Posts Tagged Techdirt
Should Making A Threat On Facebook Be A Crime?
from the determining-real-vs.-fake dept
There have been a few instances lately of various mass killings around the world (though certainly not all of them) where those responsible have either left strong hints via their online presence, or have even been pretty direct about their intentions. Of course, at the same time, you have stories like Paul Chambers’, where a joke was over-inflated by some law enforcement officials to pretend that it was a threat. Ditto the story of Joe Lipari, who quoted a line from Fight Club on Facebook, and got arrested for his trouble.
So, I find it somewhat troubling that police in Canada seem to think that any threat online or off is a criminal offense. There’s been an increase in people charged in Canada for merely making a threat, and some are reasonably concerned that many of those threats are idle chatter on social networks. The article seems to think that there’s no good way of dealing with this other than to change the law so that online threats are treated differently than offline threats:
Section 264.1 of the Criminal Code says a person who knowingly utters, conveys or causes another person to receive a threat of death or bodily harm can receive a prison term of up to five years. A person who threatens to damage property, or kill or injure an animal, can receive a prison sentence of up to two years.
Cpl. De Jong said under the Criminal Code “a threat is a threat is a threat,” regardless of how it’s made.
But Bentley Doyle, of the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C., said some sort of distinction should be drawn between online threats and those made in person.
“The more specific you get, the easier it is to actually follow through and charge somebody specifically,” he said.
Of course, rather than separating out online and in-person speech, what’s wrong with just looking at the details of the situation, and making a reasonable assessment as to whether the threat is legitimate or just someone saying something stupid? In the cases of Chambers and Lipari above, law enforcement should have quickly realized that neither individual was likely to do anything violent. But if someone is legitimately planning to shoot at a group of people and talking about it online, it seems that, at the very least, that could be worth investigating. The problem is criminalizing the statement, rather than using it as evidence to see if there’s actually any real intent to follow through.
- Outspoken Blog TechDirt Will Let Anyone Shut It Down For A Day — For A Price (businessinsider.com)
- Techdirt and the value of the velvet rope approach to media (gigaom.com)
- Police grapple with how to handle threats online (theglobeandmail.com)
- Government Is Now Issuing Takedown Requests Of YouTube Videos (webpronews.com)
- Gym Allegedly Threatens To Call Police On Blogger For Blogging That Its Prices Were A Bit High | Techdirt (mbcalyn.com)
- Police Send SWAT Team, Break Into Wrong House (With TV Film Crew) In Response To Internet Troll | Techdirt (mbcalyn.com)
- Day of the Facebook assassin (infocult.typepad.com)
- 1st Amendment Violated As Facebook Assists Police In Pre-Crime Investigations (alexanderhiggins.com)
- Victoria police probe online threats against mosque (ctvnews.ca)
Outdated Compulsory Licensing Means Australian Schools Must Pay Millions To Use Free Internet Materials | Techdirt
Outdated Compulsory Licensing Means Australian Schools Must Pay Millions To Use Free Internet Materials
from the it’s-broken,-let’s-fix-it dept
Recently we wrote about how copyright rules designed for an analog age were causing problems when transposed without modification to the digital world. Here’s another example, this time from Australia, where the Brisbane Times’ site reports on an increasingly difficult situation in education as a result of outdated copyright approaches:
Schools spend almost [AU]$56 million [US$59 million] a year under a compulsory licence to copy material such as books and journals without permission from the copyright owner. But an unintended consequence of the licence means schools also pay millions for internet material that the website owners never intended to charge for
The problem is that there are strict rules that schools must follow when teachers duplicate material — rules that were designed for a world where practically every page copied had to be paid for. However, the inflexibilities of the scheme mean that these are now being applied even when teachers print or save freely-available materials from the Internet, or ask students to do the same for homework.
A “best estimate” for the scale of the problem is around $8 million, and as the Internet becomes an increasingly important resource for schools, things are only going to get worse:
These costs were likely to increase as the national broadband network was rolled out and might ”eventually become prohibitive”, [the National Copyright Unit's director] said.
Fortunately, the Australian Law Reform Commission is holding an inquiry into copyright and the digital economy currently, so there is hope that its recommendations will include a radical overhaul of the compulsory licensing system for schools. Given copyright’s three-hundred-year-old machinery, it’s unlikely to be the only area that requires such action.
- Schools pay millions for material free on net (stuff.co.nz)
- Driving Innovation: Finding the Balance Between Fair Reward and Profiteering (scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org)
- Iron grip prised loose (thehindu.com)
- Compulsory licensing and access to medicines (dawn.com)
- Natco Not Satisfied with One Compulsory License (thebigredbiotechblog.typepad.com)
- Techdirt, Reddit & others congregate for “Declaration of Internet Freedom” (itproportal.com)
- Will China Finally Pull the Trigger on a Compulsory Pharma License? (businessinsider.com)
- Patent waiver: US goes online to placate India (donttradeourlivesaway.wordpress.com)
- From outlier to trendsetter (donttradeourlivesaway.wordpress.com)
- Obama admin actively opposes Nexavar compulsory license (spicyipindia.blogspot.com)
Gym Allegedly Threatens To Call Police On Blogger For Blogging That Its Prices Were A Bit High | Techdirt
Gym Allegedly Threatens To Call Police On Blogger For Blogging That Its Prices Were A Bit High
from the good-luck-there dept
Every time you think that there have been enough examples of the Streisand Effect that it should stop people from trying to censor perfectly legitimate content, you’re just setting yourself up to be surprised by the next such attempt — often more bizarre than the previous one. The latest one comes to us via the Consumerist, and it involves the story of a new gym in Cleveland, called BarreCleveland, that has apparently threatened to call the police on a blogger because she though the price was a bit steep. But the really odd thing? The original post was generallypositive. We’re used to seeing people flip out about people saying negative things about them, but a mostly positive review? Now that’s something special.
