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Protecting State Secrets Through Copyright

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the listen-to-the-law dept.

Government 142

An anonymous reader writes "The United States has pursued Bradley Manning with full force for his role in supplying classified documents to WikiLeaks, in part because of the substantial difficulty in going after the organization directly. Criminal statutes generally deployed against those who leak classified government documents — such as the Espionage Act of 1917 — are ill-equipped to prosecute third-party international distribution organizations like WikiLeaks. One potential tool that could be used to prosecute WikiLeaks is copyright law. The use of copyright law in this context has rarely been mentioned, and when it has, the approach has been largely derided by experts, who decry it as contrary to the purposes of copyright. But a paper just published in the Stanford Journal of International Law describes one novel way the U.S. could use copyright to go after WikiLeaks and similar leaking organizations directly--by bringing suit in foreign jurisdictions."

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That's just great (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40056629)

Now they should publish an article on how to use international law to reign in the abuse of political, economic and military power by the United States on the international arena.

Re:That's just great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057119)

No, the article is saying corporate funded law has more power than laws the government created.

Re:That's just great (1, Informative)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#40057939)

America needs to have Constitutional law reign in the abuse of political, economic and military power of the malignancy sprouting from Washington DC.

i use a vault (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40056635)

can last longer teehee....

Been done. (5, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40056639)

The Church of Scientology started using this method years ago. It's worked exactly as well as any other means to prevent the dissemination of secrets on the internet.

Re:Been done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40056719)

The Church of Scientology started using this method years ago. It's worked exactly as well as any other means to prevent the dissemination of secrets on the internet.

The Church of Scientology isn't a sovereign nation.

Re:Been done. (2)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 years ago | (#40056757)

The Church of Scientology started using this method years ago. It's worked exactly as well as any other means to prevent the dissemination of secrets on the internet.

The Church of Scientology isn't a sovereign nation.

Yes, you're absolutely right. It's a...religion.

(took me 10 minutes to type this, as I couldn't contain my laughter for 9 of them...)

Re:Been done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057083)

Its as much of a religion as any other.

Re:Been done. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057991)

Re:Been done. (1)

Artifakt (700173) | about 2 years ago | (#40058765)

I suspect the point is, saying the CoS didn't succeed at using or abusing the law because it isn't a nation state implies that religions are something "lesser" in terms of social power, and there are certainly counter-examples to that.

Re:Been done. (2)

DevConcepts (1194347) | about 2 years ago | (#40056771)

That's not what they think.

Re:Been done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057005)

Anyone wanna talk about odds of a Scientology/Stanford connection? Prolly the clown that came up with the idea.
                Scientology's been trying to mix with real people by securing notable positions in society, like political office or other bureaucratic organizations.What a fail for trying to blend in with real people.

No man is an island, but living on a yacht comes close. Don't buy books bi-polars.

Re:Been done. (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 2 years ago | (#40058299)

Lol you mean Hubbardites caught on to what every stinking special interest from pro-armadillo to anti-Christ has been doing since Washington?
On the other hand it is kind of a weird " invasion of the body snatchers" feel, isn't it?

Re:Been done. (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about 2 years ago | (#40059175)

On the other hand it is kind of a weird " invasion of the body snatchers" feel, isn't it?

Don't worry - we at Scientology have a cure for that weird feel!

Re:Been done. (3, Interesting)

budgenator (254554) | about 2 years ago | (#40058331)

That always gets me laughing every time I hear it, because you can't copyright facts, only creative works, so you know what that says about CoS.

Re:Been done. (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#40059181)

It's too late to prevent the dissemination of secrets now; that's not what they're trying to do. What they're trying to do is find some way to punish an entity that has broken no law. They're trying to twist laws to serve that purpose, so they can serve up Wikileaks as an example, not so they can prevent them sharing things.

Public domain? (5, Interesting)

Admiral Burrito (11807) | about 2 years ago | (#40056641)

If I remember right, government works automatically fall into public domain. Wikipedia seems to think so too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain#Government_works [wikipedia.org]

Re:Public domain? (4, Informative)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 2 years ago | (#40056693)

This Note will explore these difficulties, such as the government works issue, potential fair use or fair dealing defenses, as well as various non-legal obstacles to success, eventually reaching the conclusion that prosecuting WikiLeaks internationally for copyright violations is potentially more viable than any of the methods of criminal prosecution heretofore explored publicly by government attorneys and legal scholars.

