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Copyright As Weapon In US Senate Campaign 409

Posted by timothy
from the so-that-wasn't-on-the-record-ma'am? dept.
kfogel writes "Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for US Senate in Nevada, is using a copyright 'cease-and-desist' letter to stop her opponent, incumbent Harry Reid (currently majority leader in the US Senate), from reposting old versions of her campaign website. The old pages are politically sensitive because Angle campaigned from the far right in the primary, but is now toning that down for the general election." As kfogel notes, the letter "also accuses the Reid campaign of intending to impersonate Angle's campaign, which seems doubtful, but who knows?"
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Copyright As Weapon In US Senate Campaign

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  • Wha? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by magsol (1406749) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:06AM (#32809510) Homepage Journal
    I thought that in running for public office, your life was effectively an open book?...
    • Re:Wha? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymusing (1450747) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:21AM (#32809702)

      It is an open book. However, having dealt with a number of design contracts, there may have been a written agreement between the designer and the campaign that nobody else would use that site design, which this would violate to some extent. Nonetheless, there are ways around that: posting screen shots with commentary, for example, or just quoting the text.

      I'd also expect Angle to contact The Wayback Machine [waybackmachine.org] if she doesn't want old copies of her site online...

      • Re:Wha? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Danse (1026) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:13AM (#32810380)

        It is an open book. However, having dealt with a number of design contracts, there may have been a written agreement between the designer and the campaign that nobody else would use that site design, which this would violate to some extent. Nonetheless, there are ways around that: posting screen shots with commentary, for example, or just quoting the text.

        I'd also expect Angle to contact The Wayback Machine [waybackmachine.org] if she doesn't want old copies of her site online...

        Any agreement they had does not trump copyright law, and fair use has not yet been completely gutted. I'm somewhat suspicious of the collection of information submitted by users, but I haven't seen any evidence that the data was actually collected and saved anywhere. Other than that, it seems like fair use for political purposes. They are showing people exactly what she was saying, and there can be no claim that any of it was taken out of context, because all of the context is right there.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      If it was, hundreds of politicians would be scrambling for the paper shredders.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Talderas (1212466)

      Risking being labeled a troll here but....

      Yes, she is running for political office, but a campaign is not a public entity. The campaign is a private entity. There are certain public laws that interact with the campaign above other private entities (disclosure, campaign finance, etc). The website is the property of the campaign and consequently copyright can be applied in this situation. In fact, the campaign could very well levy a copyright cease and desist for posting current versions of the campaign's web

      • Re:Wha? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ultranova (717540) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:20AM (#32810462)

        Plus, I doubt the lawyers would put in the cease and desist letters if there wasn't a valid copyright claim behind it.

        What world are you from, and how do I get there?

      • Re:Wha? (Score:4, Informative)

        by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudsonNO@SPAMbarbara-hudson.com> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:30AM (#32810644) Journal
        Poster trolled:

        It may seem shady and dubious, but it is pretty legitimate. Plus, I doubt the lawyers would put in the cease and desist letters if there wasn't a valid copyright claim behind it.

        So rather than bitching about how copyright is being used, use it as an another example of how copyright is broken.

        Lawyers don't lie? Lawyers get it wrong 50% of the time - go to any courthouse and watch - there's always at least one loser in every case (and sometimes there's no winner). The only thing "broken" is your understanding of copyright.

        Read Title 17 [cornell.edu] before you spout any more bullshit.

        You can start with Fair Use [cornell.edu]

        Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by satch89450 (186046)

      You are indeed correct, when running for office a candidate's life is effectively an open book. As a voter in Nevada, I'm being bombarded with "facts" from both campaigns. What I find very, very interesting is that the Friends for Harry Reid (FFHR) are very much into "sound bites" that are inaccurate and misleading. Even the new web site, http://www.sharronsundergroundbunker.com/ [sharronsun...bunker.com], misrepresents a number of Sharron Angle's positions. Most of the misrepresentations are the results of creative editing -- w

      • Re:Wha? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Devout_IPUite (1284636) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:10AM (#32811352)
        You do realize Narconon is heavily connected to Scientology right? The book that Willian in the quote was reading was "Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought" Frankly, I think any politician supporting Narconon needs to be shunned far away from public office. Democrat, Republican, it doesn't matter, cults aren't okay.
      • Re:Wha? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:45AM (#32811890)

        Sigh.

        narCONon is a $cientology front group. It has repeatedly been found either ineffective or downright harmful [wikipedia.org].

