And Then They Came For the Memes

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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98 Responses

  1. Avatar DensityDuck
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    hella funny seeing everyone suddenly care about free speech

    just wait a week and it’ll be “free speech? pfffft, that’s what the NAZI RACIST TRANSPHOBES say when they want to keep spewing their NAZI RACIST TRANSPHOBIA”Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to DensityDuck
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      Hella funny seeing people think that government restrictions on speech are violations of free speech, while also thinking private media platforms choosing what messages to publish gratis are exercises of free speech.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to pillsy
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        So tracking movement and selling it to advertisers is cool just so long as it’s not THE GOVERNMENT doing it I guessReport

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
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          Enlightenment attitudes should be held by the *GOVERNMENT*.

          Not by the *CULTURE*.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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            Pretty sure Enlightenment attitudes included the assumption that if you wanted to publish something without anybody getting a say, you had to publish it yourself, at your own expense.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy
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              says:

              And if you published it and said “here, read this”, would the person then be able to read it, should they have desired to do so?Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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                Like if you handed it to them directly or sold it in a store you owned?

                Probably.

                Unless it ran afoul of laws against blasphemy, sedition, obscenity, or any of a zillion other things that persisted through the Enlightenment in most of the world.

                Which is another part of the problem with this line of appeal: the liberal democracies of the Enlightenment era, were, generally speaking, far more censorious than contemporary liberal democracies.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                Well, so long as the corporations have The Peoples’ Best Interests at heart…Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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                @Jaybird,

                I though the whole point of free markets is that it means that the People reap the benefits of self-interested behavior on the part of corporations. It’s not immediately obvious to me why this would be an exception to that idea.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                If we agree that “Free Markets” means “Corporatism”, then I can understand why someone running against “Free Markets” would do well.

                Maybe we *SHOULD* try “Socialism” (by which I certainly do *NOT* mean what they tried in Denmark).Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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                @Jaybird,

                What sets “corporatism” apart from ordinary “capitalism”, and what makes you think that “socialism” [1] will improve things in this area?

                [1] And not just a robust welfare state, I guess.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                “Capitalism” == “Corporatism” therefore the EU should be able to ban the unauthorized reproduction of still images from copyrighted works?

                Yeah, a little Socialism* just might fix what ails the people in power.

                *People in the future will point out that this wasn’t *REAL* socialism.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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                @Jaybird

                I’m completely lost. Why don’t you just state your actual position instead of making vague allusions to other people’s positions?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                My real position: This new policy is bad and the fact that Corporations are calling the shots of what the Government is doing is bad.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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                I definitely agree with the first part and probably agree with the last part.

                The hesitation is because if the media platform owners were calling the shots on this one, I’m not sure we’d even have heard about Article 13 being proposed, and if it went down it would be good policy.

                It’s hard to distinguish good policy from unprincipled hackery in service of a faction your interests happen align withReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                Let’s say that you wanted a policy that would benefit you but, if other people weren’t forced to follow this policy too, wouldn’t… because customers would go with other suppliers instead of your product.

                One way around this is to get the government to make it mandatory.

                Easy-peasy.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                I think the basic outlines of this issue are pretty easy to understand: do certain types of unrestricted speech constitute a negative externality which government has a role to play in mitigating? People will obviously disagree about how they answer that question, but it’s an open question, seems to me. At least the EU thinks it is, and provided an answer. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                Sure. Are we talking about Nazis being allowed to talk or are we talking about using a still from a Disney movie?

                If we’re talking about both, let me just say that I do not trust Disney to properly figure out what is and what is not an externality.

                Even if Disney is not The Government.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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                @Jaybird,

                OK, but that doesn’t really change anything does it? Depending on what that restriction is, it might be good, bad, or indifferent as judged by the reactions and ideals of the relevant electorate.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                good, bad, or indifferent as judged by the reactions and ideals of the relevant electorate.

