Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 27th Nov 2010 10:46 UTC
Legal The US is really ramping up its war on intellectual property infringement, a war which I'm sure will be just as successful, cheap and supported by the people as the wars on drugs and terrorism. The US has started seizing the domain names of various websites through ICANN - not because owners of these sites were convicted of anything, but merely because complaints have been filed against them. Anyone want to take a guess how long it will be before the US government blocks WikiLeaks? Update: The blocks function outside of the US too. In other words, the US is forcing its views upon the rest of the world once again.
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RE[9]: Correction
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 27th Nov 2010 21:06 UTC in reply to "RE[8]: Correction"
Member since:

Thom, you're a smart guy. How do you fail to notice the inconsistencies in your reasoning? You appeal to judges when convenient to your argument ("Unless a judge...") right after you don't allow someone else to do the same ("it's just that ...courts sanctioned it as okay").

You're comparing two entirely different things. Whether someone is guilty or not in the legal sense is for judges/juries to decide. In the strictest sense, nobody is guilty until they say so. You may still disagree with their rulings on a personal level, but legally speaking, they decide who is guilty.

Whether or not something violates the First Amendment or not is something else entirely. The Fist Amendment is quite clear in what it does cover - namely, everything and all.

"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."

This means that if the US government censors certain words, this is a direct violation of the First Amendment - since it abridges the freedom of speech. This is a non-negotiable fact; if I say you're not allowed to smoke in my house, yet I still allow you to do so under certain conditions, that allowance is a violation of the no smoking rule.

The fact of the matter, however, is that the Supreme Court simply allows this violation to exist because they believe it serves a greater good. However, it's just their interpretation at that point in time - for all we know, a few years from now, a Supreme Court consisting of different members will decide otherwise.

If you look at the text of the First Amendment as-is, the US government censoring certain words is a direct violation of the First Amendment - no matter if the Supreme Court allows that violation to exist or not.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[10]: Correction
by abraxas on Sun 28th Nov 2010 14:01 in reply to "RE[9]: Correction"
abraxas Member since:

If you look at the text of the First Amendment as-is, the US government censoring certain words is a direct violation of the First Amendment - no matter if the Supreme Court allows that violation to exist or not.

Are you talking about the FCC censoring "vulgar" language? I do think it straddles a gray area of 'freedom of speech'. It isn't against the law to say those words. You just cannot say those words ON AIR. You can express the same idea without those words. I think that's the gray area. I don't really like it and I think its childish for us as a nation to hold on to this "ban" of dirty words on over tha air tv and radio. I just don't think anyone in the US really thinks banning dirty words on a few channels is somehow limiting them from a full spectrum of ideas and news. There are plenty of other places to go (pay tv, pay radio, the internet) to get all the vulgarity you need in a day.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[10]: Correction
by jack_perry on Sun 28th Nov 2010 14:34 in reply to "RE[9]: Correction"
jack_perry Member since:

Thom, a "violation" depends on a lot of things, but at the very least it depends on the meaning of the law as understood by it's authors and by those who voted for it, not what a subsequent reader would think. Really, if the interpretation of a law were as straightforwared as you assert the interpretation of the first amendment should be, then there would be no need for judges, and "guilty until proven otherwise" would be legitimate, especially in a case where copyright is being violated: one could see immediately whether the material was copyrighted. Most amusingly, you are now asserting that lawmakers and courts are "guilty until proven otherwise" of violating the First Amendment.

The first amendment was never believed to allow all speech, such as yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater when there is no fire. If you think that is defensible under the First Amendment, then you have very different approach to the interpretation of the law than the people who write them (and most people I know). After all, the same people who wrote and approved that law also wrote and approved the nation's first laws on copyright, which themselves abridge freedom of speech -- that is, if "speech " is to be interpreted as broadly as you assert. Personally, I do not believe those men were as obtuse as you imply.

Reply Parent Score: 3