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When Free Speech and Foreign IP Law Collide 217

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the don't-get-caught-in-the-middle dept.
segphault writes "Ars Technica has an interesting look at a recent intellectual property case where foreign copyright law conflicts with American freedom of speech rights. In this particular case, Sarl Louis Feraud International v. Viewfinder Inc., American enforcement of the French court's judgement on the basis of comity could establish a dangerous legal precedent that could lead to extensive censorship of the Internet. The article includes analysis of a relevant friend of the court brief filed by the EFF."
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When Free Speech and Foreign IP Law Collide

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  • Free speech IP? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ComradeSnarky (900400) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @03:29AM (#15147177)
    Does this mean that if I read out copies of Harry Potter over the radio (someone was sued for doing that some years ago), it's within my rights, since I have a right to free speech?
    • Re:Free speech IP? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by laughingcoyote (762272) * <barghesthowl@ex[ ]e.com ['cit' in gap]> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @03:34AM (#15147193) Journal

      Under the current legal system, no. Harry Potter falls clearly under US copyright law, and the radio reading would be considered a public performance. (My thoughts on how that -should- be are not really on-topic here.)

      It does mean that if you put up a website with information a foreign government finds objectionable, they cannot stop you unless what you're doing would also be illegal under US law. This is where the right to free speech is implicated-since websites are by definition viewable worldwide, if it's decided here that foreign judgments are applicable against US site owners, the most repressive governments in the world could submit a judgment against a US site owner, pass it along, and force them to shut down their website exposing, say, the atrocities that government has committed (since of course it is illegal to do so in many countries.) The French would raise hell if we tried to exercise a US law against a French citizen, and rightfully so. Similarly, French law does not and should not apply to those outside France's borders.

      • Re:Free speech IP? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by boule75 (649166) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @05:53AM (#15147445) Homepage
        The French would raise hell if we tried to exercise a US law against a French citizen, and rightfully so. Similarly, French law does not and should not apply to those outside France's borders.

        Unfortunately, this is not as simple as that. There are many cases where such geographical separation does not work and where both laws collide, where precedence of one law above the other are/should be enforced: children care in case of divorce between binational couples, heritages, fiscal matters for companies, etc... This is one case in the grey area of "international law". The right of the sea is in very murky waters too...

      • Re:Free speech IP? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sckeener (137243)
        Similarly, French law does not and should not apply to those outside France's borders.

        I'm really not worried about the French coming to get me, but I would be concerned if I was planning on traveling to France and didn't know my site would get me in trouble there.
        • I'm really not worried about the French coming to get me, but I would be concerned if I was planning on traveling to France and didn't know my site would get me in trouble there.

          Excellent point... Dmitry Sklyarov, anyone? But this has to already exist in some capacity. My pro-Nazi website (it's a hypothetical, people) may land me in trouble when I travel over to Germany I would think...


          • What if you (or parent poster) weren't planning to travel to france, but rather the U.K. and due to circumstances beyond your control the plane landed in France (weather, bomb threat, etc). Now you get arrested and thrown in gaol.

            By the way, that happens often enough for travelers not intended to stop over in the U.S. but who get directed there for other reasons.

          • You think Germany's bad for a Nazi? Try travelling to Israel!
      • Re:Free speech IP? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Gorshkov (932507) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (vokhsrogmda)> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @06:25AM (#15147516)
        The French would raise hell if we tried to exercise a US law against a French citizen, and rightfully so. Similarly, French law does not and should not apply to those outside France's borders

        Correct me if I'm wrong - but isn't this the other side of the coin that everybody got so pissy about just a few weeks ago, when yahoo co-operated with the Chinese government regarding activities taking place in China?

        The US government has historically tried to use laws regarding the behaviour of FOREIGN companies (owned wholey or partially by American companies) to extend it's foreign policy abroad.

        I can't remember the number of times the American government has passed laws like that to try to affect the behaviour of CANADIAN companies who have the *temerity* to try to do business with Cuba, for example.

        That being said, inter-governmental agreements and/or treaties between governements agreeing to respect each other's laws in specific areas is no more an abridgement of free speech than *american* copyright laws are.
        • Re:Free speech IP? (Score:3, Interesting)

          No dichotomy there. If the officers and decision-makers are citizens of or visitors to the US, they should be every bit subject to US law. If those in charge of Yahoo come to the US, they can and should be arrested for crimes against humanity.

