In my previous blog, I suggested that Disney’s approach to shutting down media critic Spocko (who was hurting an ABC radio station by convincing advertisers to abandon it) was heavy handed and would ultimately backfire. The lively discussion about this on this blog shows the difference of opinion. Spocko should not steal copyrighted material–that is wrong, illegal, unethical, etc. But to deal with this breech of the law and courtesy by forcing removal by legal means, I suggested, might not play well with the blog world.
I think I might be right. After being forced off the web by his ISP, Spocko responded by finding a new ISP willing, apparently, to take on the legal challenge. But what is far worse for Disney, is that a localized fight has now become a cause celebre in the blog world, and as this story indicates, bloggers concerned about free speech are also taunting Disney by putting those stolen audio files on their blogs.
The right way to deal with it from Disney’s perspective is to point out loudly that what Spocko is doiong is a violation of their copyrighted materials. It is wrong, illegal, unethical, etc. Someone who cares so little about protecting other people’s rights and is operating with so little concern for right and wrong has little credibility as a critic. He shows himself to be a “true believer” in the sense that he is so convinced of his moral purity on this that he feels justified in taking any measure–illegal or not, unethical or not.
By using the heavy legal hand, they have pushed the controversy into the far corners of the blog world. It was the brutal persecution of the Christians in the Roman world that caused its rapid spread around the world. The lesson lives on.