Saturday, November 30, 2013

The People Vs. The Offbeat Drummer

From Wikipedia, regarding the First Amendment and the right to free speech:

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that comprise theBill of Rights.
The Bill of Rights was originally proposed as a measure to assuage Anti-Federalist opposition to Constitutional ratification. Initially, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress, and many of its provisions were interpreted more narrowly than they are today. Beginning with Gitlow v. New York (1925), the Supreme Court applied the First Amendment to states—a process known as incorporation—through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Court drew on Founding Father Thomas Jefferson's correspondence to call for "a wall of separation between church and State", though the precise boundary of this separation remains in dispute. Speech rights were expanded significantly in a series of 20th and 21st-century court decisions which protected various forms of political speech, anonymous speech, campaign financing, pornography, and school speech; these rulings also defined a series of exceptions to First Amendment protections. The Supreme Court overturned English common law precedent to increase the burden of proof for defamation and libel suits, most notably in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964). Commercial speech, however, is less protected by the First Amendment than political speech, and is therefore subject to greater regulation.
The Free Press Clause protects publication of information and opinions, and applies to a wide variety of media. In Near v. Minnesota (1931) and New York Times v. United States (1971), the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected against prior restraint—pre-publication censorship—in almost all cases. The Petition Clause protects the right to petition all branches and agencies of government for action. In addition to the right of assembly guaranteed by this clause, the Court has also ruled that the Amendment implicitly protects freedom of association.

Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one's opinions and ideas using one's body and property to anyone who is willing to receive them. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, as with libelslanderobscenitysedition (including, for example inciting ethnic hatred), copyright violation, revelation of information that is classified or otherwise.
The right to freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in theInternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR states that "[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice". Article 19 goes on to say that the exercise of these rights carries "special duties and responsibilities" and may "therefore be subject to certain restrictions" when necessary "[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals".[1][2]

Freedom of speech may be legally curtailed in some jurisdictions (including some religious legal systems) where it is found to cause religious or racial offence, such as by the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 in the United Kingdom.
Concepts of freedom of speech can be found in early human rights documents.[3] England’s Bill of Rights 1689 granted 'freedom of speech in Parliament' and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted during the French Revolution in 1789, specifically affirmed freedom of speech as an inalienable right.[4] The Declaration provides for freedom of expression in Article 11, which states that:
"The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law."[5]
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, states that:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."[6]
Today freedom of speech, or the freedom of expression, is recognized in international and regional human rights law. The right is enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.[7] Based on John Milton's arguments, freedom of speech is understood as a multi-faceted right that includes not only the right to express, or disseminate, information and ideas, but three further distinct aspects:
  1. the right to seek information and ideas;
  2. the right to receive information and ideas;
  3. the right to impart information and ideas
Jo Glanville, editor of the Index on Censorship, states that "the Internet has been a revolution for censorship as much as for free speech".[42]International, national and regional standards recognise that freedom of speech, as one form of freedom of expression, applies to any medium, including the Internet.[7] The Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 was the first major attempt by the United States Congress to regulatepornographic material on the Internet. In 1997, in the landmark cyberlaw case of Reno v. ACLU, the U.S. Supreme Court partially overturned the law.[43]Judge Stewart R. Dalzell, one of the three federal judges who in June 1996 declared parts of the CDA unconstitutional, in his opinion stated the following:[44]

Hold it right there, Offbeat Drummer! Wait, you own the rights to the photographs you were asked to take at Balderdash & Verities? Oh, OK!  No need to take it down. Carry on.......

"The Internet is a far more speech-enhancing medium than print, the village green, or the mails. Because it would necessarily affect the Internet itself, the CDA would necessarily reduce the speech available for adults on the medium. This is a constitutionally intolerable result. Some of the dialogue on the Internet surely tests the limits of conventional discourse. Speech on the Internet can be unfiltered, unpolished, and unconventional, even emotionally charged, sexually explicit, and vulgar – in a word, "indecent" in many communities. But we should expect such speech to occur in a medium in which citizens from all walks of life have a voice. We should also protect the autonomy that such a medium confers to ordinary people as well as media magnates. [...] My analysis does not deprive the Government of all means of protecting children from the dangers of Internet communication. The Government can continue to protect children from pornography on the Internet through vigorous enforcement of existing laws criminalizing obscenity and child pornography. [...] As we learned at the hearing, there is also a compelling need for public educations about the benefits and dangers of this new medium, and the Government can fill that role as well. In my view, our action today should only mean that Government’s permissible supervision of Internet contents stops at the traditional line of unprotected speech. [...] The absence of governmental regulation of Internet content has unquestionably produced a kind of chaos, but as one of the plaintiff’s experts put it with such resonance at the hearing: "What achieved success was the very chaos that the Internet is. The strength of the Internet is chaos." Just as the strength of the Internet is chaos, so that strength of our liberty depends upon the chaos and cacophony of the unfettered speech the First Amendment protects."[44]

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Declaration of Principles adopted in 2003 makes specific reference to the importance of the right to freedom of expression for the "Information Society" in stating:
"We reaffirm, as an essential foundation of the Information society, and as outlined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; that this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Communication is a fundamental social process, a basic human need and the foundation of all social organisation. It is central to the Information Society. Everyone, everywhere should have the opportunity to participate and no one should be excluded from the benefits of the Information Society offers."[45]

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!  "This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Nothing slanderous--recorded and false or libelous--written and false. All wrote fact. Think that over before you engage a lawyer who'll laugh you out of his/her office with scant pretense. Ah, America!


