Disney and Media Critic Spocko sparring

January 5, 2007

There are various ways that companies and organizations are dealing with blog wars and online critics. One of them is legal. And a major legal tool is copyright infringement. I am aware of companies using violations of copyrights to try to control or limit what bloggers are saying about them. Disney is using the posting of audio files from an ABC Radio owned radio show as a basis for shutting down a media critic’s site (spocko) that is apparently causing them some damage.

This story provides the details. Indeed, go to Spocko’s blog and you get an error message.

My question is this–is wielding the heavy legal hand effective in the blog world? This is a pretty extreme case and there is no question that companies, artists and individuals need to work very hard to protect their intellectual property in the wild lawless internet land. But the purpose here is clearly not to protect valued intellectual property. It is to staunch the flow of ad dollars resulting from Spockos attacks and efforts to stop advertisers from supporting right wing messages he hates.

The blog world in general does not look kindly on this strategy. It will be interesting to see the comments about Disney’s heavy legal hand. I suspect most bloggers will be rooting for Spocko. And in that is the lesson for you or others who may be heavily engaged in your own reputation blog war.


7 Responses to “Disney and Media Critic Spocko sparring”

  1. Blogical Thought Says:

    You are completely missing the issue. The point is the anonymous blogger stole copywrited material and posted it all over the internet, as well as distributed the material. He was given a letter, with seven days to remove the material, that didn’t belong to him from his site or his site would be closed by his ISP. He CHOSE not to remove it and subsequently his site was closed down, as he was advised.

    Now, you have an individual who is blatantly violating federal law and using something that doesn’t belong to him. It appears he has no respect or consideration toward personal property.

    Everyone in the U.S. has the right to free speech. He had that right and nobody was taking it from him. If there is a view that one disagrees with, one can simply not listen to it or watch it (such as porn channels, etc.) or we can debate it. That’s the beauty of living in America….

    However, the anonymous blogger, when offended by material from views which he didn’t agree with, determined and set out to violate the free speech rights of others, an act of facism and definitely, an act that is not very American.

    So, I don’t feel sorry for him, at all. The situation is one he put himself into. He stole material that belonged to another, wouldn’t stop using it, in violation of federal law and tried to stop others from using free speech because it didn’t blend with his own views.

    That, my friend, is a facist, not a blogger. Ethical bloggers do not act in that manner.

  2. gbaron Says:

    Interesting response. My intent was not to defend those who steal material for their own gain or agendas. Not sure I would go all the way to calling such a person a fascist, but certainly it is wrong. What I was commenting on was the reaction of Disney to the theft. My suggestion is that their motivation seems more to protect the advertising they receive for this station rather than protecting the sacred rights of intellectual property and freedom of speech. And as a tactic in which reputations are at stake, using heavy handed legal response is often counterproductive–particularly in the blog world. I expected other bloggers to feel similarly. Based on this response, I may very well be wrong.

  3. Blogical Thought Says:

    Thank you for your very well thought out response.

    I, like you, greatly treasure our free speech. When one attempts to squelch free speech, which is admissible under our Constitutional protections and rights, I believe that to be a facist type of behavior.

    Every person is entitled to their views and to express those views, thanks to those who stood before us and sacrificed so we would have those rights. As Americans, we have choices, in how we deal with views with which we don’t agree. Examples include television stations that offer pornographic material or movies with adult or offensive material, where we can simply choose to turn them off or not watch them.

    With matters of opinion, we can choose to debate it or ignore it. But to take it a step further and try to stop individuals from expressing their views, as this anonymous blogger did, is unacceptable and basically he was advocating for the denial of the basic rights for which our forefathers sacrificed.

    I would expect ethical bloggers would not subscribe to these tactics or the use of copywrited information without permission of the owner. Many blogs are copywritten and ethical bloggers credit those, or offer to credit those after receiving information to use their material.

    It comes down to respect for others and the acceptance that despite different views, we are all very much alike…we have the same hopes, the same fears, the same dreams and we all share a life together which requires mutual respect and consideration.

    What the blogger did was unacceptable and was not usual for the average blogger on the internet. I do not believe it reflects the majority of bloggers nor do I feel that the protection of private property was heavy handed nor the request the ISP not disseminate their property publicly was unreasonable.

    The blogger ahd a choice—either abide by law and operate in an ethical manner or his site would be closed down. Clearly he chose to continue acting illegally.

    His actions were those that were facist and which mirrored those which occurred in Nazi Germany and other repressive countries which deny the right of free speech to the masses.

    Thank God we live in America.

  4. Greg Says:

    From reading both sides of the story. My opinion if it is hate speech. They should still be allowed to air it even if we don’t like it. Just as Spocko should be allowed to criticize the program on his blog. Spocko site should of not be removed. However, I do agree the advertiser should be aware of what they sponsor. Look at the program called Family Guy it has hate speech as well as other bad things. I am not writing advertiser about this program. I just change the channel. The only thing that may or may not have been copyrighted was the audio files. Which under fair use only a snip is allowed to be used or for home/personal use not republished. The isp said they would restore the blog without audio files. This was reported on a news site.

  5. Blogical Thought Says:


    The audio files appear to be the issue according to the comments of the blogger. According to him, he was served a notice from his IP giving him seven days to remove the illegal content or his account would be terminated and he refused to do so.

    Nobody was denying him his fair speech. They were denying him the right to protected property which he unlawfully acquired and used. It was his choice to either comply with law or lose his account. He chose to lose his account.

    I totally agree with you. It is good to hear a voice of reason and someone else who respects free speech. If you don’t like what someone has to say over the air waves or in print simply don’t read it or debate it like an adult. To retaliate for a differing view by trying to suppress free speech is unacceptable in a Democratic society.

    By the way, I’m not fond of Family Guy either…..:)

    Great post.

  6. Spocko has a rock-solid fair use case here.

    I have seen thees commenter named “blogical thought” posting the same comment on many blog-posts relating to Spocko, and I must say, I find hees argument uncompelling, at the least.

    Spocko ees no “trying to supress free speech”, thees ees an misleading and outrageous claim.

    To the contrary, Spocko ees seemply telling the advertisers, een a polite and effective way, the kind of eliminationist crap that KSFO ees spewing.

    Eet ees the lawyers for KSFO/Radio Disney who are for the suppressing of free speech here.

    KSFO has a perfect right, under the 1st amendment, to spew whatever feelth they want onto the public airwaves, just as Spocko has a perfect right under the first amendment and “Fair Use” policies to expose KSFO’s hate for what eet ees.

    Crisisblogger, gracias for jour post onn thees matter.


  7. No to belabor the point, but een Rawanda, those who chose to “turn the channel” were murdered een their homes by those who chose to listen.

    Sunlight ees the best disinfectant for eliminationist rhetoric, and anyone who exposes thees kind of crap to the light ees, by definition, a free-speech advocate.


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