December 16, 2005

How Corporations Can Shut Down Blogs

Posted by Eric Jaffa
Friday October 28th 2005, 5:27 am
Filed under: Free Speech, Government, Courts

A Forbes Magazine article advises corporations to silence bloggers who criticize them:

Find some copyrighted text that a blogger has lifted from your Web site and threaten to sue his Internet service provider under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). That may prompt the ISP to shut him down.

Or threaten to drag the host into a defamation suit against the blogger. The host isn’t liable but may skip the hassle and cut off the blogger’s access anyway. Also: Subpoena the host company, demanding the blogger’s name or Internet address.

Given the ease with which corporations can abuse the DMCA to interfere with free speech, the act should be changed.

The law’s structure encourages web-hosting companies to take websites offline immediately after receiving a complaint, before even hearing the website owner’s side.

Regarding blogger’s identities, a corporation should have to prove to a judge that a blogger probably violated the law before the corporation can request the blogger’s identity from the web-hosting company.

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