Or, you can just not bring the case to court and hold people indefinitely without prosecution for several years. Then they don't have anything to defend against. A debtors' prison if you will.

Re:Public domain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40056705)

That seems to apply to laws and the like which would naturally fall under public domain as government works. The line is fairly grey, though.

I believe classified material under US federal law is automatically excluded from the public domain by virtue of its classification; even UNCLASSIFIED//FOUO earns this right.

Re:Public domain? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 2 years ago | (#40056943)

While one could use that logic, a Copyright issue is by definition a civil issue. I'm not sure how a government could bring a civil case against a citizen.

Re:Public domain? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#40057653)

Why not? If the government contracts with a company and the latter fails to deliver what's been specified, what do you expect the government to do?

Re:Public domain? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 2 years ago | (#40058643)

I'm sure a contract between the government and non-government entity is not a civil matter. A civil issue requires both parties to be non-government.

Re:Public domain? (5, Interesting)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 2 years ago | (#40056737)

If I remember right, government works automatically fall into public domain. Wikipedia seems to think so too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain#Government_works [wikipedia.org]

TFA deals with exactly that. The US government is allowed to hold copyrights which are assigned to it, including the copyright of works by outside contractors (many activities producing "government" documents are outsourced, even in Defense). TFA conjectures that some of the documents disclosed by Wikileaks would fall into this class, so that Wikileaks could be pursued in foreign courts for copyright violations. Also, the US government is explicitly allowed to assert copyright over its own works outside the US. So in principle almost any unauthorized disclosure of US government documents outside the US would be a violation of US government copyright.

It's a Byzantine, almost Stasi-like approach to quashing what are probably truthful revelations. One would hope this interpretation would be thrown out by any reasonable court in the EU. It would be a faint hope indeed in many countries (such as the UK).

Re:Public domain? (4, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#40056885)

This article is speculative; the US has not actually brought a copyright suit.

If it were to be brought it would happen in Sweden where copyright suits are difficult (as the article points out).

Re:Public domain? (1)

detritus. (46421) | about 2 years ago | (#40058253)

To be completely honest, I would hope they would so it goes all the way up to SCOTUS. There's a snowball's chance in hell that this would ever be OK'ed by the Supreme Court and if there was ever a better time or reason to cement a ruling, it's now. When Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, they never brought up the issue of copyright, even though he painstakingly xeroxed thousands of documents and leaked them to the press.

Re:Public domain? (1)

glorybe (946151) | about 2 years ago | (#40057259)

Would not this depend upon whether the government had filed for copyright on the materials? In the case of Wiki Leaks was the material at issue under copyright?

Re:Public domain? (1)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#40057683)

how does this affect discovery process of classified materials in a civil case... in another country?
would the govt. even want to do this?

Re:Public domain? (1)

Florian Weimer (88405) | about 2 years ago | (#40058117)

It's not about containing the leak, it's about punishment. In this regard, it would be like any other copyright case. Just because something is brought up as evidence in court, no one receives any copyright-related rights, and certainly not retroactively. (See the Oracle vs Google case for an example.)

Re:Public domain? (2)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#40058553)

i mean TO copyright a document before you can bring a copyright infringement suite, wouldn't someone have to have access to the material. The CR owner couldn't just say we have some documents that may or may not exist that are also copyrighted... so you can't leak them? or we will sue!?

Re:Public domain? (1)

Florian Weimer (88405) | about 2 years ago | (#40058593)

The leak has already happened. Most countries lack the notion that something is still classified even if it's been printed in newspapers, just because the government hasn't officially declassified it yet.

Re:Public domain? (1)

budgenator (254554) | about 2 years ago | (#40058385)

My belief is that copyright is automatic, you seem to be thinking about whether it is registered or not

Re:Public domain? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#40058999)

Copyright exists the moment pen touches paper, etc. No need for special registration needed. Trademarks you do need to register, but only if you intend on taking legal action.