        Narcotics Anonymous [na.org], on the other hand, is an actual treatment program, the name of which $cientologists deliberately mirrored in their scam setup in order to confuse people into thinking narCONon is somehow legitimate.

    • Re:Wha? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by crymeph0 (682581) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:31AM (#32810664)

      By the time I read this news item, the site Reid posted, www.therealsharronangle.com [therealsharronangle.com], was redirected to a site that is clearly mocking Angle. However, if I understand correctly, Reid's campaign originally reposted her entire website verbatim, with no indication that it was not being hosted by Angle's campaign.

      If so, Angle's complaint may not be without merit. She seems to deserve a lot of mockery, but you don't get to pretend you're someone else in a political campaign, especially when you have a functioning mailing list sign-up form on your 'fake' site.

  • Wrong state? (Score:5, Informative)

    by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:07AM (#32809514) Journal
    I think the summary got it wrong. Aren't they candidates for Senate in Nevada?
  • Boo fuckin' hoo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:10AM (#32809546) Homepage

    Guess what, lady: it was your website. If you didn't want people to see you spreading loony extremist messages, maybe you shouldn't have supported them in the first place.

    • Re:Boo fuckin' hoo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Midnight's Shadow (1517137) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:44AM (#32809996)

      Guess what, lady: it was your website. If you didn't want people to see you spreading loony extremist messages, maybe you shouldn't have supported them in the first place.

      I agree with your statement but I can't help but think how your response may differ if the political parties were flipped.

      It is also very common that you swing far left/right to get the primary then come back towards the middle to win the regular election. Look at Obama's campaign. Look at McCain's campaign. I'm willing to bet a lollipop that over 75% of mainstream candidates are the same way.

      • Re:Boo fuckin' hoo (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:50AM (#32810068) Homepage

        I agree with your statement but I can't help but think how your response may differ if the political parties were flipped.

        It wouldn't be any different. Extremist views are extremist views, regardless of which side it comes from.

        It is also very common that you swing far left/right to get the primary then come back towards the middle to win the regular election. Look at Obama's campaign. Look at McCain's campaign. I'm willing to bet a lollipop that over 75% of mainstream candidates are the same way.

        Agreed, but again...if a politician doesn't want people to know that they do (or once did) support extremist views, then they shouldn't have supported them in the first place.

        • by Rockoon (1252108)

          It wouldn't be any different. Extremist views are extremist views, regardless of which side it comes from.

          You are confusing views with advertising.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by dkleinsc (563838)

            The real kicker is that we have no idea whether the candidate in question is a corporate stooge masquerading as a nutcase in order to win the primary, or a nutcase masquerading as a corporate stooge in order to win the general.

            By contrast, her opponent in the general is clearly a corporate stooge.

      • Does slashdot have a "sees through party line BS" modifier?
        If not, Insightful would do. Mod parent up.
        • by Pojut (1027544)

          Does slashdot have a "sees through party line BS" modifier?

          It's a shame that it doesn't. You would have been able to see that I'm a registered independent whofor example, fully supports the 2nd amendment as well as socialized medicine.

          But hey, I know that moderates are nothing more than legends to many people in this country, so I can understand your suspicion.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Myopic (18616)

        I don't know. I think I would feel the same. As an Obama supporter, I remember the headlines about "whiplash" at how quickly he changed positions after the primaries were over. Do you remember that? He moved significantly to the center a mere hours after he defeated Clinton, not even days or a week. There were absolutely news stories about the text changes to his website that day and that week.