                From what I understand, the relevant electorate’s ideals are immaterial. As for their reactions… meh. Of course people don’t like being told they can’t do things. They’re people.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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                @Jaybird,

                How would we determine whether the ideals of the electorate are material, though?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                I think the question should be closer to “how do we establish that the concerns of the electorate are immaterial?”

                Because, hey, maybe their concerns are bullshit!

                But it should be on us to establish that their concerns are bullshit rather than their job to establish that their concerns are not.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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                The concerns of the public can be material to the process even if they are bullshit, right?

                So the question I was asking here was, “Regardless of the correctness of the electorate’s concerns, how can we tell if they were given adequate consideration.”Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to DensityDuck
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          :shrug:

          It’s vastly less bad than the government doing it.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck
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          This conflates two issues: acquiring and selling personal data collected on a privately owned site and (potentially) restricting the expression of users on that site.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck
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      hella funny seeing everyone suddenly care about free speech

      What’s *really* funny is that you say this in response to EU passing laws restricting free speech. Obviously *they* don’t care about it.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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        Were the laws passed with the inputs of The People?

        Like, was this a democratic process? Or was it the result of technocrats working with other technocrats to figure out what would be best for The People without the input of said People?Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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          WRT DD’s comment it’s irrelevant. Find a rabbit hole and go down it far enough and you’ll find the answer you’re looking for, tho. THere are a lot of rabbits making holes.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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            Obviously *they* don’t care about it.

            Well, I don’t know who the “they” refers to.

            Is it the government? Well, the government not caring about free speech is something that has been going on for a long while.

            Which is why it’s relevant to me whether this was the result of a democratic process on some level or if it’s the result of unelected technocrats.

            Because if “they” refers to the people… well, this is what they asked for. This is what they’ll get.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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              Rabbit holes.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Stillwater
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                “You obviously don’t want to discuss THIS.”
                “No, actually, I do.”
                “Hmph. Well, *I* don’t.”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                This doesn’t really seem like *THAT* much of a rabbit hole.

                Was this done as part of a democratic process? Like was there a referendum? Was this done by elected representatives of The People?

                If it was done without a referendum by people who are not subject to election and this process cannot be appealed through any democratic process, then I don’t think that we’re in a “rabbit hole” situation.

                But maybe the argument is, hey, they signed the treaties in 1957 to create the EEC and here we are. If someone doesn’t like it, they can move to Somalia.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                JB,

                It’s indeterminate. The only thing that would provide an answer to your question is polling, but you’ve expressed repeatedly that think polls are nonsense.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                It’s indeterminate as to whether this policy was passed with input from The People to whom it applies?

                Is there reason that I shouldn’t say “there is no evidence that The People were involved therefore they weren’t” rather than “we don’t know because we can’t know and, therefore, we don’t know”?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                See, that’s the rabbit hole, Jaybird. Just above you said you think it’s a bad *policy*, not that the process by which the policy was enacted is bad. Reaching the 50%+1 standard is irrelevant if you think it’s a *bad policy*. (You also have a history on this site of going down the “well, democracy is a 50%+1 thing, so…” rabbit hole.)

                So what you’re effectively criticizing isn’t the new speech policy per se, but whether EU decision-making is sufficiently democratically determined in general. Fine. But that has nothing to do with the principle or pragmatics of speech restrictions.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                “I think it’s a bad policy.”
                “Oh, yeah? Well, I think it’s a good policy!”

                This argument leads nowhere. You may as well argue about whether olives are good.

                “This policy was instituted by unelected bureaucrats at the behest of corporations without democratic input.”
                “Well… what is knowledge?”

                This is a conversation that is actually possible.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                “I think it’s a bad policy.”
                “Oh, yeah? Well, I think it’s a good policy!”

                Point to the comment where I expressed that it was a good policy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                Please allow me to amend.

                “I think it’s a bad policy.”
                “Oh, yeah? Well, who can say what good or bad consists of? Have you read the Euthyphro?”

