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"Nuremberg Files" Decision Overturned

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the i-may-not-agree-with-what-you-say dept.

The Courts 569

PeterMiller writes "ABC News is running a story on a US federal appeal court that threw out a record $109 million verdict against anti-abortion rights activists. From the article: 'If defendants threatened to commit violent acts, by working alone or with others, then their [works] could properly support the verdict,' Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski wrote. 'But if their [works] merely encouraged unrelated terrorists, then their words are protected by the First Amendment.' My question is, what does this do to every other lawsuit claiming a website, movie, video game or song lead someone to a violent act?" Readers may recall that this case involved an anti-abortion website which published the names and addresses of doctors who provided abortion services, and cheered whenever one of them was killed. Our previous stories are here and here. The Appeals Court's opinion reviews the history of the case, and the finding that the statements on the website were not true threats under U.S. law and were thus protected speech. There used to be a number of mirrors of the site available - most of them seem to have disappeared, but this one is still up, minus the lists of doctors.

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Oh goodie.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#332629)

Now I can put up a web site with pictures of Bush, Rumsfeld, Renquist, Thomas, O'Connor, David Rockefeller, all their children and relatives with sniper scope bulls eyes over them. Sure hope the secret service doesn't mind that...

FUCK (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#332630)

Oh wait... this regarded free speach by a bunch of right wing religious nuts... never mind.

God dammit GOD DAMMIT how hard is this??

It's "speech."

That is spelled as follows:

S
P
E
E
C
H

Count the "E"'s.

There's two of them.

SPEECH

Note that it is not spelled "speach."

Christ Almighty I thought the readership of Slashdot was supposed to be clueful. God damn it is depressing that people can consistently spell such a simple word incorrectly. It's almost as bad as the way people spell "ridiculous" with an "e": "rediculous."

Fuck.

Some of you people belong in remedial spelling courses.

Re:ACLU Non-Partisian (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#332631)

Remind us who defended the right of the KKK to march in Skokie, Bill.

Re:This is about responsibilty. (1)

bstadil (7110) | more than 13 years ago | (#332670)

You wrote "The general public is, well, stupid and impressionable. European governments have recognised this for sometime, and take care of these issues for them by implementing strong censorship of violence. Hence there is little violence in European countries" The fact that we do not have 1.2 guns for every citizen like the US might have something to do with it as well.

Clear precedent for protest. (1)

PhilosopherKing (7890) | more than 13 years ago | (#332674)

How ironic it is that these judges set a precedent for protesting this particular judgement. If you feel that the judges erred in overturning the verdict, set up a web site with their personal info and a little dancing hamster that goes ballistic singing when one of them passes away. Just my two bits.


This is a vital case (2)

Thagg (9904) | more than 13 years ago | (#332685)

I applaud the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for this courageous decision. It must have been very hard for them to separate their disgust for the Neandertals who run the site from their respect for the principles of the First Amendment. I don't think that the courts can make value judgments on speech without degenerating into the worst form of censorship.

The cure for bad speech is truly more speech. This ruling will make it much harder to quash unpopular or politically incorrect speech, which is great. Kudos, again, to the 9th Circuit!

thad

ACLU Non-Partisian (1)

killbill (10058) | more than 13 years ago | (#332686)

This was fought tooth and nail by that bastion of non-partisian free speach advocates the ACLU right? I must have missed the link to the ACLU press release talking about what a victory this is for the first ammendment.

Oh wait... this regarded free speach by a bunch of right wing religious nuts... never mind. Heck, they are probably lucky the ACLU did not file a friend of the court brief arguing that since this was posted on a partially federally subsidised internet, it violated the separation of church and state and must be removed!

Bill (who thinks the aforementioned site was evil, but did want to take the opportunity to point out the hypocrisy in the ACLU)

Media bias in the headline... (2)

killbill (10058) | more than 13 years ago | (#332687)

And whilst I'm burning Karma anyway... anyone notice the headline contradicts the story?

Headline: Court: Abortion Threats OK

From 2nd paragraph: "If defendants threatened to commit violent acts, by working alone or with others, then their [works] could properly support the verdict," Cricuit Judge Alex Kozinski wrote (typo theirs, judge describing why the verdict against the site was not supported)

Well, which is it? Does the AP writer have an agenda here? That's a pretty big mistake to make on a headline... they are starting to look like slashdot :)

Bill

Commercial interests (1)

bperkins (12056) | more than 13 years ago | (#332690)

I wonder how that court would have ruled if the Nuremburg files had threatened commerciall interests, rather than the lives of doctors.

Funny how a company can call all sorts of information "trade secrets" (e.g. DeCSS) and prevent people from posting the information, but abortion doctors can't consider their names and home addresses private.

This is disturbing (2)

Ravenscall (12240) | more than 13 years ago | (#332692)

Mainly because, if I follow this correctly, merely saying you are going to harm or kill somebody constitutes a crime.

I have said this many times, and never really meant it considering I have yet to off anybody, but the truly disturbing implication here, especially under the threat of workplace shootings and whatnot, If I were to say it now, I could be prosecuted.

This sounds suspiciously like a police state.

Re:This is disturbing (1)

HunterD (13063) | more than 13 years ago | (#332713)

This was more then just threatening to kill someone. The web site posted any information they could get about abortion doctors, in an attempt to make it easier to track and kill said doctors. This is not just a "I hate you and you should die page", this is a direct attempt to incite the already active domestic terrorists to kill more doctors, and to make it easier to do.

These people would post anything that could be used against the doctors, including photos, children's names, and what school they attended - anything.

this is REALLY not a good thing.

Granted, I may be some what biased, because I have friends that were on the list, and I am really not cool with a website that is an assaination tool to be used upon people who are doing a legal medical service.

Re:Only in the USA. (1)

HunterD (13063) | more than 13 years ago | (#332714)

not a troll my ass.

Murder is illegal, Abortions ARE legal. Get over it.

If you don't like the law, try and change it. Resorting to murder and terrorist acts to get your way is no better then a child throwing a tantrum, which is exactly what the religous right sanctioned war against abortion providers is: a temper tantrum because you all didn't get your way.