        Even as a moderate myself, I would certainly not try to say that copyright law should allow him to have squelched t

    • Re:Boo fuckin' hoo (Score:5, Informative)

      by jackspenn (682188) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:02AM (#32810236)
      Umm, you need read and understand the facts before you post.

      The issue is not that Senator Reid's campaign merely reposted parts of her website. Or that she was running away from positions she has taken in the past.

      It was that the Reid campaign created a website to look like hers and used that site to get names, emails and other information from people who believed it was her site.
      • by Pojut (1027544)

        It was that the Reid campaign created a website to look like hers and used that site to get names, emails and other information from people who believed it was her site.

        And my point was, why did she complain about old info being posted? Why wasn't the cease-and-desist letter strictly focused on data collection? Look at the link posted in the summary...what you just talked about wasn't even mentioned until the bottom of the letter! Everything before it were complaints about how Reid's campaign was using an outdated version of her site.

        I'm not saying what Reid's campaign was doing was right (it's despicable, actually...par for the course for a partisan politician scared o

      • Re:Boo fuckin' hoo (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Danse (1026) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:22AM (#32810504)

        Umm, you need read and understand the facts before you post. The issue is not that Senator Reid's campaign merely reposted parts of her website. Or that she was running away from positions she has taken in the past. It was that the Reid campaign created a website to look like hers and used that site to get names, emails and other information from people who believed it was her site.

        They didn't create one to look like hers, they used a copy of her actual website. The letter claims they were collecting information, but I haven't seen any actual evidence that they did so. That would definitely be crossing the line. Posting the site itself seems like fair use as political commentary.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jackspenn (682188)
          Whether the forms collected the data for Reid's campaign or the forms just dumped the data giving users the impression they were signed up for information/activities, when they weren't, either way it is over the line.
  • Hang on... (Score:3, Funny)

    by click2005 (921437) * on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:13AM (#32809580)

    As kfogel notes, the letter "also accuses the Reid campaign of intending to impersonate Angle's campaign, which seems doubtful, but who knows?"

    Isn't parody protected?

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:14AM (#32809592)
    Even the Streisand Effect can't change how anti-incumbent the voters are, or make the Republican Party swing back to moderation. These days, voices of moderation get purged pretty quickly from the Republican Party. And, sadly, saying stuff like "I don't believe in abortion even in cases of incest, rape, or protecting the life of the mother" is more likely to gain you voters rather than lose them. The GOP is about 2 elections away from advocating the abolishing of public education/Social Security and declaring martial law, and the electorate is right there with them. Democrats, meanwhile, are too busy compromising, selling-out, and generally acting incompetent to offer any real resistance. Sad, sad, sad.
    • by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:16AM (#32809622) Homepage

      So, according to you, Democrats are saying:

      "They're slipping away! Grip tighter!"

      While Republicans are saying"

      "This country deserves a better class of crazy, and I'm gonna give it to 'em."

      • "This country deserves a better class of crazy, and I'm gonna give it to 'em."

        Thank you for making my day a lot better with this line

    • by NNKK (218503)

      The GOP is about 2 elections away from advocating the abolishing of public education/Social Security and declaring martial law

      Uh, they're well beyond that by now. I take it you fell asleep for a decade and haven't turned on a TV since you woke up?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151)

      "Democrats, meanwhile, are too busy compromising, selling-out, and generally acting incompetent to offer any real resistance. Sad, sad, sad."

      Their principles aren't different except in degree. Note how fast gay rights went under the bus after the election. :)

      • That's a form of gay rights, wouldn't you say? They haven't managed to completely level the playing field for gay people yet, as was done for women and blacks *cough* so they are just like the Republicans?

        I think I've been trolled.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by elrous0 (869638) *

          In 1948, Truman issued an order desegregating the military. By 1954 (and thanks in no small part to the help of his Republican successor, Dwight Eisenhower) the job was done, even over the objections of Congress and many soldiers/military leaders. That was leadership.