                This is a fun conversation, but one that I think we should table until we get to the other side of what I see is a more pertinent one:

                “This policy was instituted by unelected bureaucrats at the behest of corporations without democratic input.”Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to DensityDuck
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      You may or may not be accusing me personally of hypocrisy with regard to free speech. My daughter is a trans woman, and I have advocated on the behalf of trans people here before. A site or writer that makes transphobic attacks, particularly the kind that are born of near ignorance, and meant to generate clicks and dollars and/or votes, is a writer that I will engage less with, and encourage others to engage less with.

      I do not, however, think the government should intervene in such a case. Nazis have the right to march in Charlottesville, and I have the right to denounce them as racist poopheads.

      I think Article 13 is a serious overreaction, and solves a problem the size of a mosquito using a 150mm howitzer.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to DensityDuck
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      The president’s press secretary just said in so many words that criticizing the president is treason and can be purhishrd by death.

      But you know who’s a scary opponent of free speech? College kidd!Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    I’d love to see a filter smart enough to differentiate an actual copyright violation from a protected use like parody or satire.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      The meatspace version of that filter is called the judicial system. And even it struggles with the complexity and nuance of human language and performance and its meaning.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Chip Daniels
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        The problem we’re facing is that a lot of issues raised by social media require human judgement to resolve, but human judgement is very expensive and often simply too slow to respond to the way things blow up on the ‘Net.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to pillsy
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          “You can’t possibly put a speed limit on cars! How would anyone get anywhere? You HAVE to just let the cars drive as fast as they possibly can! If there’s accidents, well, that’s part of the cost of getting places quickly. And really it’s up to the road designers to build roads that don’t permit accidents to happen in the first place.”Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to DensityDuck
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            What regulation do you envision as being analogous to a speed limit in this instance?Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to pillsy
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              People are talking about an “upload filter” like it’s this crazy insane thing that couldn’t possibly ever work, saying it’ll “kill the internet”

              Maybe the internet we have should die.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck
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            So now you’re mocking the *anti-* regulation people? Immediately after mocking the *pro-* regulation people?Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Stillwater
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              I’m mocking the people who insist that Free Speech On The Internet is an absolute requirement and it would Destroy The Internet if speech were constrained in any way, and then turn around and say that obviously we shouldn’t expect to have Free Speech On The Internet because it’s all privately-owned and private companies can do whatever they want.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      Parody and satire are a lot more limited than people think. See “Henley v. DeVore”. You can’t just do whatever and say “there’s humorous content, therefore this is parody, therefore it’s Fair Use”; your work must directly comment on the material for it to be parody. You can’t just say “the appearance of this material in my work is meant to mock it, therefore it’s satire, therefore it’s Fair Use”; you have to perform some transformative act upon it.

      And sure, there have been a zillion court cases over this to establish the exact limits (and even then it often comes down to who was in court that day) but the point is that you’re not going to get memes past a lawsuit by claiming they’re Fair Use Parody.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      Or a critical review, which is also protected use. There are lots of critical review of film on YouTube. What will happen to it?

      Is “fair use” even a concept in Europe? I don’t know. I have a hard time seeing this enacted in the US, thus Andrew’s comment about Balkanization, I expect.

      But under US law, I could imagine lawsuits about infringements from people who derive income from critical reviews on YouTube when their new videos get blocked. If successful, they would probably find things like Article 13 prefiltering to violate due process.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
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    As someone pro-Brexit, I’m just glad that this is something that the pro-Remainers get to argue is a reason to stay.

    “Think of the copyright holders! Think of Disney!”Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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      Yes, they will be able to Brexit into this Utopia of unshackled online expression.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy
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        Maybe that’s the tack they should take. “Come on! It’s not like it’s *THAT* much worse!”Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to pillsy
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        “Who do you want censoring your internet? A bloody Belgian, or a proper English gentleman!”Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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          “I would prefer to be censored by people from my own culture.”

