Tuesday, December 22

Rant

Voltaire May Be Dead...

But as far as I know, the First Amendment* has not been repealed.

One of the most** enjoyable parts of my hobby (and would-be business) is waking up in the morning and checking my mail (e- or snail-) to find that someone wants to sue me for something one of my bloggers has said or done.

Citing "hate speech" laws* of some city***, as though the internet were a local newspaper, just adds to the piquancy.

* Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It's not complicated, people.

** As in, least
.

*** The Fourteenth Amendment reads in part:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:41 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1

Under US federal law you're in the clear anyway. One of the provisions of the DMCA is that the owner of an internet service isn't legally liable for what his users say or do.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Tuesday, December 22 2009 03:13 PM (+rSRq)

2 Yep.  While the DMCA provisions are draconian, they do provide specific protection to service providers so long as they comply with the takedown procedure.

We've only ever received two DMCA takedown notices.  One was just a forum squabble over posts being quoted.  One party complained to our hosting company, and was told that his only recourse was to make a DMCA complaint.  Which is true enough; what they failed to mention was that there was no reasonable standing to make a DMCA complaint.  (And it's not really their place to say that anyway.)

So he filed the takedown and I had to take that forum thread offline.

The other was Michael Crook.  He was sued for the EFF for falsely asserting copyright in multiple DMCA takedown notices.  The EFF won and he was forced to withdraw all the notices.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tuesday, December 22 2009 03:29 PM (PiXy!)

3 What people don't know is that the DMCA has a ping-pong provision in it. If something of yours is taken down, but the copyright complaint isn't legitimate, you just have to respond to the takedown with a notice of your own that the material's not infringing. At that point the host can put the stuff back up without affecting their safe-harbor status, and the parties can take it to court.

I'm not sure that the host HAS to put the material back up, though (and, let's be honest, most DMCA notices are legit, though I'm sure that blog hosts don't get the majority of them, heh.) And sending your ISP that kind of notice without having a good-faith belief that you're correct could have negative effects down the road if your case went to trial.

It's been a long time, but I did a term paper on the DMCA for my legislative studies class, back when it was new. ;p

Still, even when you're 100% in the right, legal threats are annoying, because you more or less have to take them seriously even when they're spurious (lest the offending party actually sue and get a default judgment when you don't fly 2000 miles to appear in their small claims court, etc.)

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at Wednesday, December 23 2009 01:01 PM (pWQz4)

4 Yep.  I haven't had anyone bother to file a counter-claim yet, though.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, December 23 2009 02:15 PM (PiXy!)

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