          Obama's answer to that? "Well, at some point I'm going to go to Congress and ask them to repeal don't ask don't tell, even though I could just do it with an executive order as Commander-in-Chief anytime I wanted to...And maybe they'll give it t

          • by dave420 (699308) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:00AM (#32810214)
            And then the grass-roots loony fucknut republican hate-machine would start spewing its disgusting insanity all over the place, calling for Obama to be executed as some heathen gay-loving whore of babylon. He's got to try to fight the bullshit spewing from the rampant religious right *and* try to do the right thing. Black civil rights had nothing to do with religion, just racism. The gay issue has everything to do with religion, which is why it's a completely different kettle of fish to sort out. Pretending they're directly analogous is fucking retarded.
            • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:17AM (#32810432)

              Look at the average person who opposed desegregation. Now look at the average person who opposes gay rights.

              See how they are almost identical?

              Now look at the average person who supported desegregation. And ones who support gay rights.

              See how they are almost identical?

              Same background, political views, religious beliefs, even where they live.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Nadaka (224565)

              The KKK was founded as an organization to uphold traditional christian values as perceived by its members.

              You can try to rewrite history if you want to, but minority and women's rights were and still are very much a religious issue.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:36AM (#32810738)

              And then the grass-roots loony fucknut republican hate-machine would start spewing its disgusting insanity all over the place, calling for Obama to be executed as some heathen gay-loving whore of babylon.

              Oh, and that's not happening already? The more freaked out they get the better the mainstream likes Obama. Most Americans support gay rights, according to polls, and the wingnut fringe's ranting is steadily eroding the Republican base. You aren't making sense.

              He's got to try to fight the bullshit spewing from the rampant religious right *and* try to do the right thing.

              No, he doesn't. You don't have to fight when your enemy is engaged in self-destruction, and you don't have to stop doing the right thing because you are afraid someone might just call you names. You still aren't making sense.

              Black civil rights had nothing to do with religion, just racism. The gay issue has everything to do with religion, which is why it's a completely different kettle of fish to sort out. Pretending they're directly analogous is fucking retarded.

              Look, you are obviously too young to remember, but there were churches *founded* in the USA based on the biblical call to Black slavery. Ever wonder why the SOUTHERN Baptist Church is different from the Baptist Church? Look it up. I remember being a child in the 60s and hearing the preacher (in the small Virginia town my mother's from) blasting Martin Luther King as the anti-Christ, and telling his parishioners that God intended Black people to be the hewers of wood and the drawers of water - that the Bible said so. The EXACT same right wing wing nuts preaching hatred against the gays were preaching subjugation of Blacks as late as 1969, and *I was there to hear it* so don't bother telling me I'm wrong.

              What is fucking retarded is Obama apologists like yourself desperately trying to shore up your self-esteem by pretending the president really really has good reasons to renege on his campaign promises. I watched the same song and dance with Reagan, Clinton, and W., and it's pathetic. Reagan did not shrink the federal government, Clinton did not fix health care, and W. did not make the economy into an unstoppable powerhouse based on Jesus. Obama is a very smart, well-spoken man - smarter than Reagan and W. by light-years, and better spoken than Clinton. But he's still just a man, with the failings of a man, and you need to understand that he is not going to bring you all the changes you hoped for. He's not even going to stop extraordinary rendition, much less give gays equality in the services.

              Stop apologizing and start making a difference in your community. Get the fuck off the computer and do something useful.

              Over and out, see you next week. I got some stuff to do in the real world.

            • by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:39AM (#32811790) Homepage Journal

              "Black civil rights had nothing to do with religion, just racism."

              The relationship between religion and the civil rights movement was more complex than you seem to think. Christianity supported not merely discrimination, but slavery [wikipedia.org] throughout most of its history. As ideas from outside the Bible (notably from the Enlightenment) came to compete more effectively in the meme pool of western civilization, Christianity adapted, and some Christians led the struggle against slavery in the United States, and later for civil rights. But there was a big struggle within Christianity over both of those issues, and the struggle over the role of discrimination and hatred within the religion continues even today. Christianity seems to need an "other" to fear and despise, and since it's no longer socially acceptable for that fear and loathing to be based on skin color, it is now directed at gay people.

