed the link to Mr. Rawls guest post to L. Neil Smith’s online magazine The Libertarian Enterprise with a recommendation that the editor contact Mr. Rawls and Anthony Watts for permission to reproduce it in the next edition therein.
This needs as much exposure as can possibly be managed.
Considering our “Liberal” fascist-in-chief’s obvious plans to obliterate the First Amendment, the dire necessity to get Barry Soebarkah and his little ACORN elves out of public office and into a federal penitentiary for the rest of their worthless lives is now ramped up to top priority.
And we need to extract from Willard Mittney – the Republican Party establishment’s anointed nominee, the voters’ real preferences be damned – a drop-dead pledge to oppose and, if necessary, repeal SOPA and PIPA if they get enacted.

John Marshall

I sometimes wonder how Obama was elected given the way that he now wants America to be controlled. Liberal policies so often become overbearing and nannying to the point of total socialist doctrine. Who do these people think they are to think that their way is any better than the one that we desire for ourselves? This is the way of total oppression and the sooner Obama goes the better for America.
The ‘1984’ scenario looms.

conradg

You had me on your side until you claimed that Bill Ayers actually ghost-wrote Obama’s book, and that Ayers himself admitted it. You must know that Ayers said that in total mocking sarcasm at the absurdity of the notion. It’s one thing to allow nutcase ideas to proliferate, it’s another to actually believe in them, and your belief in this makes me doubt everything else you’ve written. I can’t therefore take your word for anything you’ve written here, even though if true, I’d be on your side.

Maybe we should do a trial on political and federal websites and take them down when they are wrong. At least it would shut them up for a bit – given 50% of what they claim is exaggeration and the rest is just plain naive.

artwest

Duncan says:
January 20, 2012 at 4:10 am
“Presumably unless you make it illegal to view – the answer is just to use servers outside the US?”
————————————————————————-
If the gutless toadies we have pretending to be in power in the UK (courtesy of the EU), are in any way typical then they will bend over for any extradition before the US even asks.
Also, a website owner can host a site wherever they like, but unless they relish spending their days on the run in, living in whatever dusty corner of the world will temporarily shelter them, then they aren’t going to want the long arm of US law after them personally.
I know I wouldn’t want that threat and that’s all it needs to shut down most people’s “free speech”.

MarkW

Scratch a liberal, and almost always, you will find a totalitarian.

steveta_uk

I assume all religious sites will be shut down.
There may be an interesting when the gubmint requires someone to prove that the Koran is true.

Bloke down the pub

Land of the free?

Frank K.

All will change in November. Remember, a vote for Barack Obama and the liberal Democrats at any level of government is a vote for dangerous people like Cass Sunstein.
In a related story – from “The Hill”:
Dems propose ‘Reasonable Profits Board’ to regulate oil company profits
By Pete Kasperowicz – 01/19/12 10:20 AM ET
Six House Democrats, led by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), want to set up a “Reasonable Profits Board” to control gas profits.

First it’s the rejection of the Keystone pipeline project, and now they want to regulate oil company “profits”. Just imagine if the government doesn’t like you, your politics, your business, your industry…they will find a way to “regulate” you for “the common good”.
Please remember all of this in November!

Owen in GA

Unfortunately the current crop of politicians read Orwell as a guide to “good government” rather than as a warning against creeping totalitarianism. So everyone repeat after me …” I love big brother…”

John Marshall says: January 20, 2012 at 4:25 am
” Who do these people think they are to think that their way is any better than the one that we desire for ourselves? ”
Liberals assume two things. They think everybody is good (does not have to be taught to be good), takes orders and complies (no crime because everybody is good, right?) and thus compliant. Therefore, we do not need guns in the hands of private citizens = strict gun control.
Second, they assume everybody (except themselves) is stupid and need the liberals to run their lives for them. After all the liberals are so intelligent that no one can understand how wise and smart they can be about what you should be doing.
Pelosi is pushing for a Obamachildcare, which would mandate toddlers to school age children be enrolled in government childcare—private childcare companies having been forced out of business, by massive regulations, no doubt. This way the liberals/socialists would have cradle to adult time to indoctrinate the next generation to be compliant and even support the Chairman of the United Socialists of America.

At 4:41 AM on 20 January, conradg had written:

You had me on your side until you claimed that Bill Ayers actually ghost-wrote Obama’s book, and that Ayers himself admitted it. You must know that Ayers said that in total mocking sarcasm at the absurdity of the notion. It’s one thing to allow nutcase ideas to proliferate, it’s another to actually believe in them, and your belief in this makes me doubt everything else you’ve written. I can’t therefore take your word for anything you’ve written here, even though if true, I’d be on your side.