Grow up and participate in the republic.

oh and by the way, where the hell do you get the idea that abortion doctors are "paid Nazi exterminators"? as far as I can tell, the neo-nazi movement has WAY more ties to the super conservative right....

Re:Unfortunate decision (1)

HunterD (13063) | more than 13 years ago | (#332715)

But they ARE doing something. They are inciting murder - three doctors were murdered after beign placed on this list.

these people are accomplice to that, and they know it - but they are hiding behind freedom of speech so that they can use the list to help other doctors get shot.

Unfortunate decision (2)

HunterD (13063) | more than 13 years ago | (#332733)

I find this to be a very unfortunate decision. The people who are running this site are doing so as a direct attempt to scare people away from offering legal reproductive services. Whether you are pro or anti choice, I should hope we can all agree that using gestapo tactics to scare physicians by posting their addresses, names of spouses and children, phone numbers, children's schools and so on is just plain wrong.

The people who wrote this site clearly intend that the doctors on the list be targeted for murder assault, and harassment. I personally feel that this invokes the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" clause - these people's very lives are in danger because of this web page.

Hopefully the supreme court will overturn this, and won't pat these domestic terrorists on the head, and approve the ability for people to create on-line hit lists.

Re:1st amendment is a good thing... ponder (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#332751)

Good question, maybe we would be able to measure whether U.S. society has a higher knee-jerk quotient for abortion rights versus school violence.

Re:Only in the USA. (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#332752)

Yup, over here you're welcome to think dangerous thoughts and say dangerous things, but we draw the line at doing dangerous things to other people. We are sadly lacking in government enforcement of thoughtcrime.

I would think it would suck to be otherwise, but then again why argue about crimes of belief against someone named "SpanishInquisition" ;)

Re:This is about responsibilty. (2)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#332756)

If the defendant can reasonably claim that the film he watched incited him to commit the act, and that hence he is not responsible, then he can reasonably claim to be innocent.

If incitement from a film to do violence were a reasonable claim of innocence from the effects of your actions, then how much more powerful would be the argument advanced at the other Nuremberg trial: "I was just following orders". I wasn't incited, I was in the SS and they ordered me to do it! If your conclusions about European governments are true (and in general I would say they are not, but just for argument's sake), then this is exactly the wrong standard to use to prevent future holocausts in Europe.

I believe in strict personal reponsibility - it's nobody's fault but yours if someone tells you to do something, you do it, and it was illegal. In some cases if you were given false information, you may be able to in turn go after whoever it was that convinced you to take your actions, but even then you are responsible for the actions you take. And I doubt that a defense of "but somebody on the Internet said it was OK to blow up abortion clinincs" would fly very far in court (at least I hope it wouldn't). You can't blame your mistakes on taking the advice of random untrusted strangers, on the 'net or anywhere else.

Re:Unfortunate decision (2)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#332757)

The people who are running this site are doing so as a direct attempt to scare people away from offering legal reproductive services. Whether you are pro or anti choice, I should hope we can all agree that using gestapo tactics to scare physicians by posting their addresses, names of spouses and children, phone numbers, children's schools and so on is just plain wrong.

I'm unaware of any right to not be made afraid because of the things people say about you, especially if they're true. Should it be illegal for people to let on that you have a nice watch since you walk home through a bad neighborhood every day? I wouldn't be thrilled either if it was my name on that web site, but I can't complain too hard if the information could have been retrieved by anyone with a few hours to spare.

I'm not a rabid pro-life supporter, but I don't see why posting publicly-available information in any forum should be illegal. Information is a tool; it's neither good nor bad and just possessing knowledge neither hurts nor hinders anyone's life. It's what you do with the knowledge that counts, and I do agree that anyone who uses such info to harm abortion providers or their families should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But muzzling information just because "someone might get hurt" is a bad justification IMHO.

Re:ACLU Non-Partisian (1)

sterno (16320) | more than 13 years ago | (#332770)

The ACLU has rarely hesitated to defend offensive speach no matter what wing it comes from. They defend KKK members just as readily as they defend the EFF. Why weren't they involved in this? I'm not sure, but I'd be curious to find out.

---

I agree with the verdict but... (2)

sterno (16320) | more than 13 years ago | (#332771)

I think that it would be oh so lovely if we had federal statutes to protect the privacy of such information. If it is given that the addresses, phone numbers, etc, of these doctors was publicly available information, then it seems well within the rights of the publishers to put all of that information together even in that context.

But the question is, should that information have even gotten to them in the first place? Should they be able to publish that private information without authorization from those doctors? I tend to think not.

---

Re:I agree with the verdict but... (1)

YoJ (20860) | more than 13 years ago | (#332776)

I agree. Down with phonebooks!

Re:There's a difference... (1)

PeterMiller (27216) | more than 13 years ago | (#332781)

I agree with you 100%. My question was based on people suing Oliver Stone (thrown out by now) producing Natural Born Killers, suing ID Software for making Doom, Quake, claiming Beavis and Butthead made kids burn down trailers, or that the Internet lead to Columbine.

People like us who are sick and tired of wackos calling for legal action on games, movies and music can point to this ruling as an example.

Am I the only one who has the strong suspicion that the people who support anti-abortion acts are the same people who blame sex and violence in media as the reason for ANY crime today? Good luck proving your case now!

You have incited the posting... (3)

Kohath (38547) | more than 13 years ago | (#332812)

You have now incited the posting of doctor's credit cards. Me and the doctors will be suing you for $109 million dollars.

Next, I'll be suing Slashdot for inciting your incitement. I'll be rich!

I wish Slashdot would post more stories like this. (Oh no! Now I'll have to sue myself!)

And so forth...

Re:Freedom of speech and privacy (2)

Dr.Evil (47264) | more than 13 years ago | (#332823)

Addresses are publicly-accessible information, as are criminal and driving records in most states - hell, the USPS sells mailing lists to junk-mail advertisers. Credit cards, on the other hand, are not.

