All posts tagged censorship

Here’s another example of someone using copyright / trademark laws to stifle criticism. The Yes Men created a parody of the National Rifle Association, and the NRA responded by forcing the takedown of 38,000 websites. Overkill?

The Yes Men are a culture jamming activist duo and network of supporters created by Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos – Wikipedia.

From the Motherboard post:

The NRA takes a shot at the Yes Men, hits the entire Surge publishing service.

38,000 websites hosted by the automated publishing service Surge went down today, after the National Rifle Association sent a legal notice over a parody website created by the Yes Men.

“Systemic poverty and dumb laws keep the urban poor unable to acquire life-saving firearms.” – from the Yes Men’s parody of the NRA.

Source: NRA Complaint Takes Down 38,000 Websites | Motherboard

I like an open Internet. So I like it when the censors are exposed, and we can tell when a website has been deliberately blocked. This new error code — 451, as in Fahrenheit 451 — is meant to do just that. As a bonus, notice the subversive nature in the example in the picture.

A new online error code tells users when a site is unavailable for legal, rather than technical, reasons. Error 451, a nod to Ray Bradbury’s novel ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ indicates that a site has been censored by a government.

Source: Error 451: How to tell when websites have been censored – CSMonitor.com

The world has reacted to the recent murders in Paris in a heartening show of sympathy for the victims and support for their cause. Charlie Hebdo, according to Wikipedia, “is a French satirical weekly newspaper, featuring cartoons, reports, polemics, and jokes. Irreverent and stridently non-conformist in tone, the publication describes itself as strongly anti-racist and left-wing, publishing articles on the extreme right, Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, politics, culture, etc.” Naturally, it has been the target of criticism. You can’t twit powerful people and expect anything else. It has also been the victim of violent attacks, including the one on January 7 of this year, which killed twelve people and injured another eleven. This attack was an attempt at censorship through terror.

As I’ve said elsewhere, humor and satire can be useful when dealing with people who take themselves too seriously. Ridicule can be a good weapon against people who would kill for an idea. Thugs who want people to fear them lose their power when we laugh at them. Je suis Charlie. Among the many others who have spoken out are the web comic Jesus and Mo, and the scruffy band of vigilantes calling itself Anonymous. Along with Charlie Hebdo, these two are normally scorned and demonized for their anti-establishment activities. That will probably ease up for a while, as the establishment focuses on another demon.

Let’s grieve for the victims of this mass murder. Let’s also grieve for the fools who did it, victims in their own way. Most of all, let us stand together against all violence and all censorship. This particular band of thugs isn’t the only one that wants to silence their critics. Some of the very people who condemn them now are working tirelessly to silence their own. I extend praise and gratitude for those heroes who are standing up for us all.

Merci, Charlie Hebdo.