Bullying use of copyright law fails to stifle political commentary - Trans-Atlantic collaboration keeps site running
Contact: Alfredo Lopez, email@example.com, plentyfact, firstname.lastname@example.org
The spoof website, which is the online version of a printed spoof newspaper distributed in London, UK, is hosted on a server maintained by the plentyfact collective. The newspaper and site are responses to a call for two days of action against racist press.
The website is physically located in the United States on one of May First/People Link's servers managed by the Tachanka collective, an MF/PL member.
Despite being an obvious spoof of http:/metro.co.uk, lawyers for Associated Newspaper Ltd immediately launched a frenzied campaign to pressure everyone and anyone associated with the website to remove it. They contacted many different organizations they believed might be affiliated with the site, providers of both web content and DNS services and, finally, send over a dozen emails to May First/People Link. The emails demanded that the site be immediately removed and cited a recent "High Court Order" finding the site to be in violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.
DMCA is a ten year old law that defines copyright for on-line materials and lays out processes for defining, curing and punishing infringement. It has been consistently denounced by Internet and free speech activists as repressively broad and in violation of fundamental free speech principles.
"May First/People Link has consistently challenged the use of DMCA to curtail web free speech," MF/PL Co-Director Alfredo Lopez said. "The law is outrageous because it literally imposes a penalty and a legal cure of a violation before it even tests for that violation. It's like executing someone for murder and then trying him for it and the victim ends up being the First Amendment which is fundamental to our collective survival in this country. We at MF/PL resist such assaults on freedom as vigorously as humanly possible."
plentyfact added: "The behaviour of Associated Newspapers Ltd is just ridicoulous: Their legal threats against an anti-racist initiative, social centres and websites around half the globe exposes that their statement that Metro 'avowedly doesn't take a political stance' is a bad joke. Not only do they show a complete lack of humor, they also appear to be determined to supress any criticism of their bad journalism whatsoever. How scared do you have be to hide such undertakings behind copyright claims? But hey, we are talking about a company who publishes newspapers like the Daily Mail here. They don't even know what their own logo looks like."
May First/People Link is a politically progressive membership organization specializing in Internet work, one of the largest in the world with 300 organizations and about 100 individuals as members. It provides Internet resource to over 2,000 progressive activists in this country and is a leader in technology work at such events as the World and U.S. Social Forums.
plentyfact is an autonomous internet collective. It is plentyfact's aim to support non-hierarchical initiatives and projects who are working for freedom of movement, a free flow of information and who are opposed to any form of discrimination, such as racism, sexism, anti-semitism or other kinds of supression as well as any other form of exploitation.