Unpleasant, perhaps, but hardly a boundary case for free-speech considerations.

Re:Unfortunate decision (2)

Dr.Evil (47264) | more than 13 years ago | (#332824)

So sites that publish the corporate addresses of companies they want picketed, for example, shuld be suppressed? That doesn't make any sense. The simple fact of the matter is that this is a group that wants these "doctors" to stop offering these "reproductive services." You might find their tactics distasteful (I do, too, despite my obvious bias), but they were publishing information that was either publicly available or gathered by legal means. That was never even the issue. The issue was always whether the website itself constituted a threat, as you quite correctly point out.

The original court hearing the case agreed with your reasoning, even going so far as to say that merely feeling threatened was enough to prove it was a threat. That's a dangerous precendent in any case, one that could have an enormous chilling effect on free speech.

I personally doubt that the Supreme Court will hear the case. The current Court isn't all that fond of First Amendment cases anyway, and one this politically loaded isn't one that either the right- or left-wingers on the Court will want to touch all that badly. There's no conflicting Circuit opinions to resolve here, so they'll most likely leave it alone.

It might have been different if... (1)

lildogie (54998) | more than 13 years ago | (#332841)

...the hit list had been judges, not doctors.

What's the difference... (2)

stank (55882) | more than 13 years ago | (#332842)

What's the difference between a site that posts the name of abortion clinic doctors, and a site that posts the names of IRS workers? Both sites encourage murder, but one is shutdown by the government while the other is given free speech rights. I believe they both should be considered free speech.

Look at: http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,40102,00 .html [wired.com]

Do you think the judge would have ruled the same way had his name been on the list?

You are so right. (1)

Fleet Admiral Ackbar (57723) | more than 13 years ago | (#332844)

Weirdos in America can do almost anything. Shit, we almost elected Al Gore!

This doesn't seem to apply to /. concerns... (2)

Fleet Admiral Ackbar (57723) | more than 13 years ago | (#332845)

Putting up a list of abortion docs isn't like mirroring DeCSS. In one case, you are providing an idea. In the other case, you are providing a tool.


I doubt that someone who had a page encouraging music "piracy", but providing no tools, would be the target of a lawsuit. The only difference is the emotional appeal, and liberal "sacred cow" status, of fetus vacuum operators...

OT: Use of the "Anti-Abortion" (2)

pnatural (59329) | more than 13 years ago | (#332853)

groups that are opposed to abortion are called "anti-abortion", and yet groups that promote the act are called "pro-choice". shouldn't the name-calling be consistent? in other words, it should be "anti-abortion" vs. "pro-abortion" or "pro-life" vs. "anti-life"? oh, wait a minute, doing so would cast those favored by the media in a negative light. can't have that!

i know i'll sound like a conspiracy nut, and i know i'm at risk for losing karma (can't get blood out of a stone, tho), but this obvious bias by /. and all major media really pisses me off. yeah, yeah, i know slashdot is only parroting the news stories of others, but if the editors would take a minute and think for themselves instead of blindly following the party line like the sheep they claim to despise, the world might be an ever-so-slightly better place.

and please, before flaming me for having a different view than yours, read the fucking post and tell me where i have promoted one view or another.

flame on!

banner ads (1)

khamelin (65966) | more than 13 years ago | (#332855)

Ok,

I can live with others deciding this issue - I made a decision long ago not to get involved with the abortion decision.

But I have to ask, what's with all the banner ads on the mentioned site (lancasterlife.com/NurembergFiles/).

Advertising seems to knows no boundaries.

1st amendment is a good thing... ponder (2)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 13 years ago | (#332864)

Ok, so now the actual people breaking the law get blamed instead of their cheerleaders... I can live with that.

I could also put up a list of Telecom companies (that really suck) executives up for the same treatment?

It's interesting to ponder this at length.
--Mike--

Re:This is about responsibilty. (2)

technos (73414) | more than 13 years ago | (#332865)

From the AP:

JAPAN -- The Associated Press reports: "According to a 1996 survey by the Supreme Court, of the 37,395 marriage arbitration cases filed by women in Japan's family courts, one-third involved complaints of domestic abuse. The majority ended in divorce... According to a study of domestic violence released in May by Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the first-ever done in Japan, one-third of the 1,183 women with partners in the survey said they had been battered by their husbands or boyfriends."

From a NOW blurb:

..concluded in their comprehensive study of domestic violence that nearly 35 percent of women in over 2000 American families had been subjected to one or more attacks by their husbands in the previous year before divorce...

Sounds pretty even to me..

threatened to commit violent acts (2)

selectspec (74651) | more than 13 years ago | (#332867)

threatened is the key word here. You can't threaten people with violence.

Weirdos to the right of me... (1)

owillis (74881) | more than 13 years ago | (#332868)

We actually did elect Al Gore, but a few people in Florida pulled off a great coup.
--
OliverWillis.Com [oliverwillis.com]

Re:The Importance of Freedom of Speech (2)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 13 years ago | (#332872)

For every Klan site and every kill the abortion doctor site, there's a cryptome.org or a peacefire.org who couldn't function without basic freedom of speech laws. For every nutcase redneck who promotes white power, there's a rainbow coalition website who would have been edged out by our republican, white congress, some of whom were in office and voted against civil-rights legislation in the 60's.

It is important to watch for threats and illegal behavior, but to be truly fair, free speech decisions must almost always come down in favor of the speaker.

Too much talk and no action is what has gotten us into the situation we now face. As long as people feel inhibited from slandering, libeling and even censoring everyone who discusses sensitive issues people will merely continue talking about the issues and things will only get worse.

The sooner we start throwing the "nutcase rednecks" in prison for the the opinions they hold, preferably injecting them with estrogen so they are more passive and feminized while being raped by HIV ethnic gangs, the sooner we can get beyond all this mere talk and start seeing some serious Y-chromosome specific retroviruses being engineered and spread through the world's transportation infrastructure.

Re:This is about responsibilty. (2)

nublord (88026) | more than 13 years ago | (#332886)

Hence there is little violence in European countries.