          • by tophermeyer (1573841) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:20AM (#32810466)

            In 1948, Truman issued an order desegregating the military. By 1954 (and thanks in no small part to the help of his Republican successor, Dwight Eisenhower) the job was done,

            Kind of.

            IMO, racial minorities still faced pretty extreme discrimination in the military for decades. Truman also had the benefit of having a huge military that needed trimming anyway, so he had some ability to shape it. By comparison, Obama is trying to effect this change during a time when the military is overextended and arguably understaffed. And the concern now is not just preserving the dignity of those currently oppressed, but assuaging the concerns of the rest of the military (bigoted and offensive as some of those concerns might be).

            Plus Truman and Eisenhower both had experience in the military, so they had the benefit of some experience and held some credibility with the troops (Ike certainly). Obama probably not so much.

      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:40AM (#32809952)

        And closing Guantanamo, and ending the the violations of civil liberties, and ending rendition/torture, etc., etc. This is a Democrat who courted the environmental vote during the election only to turn around and advocate the expansion of off-shore drilling mere weeks before the BP spill. Another wishy-washy Democrat who accomplishes little-to-nothing and dilutes even the things he DOES accomplish (like health care) until they're basically meaningless.

        There is just no party to speak for me.

    • by canajin56 (660655) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:49AM (#32810052)
      The "Voters are Rabidly Anti-Incumbent (tm)" line was trotted out in the primaries, even though only ONE incumbent out of 80 or so elections lost, and he had been arrested on charges of fraud, corruption, and I think also domestic violence. FOX hopes everybody believes them when they say voters are anti-incumbent, because then Republicans will win. The thing they know, which is 100% true by the way, is most voters will vote for whoever they think will win, that way, in a way, they win too!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Myopic (18616)

      The Pubs are absolutely positively way, way, way out of line with common current American sentiments. Their rejection of moderation and diverse political thought are abominable.

      But remember that the Dems are also purging moderates. For Dems, I think it is more a result of a liberal base voting in primaries, whereas for the Pubs there is a concerted top-down effort to solidify ideological unity, combined with pressure from the conservative base. Still, the ideological gulf is widening in this country, to the

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It appears that the complaint is legitimate. Rather than clearly use the content of the prior website as part of a legitimate debate, it is being used in a way that can be seen by some people as an impersonation site, and some people could easily be led to believe it is the candidate's site, and not an opponent's site. This deception could be used to harvest e-mails and other information deceptively.

    Yes a political opponent should be allowed to repost content to comment on it -- but not to repost a mirror

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by M. Baranczak (726671)

      Actually, the site in question is no longer up, (it redirects to another one), so we can't tell whether or not the complaint is legitimate.

    • by Danse (1026) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:51AM (#32810088)

      It appears that the complaint is legitimate. Rather than clearly use the content of the prior website as part of a legitimate debate, it is being used in a way that can be seen by some people as an impersonation site, and some people could easily be led to believe it is the candidate's site, and not an opponent's site. This deception could be used to harvest e-mails and other information deceptively.

      Yes a political opponent should be allowed to repost content to comment on it -- but not to repost a mirror site that can be confused as to origin of who is running it.

      Umm.. it IS the candidate's site. Just a previous version of it, which happens to be the entire point. If they're using it for harvesting emails or other information, then sure, go after them for that, but just posting her site as it existed before as a means to illustrate her views seems like fair use for political purposes. Maybe they should stick a frame around it explaining what it is. I think that would remove any possibility of confusion, and any possible argument about the purpose of the site.

  • Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for US Senate in Arizona, is using a copyright 'cease-and-desist' letter to stop her opponent, incumbent Harry Reid...

    Harry Reid is from Nevada, so could not possibly be the opponent of someone running for senate in Arizona.