Re:Public domain? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40056847)

Government PUBLICATIONS automatically fall in the public domain. Government secrets do not.

Re:Public domain? (2)

Bengie (1121981) | about 2 years ago | (#40056971)

The discussion isn't if Wikileaks won't get in trouble, but how/why the government wants to use civil law to prosecute. I guess the bonus is if they use civil law, they must allow the use of a jury, then you run into the whole jury nullification issue.

Re:Public domain? (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40056999)

That makes no sense. You are entitled to a jury in any criminal case and in any major civil case.

Re:Public domain? (1)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | about 2 years ago | (#40057025)

Unless you're in the military. Then you get a tribunal.

Re:Public domain? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#40057167)

That makes no sense. You are entitled to a jury in any criminal case and in any major civil case.

Unless you're in the military. Then you get a tribunal.

or declared an 'enemy combatant' (whatever that is this week), then you get a 4x6 cell minus the view of a tropical 'worker's paradise' and the best medical care on the planet to make sure you stay alive for tomorrow's waterboarding.

My first though, pre-caffiene, when reading the article title was of Darth Vader telling El Presidente "Do this, and your journey to the Dark Side will be complete!"

Re:Public domain? (1)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | about 2 years ago | (#40057611)

You know that's another option. Maybe trial by Darth Vader isn't such a bad idea.

Re:Public domain? (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#40057755)

Unless you're in the military. Then you get a tribunal.

If you're in the military, you get a court-martial (or a non-judicial punishment, a.k.a. Article 15, for minor offenses -- but even there, you always have the right to request a court-martial, if you really think that's a good idea ...) Even official POWs get this. The "military tribunal" is a made-up kangaroo court which only applies to people falling into the equally made-up "enemy combatant" status.

Re:Public domain? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 2 years ago | (#40058679)

If the government labels you a traitor, I don't think you get the pleasure of a jury. We're talking about "State secrets", not your regular commercial damages. Anyway, how can a government show commercial damages?

I have a hard time believing the government can show that these leaks have any retail value at all.

Re:Public domain? (2)

budgenator (254554) | about 2 years ago | (#40058413)

Think about it a $250,000.00 per violation times a couple million downloads times hundreds of documents equals the entire GDP for the planet for a thousand years or so

Re:Public domain? (1)

macs4all (973270) | about 2 years ago | (#40056849)

If I remember right, government works automatically fall into public domain. Wikipedia seems to think so too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain#Government_works [wikipedia.org]

Exactly!

The government can't copyright ANYthing. That Stanford Law Journal article was written by one of our new breed of REALLY idiotic lawyers.

Seriously. The quality of lawyers that are graduating now (by and large) is truly horrific. Our increasingly short-attention-spans do not good lawyers make!

Welcome to Idiocracy!

Re:Public domain? (2)

hemo_jr (1122113) | about 2 years ago | (#40057455)

Exactly! The government can't copyright ANYthing. That Stanford Law Journal article was written by one of our new breed of REALLY idiotic lawyers. Seriously. The quality of lawyers that are graduating now (by and large) is truly horrific. Our increasingly short-attention-spans do not good lawyers make! Welcome to Idiocracy!

I blame it all on Dick Wolf. Twenty years of his shows stretching any and all laws to fit his prosecutors' agendas has presented the newly minted lawyers with a truly warped sense of law.

Re:Public domain? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40056995)

If I remember right, government works automatically fall into public domain. Wikipedia seems to think so too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain#Government_works [wikipedia.org]

Better go send a memo to the Stanford Law School lawyers who wrote the article--they must have not realized this!

Re:Public domain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057935)

If I remember right, government works automatically fall into public domain. Wikipedia seems to think so too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain#Government_works [wikipedia.org]

You're right, and I bet the Stanford Law School lawyers who wrote the article must be thinking, "Oh, SHIT!" to themselves for not realizing this.

Public Domain / FOIA? (2)

Skinkie (815924) | about 2 years ago | (#40056649)

So how can they, if all government produced works actually fall in the public domain under the Freedom of Information Act?

Re:Public Domain / FOIA? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#40059185)

They sue them in, say, France. Government works aren't public domain in all countries, just the US.