Do you have some data or links to back this up? I'm not asking this because I disagree with your or think I smell a rat. I ask becuase I'm curious just how low the violence is over there. From what US media shows me Europe has lots of rampant car chases through downtown and riots at soccer games (yes, I know the media isn't painting a true picture).

Students... (1)

Havokmon (89874) | more than 13 years ago | (#332887)

Man this country's fucked-up. Next week Slashdot will have a story about some 10th grader with a web site listing the names of the kids he hates, and he'll be sent to jail.

American SQL:
SELECT names FROM American_People;
WHERE age LESS_THAN 20 AND;
offense LIKE "Current News";
INTO Prison

president (1)

Cheetahfeathers (93473) | more than 13 years ago | (#332894)

Does this mean we can post names and locations where certain political leaders and their bodyguards are/will be at certain times, and cheer when they are killed? :P

How about details of what weapons the bodyguards carry, as well as defenses such as what bulletproof glass is in what vehicle, etc. How about details to what is the best weapon to take out such defenses?

Where is the line drawn?

Re:This doesn't seem to apply to /. concerns... (1)

Cheetahfeathers (93473) | more than 13 years ago | (#332895)

In this case, I think the information _is_ a tool. Providing names and addresses and womb parasite removers is a tool to facilitate these actions. And providing the information on DeCSS is also providing a tool. One's a tool to perfectly good program that will let you view your own DVDs on your own computer, the other is a tool and encouragement for illegal action.

I don't think these equate.

free speach or enabling violence (2)

jeffsenter (95083) | more than 13 years ago | (#332899)

I think what is missing here is that the abortion opponents not only said doctors are bad because they are performing abortions and these are the doctors, but it also provided addresses to aid in the violence against doctors. It is one thing if someone puts out a violent video game where someone shoots somebody, but it is another if someone includes in that videogame the contact info of the person they encourage to be killed.

Hmm. (1)

Lish (95509) | more than 13 years ago | (#332900)

I wonder what their response would have been if instead of abortion doctors, this had been a list of judges. Or a "hit list" of peers that some student put together. Interesting.

So we can now yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theater (2)

cworley (96911) | more than 13 years ago | (#332904)

I always thought that the litmus test for responsibility and free speech was exemplified by "yelling fire in a crowded theater".

You're not physically harming anyone, or telling people to trample one another, yet you are responsible for the consequences.

These people have done the same, yet they are not held responsible?

Re:Great... (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 13 years ago | (#332911)

I don't agree with what they are saying, but support the right to say it.

Can you feeeeel the irony? Come on - can you?

Re:ACLU Non-Partisian (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 13 years ago | (#332912)

Bill (who thinks the aforementioned site was evil, but did want to take the opportunity to point out the hypocrisy in the ACLU)

Better make that alleged hypocrisy, Bill.

Certainly... (1)

jgerman (106518) | more than 13 years ago | (#332916)

...in a way it sort of galls me to say it... I sort of flip both ways on abortion. However, this issue is not about abortion, it's about free speech, and the fact that the government should not be allowed to legislate taste and morality. Yes it's immoral that they cheer the violence and in extremely poor taste, but should the government be allowed to censor... no.

I guess the question is "Where is the line that constitutes conspiracy?". Although I think the whole concept of conspiring to commit a felony is ridiculous. I should be able to conspire all I want so long as I don't act on it.

Re:Certainly... (1)

jgerman (106518) | more than 13 years ago | (#332917)

Yes it is... that was pretty much my point, I don't believe that you should be prosecuted for conspiracy to commit a crime.

Re:1st amendment is a good thing... ponder (1)

blue trane (110704) | more than 13 years ago | (#332920)

I could also put up a list of Telecom companies (that really suck) executives up for the same treatment?

How about a list of columbine bullies that didn't get killed?

Two-pronged movements (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 13 years ago | (#332933)

That's a tough decision. The appellate judge seems to have decided it correctly, though.

Historically, a useful trick for a political movement is to have two arms; the highly visible part that works through the political process, and the extremists who do the dirty work. There are endless examples; the U.S. Revolutionary War, the IRA, the union movement, the U.S. civil rights movement, the green movement, and now the anti-abortion movement. It's a tactic independent of ideology.

If the goon movements are secretly working with the lobbyists, it's a straightforward conspiracy case. But sometimes they really are independent. This is most likely where some strong ideology or religion is involved, one strong enough to motivate people to kill.

This may start a new kind of publicity war. The pro-abortion movement could retaliate by publishing the names and addresses of anti-abortion lobbyists. Unions may start publishing names, addresses, and pictures of CEOs they don't like. (The AFL-CIO already names names [aflcio.org] ). Unclear where this leads. Probably to increased sales of armored cars [ogara-hess.com] , which are popular in countries with a strong anti-business faction.

my anti-m$ website can go back up (3)

mr_gerbik (122036) | more than 13 years ago | (#332935)

Now I can resume my website that publishes the names and addresses of microsoft employees in hopes that it shall bring them to an early demise. MUAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

-gerbik

Re:This is about responsibilty. (2)

KahunaBurger (123991) | more than 13 years ago | (#332946)

actually, they got him on conspiracy didn't they? It's all well and good to talk about doing things, tell other people they should do things, but the second you and/or they do one action to further the conspiracy (say I buy some ski masks after we talk about robbing a bank), that's when you're gonna be in trouble

Doesn't work. The web site provided names and addresses of specific doctors, This could reasonably be counted as conspiracy as they did some of the leg work in planning an attack.

Anyway, the orriginal post irks me excessivly. This sort of "responsibility" rhetoric that claims that finding anyone but the "trigger man" guilty is (IMHO) actually counter to imposing real responsibility on people. Its reductionist thinking that holding one person or group responsible negates the responsibility of any other person. No one can rationally claim that a particular movie, video game or website "made" them commit a particular crime. But that doesn't mean that we can't assess the contributory impact of such media on crime. But black and white thinkers who have to send one person to hell and let the rest of the world off pure innocent have a hard time dealing with that.