  • Misleading summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:17AM (#32809636)

    By "reposting old versions of her website," what the submitter actually means is "copying all of the code and images from Sharron Angle's old website, registering a new domain (therealsharronangle.com), and re-creating the entire (old) website." There was even an operable section to sign up as a volunteer, thus collecting the personal information of people who might accidentally come to the phishing site instead of the actual Sharron Angle site. This is known as phishing, and is indeed a violation of copyright.

    Gee, Slashdot spreading a misleading story in a bid to make an unfavored politician look bad. Unfortunately, this isn't really unusual for Slashdot.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by XxtraLarGe (551297)

      By "reposting old versions of her website," what the submitter actually means is "copying all of the code and images from Sharron Angle's old website, registering a new domain (therealsharronangle.com), and re-creating the entire (old) website." There was even an operable section to sign up as a volunteer, thus collecting the personal information of people who might accidentally come to the phishing site instead of the actual Sharron Angle site. This is known as phishing, and is indeed a violation of copyright.

      That would have made it into the summary if it had been a Democrat this was happening to.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        By "reposting old versions of her website," what the submitter actually means is "copying all of the code and images from Sharron Angle's old website, registering a new domain (therealsharronangle.com), and re-creating the entire (old) website." There was even an operable section to sign up as a volunteer, thus collecting the personal information of people who might accidentally come to the phishing site instead of the actual Sharron Angle site. This is known as phishing, and is indeed a violation of copyright.

        That would have made it into the summary if it had been a Democrat this was happening to.

        Here comes the infamous ultra-conservative persecution complex. If this was happening to a democrat, Fox News would have been telling us how it's the God-given right of any candidate to do exactly what Reid is doing.

        Maybe it didn't make it into the headline because there's no evidence that any data was actually captured?

    • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:43AM (#32809988) Homepage Journal

      Well, I agree that collecting information from volunteers is inappropriate (if they are doing that), but clearly quoting the website -- even in its entirely -- serves a legitimate purpose.

      Candidates always use each others words against each other, but normally they take the words out of context. What could be more fair than quoting the entire context? Arguably this is the most fair way of doing it. It seems unlikely that anyone would mistake this domain name for one that Angle would choose for herself, but that is easily enough handled.

    • by rtb61 (674572)

      The catch with any change, it the lying politician would lie and say, that the site being shown as their original site is inaccurate and has been changed. They would claim everything was false, it was all a smear campaign etc etc. Basically forcing you to keep the original site intact and make direct references to it from you lead in site, all of course as a only a semi accessible pages.

      Data collection points should of course be changed and point to notification that it is a reference site.

      To be fair,

    • by Danse (1026) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:54AM (#32810134)

      By "reposting old versions of her website," what the submitter actually means is "copying all of the code and images from Sharron Angle's old website, registering a new domain (therealsharronangle.com), and re-creating the entire (old) website." There was even an operable section to sign up as a volunteer, thus collecting the personal information of people who might accidentally come to the phishing site instead of the actual Sharron Angle site. This is known as phishing, and is indeed a violation of copyright.

      Gee, Slashdot spreading a misleading story in a bid to make an unfavored politician look bad. Unfortunately, this isn't really unusual for Slashdot.

      Do we know that they were actually collecting the submitted data, or was it just possible to submit the data, but the site didn't save it anywhere? I'd say that that would be a legitimate complaint. I just haven't seen anything that confirms it.

  • And the first a is pronounced as the first a in "atta boy", not as the o in "odd".

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:22AM (#32809714) Journal
    "Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —

    (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

    (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

    (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

    (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."

    Let's see, here. I feel a little queasy describing anything related to political campaigning as "educational"; but it could definitely fall under "criticism, comment, news reporting".

    The "copyrighted work" in question was a candidate's platform website, intended for broad public distribution in order to promote that candidate. Not something whose value would be decreased by broader distribution, unlike a commercial book, film, or CD. The fact that it is now embarrassing is too fucking bad and(if anything) increases the strength of the fair use "criticism, comment, news reporting" angle.