          Same thing here. If this guy wants to visit France again, they'd be well within their rights to deny his entry until he pays the outstanding judgment. But if he -doesn't-, they're not within their rights to enforce their law over here. Same thing there-if the Yahoo o

      • Can I say auction of nazi memorabelia made available to french citizen ?
      • Re:Free speech IP? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mdielmann (514750)
        Similarly, French law does not and should not apply to those outside France's borders.

        Unfortunately, the U.S. government opened the door when it pursued the Skylarov case.
      • Re:Free speech IP? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by serutan (259622)
        Seems to me that the fact that websites are viewable worldwide is irrelevant. Anything that has ever been published anywhere in any form is viewable worldwide.

        But in the the real world the United States has been pushing other countries very hard to enforce and emulate American IP laws. This case kind of puts the shoe on the other foot. It will be interesting to see if the U.S. responds with consistency, or "do as we say, not as we do."
    • Re:Free speech IP? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nogginthenog (582552)
      Free speech? In the USA? You're kidding me right? You must be thinking about some other place.
    • Re:Free speech IP? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Tim C (15259)
      You have a right to free speech, but that's not your speech.
    • Does this mean that if I read out copies of Harry Potter over the radio (someone was sued for doing that some years ago), it's within my rights, since I have a right to free speech?

      Free speech - sure. In the US the government can't exercise prior restraint.
      Copyright violation - the owner of the work can sue you into oblivion - free speech has nothing to do with it, at least in the US.
  • by pubjames (468013) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @03:30AM (#15147180)
    Don't jump to conclusions about this just because this is about France! This isn't really about free speech, it's about definitions of intellectual property. Under French law, fashion designs are considered to be protected intellectual property, but not under American law.

    Personally, given the current intellectual property landscape, I don't think the French case is unreasonable - no less unreasonable than much of the intellectual property law the USA is trying to force the rest of the world to agree to.
    • by quantaman (517394) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @03:46AM (#15147207)
      Don't jump to conclusions about this just because this is about France! This isn't really about free speech, it's about definitions of intellectual property. Under French law, fashion designs are considered to be protected intellectual property, but not under American law.

      Personally, given the current intellectual property landscape, I don't think the French case is unreasonable - no less unreasonable than much of the intellectual property law the USA is trying to force the rest of the world to agree to.


      Actually I would consider this to be an issue of free speech. If I wish to discuss fashion designs the only real effective dialog to do so would be in pictures of the fashion designs I'm discussing. To prevent me from being able to post those pictures is to significantly inhibit my ability to discuss them.
      • by pubjames (468013) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @04:02AM (#15147234)
        Actually I would consider this to be an issue of free speech. If I wish to discuss fashion designs the only real effective dialog to do so would be in pictures of the fashion designs I'm discussing. To prevent me from being able to post those pictures is to significantly inhibit my ability to discuss them.

        But using that type of argument you can turn pretty much anything into a free speech issue. I wish to discuss X, but can't because I can't make copies of it, so it's a free speech issue.
        • Music or films being other good examples.
        • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @05:15AM (#15147364)
          I wish to discuss X, but can't because I can't make copies of it, so it's a free speech issue.

          Actually, for literary works, you are allowed to use short quotations for purposes of criticism/discussion/research.

          In the present case, it's not as if the infringer had published the cut-out pattern (or whatever) used to make those garments, they just published photos of people wearing them. If publishing photos of the garments were forbidden, it would (by analogy) also be forbidden in the software industry to publish screenshots... Fortunately, most judges can still tell the difference between a screenshot and source code (or at least, I'd hope so...)

          • In the present case, it's not as if the infringer had published the cut-out pattern (or whatever) used to make those garments, they just published photos of people wearing them.

            Excellent point. The "reading Harry Potter over the radio" analogy is inaccurate. It'd be more accurate to compare this with reading out an extract, or the blurb from the back cover.

            This designer is just being a control freak. Here's hoping the US courts ignore him, otherwise a dangerous precendent will be set.

          • by QMO (836285)
            "In the present case, it's not as if the infringer had published the cut-out pattern (or whatever) used to make those garments, they just published photos of people wearing them."

