Joint Statement of Mayfirst and plentyfact on METRO vs metr0

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Joint Statement of Mayfirst and plentyfact on METRO vs metr0
Bullying use of copyright law fails to stifle political commentary
Trans-Atlantic collaboration keeps site running
Contact: Alfredo Lopez, alfredo [AT] mayfirst [DOT] org, plentyfact,
collective [AT] plentyfact [DOT] net
The political spoof site http://metr0.co.uk is still up and running.
The site is a spoof of http://metro.co.uk, a tabloid specializing in
celebrity gossip and distributed widely in England by the Associated
Newspapers Ltd company.
The spoof website, which is the online version of a printed spoof
newspaper distributed in London, UK, is hosted on a server maintained
by the plentyfact collective. The newspaper and site are responses to a
call for two days of action against racist press called by the social
action centre.
The website is physically located in the United States on one of May
First/People Link’s servers managed by the Tachanka collective, an
MF/PL member.
Despite being an obvious spoof of http:/metro.co.uk, lawyers for
Associated Newspaper Ltd immediately launched a frenzied campaign to
pressure everyone and anyone associated with the website to remove it.
They contacted many different organizations they believed might be
affiliated with the site, providers of both web content and DNS
services and, finally, send over a dozen emails to May First/People
Link. The emails demanded that the site be immediately removed and
cited a recent “High Court Order” finding the site to be in violation
of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.
DMCA is a ten year old law that defines copyright for on-line materials
and lays out processes for defining, curing and punishing infringement.
It has been consistently denounced by Internet and free speech
activists as repressively broad and in violation of fundamental free
speech principles.
“May First/People Link has consistently challenged the use of DMCA to
curtail web free speech,” MF/PL Co-Director Alfredo Lopez said. “The
law is outrageous because it literally imposes a penalty and a legal
cure of a violation before it even tests for that violation. It’s like
executing someone for murder and then trying him for it and the victim
ends up being the First Amendment which is fundamental to our
collective survival in this country. We at MF/PL resist such assaults
on freedom as vigorously as humanly possible.”
plentyfact added: “The behaviour of Associated Newspapers Ltd is just
ridicoulous: Their legal threats against an anti-racist initiative,
social centres and websites around half the globe exposes that their
statement that Metro ‘avowedly doesn’t take a political stance’ is a
bad joke. Not only do they show a complete lack of humor, they also
appear to be determined to supress any criticism of their bad
journalism whatsoever. How scared do you have be to hide such
undertakings behind copyright claims? But hey, we are talking about a
company who publishes newspapers like the Daily Mail here. They don’t
even know what their own logo looks like.”
May First/People Link is a politically progressive membership
organization specializing in Internet work, one of the largest in the
world with 300 organizations and about 100 individuals as members. It
provides Internet resource to over 2,000 progressive activists in this
country and is a leader in technology work at such events as the World
and U.S. Social Forums.
plentyfact is an autonomous internet collective. It is plentyfact’s aim
to support non-hirarchical initiatives and projects who are working for
freedom of movement, a free flow of information and who are opposed to
any form of discrimination, such as racism, sexism, anti-semitism or
other kinds of supression as well as any other form of exploitation.