Slapped by Netherlands Court

  • Slapped by Netherlands Court
    The Register reports that by linking to pages that portaled to ones written by the anarchist group Radikal that detailed how to sabotage a railroad. The suit against was brought by Deutsche Bahn, a German railroad company. About the EC Ecommerce Directive, the Register explains:

    “The EC Ecommerce Directive has been much criticised on the grounds that consumer rights enshrined in its philosophy are unfair to etailers and ISPs and may retard online trade. But who spotted its potential as a backdoor cross-border censorship tool?”

    In a press release on their website, say,

    “Indymedia NL regrets the facts that the judge in the verdict does not
    elaborate on which kinds of links are permissible and which are not. This
    ruling will therefore have severe consequences for every person or
    organisation that has placed links on the Internet. Due to the structure of
    Internet, it is possible to reach any website on the internet, by way of
    combinations of links and indirect links.”

    Indeed, I am often left amazed at how hostile the American government and corporations are to free speech, evidenced by successive attempts to regulate or ban “indecent” content on the ‘net, attempts by corporations (and NPR) to control how other sites link to theirs, and police raids on and Seattle IMC. Yet the US does have the First Amendment of the Constitution, which still manages to provide some level of press freedom in the courts, even if only after illegal intimidation and persecution has already taken place. Such fundamental privilege and protection for free expression is still unique in the world, and I’d argue that such a case as brought against would truly be harder to bring in the US. Elsewhere the freedom to express–even in Western Europe–is less often enshrined as right, even if it is protected to an extent by law.

    This isn’t a “USA Rules, everyone else sucks,” argument — merely an observation of how values differ. While risks a fine of 5000 euros if they do not remove the links in question, there is a far smaller percentage of the Dutch population in prison than in the States, at least partially due to the Netherland’s legalization of many drugs that the US locks up thousands of people for. In the US we take some freedoms for granted — like a fairly broad freedom of speech — while sacrificing other fundamental freedoms through the war on drugs and, now, the war on terror — the latter of which also threatens our vaulted speech freedoms, too.

    My question is, then, if a US based Indymedia site posts links to mirrored Radikal pages, will get fined because it has links to all worldwide IMCs? How many links of separation are there between one page and any other page on the ‘net? We are connected, whether anyone likes it or not.

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