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ABC/Disney Shuts Down Blog Exercising Fair Use 525

An anonymous reader writes "A blogger named Spocko had his blog shut down by ABC/Disney lawyers because he had posted clips from an ABC Radio-affiliated program and commented on their content, as well as informed show advertisers of what exactly they were paying for. Spocko merely pointed out the content that station KSFO was broadcasting, and as a result Visa pulled their advertising from the station. More companies were reportedly considering pulling their ads. A YouTube video summary is available. From the Daily Kos article: 'How'd he do it? He did it the way it's always done - by working within the law, identifying points of weakness, exploiting them and being absolutely tenacious ... It appears to me as if Disney is attempting to bully a little guy in an unethical manner. Any media lawyer worth the air she breathes knows that Spocko's use was well protected.'"
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ABC/Disney Shuts Down Blog Exercising Fair Use

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  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Sunday January 07, 2007 @03:47PM (#17499776) Homepage

    It was lost in about 100 AD when the Church started killing those who didn't agree with the viewpoints of those in power.

    Christianity had no state support until AD 313. Right up until that point, it was heavily persecuted by the Roman Empire and was in no position to go out killing. Might want to get your facts straight.

  • SLAPP Reborn (Score:5, Informative)

    by NorbrookC ( 674063 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @03:50PM (#17499808) Journal

    One of the tactics that large companies have used in the past, when dealing with critics - particularly grass-roots activists - was the SLAPP : Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. Someone against your project, or annoying you? File a lawsuit against them. Since you have the money to push it, and they generally don't (if you pick your target well), the only way out of it for them was to shut up. This had the "benefit" of shutting up your other critics, too.

    It appears that Disney has dusted off the tactic here. Yeah, Spocko did nothing illegal. All he did was advocate a position, comment legally on what he saw wrong, and point it out to those who finance it. Rather than actually change anything, Disney decided the best move was to shut the critic up. This seems be backfiring though - and it'll be interesting to watch how Disney will twist and turn to try to spin this in a better light.

  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Sunday January 07, 2007 @04:01PM (#17499916) Homepage

    It was lost in about 100 AD when the Church started killing those who didn't agree with the viewpoints of those in power.

    The factual errors in your post just cry out for more correction. You write of "the Church" doing various things, and identify this Church with Christianity. However, by the beginning of the second millennium, Christianity was not a single organization. The split of the Oriental Orthodox after the Council of Chalcedon, the existence of Nestorian groups in East Asia out of contact with the West, and the Great Schism between the Orthodox Church and Rome in the eleventh century all served to make it difficult to claim any sort of generalization about Christianity. The examples in your post must be specified as relating mainly to the Roman Catholic Church.

    Please, for pete's sake take a look at a common reference like the Oxford History of Christianity [] that any decent library is sure to have.

  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @04:32PM (#17500182)
    And only in 325 they _voted_ on what to believe with only about 300 of 1800 bishops attending, so what the right wing now thinks as the absolute 'Truth' was a meager minority vote by a bunch of iron age guys. Not to mention the 500 variations that came afterwards. ea []
  • by rumith ( 983060 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @04:46PM (#17500322)
    Christianity was declared as the state religion of the Armenian Kingdom in AD 301.
  • counter-notification (Score:4, Informative)

    by belmolis ( 702863 ) <billposer@a l u m . m> on Sunday January 07, 2007 @05:06PM (#17500520) Homepage

    I'm surprised that the blogger has given in so easily. I understand that he can't afford a lot of legal expenses, but my understanding is that at this point all he needs to do is file a counter-notification with his ISP certifying that to the best of his knowledge his use of copyrighted material falls under Fair Use, which it almost certainly does. Here's a how-to []. This puts the ball back in ABC/Disney's court and doesn't require a lawyer at all.

  • by VJ42 ( 860241 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @05:36PM (#17500810)
    After listening to all those clips ("Spocko's blog is back up: []) they are lucky that they are in the USA where you have first amendment rights, there was something in nearly every one of them that would have got them to apologise\face fines etc. from Ofcom [] (the communications regulator) here in the UK. I'm not sure how many would have had the presenters facing legal threat, but we have against inciting religious and racial hatred*, so quite a few I'd imagine.