          Please explain to me why this position is not the proper one.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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            “Who do you want censoring your internet? A bloody cishet patriarchal white male, or a proper trans Pakistani Muslim?”

            The “shared culture” may not be the one we imagine it to be.
            Which is my point that the reins of “Who gets to draw the boundary” is being passed from one set of hands to a new set of hands.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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              “I would prefer to be censored by people from my own culture.”

              Please explain to me why this position is not the proper one.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                Oh, it is the proper one.
                So long as it truly is MY culture.

                ETA- there’s a touch of sarcasm in there, in case it wasn’t evident.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                So… it not being evident, I’m still not sure why people shouldn’t prefer people from their own culture censoring them rather than people from other cultures censoring them.

                I don’t know why I shouldn’t see this as the equivalent of White Christian Missionaries demanding that indigenous women cover their breasts.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                I thought it should be evident that “my own culture” is a meaningless phrase.

                Modern cultures, and ancient ones too for that matter, contain multitudes of cultures.
                Who gets to hold the red pencil?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                My conclusion is something close to “obviously, nobody really should be trusted to hold it”.

                And I’m not sure why that isn’t the best position.

                Of course, I’d be happy to let the nose of the camel too. Only a monster would think that *SOME* things shouldn’t be censored.

                The problem is that we’re now here.

                And using the nose of the camel as justification for pushing the guy out of the tent.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                Since your second and third paragraphs obviously contradict each other, I can’t tell which is sarcasm.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                “It’s okay to censor (insert the grossest example you care to imagine here). We all agree that it’s okay to ban that.”

                Right? I mean, if you want to defend people having access to (insert the grossest example you care to imagine here), I’d like to get you on record saying that.

                That said, just because we can (and should) ban (insert the grossest example you care to imagine here) doesn’t mean that it’s now okay to ban still pictures from copyrighted works.

                This isn’t in for a penny, in for a pound.

                It’s not a contradiction to say that it’s okay to ban (insert the grossest example you care to imagine here) but not may-mays and implying that if you support may-mays, you must also therefore support (insert the grossest example you care to imagine here) is not even close to accurate.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                We are agreeing with each other, I think that there should rightly be things banned or censored, and that fact doesn’t give permission to ban anything and everything. We are both saying that there should rightly be some boundary line between This and That.

                But that’s hardly a radical or even novel position!

                The difficulty comes in the fine strokes of where to place the boundary, because much of art and culture consists exactly of marching right up to the line, and sometimes crossing over.

                So I don’t know why Brexit, i.e. British or Belgian censors have anything to do with the subject because it could just as easily be a secular lesbian Brit or Islamic fundamentalist Belgian who decides that a Disney parody is, or maybe isn’t, worthy of being banned.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                Which is why, when I discuss placing the boundary, I don’t see the big deal in preferring someone from one’s own culture.

                We seem to agree that some cultures have taboos that other cultures don’t share.

                I think that this is fine.

                Let them have their taboos. Let us have ours.

                And let us censor ourselves, rather than having them censor us.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                I guess I’m not making it clear-
                Does “our” culture mean something to you?

                I’m not opposed to the idea that “us” and “our” are words that refer to nationalities, where anyone holding American citizenship is “Us”, whether it is Newt Gingrich or Ilhan Omar.

                But in practice, “Us” and “Our” tend to be extremely loaded terms having nothing to do with nation-states.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                Conflating “culture” with “nationalities” might be part of the problem. If you assume that if I meant “nationalities” that I would have said “nationalities”, that might help.

                Maybe it would be best to take an attitude of “hands off” unless we’re talking about stuff that is obviously and example of (insert the grossest example you care to imagine here).

                This way we can avoid stuff like the PMRC while still banning (insert the grossest example you care to imagine here).Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                Ah, got it.

                Lets ban bad stuff, and leave the good stuff alone.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                Not exactly.

                Let’s ban unequivocally bad stuff. Stuff like (insert the grossest example you care to imagine here).