    Amount and substantiality: Ok, I can see a case here. Things like the stock patriotic clip-art and site design elements(unless specifically part of the overall criticism or commentary) might well not be fair use.

    Effect upon the market for or value of: This is a funny one: being a noncommercial advertisement, spread as widely as possible by its creator at no cost, there is obviously no loss of "market or value" in the sense that a book, movie, or CD would suffer such a loss; but, if the "criticism, comment, and news reporting" makes the candidate look like a fucking nutjob, it arguably reduces the value of their advertising. One hopes, though, for the sake of free speech and press, that the court would spit on such an argument.
  • I haven't had time to look at this in detail, but this kind of thing seems to pretty clearly fall under fair use. It's criticism of the work itself in a political commentary, so it should be well within the limits.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "I haven't had time to look at this in detail" - the key part of your comment is this.

      The summary makes it sound like they took screenshots and posted them on harry reid's website. What actually happened is that they copied Sharron Angle's old website in its entirety, created a new domain with her name in it (therealsharronangle.com), and hosted a copied version of the website themselves, without indicating on the website that is was a parody. This is known as a copyright violation, and could even be seen a

  • by WiglyWorm (1139035) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:29AM (#32809806) Homepage
    Maybe he SHOULD stop hosting old versions of the site, and just link to them in google cache instead. Let her fight google. Should be good for headlines, and maybe raise some awareness about the idiocy present in copyright law.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:29AM (#32809808)

    It's about time this DMCA carp hits politically sensitive people may this will drive them to rewrite the DMCA laws.

  • Like I could have sworn for a second that this candidate's name was "Sharron Apple"... Holy crap! A computer running for a senate seat...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Pojut (1027544)

      Here's to hoping they don't implant an illegal chip into her that provides her with sentience! Politician + sentience + galaxy diva complex = fucked

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:39AM (#32809942) Homepage

    because THAT would be a "come to Jesus moment" for Congress about how FUBAR our copyright laws are.

    May the federal judge rip Reid a new one so big she can hold a Tea Party rally inside him...

  • memory hole (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ephemeriis (315124) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:42AM (#32809968)

    This is the one thing that drives me absolutely crazy about politics in America these days.

    Politicians will say any old crazy thing, and then flat-out deny that it was ever said. Even if you quote their words back to them line by line. Even if you have a recording of the statement. Even if you have a copy of their own website or press release.

    And nobody seems to care.

    Sure, some reporters will try to call them out on it... But that doesn't matter. The politicians don't even blink. They just go right on denying that they ever said anything. And the voters are entirely too willing to just go along with the spin.

    What? No, of course he never said that! That video of him saying those things must be a fabrication. As well as the audio recording of him making a similar statement on the radio. And the flyer you have from a mass-mailing he did last year must be a forgery. And the archive you have of his website must surely have been tampered with. There's absolutely no possible way he could have said that - we've always been at war with Eurasia!

    • Re:memory hole (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Chowderbags (847952) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:17AM (#32810436)
      It comes down to two things:

      1)The media doesn't bother to do any research or any real criticism of politicians anymore. They'll whine and scream and jump up and down at all the usual talking points. They'll call every politician from the other side a liberal hippie communist or a right wing jingoist fascist, and even cover a sex scandal or two, but they don't actually criticize the real stupidity involved in the process. I'm pretty sure The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are the only shows that actually call politicians out on their bullshit (yes, they've got a liberal bent, but they take plenty of shots at democrats too, so unbunch your panties), and that frightens me. We've devolved as a country to the point where the only regular source that calls politicians on their bullshit are comedy shows. I'm grateful for their work, don't get me wrong, but I wish it didn't take a jester to say the truth.