            For the average ameteur sewing one or two pieces of clothing each year for their child, a photo is probably not enough.
            For my wife - a skilled, trained and experienced professional - a photo is enough to duplicate a piece of clothing. More than once she's seen something in a store or a catalog and made one for one of our daughters
            • For my wife - a skilled, trained and experienced professional - a photo is enough to duplicate a piece of clothing

              Ok, in that case, I think the IP of clothing designers is really unprotectable. What when those clothes hit the stores, are bought and worn by many people, which appear as the subject or even as innocent bystanders in many tourist's photos?

              Oh, and a really competent software engineer can create an app that acts similarly by reading a magazine description of it and see a couple of screenshots.

              • 1. Wander the streets of New York, or Hong Kong, and you'll easily find lots of "knockoffs" that are copies of designer clothes. Hint: Don't imagine that your spiffy new duds by Georgio Armanie and Tommy Hilfinger are all that exciting.
        • But using that type of argument you can turn pretty much anything into a free speech issue.

          Not *anything*, but certainly copyright law is always a free speech issue.

          Calling someone on the phone and hiring them to murder your spouse is a free speech issue too. Just because it's a free speech issue doesn't necessarily mean that a law is necessarily going to be unconstitutional. But it is an issue which has to be balanced with other issues.

      • Actually I would consider this to be an issue of free speech. If I wish to discuss fashion designs the only real effective dialog to do so would be in pictures of the fashion designs I'm discussing. To prevent me from being able to post those pictures is to significantly inhibit my ability to discuss them.

        I want to discuss modern Hollywood cinema. Preventing me from posting Ice Age 2 is significantly inhibiting my ability to discuss this!

    • by Kuukai (865890) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @03:46AM (#15147208) Journal
      Under French law, fashion designs are considered to be protected intellectual property, but not under American law.

      Our country is seriously fucked up if we can patent genes but not jeans.
    • Agreed.

      Defending free speech against IP laws is a good idea, but then it needs to be done both ways.
      I'm french and I would definately consider the software patent laws in the US a violation of my free speech aswell.
    • This isn't really about free speech, it's about definitions of intellectual property.

      Every time someone wants to limit speech, one of the first things out of their mouths is the line above. The goal is always to frame the issue at hand as not being about free speech, but about something else we are willing and able to put limits on.

      Debating Iraq? It's not about free speech, it's about national security.

      Pornography? It's not about free speech, it's about community morals.

      Journalism? It's not about free
    • Enforcing the laws of a foreign nation should be impeachable as treason. Never mind "speech" issues. What about "survival"?
      • > Enforcing the laws of a foreign nation should be impeachable as treason. Never mind "speech" issues.
        > What about "survival"

        Dude, you are a fucking idiot. We enforce foreign laws for the same reason they usually enforce ours, because otherwise the world would come to a big crashing stop. 90% of the time there isn't a problem because there isn't all that much difference between the basic laws governing Western Civilization and thankfully most cases that hit a US court involve another Western country.
  • by k98sven (324383) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @03:33AM (#15147186) Journal
    American copyright conflicting with foreign freedom of speech laws? That's happened too.

    For instance in the Zenon Panoussis [wikipedia.org] case, where the US government officially lobbied Sweden to amend their constitution just to protect some copyrighted Scientology documents.

    • I have a fairly simple set of rules to figure this stuff out:

      If France wants it, its probably bad for us.
      If we want it, its probably something good for a corporation and bad for us.

      In other words, there are no good guys, ourselves included. The French are hopelessly corrupt, so are we. Live on Xenu.net :)

  • by dotslashdot (694478) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @03:49AM (#15147210)
    Apparently you cannot take and publish a picture you take of certain Chicago buildings either because the designers of the buildings have a copyright on the design. So the French law is not that crazy compared to Amerikan Copyright law. http://www.boingboing.net/2005/02/06/chicagos_publ ic_scul.html [boingboing.net]
    • If you actually RTFA you linked to you will see it says "Sculpture" and not building. You can take all of the pictures of a building you want (assuming there is not some homeland security problems). However, the creator of a sculpture retains the copyrights of his work and that includes the right to any reproductions of a sculpture - including pictures. Now if a person takes a family photograph in front of it and shows his friends, that is probably fair use. However, if he takes a picture and sells post
      • > However, the creator of a sculpture retains the copyrights of his work and that includes the right to any reproductions of a sculpture - including pictures

        He would have to prove a loss. For a poster or other commercial reproduction that could be the case. For a photograph published on the Internet that would be harder to justify. Anyway if the Sculptur doesn't want photos taken, he shouldn't put his work in a public place.
        • If the linux kernel coder don't want their code in closed-source Microsoft Windows, they shouldn't put their work in a public place.
        • Copyright violations do not require that the copyright holder has lost profit from the infringement. That's one of the oldest misunderstandings of copyright law there is.