Kahuna Burger

Only in the USA. (1)

SpanishInquisition (127269) | more than 13 years ago | (#332954)

Can a bunch of dangerous weirdos like that can get so much political and judiciary backing.

--

Re:Certainly... (1)

frknfrk (127417) | more than 13 years ago | (#332955)

isn't 'conspiracy to commit murder' a crime?

Re:This is about responsibilty. (1)

whizzird (129373) | more than 13 years ago | (#332959)

The US might have a lot of guns, but the reason we have more gun violence is that only the criminals carry guns. Look at Switzerland, every male over 18 is required by law to have an assault rifle in the house, and they have a really low crime rate. Many Swiss carry guns with them. In the US it's really rare. I live in one of the US States with a very liberal concealed carry law, but don't know anyone who carries a gun. Americans are violent because very few of us were brought up well, and because so many Americans live in poverty (thanks to the welfare system), and have broken homes.

Re: Some data isn't "private". (1)

tz (130773) | more than 13 years ago | (#332967)

Credit card numbers aren't normally part of any public record.

Your (residential) address usually is because you have to give that out to get a driver's license, and by extension the phone book that links the information makes that public info.

If your state happens to put identifiers up on the internet (sometimes for a fee - there are ads for publicdata.com or somesuch that play occasionally), you should move or not give out that information. Or get a private mailbox or PO box and voicemail number.

If I give out information, I cannot then claim it is private unless I as for nondisclosure in advance. Maybe that shouldn't be the state of things, and I would approve of any law designed to fix the situation.

Also, the plaintiffs in question were licensed professionals. Unless you want to argue against licensing (medicine or driving for that matter), which is one possibility, the information used to identify the license holder should be on the public record.

And what if they just linked to 411.com(?) or whatever other service would produce the exact same invasive data (consider 2600-DeCSS)?

I suspect the plaintiffs did little if anything to protect the information they were bothered about appearing on the defendant's site. Even if they did, once discovered (again like DeCSS), can they protect it? Where is the IP right in your address and phone number?

Safety versus Speech... (1)

Darlok (131116) | more than 13 years ago | (#332970)

Example:
1) If you go to http://xxx.yyy.zzz/aaa.htm, you will find a link to DeCSS code, the Terrorist's Handbook and source code to a strong-encryption algorithm. We think this is cool, and everybody should go there.

2) If you go to 123 Anytown street, you will find an abortion doctor. We think this is not cool, and would cheer a lot if something just happened to this doctor.

The second one was just declared "okay." The first one, at various points in time, has been declared illegal. It's all free speech, folks. Some folks didn't tell you to download DeCSS or MP3's or whatever (just links or addresses), but got slapped with cease-and-desists and possibly fines anyhow. So is it suddenly okay for others to walk away scott free after not suggesting it would be cool to kill an abortion doctor??

Some information is malicious. You can dance rings around the law as OJ and other cases have proven, but that doesn't change intent. The plaintiffs in this case intended, or okay, at least applauded the killing of doctors. I hope none of you run religious groups, gun shops, pornography, political lobby groups, or any other controversial business/industry, because sooner or later somebody might get it in their head to applaud your killing. "But Darlok, that can't happen to me!!" Keep telling yourself that...

I'm all about free speech, I'm all about defending what you believe in, but what they did is no better that screaming "Fire" in a crowded room. People died because of it. So, get down off your Constitutional high-horse and look at what you're defending... the framers of the Constitution are turning in their graves like little rotisseries... *sheesh*

Re:This is disturbing (2)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 13 years ago | (#332973)

Mainly because, if I follow this correctly, merely saying you are going to harm or kill somebody constitutes a crime.

Good thing you don't follow it correctly, then. The law was intended to illegalize inciting violence against people. There's already case law showing that there is not a free speech right to incite violence (e.g. inciting riot), so in theory nothing is lost through this law. Similarly, there is no law against making a casual claim about doing violence ("My coworkers make me so angry sometimes I want to kill them"), but making a credible threat of violence against somebody (shaking a fist and saying, "Shut up or I'll pound you") is alread illegal (assault). The issue in this case is whether simply listing peoples' names and what they've done wrong is actually inciting violence (not protected) or just expressing an opinion (protected). AFAIK the site carefully avoided explicit calls for any specific action against the listed doctors but did use various suggestive tactics like putting their faces on wanted posters. The defendants won on the narrow grounds that their site was not actually inciting violence but did not challenge the underlying constitutionality of the law.

Freedom of speech and privacy (4)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 13 years ago | (#332983)

Whilst I agree wholeheartedly with the concept of free speech, surely the line has to be drawn when that speech includes personal information, such as somebody's address ?

What if they were publishing the doctors' credit card numbers instead - would that still be protected as free speech ?

So we are back to free speech? (1)

HerrGlock (141750) | more than 13 years ago | (#332986)

Now we can once again TALK about something and actually be covered by free speech instead of having to toe the line for the politically correct speech of the day.

I'm glad. If it were someone with a left wing agenda, this wouldn't have even gone to trial, that's what bothers me the most. I don't like extremists of any stripe but every one of them has the right to say what they want and have all the publishings they care to have.

DanH
Cav Pilot's Reference Page [cavalrypilot.com]

The judges are right (2)

sphix42 (144155) | more than 13 years ago | (#332998)

As much as I disagree with the reason for the web site and as much as I am pro-choice, I feel the judges are right....I would not want to be charged for anything because of actions of someone else based on my words.

Having my cake, but not eating it.

Re:The Importance of Freedom of Speech (2)

pjl5602 (150416) | more than 13 years ago | (#333006)

...there's a rainbow coalition website who would have been edged out by our republican, white congress, some of whom were in office and voted against civil-rights legislation in the 60's

I think you have some facts wrong about who voted for and against the Civil Rights Act.

The House passed the bill 289 to 124, where 80% of Republicans and 63% of Democrats voted yes.

The Senate passed the bill 73 to 27, where 21 Democrats and 6 Republicans voted no.

Who fillibustered the Senate for 14 hours against the passage of the bill?&nbsp That's right, it's the Democrate "white n*gger hater" Robert Byrd.