Guantanamo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40056651)

Guantanamo? It has been used before to evade US Law, if I understood it correctly.

Re:Guantanamo? (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40056703)

Politicians can't make a career out of Guantanamo, they'd prefer most people not to know.

Wikileaks + Bradley manning? There's quite a few votes to be had there...

Re:Guantanamo? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40056743)

Politicians can't make a career out of Guantanamo, they'd prefer most people not to know.

Wikileaks + Bradley manning? There's quite a few votes to be had there...

ORLY?

Candidate Obama: CLOSE GITMO! IT'S UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!! IT'S A WAR CRIME!!!!

President Obama: See, Gitmo is still open! See how tough I am against terrorists!!!!

Re:Guantanamo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057803)

Sad, but true :)

The Romney version?

Candidate Romney: $romneyGitmoSpeech = inverse($obamaGitmoSpeech)
President Romney: if (rand(0,1) { echo $workTowardClosingGitmo } else { echo $lockUpTerroristsAndThePoor }

Public documents are now copyrighted? (4, Insightful)

Whammy666 (589169) | about 2 years ago | (#40056669)

I seem to recall that works done by a government entity belong to the public and are not subject to copyright. Even so, this seems like a rather petty move. Of course, they tortured and held Bradly Manning is solitary confinement for a year without any charges so I guess expecting any sort of civility in the matter is unrealistic.

Re:Public documents are now copyrighted? (2)

ajdlinux (913987) | about 2 years ago | (#40056707)

In the US, sure. Outside of the US, US government works may very well be covered by local copyright laws. In many countries, government works are protected by copyright, and it may very well be the case that the same provisions apply to US government works within their jurisdiction.

Re:Public documents are now copyrighted? (1)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | about 2 years ago | (#40057031)

Yes, but most of those countries have filing requirements.

Re:Public documents are now copyrighted? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#40057719)

No. Most (165) countries in the world have signed the Berne Convention [wikipedia.org] , which prohibits them from requiring formal registration of works. Copyright is automatic and applies as soon as the work is made.

Re:Public documents are now copyrighted? (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 2 years ago | (#40058715)

Doesn't the Berne Convention have a provision where if a work is PD in the country of origin, it's PD everywhere? I thought that was one of the selling points of the CTEA. If that's the case, the work is PD in the US, and the US is the country of origin, therefore it's PD throughout the world.

Re:Public documents are now copyrighted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40058981)

The Berne convention explicitly allows countried to handle it that way, but does not bind countries to that way.
E.g. Germany applies this "rule of the shorter term" to countried outside Europe except for the US (according to a 1892 bilateral treaty, US works are protected by copyright in Germany even if they fall into the public domain in the US, this has even been recently (2003) tested and upheld in court).

Philipp

You know when a law is too strong when... (5, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 years ago | (#40056695)

Ok, if the punishments for copyright law are considered sufficient deterrence for things like treason or espionage that they're WAY too strong. Why on Earth would we want a set of laws that puts distributing a copy of a movie on the same level as disseminating nuclear weapon plans?

Re:You know when a law is too strong when... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40056821)

MPAA would love that.

Re:You know when a law is too strong when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057543)

The results between the two are too different to have the same punishment. Obviously pirating a movie is worse than distributing plans for a nuclear bomb! It must be true, I read it on the MPAA's website.

Truth be told I'm fairly certain that the plans fora nuclear bomb are out there, it's having the technical skill and materials that are the issue.

Re:You know when a law is too strong when... (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#40056867)

The problem is extradition for espionage is rather difficult because it's considered a political crime, while copyright is more broadly protected internationally.

Re:You know when a law is too strong when... (1)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | about 2 years ago | (#40057059)

Yeah, but these are works that have no commercial value. Even if it could be done, which is iffy, you would have to prove monetary damages to the market product itself which is non existent. If you can't, there's no cause, or the punishment is minimal at best. Unless you can demonstrate that you routinely sell state secrets, that is. But as the state... do you really want to do something like that?

Propaganda? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40056713)

If you work on the people's dime and wrote that at work, shall we interpret it as a directive or advice?

Bradley Manning should get whistle-blower protection if there's any impropriety in these "secrets".