          It certainly helps their infringement case to show loss, but it is not a requirement.

      • The value in a photograph of that sculpture is in the photograph itself, not the sculpture. The photograph is a work created by me. The sculpture is his to do what he wants with, sell it to the city, licence it to a museum, he is free to do so.

        Anybody can take a picture of a sunset or the brooklyn bridge, whip out a cellphone digicam and shoot. It's easy but it looks like shit. On the other hand the professional photographer will employ sophisticated photography techniques and invest time & mo
        • There is a difference though - taking a picture of the sunset or city skyline means that the primary focus of the picture is generic. The buildings or bridge contribute to the overall picture, but are in and of themselves not the subject. If any one (copyrighted) element was removed from that photo, and it still held up on its own, then you're basically ok.

          If you take a picture OF the statue in question, then you're essentially just documenting the artist's work (even if you add your creative flare). If
    • ... and zillions [chicagotraveler.com] of [antjeschulte.de] pictures [mocoloco.com] can be [danieldrezner.com] found [bluffton.edu] all over [uchicago.edu] the place [corriere.it].

      Many of these pictures even show other people photographing the sculpture [chicagotraveler.com], hehe.

      If indeed it's forbidden to photograph that huge hunk of metal, that's one heck of a toothless law if I ever saw one ;)

  • any opinion, or law, has no validity, unless it can also be enforced
    • What if it can be enforced sometimes? What about the chilling effect that a law can have even if it's never broken? What about laws that exist only so that prosecutors can add extra charges to the one they really care about, simply to make doubly sure they convict (or, in the USA, extra reason to accept a plea bargain)?

      A law can have wide-ranging and undesirable effects even if it's not enforced.

    • I think the original quote is something like "Law, without force, is impotent."

      Unfortunately, I don't have the Tom Clancy novel where I saw that, so I can't name the speaker. Let's hope he's not still alive, and an IP nazi, so he can sue me for publishing his words without proper attribution.

    • any opinion, or law, has no validity, unless it can also be enforced

      That's the silliest thing I have ever heard. Hell, your opinion, by your own definition, is unenforceable.

      "In my opinion, it would be good if there was less world hunger and less war." It's a completely unenforceable opinion, but it's certainly valid.

      The simple enforcement of anything does not lend it validity. Might, oddly enough, doesn't define right.

      Deciding not to respect the fact that the US is a signatory to things like the Geneva

  • EFF... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pspbrew.com (969073)
    does any one else think that the EFF has kinda fell off to a degree, or am I just looking in the wrong place.
  • Let's consider these points:
    1.From TFA: " Viewfinder took numerous photographs at a fashion show..." one would imagine the show was in France, and local laws would apply.
    2. Just because the server is hosted elsewhere... should not mean the laws of the 'hosting' nation should apply.
    3. In case the 'server' is violating local laws of the 'source' of material hosted, the server ought to make the content invisible in source nation.
    4. It should not be the job of the aggreived party to foot the bill for the arrang
    • by segphault (724325) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @04:22AM (#15147280)

      By your reasoning you could just as easily say an internationally accessible server with web sites about democracy should be subject to Chinese censorship laws even if the server is physically in America and operated by an American company. Do you seriously want to see the censorship laws of oppressive nations applied universally to the Internet? And do you really think that every American company should be personally responsible for filtering and censoring their own content so that it meets the legal requirements of countless nations each with a highly diverse and dynamic set of laws?

      That kind of reasoning is exactly what the EFF is concerned about. If you read the article, you will see that applying foreign legislation that infringes on first amendment rights is fundamentally unconstitutional. The additional risks to civil liberties are all clearly spelled out in the EFF brief, which you might want to read before leaping to conclusions.

      • I think you missed the first two points.

        French copyright laws do not allow publication of copyrighted work. If pictures were taken in France, French law should prevail.

        Now if the pictures were taken in the U.S.A., US laws should apply.

        In other words, when you're doing something in a foreign country, that country laws are applying, and consequences/implications of what you did should also be bound to that country's laws.