Tsk. If nothing more than the reliably inferred conclusion that “Liberal” fascist (and admitted terrorist) Bill Ayers had ghosted one of the bits of writing attributed to Barry Soebarkah gives you to huff and maunder and spew fake indignation, then you were never “on [our] side” – the side of scientific integrity and the defense of individual human rights – to begin with, and therefore your yammer about there having been even the remotest possibility of engaging your sympathies is a clumsy lie on your part.
As is doubtless the case among all honest examiners of the subject of our Mombasa Messiah’s alleged academic achievements (note, please, that to this day he and his controllers hold under lock-and-key all of his educational records), I find it damned peculiar that a person who had been appointed editor of Harvard’s law review could have gotten through four years of undergraduate education and three years of law school without leaving behind any evidence of having written more than a solitary letter published in The Harvard Law Review, an independent Harvard Law School newspaper.
I dunno about you, conradg, but in the process of getting a baccalaureate degree in Biology and a doctorate in medical school – not to mention the residency training years – I wrote a hellulva lot of stuff, including a regular column in my university newspaper, articles and letters published in general-distribution magazines and newspapers, coursework-related essays and reviews, diagnostic and treatment protocols, and so damned many consultation reports, H&P’s, discharge summaries, and letters related to the care of patients that I’ve more than sufficient reason to have lost count.
So how the hell did “Harrison J. Bounel” (or “Jean Paul Ludwig,” or whatever alias the bastich is currently using) not only get appointed editor of a prestigious postgraduate school’s law review but also manage to practice the profession of law without leaving behind even a remotely comparable residue of written work?
[SNIP: That is too far over the top. -REP]

MarkW says: January 20, 2012 at 4:56 am:
“Scratch a liberal, and almost always, you will find a totalitarian.”
Well, somebody has to impose the equal poverty and desperation for all on the people. There is no such thing as democratic socialism; that would work even worse than socialism, which does not work at all.
The USSR was run by the Communist Party (emphasis on “party,” which is what they did on the people’s dime). In retrospect we find that the Soviet people hated communism/socialism (the commune part disappeared quite quickly), which was socialism run by a gang. One analyst said that, to make socialism work, you need a generation or two of creeping socialism and indoctrination to get the people used to and accepting of it, in a fatalistic way, as simply the way life is.
Why are there people out there who cannot see that socialism cannot work in any form as it does not generate wealth and prosperity?
Only free market capitalism can generate wealth and prosperity, lifting people out of poverty and improving the lot of all mankind. They refuse to realize that as the rich get richer, so do the poor. A rising tide floats all boats. The libs assume that, if the rich get richer, the poor have less, but that assumes a limited supply of wealth—this would be true in a socialist environment. But, as capitalism creates wealth, there is more to go around. The poor in our country are a lot better off than the poor in many other countries. That so cool!

Also, bureaucrats NEVER accrue data or powers that they do not ever expect to use. If they have it, they will use it.
This is why the Small Arms Treaty Act, which would hand information about all of our small arms over to the UN, is a clear signal that the UN has the future intention of disarm all US citizens. They would have to if they ever get to create the one-world government that they seek. There is no tother reason to seek this information. It has nothing to do with controlling the movement of small arms to world hot spots.

John Marshall says:
January 20, 2012 at 4:25 am
I sometimes wonder how Obama was elected …

Overwhelming support from the main stream media underplaying anything that might be considered negative.

How does someone with views so antithetical to free speech get anywhere near the Whitehouse? Honestly.

Rhys Jaggar

I am afraid on this I must disagree in part.
When there is repeated, venal, slanderous bile spouted day after day, month after month, against a duly elected Representative; when the attacks are personal, not professional; when they get to the point that these people say that ‘the only thing XXX can do is masturbate, count to 99, then change hands’, then free speech has got to stop. This is currently going on the the Daily Telegraph in England (www.telegraph.co.uk) targeting the Deputy Prime Minister of the UK and no doubt cheered on by the bloggist James Delingpole, to whom you have a link…….
I want you to accept that if you challenge this, that every member of your family can be brutally impugned for the rest of their life and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Nothing you should be ALLOWED to do to stop it. Sauce for the goose, after all………
When the rumours are not rumours but plain lies, when they are part of campaigns waged by mentally ill psychopaths aimed at destroying genuine democratic plurality, then free speech has got to stop.
Free speech does not mean saying that ‘Barack Obama’s wife is a frigid cow who spawned two vile pot smoking heroin-injecting nignogs’ is acceptable. It means that someone writing that should be incarcerated into a lunatic asylum.
Free speech must stop when it is playing the man/woman, not the ball.
That’s where the line must be drawn, because if you don’t you are saying you want vile thugs ruling over you and bugger that they’re pig ignorant about what matters.
Nothing I have said has anything to do with who wins in 2012 in the USA, it has to do with where the lines should be drawn in a civilised society.
I wonder whether the USA understands what one of those is and, if it does, why it tolerates what it does from its out of control, destructively anti-democratic media…………
I suggest you think hard about that, just as you think hard about what the term ‘playing the man, not the ball’ means in real life……….
Because trust me, there are no really competent people whose lives are so blameless that they could be US President and STILL satisfy the blood lusts of the media.
None.
And you want to ask why you think the media are the right people to pick your Presidents.
Because they do……….