Proving ownership (5, Interesting)

perl6geek (1867146) | about 2 years ago | (#40056741)

The US would have to prove ownership first, thus authenticating the leaked documents. Not quite what they want, is it?

Re:Proving ownership (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40056975)

But that only shows that the documents are of US government origin. The government doesn't have to reveal anything about their value or truthfulness to get a conviction

As for Wikileaks and Assange, they would seem to have plenty of evidence that they conspired to commit and did in fact commit espionage against the USA.

There are three reasons I can think of that they might not have gone against him more aggressively (yet):

1. They're afraid of what he might reveal in that case.

2. They are waiting for the conviction of Bradley Manning, so they can force him to testify against his Wikileaks contacts.

3. They know Wikileaks has nothing of real importance.

Public Domain - RTFA (4, Informative)

Mattwolf7 (633112) | about 2 years ago | (#40056745)

If you would download the article, there is an entire section addressing how the US Copyright Act actually addresses this issue:

"The prohibition on copyright protection for United States Government works is not intended to have any effect on protection of these works abroad. Works of the governments of most other countries are copyrighted. There are no valid policy reasons for denying such protection to United States Government works in foreign countries, or for precluding the Government from making licenses for the use of its works abroad."

Do you guys actually think this article would have been published in a legal journal missing such an obvious question?

Re:Public Domain - RTFA (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | about 2 years ago | (#40057285)

It seems to me that lawyers are in the business of using any excuse is used to justify their positions. I would not put much weight on the fact that it is a legal journal any more than I put on a "cold fusion" article in a science journal.

Re:Public Domain - RTFA (1)

makomk (752139) | about 2 years ago | (#40058411)

Now have fun finding a state that's willing to give copyright protection to US government works when the US isn't willing to permit copyright on them within the country.

Facts can't be copyrighted. (5, Insightful)

fredmosby (545378) | about 2 years ago | (#40056789)

It is disturbing that the US government is going to such lengths to keep its own citizens in the dark. Something has gone very wrong in Washington.

Re:Facts can't be copyrighted. (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40056981)

This is nothing compared to the cold war.

Re:Facts can't be copyrighted. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057085)

Something is very wrong, indeed. Bradley Manning should have been charged with treason and hanged.

The fact is that all these pussy liberals are going to soft on him. Traitors must be punished and executed.

Re:Facts can't be copyrighted. (4, Insightful)

fredmosby (545378) | about 2 years ago | (#40057215)

Most of what was leaked never should have been a secret. The governments been keeping its activities secret so it doesn't have to be accountable to its citizens.

Bradley Manning may be a traitor to the government, but not to the American people.

Re:Facts can't be copyrighted. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057693)

It isn't about accountability. It's about shrill fucktards that mince over every bullet fired in a war, feeding the drama queen media and the hordes of mindless twits that watch TV for their news. You can howled about open government all you want, but if there was complete transparency of everything, the government would grind to a complete halt. People would be afraid to do their jobs. Then again, perhaps that is your goal.

Accountability is the job of certain members of congress which indeed have access to classified material.

Now, if you want to tell me Congress has turned into a den of thieves, I'll believe you.

Oh, and while you can't copyright facts (which isn't necessarily what you'll find in these documents), you can copyright the presentation of them.

Re:Facts can't be copyrighted. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057753)

Learn to spell and use punctuation.
I can't understand your insane hate-rant with all those spelling mistakes and grammar problems :/

Re:Facts can't be copyrighted. (2)

fredmosby (545378) | about 2 years ago | (#40057959)

What you're basically saying is "If the general population knew what the government was doing they would disapprove. So the government need to keep its actions secret." I couldn't disagree more. In order for a democratic government to work properly it needs to ba accountable to the people. That can't happen if the people don't know what the government is up to.

If people don't have realistic accounts of what happens in war they will believe the Hollywood version where the good guys never kill innocent people.

Re:Facts can't be copyrighted. (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#40057793)

Something is very wrong, indeed. Bradley Manning should have been charged with treason and hanged.

I'm sure what you meant to write is: "Bradley Manning should have been charged with and tried for treason, and if convicted, sentenced to death."

The fact is that all these pussy liberals are going to soft on him. Traitors must be punished and executed.