        However, neither of the links is providing where the pictures were taken. It's a shame, a
        • French copyright laws do not allow publication of copyrighted work.

          In which case, the country in which the pictures were taken is immaterial - what matters is the country in which they were published. Now, if it was illegal to take the pictures under French law, and they were taken in France, then you'd have a point.
          • Let me reword that, the way I understand it.

            Taking pictures of copyrighted work in France is somewhat like a license agreement when and where you're taking the pictures, implying agreement of not publishing the pictures without the copyright holder agreement. (Should that be declared to the customs ?)

            Now of course you could also forbid to take pictures of such shows (except for the allowed photographers...). It sometimes happen that it is forbidden to take pictures in some museum or public show, but I don't
        • However, neither of the links is providing where the pictures were taken. It's a shame, as a I think it's the crux of the matter.

          Right on! I think even more shameful is the moderation system that makes it "+5 Insightful" for a post that deliberately misses the crux, and twists it into a Flamebait :-(

           
      • By your reasoning you could just as easily say an internationally accessible server with web sites about democracy should be subject to Chinese censorship laws even if the server is physically in America and operated by an American company.

        Is democracy a Chinese invention? Read the part about 'source' in my original post.

        Do you seriously want to see the censorship laws of oppressive nations applied universally to the Internet?

        I would like the censorship laws of nations applied locally on the ISPs. In fact
        • by segphault (724325) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @05:29AM (#15147390)

          Your first point isn't relevant to anything at all, because taking pictures doesn't constitute infringment. Publishing those pictures constitutes infringement under French law, but the pictures weren't distributed in France, they were distributed on the Internet by an American company. Under those conditions, French law is only applicable under the terms of comity. International copyright treaties like the Berne Convention don't even give protected status to fashions, so publication of the images in this case is only infringement if you argue that the Internet as a whole is subject to the regulatory practices of every nation simeltaneously.

          By enforcing a foreign intellectual property law on content hosted and distributed by an American server, the court would essentially be creating a legal precedent that would allow other countries to enforce other kinds of laws on American servers. Doing so would fundamentally alter the definitive nature of comity. Are you arguing that only intellectual property laws should be enforced this way, but not other laws regarding content regulation?

          I didn't twist your point, I just addressed implications that you obviously never considered.

          • Your first point isn't relevant to anything at all, because taking pictures doesn't constitute infringment. Publishing those pictures constitutes infringement under French law, but the pictures weren't distributed in France, they were distributed on the Internet by an American company.

            Uh... doesn't the internet exist in France? How can you assert that the 'pictures weren't distributed in France?'... they were accessible from France, and that is what prompted the litigation. And hence my point about democra
            • Uh... doesn't the internet exist in France? How can you assert that the 'pictures weren't distributed in France?'... they were accessible from France, and that is what prompted the litigation. And hence my point about democracy not being a protected Chinese creation is valid.

              Okay, then -- what about photos of the Tiananmen Square massacre? Those photos were taken in China, and those photos are illegal in China. So the situation is an exact analogy with photos taken in France that are illegal in France, ri
      • By your reasoning you could just as easily say an internationally accessible server with web sites about democracy should be subject to Chinese censorship laws even if the server is physically in America and operated by an American company.

        I seem to remember having read about this sort of a dilemma before concerning jurisdiction in a libel case. If I remember correctly that case ended up in a debate about how you define the concept of 'publishing' vis-a-vis the Internet. Going by the result in that case the
      • By your reasoning you could just as easily say an internationally accessible server with web sites about democracy should be subject to Chinese censorship laws even if the server is physically in America and operated by an American company. Do you seriously want to see the censorship laws of oppressive nations applied universally to the Internet? And do you really think that every American company should be personally responsible for filtering and censoring their own content so that it meets the legal requi
    • Actually, I don't see what you're seeing at all. France has every right to bar this person from entering their country again unless he pays the judgment against him, and if that's what they want to do, no problem. They would also have had the right to arrest and charge him or enter a civil judgment against him had he broken their laws while in their country. What they -do not- have the right to do is dictate what he may or may not do once he leaves. French law applies to actions taken in France. The publica

      • French law applies to actions taken in France. The publication of the photos (even if not the taking) took place in the US, and is therefore subject to US, not French, law.