Nothing new about it. FBI, CIA and No Such Agency have been infiltrating groups with unpopular views for about 80 years. Sometimes they do the Agent Provocateur thing, steering the group into crazier and crazier theories; sometimes they make the group look untrustworthy to its potential followers. The techniques are old, only the primary unpopular target changes over the years. Before 1989 it was mainly Communist groups; since 1989 it’s been mainly Christian or Nationalist groups.
Wouldn’t be a bit surprised if some of the skeptics are agents. (Remember too that the AGW movement was first proposed by the CIA in 1974.)

Owen

Obama and the EPA are going to freeze us all to death in the dark. Don’t dare complain though when your your family dies. It would be unpatriotic !
I can hardly wait for the day when they start proposing Canada be invaded so they can shut down the oil sands by force. Those Canucks are destroying the planet you know. Make em wear yellow stars !

[SNIP: Policy -REP]

slp

Correction. Obama’s book is Dreams from My Father. A minor detail, but it “from” does have a different meaning than “of.”

Fortunately, there is a remedy for the unconstitutional plague of statist ‘czars’ that The Puppet President and his Marxist handlers have inflicted upon us: it’s called an election.
Short of concocting some kind of ‘national emergency’ and getting the election called off, I think it is very unlikely this gang can prevail upon the American public to give them another term. Of course, the Republicans are always good at pulling defeat from the jaws of victory. But as long as Obambi and company keep trying to assuage the radical left, with decisions like nixing the XL pipeline, and as long as the economy stays in the doldrums, a year from today we should be able to clean house—the White House.
/Mr Lynn

Curiousgeorge

Tattoo this across your chest. Burn it into your souls. You will need it to keep you warm in the coming years.
=================================================================
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

paul revere

welcome to the USSA comrades!!!

thelastdemocrat

These people want to rewrite the Constitution. Why? They claim that we have our heads in the “echo chamber,” and so are not fit/informed to carry out the Founding Fathers’ ideal of “participative democracy.”
They belive that now, with vastly more media than the Colonial days, we can avoid a range of views, and so we are not fit to vote or have einput on legislative initiatives, etc.
The solution? REWRITE THE CONSTITUTION.

Chris B

conradg says:
January 20, 2012 at 4:41 am
You had me on your side until you claimed that Bill Ayers actually ghost-wrote Obama’s book, and that Ayers himself admitted it. You must know that Ayers said that in total mocking sarcasm at the absurdity of the notion…………………………….
_______________________________________________________________-
Are you saying Christopher Anderson is incorrectly understood by Rawls?
Rawls: “……………..and it has now been reported by full-access White House biographer Christopher Andersen (and confirmed by Bill Ayers) that Ayers actually ghost wrote Obama’s first book Dreams of My Father.”

RockyRoad

I have a feeling the electorate will reverse the mistake they made in electing Big O. I know of nobody that voted for the guy that’s willing to admit it now, or that plans on doing it again. Still, many union hacks out there will support him again as a brainless reaction to their boss’s request since they have received largess for their support of Barry–GM stock being ripped from rightful owners and given to undeserving GM union members is a prime example. And that’s one “conspiracy” Cass Sunstein undoubtedly wants to quash, among many others.
Please, send Sunstein to N. Korea where his ideology is a much better fit and throw his boss in for the (one-way) ride, too.

At 5:59 AM on 20 January, Donna Laframboise had written:

How does someone with views so antithetical to free speech get anywhere near the Whitehouse? Honestly.

