Skip navigation

Pamela, as mentioned two posts ago, teaches law at Berkeley. Not that she has full confidence in the law, because when she disagrees with the law, she operates outside the law through her organization Chilling Effects to brand anyone who exercises his rights under DMCA as an enemy of the 1st Amendment and free speech.

She doesn’t use the political system to seek repeal of the law; and though she’s a lawyer, she doesn’t challenge the law in the courts. This woman is no better than a common terrorist: she doesn’t need to change the law as long as she finds it sufficient to intimidate copyright holders in the name of a greater freedom as she alone understands it.

As discussed yesterday, Google will immediately forward a Takedown Notice to Pamela and her merry crew of idealistic law students at ChillingEffects.org. And, in consequence, a search that would otherwise turn up your copyright protected material shows a nastily-worded link to your Takedown Notice as hosted on the website at Chilling Effects.

Now, as most everyone in Cyberspace knows, Google owns YouTube, but there’s no warning in YouTube’s statement of DMCA policy that Takedown Notices will be forwarded to Chilling Effects. Some might see paradox in this, but I observe transparent economic hypocrisy.

Google is not in business to be a search engine: duh! They’re media for advertising. Again, duh-uh! Furthermore, as a search engine, Google are a form of media uniquely and unprecedentedly well-suited to target advertising to their audience. Every search you make, every breath you take, you tell them what you want to see and targeted adverts are displayed along the top and side of your browser window. Hence, the money roles in. I challenge any b-school professor or Wall Street analyst to dispute my assessment of Google’s business model.

Advertisers are drawn to Google because they’re confident that Google draws the largest and most diverse audience of users. As an aside, diversity of audience appeals to advertisers looking to mine the long tale. And Google couldn’t do this unless users believed they were finding in Google the entire Internet, as though Google were sucking all the data from every server and desktop on the planet. Both users and advertisers are fairly content when Google acts in concert with Chilling Effects to trample down individuals and corporations who would otherwise send Takedown Notices.

YouTube’s a whole ‘nother matter. Contrary to widespread belief, YouTube is not a MySpace for amateur video artists. Although YouTube’s business model is similarly directed at diversity in the aforementioned long tale and they’d never disabuse users of thinking it’s all a MySpace-like collective of amateurs, the videos that draw an audience are produced by commercial organizations who are like pit-bulls in their concern for copyright.

All the libertarian principle that emanates from the pure souls of Pamela’s students only goes to serve Google’s transparent economic interest. And all of that goodness of soul gets chucked overboard when a Google subsidiary is locked in a close business relationship with people who care about copyright.

“Show me the money,” as the libertarian said, because money is even more fundamental than libertarian principle!

How many unthoughtful Libertarians does it take before it’s realized that an infinite multiplication of personal rights without government to balance competing interests and assure the enforcement of rights only guarantees a return to the Hobbesian State of Nature?

Quo usque tandem abutere nostra patientia … ?

Libertarians seem particularly fond of defending an untrammeled right to property, but their fondness for the idea of property stops short of intellectual property in the form of copyright, trademark, and patent rights.

I suspect that more than a few law professors would go screaming nuts (right to their local police station), if I parked my RV in their backyard and started inviting a few friends over to enjoy the view, even if it’s just to share a bit of the prof’s organically grown, backyard reefer. Libertarian law professors are fond of real property and the right to grow reefer in their backyards. Nevertheless, they get damn ornery when someone’s trying to protect his intellectual property, say a copyright.

What happens when you try to protect your copyright in a written work or photograph on the Internet? You send a Takedown Notice to the website owner, his ISP, and the search engines, e.g., Google and Yahoo. And in accordance with Federal Law (the DMCA), the objectionable material is removed from the website, ISP, and the search engines; yet not without consequences to you, the copyright holder. For example, Google on its DMCA page states:

Please note that a copy of each legal notice we receive is sent to a third-party partner for publication and annotation. As such, your letter (with your personal information removed) will be forwarded to Chilling Effects (http://www.chillingeffects.org) for publication.

And publication of your Takedown Notice by Chilling Effects, operated by libertarian law professor Pamela Samuelson at Boalt Hall, the law school at University of California, Berkeley, brands you an enemy of 1st Amendment freedom of speech! In other words, if you assert your rights, Pamela Samuelson and her crew of idealistic student volunteers at Chilling Effects are guaranteed to retaliate.  Rights without freedom from vicious retaliation in the public media by an organ of the legal establishment (Boalt Hall) are not rights.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.