    *Personally I'm against these laws and wish we had our own "first amendment" protecting our freedom of speech.
  • Re:SLAPP Reborn (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lord Balto ( 973273 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @05:41PM (#17500868)
    If it weren't for a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign, Mickey Fucking Mouse would be in the public domain right now.
  • by VJ42 ( 860241 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @05:56PM (#17500998)
    His blog is back up, reading and listening to the clips myself, the context of most of them is clear. Listen for yourself: []
  • by VJ42 ( 860241 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @05:59PM (#17501018)
    He hasn't given up, his blog was taken down by his ISP, it's now back up: [] (audio clips and all)
  • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @06:19PM (#17501216)
    Being "Speaker-Elect" means absolutely jack shit. Pelosi was nothing more than another member of Congress until the House elected her as Speaker last Thursday.

  • by jr87 ( 653146 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @06:26PM (#17501286) Homepage
    wrong Jesus is a prophet in the Islamic faith second only to Mohammad
  • by LittleBigLui ( 304739 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @06:47PM (#17501446) Homepage Journal
    "Allah" is an arab word and its english translation is "god". Arab christians call the deity they worship "allah", too. Do they worship a deity different from english-speaking christians? Do german-speaking christians worship a deity different from either of those? If a bilingual christian prays in spanish in the morning and in english in the evening, is he a polytheist?

    Of course, I personally don't give a damn. One imaginary invisible guy in the sky looks just like the other one.
  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Sunday January 07, 2007 @07:38PM (#17501872) Homepage

    All religion is inherently a bad thing, even when "good" things are done in it's name, because it is based on a falsehood, i.e., a superstitious belief in the supernatural

    Have you never heard of the field of philosophy of religion? In it theists outnumber atheists considerably, and atheists tend to go over to the other side, as Anthony Flew famously did a couple of years ago. General theism is extremely defensible by reason, and Richard Swinburne has of late proposed a number of arguments for specifically Christian concepts that are presenting quite a challenge to his atheist colleagues. See his The Coherence of Theism [] (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed. 1993) on general theistic arguments, and The Resurrection of God Incarnate [] (Oxford University Press, 2003) for his tour de force application of the Bayesian theorem to Christian claims.

  • by asabjorn ( 903413 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @07:55PM (#17502024)
    Seems like Spocko has found a new internet host. The blog can now be found at:

    For those interested, the new host has commented on his intentions to keep the
    blog up and going
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 07, 2007 @08:21PM (#17502268)
    The 2 extreme rightwingers on KSFO (AM 560) are balanced by the 2 extreme leftwingers on KGO (AM 810) []. The 2 extremists on KGO are Karel [] and Ray Taliaferro []. Listen to their extremist talk shows, which are simulcast on the Web. []

    At various times, Karel [] has taken the following political stances. (1) After the American military overthrew Saddam Hussein, thousands of Iraqis staged loud anti-American demonstrations and began to initiate guerrilla warfare against the American soldiers. Karel actually supported the Iraqis. (2) Karel claims that people who oppose illegal immigration are bigots, racists, or Nazis.

    You can join Karel's online chatroom [] to offer your opinions during his on-air program. If you poignantly criticize his stances, then he arranges for the moderators to kick you out of the chatroom.

    Meanwhile, Ray Taliaferro has taken the following political stances. (1) Taliaferro claims that Washington is a terrorist government. (2) He insists that the Americans are the primary agent preventing the third world from becoming prosperous. (3) He cheered the death of Ronald Reagan.

    If you doubt what I am saying, then I challenge you to prove me wrong. Listen to the talk show hosted by Karel. Join his chatroom, and in it, criticize his extremist positions. Then, see what happens to you.

    By the way, I am a liberal. However, there is a difference between a liberal and a leftwing mental case.

    Note that I am not saying that KGO is unbalanced. KGO does include a fair representation of the political spectrum. However, Karel and his ilk are leftwing extremists. He hates Dr. Bill Wattenburg [] (and other moderates) with such a vengeance that he has censored Wattenburg's last name in the chatroom. Go to Karel's chatroom and type "Wattenburg". The software powering the chatroom will automatically replace "Wattenburg" with a sequence of "****".

