december
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free speech
is this page a gun to your head?

991217






   did the warranty expire on the First Amendment when i wasn't looking?
   the NY Times of 99/12/10 noted a preliminary injunction in a federal court in Utah that prohibits URL links in a case involving the Mormon Church.
   basically a US judge has issued an injunction that suggests i'm potentially accountable as a criminal if i link my web page to any page with a copyright infringement!
   highlights from the article:
   Claiming that the Tanners were improperly pointing viewers to sites that contained illegal copies of the handbook, lawyers for the Mormon Church succeeded in getting Judge Campbell to issue an expanded restraining order. This week, she also issued a formal preliminary injunction, which prohibits the Tanners from directly posting the contents of the handbook or posting on their site "addresses to Web sites that defendants know, or have reason to know, contain the material alleged to infringe plaintiff's copyright."

...
   In addition, Judge Campbell reckoned that by posting the addresses to the pirate sites after they were ordered to take down the handbook, and by otherwise assisting people who wished to locate the pirate sites, the Tanners were liable under a theory of contributory copyright infringement. By their actions, the Tanners "actively encouraged" browsers to directly infringe the church's copyright, Judge Campbell wrote.

...
   In any case, Litman asserted, the mere posting of a Web address could not amount to actively encouraging someone else's infringement. "If I give a footnote in a law review article for a plagiarized book, that seems to be just telling people where the book is, not materially facilitating their infringement," she said. "This decision is like saying that providing footnotes to illegal material is illegal."


   huh? last time i heard, the first amendment says it ain't illegal to publish the blueprints to build a switchblade knife, nor is it illegal to tell someone where they could find such a blueprint; it can be illegal only to make or possess one!
   now a federal judge decrees that i "actively encourage" people simply by publishing information?
   yeah, right!
   i have this bridge for sale. do you feel encouraged to buy it?
   do you feel compelled to click on these links to the Mormon's material?









   beware: clicking on these links may soon be illegal in the home of the free.








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