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Corporations are policing free speech!
Number: 91  
Date created: 2003-04-30 18:03:35
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Voting results: I agree: 26

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Since probably a long time before copyrighted mp3 files started hitting the Internet, the corporations have used scare tactics to police what is said by a lot of people with something important to say. By scare tactics I mean that when a coporation doesn't like what you are putting on your website, album, movie, etc. They will send you a cease and disist letter or other legal threat in the intention that you will end up shutting up rather than endure the large legal fees required to defend yourself. Unfortunately, this happens a lot. It even affects the rights of people in America to make parodies.

Just last week an online web comic called Penny Arcade was asked by representatives of American Greetings Inc. to remove a comic parody on their site. They replaced the comic with this. You can see the original comic mirrored here.

So you can see that even though Tycho had the right to make his comic based on free speech and the fact that it is a parody, he was bullied into taking the comic down by American Greetings. Based on past experience with this kind of tactic, it is most likely that the company knows that they people that they send these warnings to will not fight back to defend their legal rights. This puts American Greetings and many other companies that use this tactic in the wrong and it has got to be stopped.

UPDATE: I found out later that there is actually a term for this and I've heard of it before, just never knew what it meant. Its called the Chilling Effect.