Re:This is about responsibilty. (2)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#333018)

Ok so you think that just because some people have weak minds that the government should be allowed to control what we hear, see and say. Just throw think in there also. I'm sorry but even if there was a proven link between violence in the media and people doing bad things it would not be worth it to give up any freedom because of this. And yes the person is responsible for what they do. Otherwise all I have to do is have someone post a reply to this telling me to shoot you between the eyes and if I do so it is that persons fault because they incited me to do it :). Of course according to this [themercury.com.au] it's all about the beer. And of course if you look at this [cnn.com] and other stats like it during the 90s with all the violence in the media the crime rate has been going down. Let's see maybe crime has more to do with poverty and social justice and since the European countries in which crime is lower do a better job of taking care of the poor maybe that is the reason it is lower and not the censorship. I like the beer theory best myself. Now someone please tell me to go shoot this guy!

Re:This is about responsibilty. (2)

Fat Rat Bastard (170520) | more than 13 years ago | (#333023)

... And there is hardly any violence in a totalitarian state (well, at the citizen level anyway). That is the price of freedom my friends. Live in a society where you have a lot of freedom and some people who will abuse it, or live in a country with no freedom to abuse. I choose the former.

If you don't have anything nice to say, say it often.

Can't have it both ways. (4)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 13 years ago | (#333028)

Both left leaning liberals and right wing conservatives want it both ways all the time. They want free speech when it suits them, and don't when it doesn't. Only Libertarians understand where the line should be drawn. If speech causes real damage and the link is clear between the damage and the speech cause, then there is a legal recourse.

This is the rational for not being able to yell "fire" in a crouded theater. The causal reaction to the speech is likely to cause real damage.

Now if we can only educate people as to why free speech should be defended even when they don't like the content. That would be real education.

Post their Emails (1)

logiceight (187269) | more than 13 years ago | (#333029)

If they really wanted to make these doctors suffer, why didn't they put their email addresses on the site. This would make sure they get tons of spam

Re:This is about responsibilty. (2)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 13 years ago | (#333030)

What this lawsuit says is that people who see a violent film and then commit a violent act are innocent. Is this reasonable?

That's not what this decision says at all. It says that if a person sees a violent film and then commits a violent acts, then the producers of the film are innocent.

-Poot

This would be legal... (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#333036)

and just as obnoxious as the N-files themselves.

cheers?? (3)

prelelat (201821) | more than 13 years ago | (#333045)

I don't really agree about abortion but "I" don't think that gives me a right to chear when a person who does is killed died or what ever. If you beleive that abortion is bad then your just as bad as the other person to be rid of a human being. Wheather or not its grown any.

Re:Freedom of speech and privacy (2)

Tyrannosaurus (203173) | more than 13 years ago | (#333046)

I agree with your point! I wonder how the court would have ruled if I published a site with the justice's names, home addresses and phone numbers, and a scorecard for their maiming/killing.

I bet they'd reconsider.

---

Re:The Importance of Freedom of Speech (4)

Tyrannosaurus (203173) | more than 13 years ago | (#333047)

Would you still feel this same way if I published your home phone & address against your wishes? How about if I asked if someone could please use this information to harrass you (literally) to death?

What if I published your credit card numbers or social security number? Have I commited a crime if I never used that info for identity theft? What if someone else did?

My point is, not all speech is protected. Yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater is against the law. If I abuse you with 'fighting words' (following the Supreme Court's definition), you can legally beat my lights out.

Limitations do exist--its not 'all-or-nothing' as you would have us believe. My opinion in this particular case is that the court dropped the ball, and went with the letter of the law rather than the intent of the law.

---

Re:1st amendment is a good thing... ponder (2)

ciole (211179) | more than 13 years ago | (#333055)

Unless you offend a powerful special interest. Imagine the response to a site collecting & providing information on police officers who participate in busts of non-violent drug offenders. How helpful would this precedent be to them? Still, it is a step forward.

Re:This is about responsibilty. (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 13 years ago | (#333058)

Well, technically by the logic displayed in the courts, Charles Manson should be released from prison... After all, he never actually committed the murders he's known for, he simply 'encouraged' the members of his 'family' to perform them... Speech is speech, after all, whether written or spoken...

Re:The Importance of Freedom of Speech (3)

wanderung (221424) | more than 13 years ago | (#333065)

republican, white congress, some of whom were in office and voted against civil-rights legislation in the 60's

Quite the racist aren't we? Not to mention uninformed. Check out the below link about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 along with the voting records. More Democrats voted against the bill than did Republicans.

http://www.congresslink.org/civil/essay.html

Two days later, the Senate passed the bill by a 73 to 27 roll call vote. Six Republicans and 21 Democrats held firm and voted against passage.

yeah, slashdot 'em all, let god sort them out (1)

Geeky Frignit (232507) | more than 13 years ago | (#333077)

Way to go Slashdot community, you slashdotted the inciteful anti-abortionists, right on.

Re:The judges are right (2)

rppp01 (236599) | more than 13 years ago | (#333082)

Anytime religion is introduced into the picture, this kind of thinking becomes predominant. They claim to respect others' rights and only their 'god' can judge, them, but then those same people turn around and try to legislate their morality on everyone else.

They are the uncivilized ones. And this world will remain uncivilized until this mindset is removed.

Re:This is about responsibilty. (1)

Swift Kick (240510) | more than 13 years ago | (#333083)

Sorry, but you are mistaken.

This lawsuit does not say that "people that commit a violent crime after watching a violent movie are innocent". It simply says that whoever produces the violent movie has absolutely no responsibility over any actions committed by the movie audience. This, IMHO, is the correct approach to the issue. If you happen to dislike someone so much, say... Drew Carey, and put up a website or make a documentary where you show a brutally violent scene of you beating 'Drew Carey' to hell and back, and some idiot goes and does just that, is it now your fault that Drew Carey got his ass kicked?
Freedom of speech goes both ways, whether you like it or not. Censorship is not 'right' when it's used to curb messages that may not be particularly pleasing to your sensitive self.