                And there is a point where the equivocations start where we should stop banning, rather than saying “oh, we don’t precisely know where the line should be drawn, therefore it’s not a problem when Disney draws it where it best benefits shareholders.”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                I’m not actually disagreeing.

                I’m just saying the process by which we set those lines is always messy and involves a lot of shouting and arguing and is ultimately a negotiated settlement, which itself will be relitigated in the near future.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                Yes, of course.

                And there are those who say that Disney shouldn’t do this.

                And those who point out that these negotiations *ALWAYS* happen every time the ratchet tightens.Report

  4. Avatar Pinky
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    Balkanization of the internet sounds bad. But is it? Does modern computer design give me the right to infringe on another country’s sovereignty? If Germany doesn’t want certain WWII imagery on their internet, and there’s a technical way to accomplish that while maintaining a connection to the rest of the internet, then it’s not my place to judge them. The opposite side of the coin is the way Australia effectively blocked any internet discussion of the Pell case, thus infringing on my rights. If they had more local control, they could have exercised it.

    I generally believe that more access is better than less. I would generally want speech to be as free as possible. I think the benefits are both economic and cultural. Those are all normative positions, though.Report

  5. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    It’s hard for me to understand what was so terrible about using takedown notices. In my daily perorations about the intertubes, I rarely saw anything I thought would be a violation. I did watch several film review/critical videos, which use clips. These were never subject to takedown notices, and I assume fair use. What will happen to them? What will happen to Lindsay Ellis, or Bob the Movie Guy? They use clips in a way that seems like it would be fair use, but would prefiltering be able to catch that?

    There is a cottage industry now in people making videos that speculate about aspects of Avengers: Endgame Are these to be excluded? Is the industry refraining from takedown notices because they don’t want to look bad, or because they think it’s positive PR for their film?

    Even the video essays about how The Last Jedi is the worst movie ever made are probably fine. I’m sure there are studio people who want those to go away, but they need a thicker skin.Report

  6. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    I’d like to make one more connection – there is a connection between Article 13 and Devin Nunes seemingly frivolous lawsuit against Devin Nunes Cow and Devin Nunes Mom. Nunes, in his lawsuit, hopes to get a ruling that holds the carrier, Twitter, liable for everything everyone says on it. This aligns him with the forces behind Article 13, quite neatly. Corporations know no boundaries, and they mostly despise the Twitters, Facebooks, and Google/YouTubes of the world, and how they shred any boundaries they try to put up.

    Internet platforms have been operating as neutral third parties, but some find that a problem and would like to end it. I feel that the neutral third party stance is the best one.Report

    • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Doctor Jay
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      great minds, I was just tweeting something along those very lines.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Doctor Jay
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      Which does very nicely illustrate why this is so difficult and resistant to sweeping High Concept arguments of Freedom! or Morality!

      Because even the neutral third parties are not at all neutral, and have no desire to be and really no one wants them to be anyway.
      There is a whole raft of Icky Stuff they won’t allow, to which very few would argue in favor.

      But the boundary line around Icky Stuff is constantly shifting and being renegotiated. Courts like to create legal tests, but for the most part “I know it when I see it” is probably the best summation so far.

      The idea that there can be some logic, an algorithm or conceptual framework which will forever protect freedom while ensuring decorum and respect for other’s rights and dignity, is fallacious in its very concept, because those end goals are themselves a shifting target.

      I prefer the idea of negotiation, where as culture evolves and changes, the lines get redrawn. Its messy, and sometimes unfair, but is the least bad solution.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Doctor Jay
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      I honestly find the idea that platforms like Twitter are “neutral third parties” so mystifying I’m not sure why anybody believes it. Their whole business model is based on not being neutral third parties!Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy
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        I think it has to do with stuff like “the public square”.

        And the extent to which twitter is part of it.

        I sympathize with the argument that nuisances should be kicked out of the public square, after all.