It's always interesting to see how quickly conservatives are ready to abandon their alleged commitment to the rule of law and the purity of the US Constitution.

Re:Facts can't be copyrighted. (3, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 2 years ago | (#40058069)

There is no need to charge him with treason. Pvt Manning is a uniformed member of the United States Army and as such is subject to military justice which includes the possibility of death if convicted of the charge of aiding the enemy (which he has indeed been charged with). Of course, the prosecutors have already said that they will not seek the death penalty so the point is moot, but it should be noted that treason is generally prosecuted against civilians, the Rosenbergs for example, and not uniformed members of the armed forces who are subject instead to much harsher military disciplines if convicted of similar or even lesser crimes.

Re:Facts can't be copyrighted. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057925)

Troll 9/10 - got a lot of people upset there...

Re:Facts can't be copyrighted. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#40057765)

They aren't. RTFS. This is a paper by some experts laying an hypothesis.

Unconstitutional (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40056791)

Funny how the land of the free wants to limit the freedom of the press.

I can understand that a nation wants to protect it's secrets in order to protect it's people but it do not think it should go as far as taking away essential freedom to cover it's own failure's in doing so.

Re:Unconstitutional (3, Insightful)

peppepz (1311345) | about 2 years ago | (#40056871)

I find it interesting that when a country censors Twitter for "blasphemous content", it's universally deprecated, but when the USA tears down a site for "copyrighted content", then it's freedom at work.

Artistic value (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40056863)

Only works with artistic value can be copyrighted. State secrets, therefore, cannot.

its not funny any more (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40056947)

Consider what was shown in those leaks makes me wonder why he is not a hero. The type of secrecy that was publish was damaging to how low we have fallen as a nation we should be ashamed but why would sociopath like leader be ashamed at all of what we do. I would seem that giving a dam is unhealthy for our new world order. Lets see what other bull our government comes up to kill the internet of free speech.

Re:its not funny any more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057355)

Treason rarely makes one a hero.

It's the other way around (2)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 2 years ago | (#40057701)

Except for the ones fighting natural events, all the heros are so called because they commited treason. It is only that they betrayed a side that wan't worth it, or one that lost depending on how cinic you are.

Uhm, there's only one problem... (1)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | about 2 years ago | (#40057015)

The US government cannot hold copyrights... on anything.

A little light treason (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057343)

"The United States has pursued Bradley Manning with full force for his role in supplying classified documents to WikiLeaks, in part because of the substantial difficulty in going after the organization directly."

In addition to the little matter of treason. You know, the whole "betrayal of his country" and all that.

Governement documents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057375)

Documents created by or for the government, and even copyrighted documents used buy the government in the course of work are not copyrightable or donot preserve any prior copyright privilidge during that time.

The government documents leaked were public property. That includes you. Their DISTRIBUTION was limited by classification and only to the extent it is technically possible and actually achieved. Congress leaks classified documents all the time and once out are out.

The odd thing was when the leak occurred the government at several levels ordered its employees to not download or view the leaked classified documents. That was a bit of a catch 22 for a civilian government employee. Not so much for someone who is non-civilian and effectively property of the government.

This copyright claim is a bogus stretch and should not be allowed to stand.

No protection here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057389)

They can't protect secrets this way. They can punish people, but that is not the same thing. The secret still got out, even if you have their head on a platter. Secrets can only be protected by not leaking them in the first place. Those afraid of the law, can always leak anonymously.

And copyright only prevent verbatim copying anyway. I can tell you what the latest Harry Potter book is about, without breaching copyright. Spoilers and all, ruining it for the moviegoers. And if I get my hands on a copyrighted U.S. state secret, I can tell the secret in my own words. They can keep distribution rights for their carefully and artistically worded version of the secret. No doubt their language is more polished than mine. But I can spread the secret without breaching copyright.

Not Sure Which is Worse: (2, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40057431)

The government's constant attempts to end-run the Constitution, or the fact that American citizens are helping them.

Re:Not Sure Which is Worse: (-1, Troll)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#40058595)

[Not Sure Which Is Worse} The government's constant attempts to end-run the Constitution, or the fact that American citizens are helping them.

This.