        I agree with you fully. Hence the closing point in my original post... If the internet were put under UN law, rather than a (specific nation's) law, it would bring in some kind of regulation over the publication of photos, articles etc. over the internet.

        Copyright is violated upon publication - the medium is ir-relevant, in my opinion.
        • If the internet were put under UN law, rather than a (specific nation's) law, it would bring in some kind of regulation over the publication of photos, articles etc. over the internet.,

          What kind of regulations would the UN impose? If something is parodied and published on the internet, would that be illegal under international law since some countries don't protect that form of expression? Laws regarding publication of photos and articles need to be regulated at the local level. Since it is copywrited

  • Freedom of speech is a guaranteed as one of the fundamental rights of the constitution of the United States, but international IP law is by definition a treaty, which becomes the binding law of the land as well. I would think that the constitutional protections should have precedent, especially since that is the guarantor of the status of treaties in the republic. This sounds like an excellent Supreme Court case in the making.
  • Catch 22 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @04:55AM (#15147332)
    'The plaintiff protested the ruling, arguing that publication of the photographs doesn't "possess sufficient communicative elements to bring the First Amendment in to play."'

    Maybe there wasn't enough detail to constitute a violation of copyright either.

    Actually, this is a place where the copyright law is severely defective and needs to be fixed. If I'm a videographer doing an interview with someone and there is music playing in the background, the people who own the copyrights to the music can prevent me from using the interview without paying them $10,000.

    Reporters should have the right to report. The fact that someone's copyrighted work is embedded in the report shouldn't prevent the report from reaching the public.
  • I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but is it really speech? Well if it's OK, can I post any picture on my website? For the sake of free speech. Let's say, pictures I took in a theater (so I have the copyright on the pictures themselves). Let's say a screener without the sound. Isn't the video part of a screener just tons of pictures taken of copyrighted work?

    Well I guess the problem is the difference in what is considered "copyrighted" work. Then, it's not a matter of free speech anymore. Either
    • I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but is it really speech?

      In the days before widespread literacy, and in any place in the world where illiteracy might still be common, images are virtually the only mass medium form of free speech available. Satirical cartoon have and will remain a key method of critisism and protest against governments and individuals.
      • Well, that's not a picture you're describing here, but a message which takes the form of a picture. A picture of a specific fashion dress is hardly any kind of message :). A satirical cartoon, may it have text or not, has definitely another goal. A picture alone is not a message (except for computers ;)). Now I think it's futile to ask a website to remove the picture of a freaking dress nobody cares about, but that's another problem. Tell me how this is [firstview.com] message that requires to be protected by free speech.
        • Tell me how this is message that requires to be protected by free speech.

          We cannot so loghtly decide what is covered by free speech and what is not. Once certain things are excluded as being "irrelivant", we've ceased to have free speech and instead have conditional free speech, or "free speech zones" if you will.

          The question isn't why something should fall under free speech protections, but rather why something shouldn't. For something not to, a very, very compelling reason should be offered, and there are
          • The question isn't why something should fall under free speech protections, but rather why something shouldn't. For something not to, a very, very compelling reason should be offered, and there are very, very few things to which the free speech law does not apply.

            I agree with that. However, I am a proponent of more "shouldn't" cases. I have no problem with free speech "zones" as you name them. Not that I want to invoke Godwin's law, but Slashdotters often use the svatiska or Mein Kampf and the restricti
  • Let's see. One is a constitutional right. One is a simple law.

    At least in our country, a "constitutional" law (we don't have a constitution, but something similar) kicks a simple law's nuts any day. Worse, it has the power to nullify the "weaker" law, actually wiping it out of existance if the ordinary law contradicts it.

    How 'bout in the US? Can a law survive that contradicts the constitution?
  • The american way is to enforce their intellectual property rights world wide via WIPO.

    Now you americans don't like it?
    Please tell me why other countries have to like it?

    BTW: "intellectual property" is an other word for "brain fart"
  • by ishmalius (153450) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @06:12AM (#15147486)
    When we can finally agree that someone's emotions are not protected by law, then we have a great start. All of these laws that raise religion, culture, or reputation over the free expression of thought are harmful and should be avoided at all costs, and their proponents be shunned from human society. The middle ages are over, and so are the 60's. Peace comes when people can speak freely and as equals, not when imposed by a government. Look what happened when General Tito died, and all of that pent-up hatred was released.
    • Look what happened when General Tito died, and all of that pent-up hatred was released.