And regarding Europe, did you actually spend any time in a European country? I was born in Europe, try to stay informed about events in my country, and I can tell you that a lot of european countries are as fucked up as the US in some respects (namely drugs, drunk driving, racism, etc). Simply because our media doesn't cover these issues doesn't mean they do not exist over there.

Now, with all due respect, instead of trying to sound sanctimonious and trying to whore up those karma points, get your shit straight.

Regards,

Swift

The Importance of Freedom of Speech (5)

Bonker (243350) | more than 13 years ago | (#333091)

When I attended UT, I had dinner from time to time with an Iranian exchange student who couldn't beleive that Americans got away with so much in the way of criticising our leaders and the rich and powerful. I had to explain to him the difference between a threat and criticism, but he still couldn't beleive how liberal we were and how public we could be with our speech.

He did see, however, how important it was for us to keep hold of these freedoms, even if it meant sacrificing some safety. (I'm certain that the abortion doctors don't agree with me, but...)

For every Klan site and every kill the abortion doctor site, there's a cryptome.org or a peacefire.org who couldn't function without basic freedom of speech laws. For every nutcase redneck who promotes white power, there's a rainbow coalition website who would have been edged out by our republican, white congress, some of whom were in office and voted against civil-rights legislation in the 60's.

It is important to watch for threats and illegal behavior, but to be truly fair, free speech decisions must almost always come down in favor of the speaker.

These words are as true today as they were 50, 100 and 200 years ago: 'If it doesn't work for everybody, it doesn't work for anybody.'


Re:The Importance of Freedom of Speech (2)

$pacemold (248347) | more than 13 years ago | (#333097)

> republican, white congress, some of whom were in office and voted against civil-rights legislation in the 60's

I'm sorry, Senator Robert Byrd is a Democrat.

I just hope... (1)

epicurus (252619) | more than 13 years ago | (#333098)

I just hope that now this decision is here, people will realize that their own actions are their own fault and not the fault of those who gave them the idea. Yeah, the idea of that site is sick, the idea of telling people (however covertly or overtly you do it) to kill/hurt/mame others isn't cool, but there's nothing wrong with giving people ideas.

Now if this same logic would just be used by Judges/Jurries hearing cases about Jonny shooting his teacher because Doom made it seem fun to watch people die and shit like that, good would come from this no matter how you look at it.

You do what you want, nobody will ever change that.

Re:This is about responsibilty. (1)

epicurus (252619) | more than 13 years ago | (#333099)

umm, I think you read the decision backwards...

Re:This is about responsibilty. (1)

epicurus (252619) | more than 13 years ago | (#333100)

actually, they got him on conspiracy didn't they? It's all well and good to talk about doing things, tell other people they should do things, but the second you and/or they do one action to further the conspiracy (say I buy some ski masks after we talk about robbing a bank), that's when you're gonna be in trouble...thus, if Manson and/or his followers didn't do anything but talk about it, they'd be in the clear.

Re:Unfortunate decision (2)

epicurus (252619) | more than 13 years ago | (#333103)

yeah, it's pretty sick, and so is the crap that the KKK spouts off, but just because I think it's wrong, or you think it's wrong or 99.9% of the nation thinks it's wrong, doesn't mean they don't have a right to free speech.

Doesn't matter what they say, as long as they don't actually do anything, they're free to say it...if you weren't allowed to say/publish something just because somebody didn't like it, that'd mean you don't have feedom of speech - maybe gays, blacks, jews, you etc. wouldn't be allowed to speak out for their causes, and that'd be a shame.

But, I guess the real shame is the fact that there are evil bastards out there that feel the need to publish hate material.

The fix for offensive speech... (1)

avendasora (252765) | more than 13 years ago | (#333104)

The way to counter "offensive" speech is not less speech, but more.

Re:The Importance of Freedom of Speech (2)

Anoriymous Coward (257749) | more than 13 years ago | (#333110)

My phone number is in the book. It should be relatively easy to find out where I live.

The problem is with the harassers and the terrorists, not with the people who provide them with information. I don't see a difference between telling someone how to make a bomb and telling someone the home address of your mutual enemies.

--

Re:This is about responsibilty. (1)

Shoten (260439) | more than 13 years ago | (#333111)

You speak as though responsibility is finite in quantity, as though it has to be divvied up among those who share it. If the person who committed an act of violence was in some way driven towards that act by an outside party, he is no less responsible, but that outside party played a part as well. Just because we might say that they "share" the blame does not mean that you divide it up between them, or that one is suddenly innocent because another bears some measure of guilt for their role.

Granted, the person committing the act was already predisposed towards doing it, and might have done it anyways no matter what. But I really cannot believe for a second that pointing out abortion clinic doctors as targets and rewarding violent behavior towards them would have no impact whatsoever. Simple cause and effect...and doing something is a cause.

Please do it!!! (1)

CaptPungent (265721) | more than 13 years ago | (#333113)

I would, but for lack of time/no webserver. And Geocities sucks. Send the judges nice little emails pointing to it. Lets see their reaction!!

Damn straight. (1)

CaptPungent (265721) | more than 13 years ago | (#333114)

There was a similar post above about this.

This is about as Insightful as a can of shit (1)

Have you seen my ass (301041) | more than 13 years ago | (#333116)

New moderations are needed:

-1, Self-indulgent
-1, Self-rightous
-1, WHAT???
-1, didn't read the story

I say this only because all four apply in this situation.

Re:cheers?? (1)

markmoss (301064) | more than 13 years ago | (#333117)

There's a big difference between being morally wrong and being illegal. A "Christian conservative" who cheers when someone is killed really needs to go back and read the New Testament again... But it's not illegal unless they are actually telling people to go out and murder. Admittedly there is a rather fuzzy line between talking about how bad someone is and encouraging his murder, and quite likely if I looked at the web site I'd think they crossed it. Apparently the jury did.

how about... (1)

crudmonky (301152) | more than 13 years ago | (#333121)

Let's say I want someone dead, I put his name up on a website, one that's known to perhaps bestowe gifts of cash upon the one who just happens to make that person dead. Same shit. This can't be allowed. Next thing you know your geeky little friends who everyone thinks are gonna go on a shooting spree in your school are gonna be listed in a big database on the web. So much for privacy right? But hey, it's free speech for doubleclick to give out your private info, right?