That's the problem right there. If it wasn't for that, Bradley Manning would have had nothing to leak, and no reason to leak it.

The fools who cheer-lead the government effort to cover it's blatant violation of, and disregard for, the Constitution and the Rule of Law are allowing emotions and emotion-based propaganda to do their thinking for them.

They don't seem to understand or even care that this way lies a US authoritarian police state.

The US government has already gone so far towards a police state that I'm surprised the US hasn't sent in SEAL teams to kill Assange and destroy the Wikileaks facilities and caused Manning to have an "accident" while in custody.

Heck, that may all still happen.

It's sad when otherwise patriotic US citizens who love their country and freedom start to truly believe that some nation or terrorist group nuking the entirety of Washington D.C. and the surrounding area into a very deep, smoking, miles-wide, radioactive crater would be the best thing to happen to the country in almost a century.

Sic semper tyrannis.

Strat

Oh You mean Sanford? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40057671)

Oh you mean Sanford, the college (among others) who ought to be shut down for racketeering. How about we bring charges against them first, then consider whatever propaganda they continually spew after they are purged.

Copyright needs to be reformed.. (1)

pakar (813627) | about 2 years ago | (#40058123)

Was not copyright supposed to protect 'works of art intended for sale to prevent unauthorized copies to be sold in it's place'? Even the name says something about it's intentions... 'copy' & 'rights' ie the rights to copy.

From wikipedia:

Copyright initially was conceived as a way for government to restrict printing; the contemporary intent of copyright is to promote the creation of new works by giving authors control of and profit from them. Copyrights are said to be territorial, which means that they do not extend beyond the territory of a specific state unless that state is a party to an international agreement. Today, however, this is less relevant since most countries are parties to at least one such agreement. While many aspects of national copyright laws have been standardized through international copyright agreements, copyright laws of most countries have some unique features.[2] Typically, the duration of copyright is the whole life of the creator plus fifty to a hundred years from the creator's death, or a finite period for anonymous or corporate creations. Some jurisdictions have required formalities to establishing copyright, but most recognize copyright in any completed work, without formal registration. Generally, copyright is enforced as a civil matter, though some jurisdictions do apply criminal sanctions.

I fail to see how pure reports and letters could, or or even should, be protected by copyright.

My thought on copyrights..

Should not be subjected to copyright:
- Letter intended for one single person. Should be protected by privacy-laws.
- Surveillance camera or home-video from a stationary camera. Should be protected by privacy-laws until they might be classified as something else.
- Report describing some events. Not a work of art just a fact-listing description of events.
- Nothing created by the government. *Maybe*: If created by the government all citizens of the country should have a license to copy, distribute and re-license
- Anything that's not intended for distribution to the public.

Should be protected by copyright:
- Works of art intended for distribution and sale to the public.

Re:Copyright needs to be reformed.. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#40058775)

" Anything that's not intended for distribution to the public." -- Already can be legally protected by trade secret status

Copyright again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40058417)

Copyright is to Democracy as Cancer is to Life. You read it here first, and I'm the first to describe it quite like that, but killing it is a valiant and worthwhile goal.

Back to basics (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 2 years ago | (#40058779)

It seems we've come full circle. Copyright started as a tool for censorship, and it may soon become one yet again.

Then do something about it (1)

ronmon (95471) | about 2 years ago | (#40058849)

Slashdot is full of mouthy hypocrites that have never held a security clearance. Nobody gets drafted, there are only volunteers and the vetting process is gruelling. So, all of you opinionated nobodies feel free to apply and then the 1% that actually get accepted betray the oath you have taken to get there. I am all for the death penalty for treason.

Wikileaks was forced to release the archive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40058923)

James Freedman seems to have skipped over how Wikileaks was forced to dump the whole archive because some moron released the archive secret key in a.....book about Wikileaks.

Sorry folks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40059077)

Everything the government produces, is paid for by taxpayers. Therefore, if there is copyright, it's owned by taxpayers. You can't steal stuff that is already yours and you paid for it.

WikiLeaks vs CopyRight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40059091)

Unless the documents Bradley Manning were produced by some outside non-govermental source the CopyRight belongs to the people of the United States and under most circumstances is considered free for use by ***ANYBODY***, WikiLeaks included.

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