Well, to paraphrase Mae West, “honesty had nothing to do with it.”
Freedom of speech has been considered by incumbent and aspiring politicians as something to be violated whenever and wherever it is expedient to do so. Consider the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798) perpetrated by the Federalists.
Critters like this Sunstein specimen have been warmly embraced by the occupants of the White House – no matter what their party or faction – for close to two centuries, and unless the man taking the presidential oath of office on 20 January next year is an elderly obstetrician named Ron Paul, you can reliably expect vicious thugs “with views so antithetical to free speech” to be continuing fixtures in and around the federal executive branch.

[snip -over the top – Anthony]

Pamela Gray

Beliefs and ideas can and do turn into laws. We must be all over the beliefs and ideas of those who wish to serve in government positions. We must also be all over the behavior of those who wish such positions (and if they can’t stand the heat, it is a telling comment on their ability to serve). We may end up with the opposite of what we voted for without such challenges.
The U.S. and its states came into being by such challenges and accusations against the monarchy and our own Constitution. It was even written into our Declaration. But according to this idiot, the Declaration would have to be “taken down”.

thelastdemocrat

A couple places to start reading: 1 Sunstein’ essay noted here. 2 Sunstein’s book, “The Partial Constitution.” This is the info-diet equivalent of his health behavior-focused book “Nudge:” the govt is a series of sticks and carrots to guide our life for the overall societal good. Exactly like “Walden II.”
3. Visit website: http://www.constitutionin2020.org
You can take it from there. The goal is to change media. No longer will it be a free speech ideal. The ideal will be an ‘impartial’ govt board that ensures that a proper mix of viewpoints is present in all media. Yes, an updated ‘fairness doctrine,’
Sunstein sounds educated and reasonable. I have figured out his trick: he states off with an “obvious” given that is wrong. Then, he follows that with good argument and reasoning and examples. He then arrives at his conclusions. [of course, the conclusions are all a world where he and other elitists guide society fromthe top-down, since we rabble don’t know better.] So, if you read ‘the lpartial constitution,’ ‘democracy and the problem of free speech,,’ etc., realize that his trick is to have a slightly wrong premise, with a following argument that is fairly reasonble, or logical.
These rewrite-the-Constitution peopel have another propaganda point: the Declaration of Independence and Constitution fits “extreme right-wing views,”such as pro-life ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” gun ownership, home-schooling choice, state power versus fed, etc.
Since these founding docs, and founding fathers, no longer represent the general public, but only “far right extremists,” they need to be modified, lest our lead governing principles be unfairly biased to favor ‘right-wing extremism.’
You can believe me or not. You should not trust me, but should go get yourself edumacated. Go explore this for yourself.

RockyRoad

Rhys Jaggar says:
January 20, 2012 at 5:59 am

I am afraid on this I must disagree in part.
When there is repeated, venal, slanderous bile spouted day after day, month after month, against a duly elected Representative; when the attacks are personal, not professional; when they get to the point that these people say that ‘the only thing XXX can do is masturbate, count to 99, then change hands’, then free speech has got to stop. This is currently going on the the Daily Telegraph in England (www.telegraph.co.uk) targeting the Deputy Prime Minister of the UK and no doubt cheered on by the bloggist James Delingpole, to whom you have a link…….

But you do the same thing you rant about. For example, do you have a citation (link, whatever) that James Delingpole is cheering on this targeting of the Deputy Prime Minister?
If you don’t you are slitting your own throat on this one.
See how you’ve castigated yourself as unlawful and justified the judge’s sentence of guilty?

Rob Crawford

“Further, “propagators” would face a “liability to establish what is actually true””
I say there are no unicorns. Under Sunstein’s standards, I could be forced to prove a negative. That’s logically impossible.

Pamela Gray

By the way, hear hear on Ron Paul.

Dr. Bob

Further, “propagators” would face a “liability to establish what is actually true” (ibid).
With every threat there is opportunity!

dave ward

Regarding sites being shut down, I’ve just read that one of the leading filesharing sites, Megaupload, has been closed by the US DOJ, and a number of arrests made. What ever your views on sharing of copyright material, this is a clear warning that governments can and will use all their powers to stifle free speech. IIRC Megaupload hosted one of the many copies of the original UEA leak…
It should also be a warning NOT to rely on “Cloud” hosting of your important files/documents etc.