        Who among us does not?Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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          My understanding of the concept of the public square is that it’s publicly owned, while Twitter is obviously privately owned. So I ultimately expect Twitter to make business decisions about matters like keeping “nuisances” off their platform with an eye to making money.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy
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            Ah, but there has been a blurring in recent years.

            Trump, for example.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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              I mean, Trump blocked a guy. The guy sued, saying that Trump couldn’t block him.

              That argument pretty much resides on Trump’s statements being in the public square rather than he’s just saying stuff on an app.

              Now, this ain’t open and shut… but it is one hell of a blurring.

              (A Federal judge ruled that Trump cannot block people, by the way.)Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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                I remember that, and it struck me as a really dumb decision that demonstrated (among other things) a fundamental misunderstanding about what was involved in a block.

                AIUI though, there are special considerations about elected officials making themselves available, so it may be slightly less dumb than it would otherwise appear.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                Available only to those whom Twitter allows to stay within its public square.

                People jeering the president are participating in the public square and no one disagrees.

                You just can’t also (let’s insert a funny example here) *AND* also jeer the president.

                Because Twitter is a private company and can do whatever it wants.

                I’m not saying that it’s a contradiction because it isn’t (not necessarily). But there *IS* tension there. And that tension doesn’t seem like the “this could last forever” kind.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                There may be a tension there, but it seems like the tension is as likely to arise from, “A judge is a bit dumb about what Twitter is,” as it is about everything else.

                And the tension could be resolved straightforwardly, I think, with a court ruling that says, “Of course the President can block your trolling ass.”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I don’t know. If another federal judge says “Of course Trump can block you”, we have a problem that can only be fixed by a superior court.

                Plus another judge hasn’t said that yet.

                So the current precedent seems to be “the twitters are a public square, but only for politicians”.

                We just have to wait for AOC to block somebody, I guess.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @Jaybird,

                Sure. Just saying not all tensions are there because we have extremely difficult quandaries in front of us.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to pillsy
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            says:

            So if someone wants to Tweet about their same-sex wedding and Twitter decides that it has a religious objection to supporting what it sees as immorality, it can shadowban those accounts and that’s cool because Twitter is privately owned and not a public square?Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to pillsy
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        says:

        I’ve noticed something that comes up in the recent debates about Twitter and Patreon. The sites define their goal as increasing communication as much as possible. To outsiders, that sounds like they’re calling for a hands-off approach. To the companies, though, they mean that they want to protect people in order to encourage as much communication as possible. The split seems to (although I don’t know if it actually does) reflect the split between the right and the left about free speech: is it increased by limiting regulation, or increased by applying protective regulation? I think there are arguments to be made on both sides, and a bunch of interesting arguments about the application of each approach in practice, but the hands-off people don’t understand what the hands-on people are even saying.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          I think something like that is going on, but it seems weird to take their stated goal as their defining goal. Their ultimate goal is really profit, and they see “increasing communication” as a way to reach that goal. Which is fine so far as it goes, and a lot of the reason people who are right of Socialist-and-not-the-Denmark-kind have the beliefs they do is that they think private businesses pursuing profit often leaves everybody better off.

          Given that, I’m not sure viewing what platforms like Twitter and Patreon do as “regulation” is a terribly good analogy. They’re going to focus on increasing communication in ways that serve their business interests. Now maybe the state will/should regulate them when they end up doing things that are sufficiently problematic in pursuing profit [1], but a lot of these arguments seem to boil down to Culture Warring.

          [1] And while the approach taken by Article 13 leaves me feeling very skeptical because I think it will excessively regulate the platforms, it’s very much the case that “protecting intellectual property” is a thing states tend to do through regulation.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to pillsy
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            says:

            Profit motive touches on part of what has caused so much consternation, mostly on the right side of the aisle.

            Because groups and cultures which traditionally had very little purchasing power, now have enough to where the profit motive dictates that their voices get heard louder than before and their line between sacred and taboo becomes the defining default.Report

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