The Supreme Court should, but will not, overturn (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 13 years ago | (#333124)

This is not a terrorism for hate speech transaction.

Welcome to the Bush era. In the new, monopolies 'R' us, if you don't smoke your cigarette you won't get any dessert class-war environment, we should see a return in the near future of anti-bashing legislation. You know, the sort of law that got Oprah in trouble with the Texas Cattlemen's Assn.

Soon you won't be able to talk down the pollution and cancer associated with petroleum products, but if you're a professional defamer and you happen to convince an unstable fundamentalist Militia rat to put a few rounds into the local Ob/Gyn, well, hey, you're good.

--Blair

Re:Only in the USA. (1)

The NT Christ (305898) | more than 13 years ago | (#333128)

Yeah, well with so many throwbacks like you still around, it's no surprise we still don't allow euthanasia.

Some of us realize that long-term suffering is worse than death. Shame you haven't woken up to that one yet. This dogma about life being above all else is over 2,000 years old and it's not getting any more relevant.

I'm surprised you don't see the irony of condoning murder. But your type aren't generally too bright.

This is about responsibilty. (4)

Urban Existentialist (307726) | more than 13 years ago | (#333129)

There is a central question here. Where does the responsibility lie? If a film portrays a violent act, and someone who watches that film then goes and commits that act in real life, who is responsible?

If the defendant can reasonably claim that the film he watched incited him to commit the act, and that hence he is not responsible, then he can reasonably claim to be innocent.

What this lawsuit says is that people who see a violent film and then commit a violent act are innocent. Is this reasonable?

Perhaps in some instances it is. The general public is, well, stupid and impressionable. European governments have recognised this for sometime, and take care of these issues for them by implementing strong censorship of violence. Hence there is little violence in European countries.

Should America foillow this lead? I think that if they can demonstrate the innocence of the defendant and think this is reasonable as the Europeans do, then yes. This is an undecided question though.

You know exactly what to do-
Your kiss, your fingers on my thigh-

Re:The Importance of Freedom of Speech (1)

robert-porter (309405) | more than 13 years ago | (#333131)

I'm pretty sure something like 80% of republicans at the time voted for legislation and something like 60% of demecrats voted for legislation, can't remember were I read (or heard) that though, so I could be wrong.

Re:This is about responsibilty. (2)

ryants (310088) | more than 13 years ago | (#333133)

European governments have recognised this for sometime, and take care of these issues for them by implementing strong censorship of violence. Hence there is little violence in European countries

Japanese cinema is loaded with violence, yet there is little overall violence in Japan.

How does that figure into your argument?

Ryan T. Sammartino

Turn about is fair play. (1)

Kujako (313468) | more than 13 years ago | (#333135)

I think someone should create a web site listing the names and addresses of all the anti-abortion wakos and then have animations from http://www.jesusdance.com next to the names of those that have been killed.

I kinda have mixed feelings about this. (2)

snoop_chili_dog (314897) | more than 13 years ago | (#333138)

I don't like abortion, and I truly believe that there is a mass injustice being done in this country. There is a great parallel between what happened in Nazi Germany and what is happening in America today. One group of people has had there basic right to humanity stripped from them. It saddens me even more to see a noble cause such as women's rights supporting this. It smacks of hypocrisy for a group that claims that they have been discriminated against due to physical state commiting the exact same violation of human dignity. (Yes I do think it is a sin. I won't apologize for that.) On the other hand, I don't think it is right to advocate people being killed because they disagree with them.

The question here is whether cheering at someones death and suggesting that you'd like for them to die is acceptable. I don't like the idea, but to deny them their right to free speech would be to deny everyone. That's why we have to protect even people like this. After all, I thought this link was funny.

www.whowouldyoukill.com [whowouldyoukill.com]

There's a difference... (2)

CyberDawg (318613) | more than 13 years ago | (#333143)

My question is, what does this do to every other lawsuit claiming a website, movie, video game or song lead someone to a violent act?

I see a difference between a video game that portrays violence in an abstract (albeit realistic) setting, and a Web site that active encourages murder. If the owners of the site had offered a nickel for each doctor killed, that would be considered "murder for hire," which is quite illegal. They asked for the doctors to be murdered, but left out the nickel.

Re:The judges are right (2)

UltraBot2K1 (320256) | more than 13 years ago | (#333145)

Can't say that I agree. It saddens my heart to see these people got off scotch free. Of course, we're talking about a government that advocates the murder of thousands of unborn children, so making it okay to kill a full-grown adult couldn't have been THAT far off.

It disgusts me when slutty hellbound teenagers would rather murder their own children than spend $12 for a box of fucking condoms. Hell, most colleges and free clinics will give away condoms FOR FREE. But then again, that would be too much effort, so they'd rather wait until they get pregnant and then break out the ol' rusty coathanger and kill their offspring. And we call ourselves a civilised nation, what a fucking joke.

What's even more ironic is that these people who claim to be against the murder of unborn children (who are still living, breathing people, BTW) somehow think it's okay, nay justified, to kill full grown adults. What a sick twisted society we live in.

I'm off to start a website advocating the murder of those who ran the anti-abortion website.

Re:Only in the USA. (1)

ShayAllen (323110) | more than 13 years ago | (#333148)

"Dangerous Weirdos"?

Who's the weirdo, the doctor who gets a Medical degree and swears to protect life no matter what, or a person who protests said doctor? One less abortionist is like one less paid Nazi exterminator...I personally have no problem with people murdering those "doctors". I have come to realize my views are nearly the opposite of most Slashdotters...well, try to deal with it in a more mature manner this time. It's especially sad that I have been modded down not because I was a troll or a flamer, but because the moderator didn't agree with my views. Well boo-hoo, this is a discussion board...

I love the NRA by the way, and this is not a troll...

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