|How Diebold tried to silence us, and others may silence us in the future
||[Jun. 14th, 2004|12:15 pm]
Free Culture Swarthmore
A British site called Spiked, no relation to Swarthmore's humor magazine Spike, has a great article called How Liberty was lost on the internet, which explains how private censorship is becoming the norm in cyberspace. This lack of oversight when suppressing free speech helps explain how Diebold was almost able to remove all traces of its embarrassing memos from the internet. There was also this disturbing development in Italy, Italy Approves Jail for P2P Users. There are similar bills in the works in the US, and if the FTAA passes it would make filesharing a felony in every signatory nation.|
Remember, Diebold said that its memos were copyrighted, so they would claim that we were engaged in sharing copyrighted materials. Now, mirroring the Diebold memos took a lot of guts on the part of every student participating when the only fear was being bankrupted by Diebold's legal team. Who would have done it if the threat was up to 10 years in prison? This also opens up a whole new strategy for companies trying to cover up their misdeeds: if your internal memos leak, make sure that everyone who publishes them on the internet goes to prison. THAT will shut them up, won't it?
It is of course unlikely that a judge would ever allow anything of the sort to happen in a case as sympathetic as ours, and hopefully our case will make companies understand if they frivolously claim copyright infringement, there will be consequences. However, the possibility of jail time would certainly make people less willing to take the risk of mirroring "copyrighted" material.