      But when he was alive, that hatred was put to better use.

      Clearly, what is needed is a managed, consistent system of repression, that can leverage the synergy of that hate. Do away with wasteful two minute hates, and simply get people to work harder than their neighbours by offering life to he winner!
  • Intended reaction ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anne Honime (828246) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:26AM (#15147658)
    The more I see examples of IP laws enforcement (from both sides of the Atlantic ocean), the more I feel certain that public outrage has been pondered during WIPO talks, forseen and taken into account.

    See how it works in this case : fashion design is protected by WIPO ; but the scope of protection in the actual laws of various states bound by WIPO differs. The aim of WIPO is to enforce the harshest possible IP protection, so states are required to cross-apply judgements from other members of the treaty. Here, the USA say : "oh well, we don't like it, but ya know, it's good for economy so, what's a constitutional amendement between friends ?". Take other matters (DMCA), and see how it's reversed : we french had an exception of copyright comparable to fair use, called "exception de copie privée" by wich anybody was entitled to make any number of copies from any copyrighted work he may came by, restricted to his home use. This exception was wiped away and now is much closer aligned on your US fair use.

    My point is that the problem isn't in the "OMG LOOK HOW THOSE ALIENS ARE TAKING OUR GOD GIVEN RIGHTS FROM US !!!", but in the uncontroled discussion, adoption, transposition and enforcement of WIPO upon citizens of the world without them having been informed of the consequences, and the political will to give industry an edge over the physical persons who should have decided because they are the citizens of the bound states, while corporations do not vote ! And WIPO is only one such treaty, among others.

    If we do not put corporations under the law, soon, laws will be issued at an international level by the corporations and enforced on us. This is clearly not something we should be looking forward.

    • I hate to say it but your are wrong.

      > And WIPO is only one such treaty, among others.
      1. WIPO is an UN organisation, to be more precise a diplomatic conference
      WIPO = World Intellectual Property Organisations.
      WIPO has little institutional political interests.
      2. You probably refer to ab WIPO treaty.

      > If we do not put corporations under the law, soon, laws will be issued at an international level by the corporations and enforced on us.

      At WIPO corporations are more or less weak as stakeholders. The main i
  • Anyone who has delved into the copyright issues on Wikipedia is aware of the significant differences between US and foreign laws. The English Wikipedia tends to take the more liberal approach - there are a number of images which are included which are legal in the US but not legal in other countries (relying on fair use is the most common example, but there are many others including the French protections of fashion designs). A ruling against Viewfinder here would likely have a huge chilling effect on the
  • Is it possible for people in one country to publish what's legal for them to publish while preventing people in countries where it's not legal to consume it from doing so? Blocking entire countries by IP address would be pretty onerous, but perhaps a solution sort of like robots.txt [geckotribe.com] would be reasonable. It would place the onus for obeying the law on the people whose law it was--those importing the restricted data--rather than on those publishing it somewhere where it's legal. The publisher would just be rep
  • Bomb in the Turban (Score:3, Insightful)

    by srobert (4099) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @11:35AM (#15149568)
    The court decided the case rightly. If it had been decided otherwise, the implications could extend beyond copyright law. Say you put a picture of Mohammad on your website. Because the site can be seen in Saudi Arabia, you've violated the laws of the Kingdom. Or say you publish a website in which you deny that the holocaust happened. Because your site can be viewed in Canada, the Canadian government could demand that the U.S. enforce their law on the matter. (It's illegal in Canada to state that the holocaust didn't happen.)

  • SARL is a French abbreviation denoting a corporation with limited capital, Societe Anonyme des Resources Limitees -- Anonymous Company with Limited Resources. Sorry for being off topic.
  • This is more of a fair use issue than a free speech issue.

    These photographs are not actual copying of the protected work, they are merely photographs taken at one event.

    To insist that one cannot publish them is roughly equivalent to legally forbidding people to discuss a movie that they got to watch at a special "sneak preview". Hmmm... are movie critics illegal in France too (at least on opening day)?

  • In France, fashion designs are protected intellectual property (like books or songs are in the U.S.). Currently, in the U.S., fashion designs do not have this protection. However, there are lobbyist on capitol hill right now trying to have this oversight (or "oversight", if you're against the idea) fixed. I read the article last week sometime, but of course, now I can't find it...

    So, eventually, it'll be a moot point.

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