Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 8th Dec 2010 12:16 UTC
Internet & Networking It looks like several companies are learning what happens when you mess with the internet - and they're learning it the hard way. Several major companies have been hit by the collective powers of Anonymous after 4chan launched several distributed denial-of-service attacks. What many have been predicting for a long time now has finally happened: an actual war between the powers that be on one side, and the internet on the other. Update: PayPal has admitted their WikiLeaks snub came after pressure from the US government, and Datacell, which takes care of payments to Wikileaks, is threatening to sue MasterCard over Wikileaks' account suspension. Update II: Visa.com is down due to the attack. Update III: PayPal has caved under the pressure, and will release the funds in the WikiLeaks account.
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RE[5]: Hmmm
by Almafeta on Wed 8th Dec 2010 16:56 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hmmm"
Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

I was purely discussing the fact that information can only be "free'd" by the originating source.


Unfortunately, that 'fact' is not supported by law.

The entire concept of public domain (an idea that's about two hundred years old) is based around the idea that the government has the power to sieze ownership of IP after a period of time. In this, it is using its power of eminent domain to sieze intellectual property that it cannot trace to an owner just like it might sieze real estate that it cannot trace to an owner - clearly a case where the originating source doesn't free. Even then, this same eminent domain power can be used by the government to arbitrarially change the date of copyright expiration (as has happened a few times in recent memory), granting copyright to or withdrawing copyright from individual owners or entire groups of owners (most notably, the various acts and laws enacted to comply with the Berne Convention, which caused entire swaths of works to come out of the public domain as far as the US was concerned).

Even before copyright expires, in the United States, there is protection of fair use - to prevent copyright law from being used as a bludgeon to stifle public discourse on current events. The personal right to fair use is not circumvented by knowledge becoming public knowledge through illegal means. In this way, a fact (Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father) might enter public knowledge and public discourse even though the primary source (Star Wars) is still copyrighted. It'd still be a crime to steal a copy of Star Wars, but I can read and write and talk about it all I like.

The exceptions you refer to are just that - exceptions. Attorney-client and doctor-patient priviledge are restrictions placed on attornies and doctors so they can perform their jobs; for better or worse, they are not the right to have personal information stay out of public knowledge. For example, if you saw me take two pills of digoxin, you'd be in your rights to blog all day long about what you saw me take and your suspicions about what diseases it implies I have, even though my doctor or attorney would not not have the right to do the same thing.

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