    Note that Wattenburg is another talk-show host at the same station, KGO.

  • by falconwolf ( 725481 ) <<falconsoaring_2000> <at> <>> on Sunday January 07, 2007 @08:50PM (#17502530)

    They're completely different deities because they teach completely different things. They're polar opposites. You may as well claim that China and Norway have the same leader.

    Maybe you need to go back to school. The Hebrew and the Arab "God" is the same one. Hebrews are decendents of Abraham's son Ishmael and Arabs the decendents of his son Isaic. The split between the two came when Sarah, Ismael's mother forced Abraham to send Isaic and his mother Hagar into the desert. They all worshipped the same diety. And as Abraham was a decendent of Noah's son Shem [], from where Semites [] come from, both Ishmael and Isaic are Semites as well therefore both Arabs and Hebrews are Semites.

  • Re:SLAPP Reborn (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 07, 2007 @10:23PM (#17503350)
    I remember reading about a daycare center that had disney murals and what not. They were ordered to take them down, got into the newsx and Universal came over and with great fanfare painted over mickey and pals with Hanabarbara toons such as woody woodpecker and chilly willy.

    Heres the snopes reference []
  • Re:SLAPP Reborn (Score:3, Informative)

    by automandc ( 196618 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @10:41PM (#17503470)
    California has an anti-SLAPP statute [].

    The target of a SLAPP suit can file a motion that basically freezes the entire case until the plaintiff proves they aren't engaging in SLAPP. If the company loses, they end up having to pay the defendant's attorneys fees, and, IIRC, damages as well.

  • by fluffy99 ( 870997 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @10:49PM (#17503546)
    Yes, it is one of four factors to be considered under title 17,Chapter1,107. It seems obvious that his intended purpose is to devalue the works in question. I believe that is probably sufficient to disallow the fair use exception, but ultimately it's up to the courts to decide. I also believe his ISP was in the wrong to drop him and should not have gotten involved, although they probably had the right if his postings and refusal to remove the offending material violated his user agreement.
  • by maynard ( 3337 ) <> on Monday January 08, 2007 @12:07AM (#17504114) Journal
    Here's an example [] of a netizen who was 'interviewed' by the secret service after having posted a comment. Follow the link in his story to read the comment which attracted their attention. Then realize: Your comments are public.
  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <> on Monday January 08, 2007 @01:37AM (#17504654) Homepage
    They (Allah and Yahweh) are not the same.

    "Allah" ("al", the + "ilah", god) is "Yahweh" (YHVH, Jehovah) is the Christian "one God, the Father Almighty". Christianity, Islam, and modern Judaism are all descended from the original Yahweh cult, the Abrahamic monotheistic tradition, with Islam being descended from Ishmael rather then Issac. The Koran is seen by Islam as a continuation of the Old and New Testaments - Moses and Jesus are characters found in it.

    Obviously Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all have rather differing conceptions about Yahweh, but that doesn't change their historical relationship and the fact that the worship the "same" god. Do the differing notions of Jesus between Catholics, Quakers, Calvinists, and Nestorians mean that they don't believe in the "same" Jesus? (Do the differences between Shiites, Sunnis, and Sufis mean that they don't believe in the "same" Allah?)

    Doctrinal and dogmatic differences don't mean you all don't worship the same god. The rest of us wish you'd iron out your differences about him/her/it a little more peacefully and quietly.

  • by happyemoticon ( 543015 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @04:23AM (#17505606) Homepage

    No, because before the digital age where everything is reproducable, the reproduction of something could hurt your ability to sell it. For example, if you wrote a book called "The Four Things That Could Save Your Marriage," and someone printed those four things in a review, you could claim that they are acting as a market substitute for your good. Or if someone offers a download of the hit song off of an album, but not the whole album, and claims it's fair use. That supercedes the need for your album. It specifically does NOT include parody or negative review.

    Disney may have a legitimate case. I don't know. It depends on the length and content of the clips. But you cannot restrict someone from showing, say, a screenshot from a defective game to illustrate that it is defective, or even that it's just shoddy or stupid.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb