Using Copyright Law to Silence Bloggers

Progress Report Archives 2006-07 – Center for American Progress Action Fund

MEDIA — ABC/DISNEY SHUTS DOWN BLOGGER WHO HIGHLIGHTED INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC ON ABC STATION: For several months, a blogger nicknamed “Spocko” has been highlighting the inflammatory rhetoric used by talk radio hosts on KSFO, an ABC Radio-owned station in San Francisco. As Media Matters documents, “Spocko compiled a litany of examples on both his weblog, Spocko’s Brain, and in numerous letters to corporations advertising on KSFO. He noted that KSFO hosts had claimed to have put ‘a bull’s-eye’ on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), advocated hanging various New York Times editors, called for the murder of millions of Muslims, and so on.” Major advertisers, including MasterCard, Bank of America, and Visa, reportedly pulled their ads from the station. In response, “on December 21, ABC Inc., a subsidiary of the Disney-ABC Television Group, apparently issued a cease-and-desist letter targeting Spocko and his blog for copyright violation. Specifically, ABC alleged that by posting brief audio clips of various talk radio hosts on KSFO, the site was ‘in clear violation’ of the station’s copyright. The letter demanded that the owner of the site ‘remove the content immediately.’ Soon after, according to Spocko, his Internet service provider shut down his blog.” The major media has yet to report on this story.

In related news, ABC News announced this week that right-wing talk show host Glenn Beck will soon join Good Morning America as a “regular commentator.” Beck has a history of inflammatory and offensive remarks. During an interview with Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Beck said “what I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.'” On another occasion, Beck said that if “Muslims and Arabs” don’t “act now” by “step[ping] to the plate” to condemn terrorism, they “will be looking through a razor wire fence at the West.”

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