      2)In this country, it's political suicide to admit that you've ever been wrong about anything ever. It's seen as a weakness to admit that you're a fallible human being. If you are wrong and you know it, lying apparently makes people think that you've got a set of huge brass balls, and that it's totally awesome! [/sarcasm] It may be related to this whole idea in this country that unabashed faith in an unchanging (well, except for every translation and reworking ever made to it) Bible is somehow the best thing ever. Never mind that the best thing to happen to us as a species is a framework based entirely around the idea that we might be wrong about what we think, so we should be willing to change it when new evidence comes along (science).
  • Post links to the Wayback Machine [archive.org] instead.

    Go on. C&D a non-profit org. The internet won't thank you for that one, and there's quite a lot of voters connected to it.
    • by KiloByte (825081)

      The Wayback Machine will purge the record the very moment you slap a robots.txt. Yes, even retroactively. Yes, even if some squatter took your domain.

      This policy makes them worthless for recovering old versions the web page author's actively wants to hide.

  • Citation needed. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bbqsrc (1441981) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:43AM (#32809978) Homepage
    Why not just copy and paste selective remarks from the page in question, cite them correctly and be done with it, as I'm sure that would get across the whole point in the first place.

    Yes, copyright is fucked, but I think it would be more fun to do both things at the same time. The thing they can't stop and the thing they can, so even if they win, all that happens is the Streisand Effect.
  • by Primitive Pete (1703346) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:47AM (#32810040)
    Does anyone find it odd that the libertarian Tea Party candidate goes running for governement/federal/legal support when she runs into difficulty campaigning?
  • The neglected part of this is the potential accusation that the pages being published don't actually represent her opinions.

    If campaign promised published digitally were required to come with cryptographic signatures from that candidate, the easy refutation would be to say "if I published that, where's my signature?". Of course, politicians would also fear the possibility that someone could prove with some certainty that they said a particular thing in the past.....

  • Apparently none of them recognize what right to fair use is, eh? How typical.

  • by yyxx (1812612) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:51AM (#32810102)

    Sharron Angle's attempts to keep her old campaign pages out of the public record are reprehensible. However, Harry Reid's portrayal of her positions is also reprehensible, misrepresenting the reasons behind her votes (e.g., claiming that she is in effect supporting child molesters).

  • Politics As Usual (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Torodung (31985) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:49AM (#32810970) Journal

    Well then she's just going to have to sue him, because a simple C&D isn't going to cut it here. Let's see her tie up limited campaign funds in a quixotic (possibly moronic) lawsuit that can't be won, because this is 99.9% defensible as fair use of copyrighted work.

    That is, by the time any sort of decision is reached, the election is over, regardless of the outcome of any legal action. The only hope she has is an injunction, and that's not likely because of the ugly snarl with First Amendment rights in political speech. You can send a C&D for anything you like, but for it to be effective, it has to be backed up by a credible threat of legal action. This C&D is missing that basic backstop.

    This goes on all the time, at almost every level of U.S. politics. C&D's are cheap. So are FOIA requests. They get sent/filed routinely as a means of harassment by any properly funded and run campaign. At the U.S. Senate level, however, every campaign has staff prepared to deal with it. Nothing to see here really. It isn't even an abuse of copyright law; it's just politics as usual.

    This is amateur hour baloney that Reid will (essentially) ignore until a suit is filed. Then he'll laugh as his lawyers make Angle's managers pay for gross stupidity. The man has money, and that's all you really need to mount a long, tedious defense that will outlast the campaign.

    --
    Toro

  • Thinking (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AnAdventurer (1548515) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:53AM (#32812028)
    I was thinking about this a few days ago. At what point can you copyright your speech. Not political, I mean the words that come out of your mouth. I was thinking of the queen of Alaska (where I am currently living), Sarah Palin. She is constantly contradicting herself with no apology. I was thinking at some point it would be within her public persona to file a copyright suite when someone when does not like quotes her. I am guessing that somewhere in America someone has tried this, but it's all about the judge...
  • by pacergh (882705) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @01:39PM (#32813784)

    Whoever Angle's lawyer is who sent those letters either did no research or is willfully ignoring the law.

    This is a copyright lawyer fail.

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