Ryan

@Rhys Jagger
“Free speech does not mean saying that ‘Barack Obama’s wife is a frigid cow who spawned two vile pot smoking heroin-injecting nignogs’ is acceptable. It means that someone writing that should be incarcerated into a lunatic asylum.”
What purpose would it serve to put such a person in prison, Rhys? Why would you want to do such a thing? Do you think imprisoning such a person would make such a person moderate their views, or actually give them reason to make them far more extreme? Does preventing them from putting such views in writing mean the views cease to exist? Do the people that read such views not have the ability to determine their own opinion of such matters and thus you desire to impose a ban on the expression of such views to protect these delicate souls?
It seems to me that your only plausible reason for wanting to supress free speech in this way is because you personally don’t like the views that are expressed. Personally I don’t like the views of pro-abortionists, Islamic fundamentalists, Marxists, people that support Manchester City and fans of Justin Bieber. Let’s be fair and ban them ALL from ever saying anything and then maybe we can all live in peace? Or maybe we should be grown up and admit that free-speech is a fundamental human right of exceptional value that should NEVER be challenged or eroded by ill-thought out caveats that are only ever exploited to widen their scope until they become all-encompassing.

Steve (Paris)

Duncan says:
January 20, 2012 at 4:10 am
“Presumably unless you make it illegal to view – the answer is just to use servers outside the US?
Politicians in all countries still don’t get the internets do they?
They either have to shut the whole thing down or clean their own acts up and stop being self serving chisellers. You can’t get this toothpaste back in the tube.”
Well said sir

Anton

Tucci78, as I understand it, he was elected PRESIDENT, not Editor, of Harvard Law Review, a campus club producing a journal of the same name, and never had anything to do with the journal. Also, while in prior years only students with exception grades were permitted to run for this office, Harvard conveniently changed the rules at some point prior to his election so that members of minority groups, regardless of their grades, could also run.
Did the other club members REALLY vote for Obama? Has anybody canvassed them to find out? So far, only one person at Harvard has even admitted knowing him. She, a real editor of the Law Review, said that he did not contribute to the journal, did not edit a single article, and rarely even showed up at the Review meetings. The lone example we have of his writing is illiterate, and we’re supposed to believe that someone who doesn’t know how to match noun and verb cases suddenly, with no prior experience, churned out an award-winning masterpiece? Everything about him, from his admission to Harvard to the present is suspect, dubious, weird, illogical, and inexplicable WITHOUT invoking conspiracy theories. He is a wholesale fabrication, but who is the fabricator?

RockyRoad

thelastdemocrat says:
January 20, 2012 at 6:09 am

These people want to rewrite the Constitution. Why? They claim that we have our heads in the “echo chamber,” and so are not fit/informed to carry out the Founding Fathers’ ideal of “participative democracy.”
They belive that now, with vastly more media than the Colonial days, we can avoid a range of views, and so we are not fit to vote or have einput on legislative initiatives, etc.
The solution? REWRITE THE CONSTITUTION.

Actually, a lot of people, because we have the Internet, are more supportive of and participating in this “participative democracy” of which you speak than ever before. Obviously, those that don’t have our freedoms at heart but their own power in mind would love to change the status quo.
But one thing I learned recently was a revelation to me–the amount of time in public discourse that led up to the writing of the US Constitution, all the while these ideas were discussed in the editorial columns of every newspaper in the land; a number of thought-provoking pamphlets extolling the virtues of independence coupled with responsibility were best sellers; with the Black Robe Brigade preaching the same ideals from every church pulpit and street corner where crowds could be gathered. It wasn’t just a few months or a few seasons or even decades. It was roughly 60 years!–the time it took back then to have 3 generations. And yet the basic principles apply then as they do now.
(By the way, the vitriol was no less then than it is now, and we’ve all survived to this point just fine. Don’t let anti-freedom forces destroy such an amazing investment in our freedoms. Those that would police freedom of speech are not proponents but are truly antithetical opponents.)

Robin Hewitt

Moving the web site off shore doesn’t necessarily work. The US of A is currently trying to extradite Richard O’Dwyer from the UK for running a website that contravened copyright laws. He broke no UK law, he never left the UK. All very odd.

Rob Crawford

“When the rumours are not rumours but plain lies, when they are part of campaigns waged by mentally ill psychopaths aimed at destroying genuine democratic plurality, then free speech has got to stop.”
Ugh, no. The answer is more free speech, and the exercise of libel laws.
“unless the man taking the presidential oath of office on 20 January next year is an elderly obstetrician named Ron Paul, you can reliably expect vicious thugs “with views so antithetical to free speech” to be continuing fixtures in and around the federal executive branch”
Seriously? Have you watched how the Ronulans behave? They have thinner skins than the Obamadrones.

Nick Shaw

Like Jeff Wiita says, Glenn Beck was right on this one. Yes, the man can be over the top on some subjects but, if I treated his pronouncements like I would stock picks, I’d be a very wealthy man.
Just sayin’.