Alana Munro’s original blog post did discuss the fact that she thought the price was too high, and that she normally likes a workout that generates more of a sweat, but on the whole it doesn’t seem that negative at all. She noted that if it was a little closer to where she lived (and the prices were lower) she’d likely go back. However, somewhere along the way that got interpreted as being a dig by someone who ran the place, and they first got into a bit of a Facebook and Twitter argument with Alana and some others.
And then…. someone with the same last name as the owner posted a comment on the original blog post, accusing Alana of “stealing” the class she attended:
Just stop the posting about Barre Cleveland and take down all the existing posts. We know that you stole the class and we can pursue legal action against you for that and that is why it is ridiculous that you complain about a price when you never paid for the class. You were never given a discount code by Barre Cleveland and somehow you used that to enter the studio. I am sending you this message to politely ask that you remove all the content about Barre Cleveland from your blog and twitter and we will not get the Beachwood Police involved on this theft of services.
Alana says she did use a discount code — it was one that was being passed around widely to help promote the gym in the first place. Now the gym may argue that it only meant the code to be used by people it gave it too, but then it should have implemented one-time codes. Instead, the code worked, and Alana has a nice receipt posted to her blog “thanking” her for signing up. Her complaint wasn’t that she paid too much for that one class, but that the general price might be too much for her to keep going back.
Either way, the whole thing has blown up and received lots of attention. BarreCleveland has scrubbed the back-and-forth tweets from its Twitter feed. But it certainly looks like it already went way too far. Engaging with people who criticize you online is one thing — and can be quite useful. Threatening to call the police on them and demanding they erase what they’ve written about you is going way too far, and the internet (hello Streisand Effect) doesn’t take kindly to such things.Gym Allegedly Threatens To Call Police On Blogger For Blogging That Its Prices Were A Bit High | Techdirt.
- A Broken System: Einstein Wouldn’t Have Been ‘Qualified’ To Teach High School Physics | Techdirt (mbcalyn.com)
- The Streisand Effect: When censorship backfires (bbc.co.uk)
- AOL threatens blogger with copyright infringement charge… (nextlevelofnews.com)
- Memories of Sixth Grade Gym Class (randomreflectionz.com)
- The Oatmeal and Funnyjunk: The Streisand Effect Strikes Again! (aelizabethwest.wordpress.com)
- Because We All Know What Skype Was Missing Was Intrusive Advertising, Microsoft Has Decided To Add It | Techdirt (mbcalyn.com)
- Has the Hollywood bar already forgotten about the Streisand effect? (pubcit.typepad.com)
- Sun investigates trolls on Twitter with TOWIE’s Lauren Goodger (thesun.co.uk)
- Arthur Alan Wolk Gets Overlawyered to Take Down Its Criticisms (pubcit.typepad.com)
- Beautiful Blogger Award…… (tootallfritz.com)
Tougher Enforcement In Sweden Doesn’t Slow Down Public’s File Sharing
from the of-course-not dept
For years we’ve argued over and over again that stricter enforcement does nothing to slow down or stop infringement. Often it does the opposite — either by making more people aware of the possibilities to infringe, or driving people further underground. The industry insists that it needs stricter enforcement on a bizarre and widely discredited theory that such strong enforcement is effective as an “education” technique. You hear this all the time from entertainment industry execs. They’re so bought into their infatuation with copyright, that they think the only possible reason why people don’t respect the law is that they haven’t been “educated” enough about it — and what better way to “educate” than to crack down hard?
Except, it never works. It never has and it never will. Increasing enforcement has never — not once — been shown to be an effective long term solution to stopping infringement. It doesappear to have short-term effects, as it makes people scatter from actions that are easily trackable, but within a few months (six seems to be about the consensus), file sharing activity tends to find a new path and get back to the same trajectory it was on before.
We’ve now got some more data to support this. A few years back, Sweden passed a very draconian and aggressive enforcement law known as IPRED (Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive), which had the result of a temporary blip in file sharing that disappeared pretty quickly. And now, a new research report has come out showing that just as many 15 to 25-year-olds share unauthorized content online as did so at the time IPRED became law. In fact, a larger percentage of that age group share “heavily,” rather than in smaller amounts.
“We can safely say that the repressive legal developments in this field have very weak support in informal social control mechanisms of society”, says Mans Svensson, Ph.D. in judicial sociology, one of the researchers doing the study. “The social pressure is close to non-existent.”
So why is it that we keep seeing countries pass these kinds of laws? And why do entertainment industry lobbyists keep pushing for them when they’re so woefully ineffective in doing anything positive?
- File-Sharing Habits Unhindered by Criminal Crackdown (escapistmagazine.com)
- Support for file sharing remains high in Sweden (thelocal.se)
- File-sharing prospers despite increased legislation (bgr.com)
- File Sharing Continues Unabated Despite Tighter Leglislation (itproportal.com)
- Conclusions from studying 20 file-sharing papers (boingboing.net)
- Study: Despite Tougher Copyright Monopoly Laws, Sharing Remains Pervasive (falkvinge.net)
- Scenes From A File-Sharing Marriage (buzzfeed.com)
- MPAA’s Chris Dodd: equating file sharing with thievery puts us ‘on the wrong track’ (theverge.com)
- Wolf in sheep’s clothing: MPAA’s Dodd pushes ‘more subtle’ approach to anti-piracy (digitaltrends.com)
- Sweden, Paradise Lost: Part 2 – Private Police Forces (falkvinge.net)