BMF said...

This is all juicier than Very's Thanksgiving gravy!

Juvenile? Sure. Exploiting? Hell yes. I'd give it a rest before publishing the story of what went down tonight, but it's almost as good as "The People vs Larry Flynt" and you're not even a smut peddler and Jerry Falwell is nowhere to be found (well, he's dead anyway). I'm just glad you didn't get shot and immediately end up a paraplegic like Flynt, who, while I disagree with his sleaze, champion him as a courageous up-stander of the rights of the First Amendment.

Pretty much everything you quoted on Wiki is totally accurate, and you were within your First Amendment rights to publish whatever you wanted.

For example, and I know you took "The Photo!" down which caused such furor, you took the picture with your own camera, no? Thus, the rights of the photograph belong to you as the photographer. You could make photocopies of them and place them in local grocery store flyer sections, and there isn't a damn thing anyone could do about it. It's the blessing and the curse of the digital age and internet, I guess. If I believed half the shit published about myself or my band, I'd have probably hung myself by now. (Don't do that.)

Guy was right that they'd log into the blog immediately after his mother's death to see what you knew about it and if you planned to attend any of the services. It worked out for the best for all parties involved (except Lady GuyGuy, who had to hug Ms BS).

Stand firm in that you did right by Guy, you showed love and support with Meg at your side, and like you said, you weren't hiding from the old staff--you were more worried about Guy's wife.

Certainly, if things escalate, call the police back (like you did tonight) and they can hunt her down. Just wave a cheeseburger in her general direction, she'll come running in like Pavlov's dog (like my psychology humor?"

Eyes in the back of your head, Annie.

Andrea Miklasz said...

Heh, Lennon's "How Do You Sleep" just popped on Pandora.

I read over that explanation of the First Amendment up and down and still don't see where I broke any of its tenets.

BMF said...

Well, what kills me is that you've got dozens of pages of logs that conclusively show they were cyber stalking your blog (or trolling, whichever) from the minute you left the practice. As you said, you weren't bound by confidentiality in writing about them, so any case they might think they have against you is buffoonery, especially now that they've physically trespassed onto your property! How stupid are they?

Oh yeah. THAT stupid.

Very Moon said...

I totally forgot that she took the photo. You, I believe, are within your own rights to post it, maybe. Check the photographer's rights, I can find the link if you need it.

Very Moon said...

Also, the gravy was vegan mostly this year. So juicy. But this, this is just off the chain wtf.

Very Moon said...

Anniekins, because I love you, here from the ACLU:

Andrea Miklasz said...

Extremely interesting reading over at the ACLU. Keep in mind, the photography took place on private property, which is a glitch, but not only was I allowed to photograph the staff of B&D, I was ASKED to, for a retiring doctor's farewell party.

It's really sort of moot given the photo albums those pictures are in are available online to my friends elsewhere this whole time....

But yes, BMF is right. I own the rights to the photographs since I took them. The ACLU makes it very clear. Not even law enforcement can delete or remove your photographs unless you've committed a crime. Even then, they need a warrant.

I don't know what the big whoop was---you couldn't see any of her face or identifying features in the first place.

Andrea Miklasz said...

Hey guys, I put an exclusive photograph taken by me of the office on the original blog. Check it out!

Andrea Miklasz said...

I showed the policeman my cell phone & he read the text exchanges & saw the phone call log, all with his eyebrow raised like "What's wrong with these people?" You gotta love the cops. They're so politically correct. He said, "Which one's the white one and which one's the black one?" That was right before he called Ms. BS and told me he gave her a "stern" talking to essentially shut her pie hole, stay off the grounds of my sprawling estate and quit fucking calling me and hanging up.

BMF said...

Annie, that's a picture of a fish.

That's in the office?

Oh dear.

Andrea Miklasz said...

Yes! It's a fish!

The actual live-fish aquarium got to be too pricey to upkeep, so they dismantled and sold it, and afterwards, hung a bunch of plastic fish on the walls. Plastic fish! The waiting room looked like the set of a Ron Jeremy movie.

Rob Cheney said...

After reading Annie's pm at 6am UK Time when I woke up, it's now 9pm and I'm still trying to take it all in!

Stay safe annie

Andrea Miklasz said...

Oh, Rob!!!!!!! Thank God for Luke being so big and brutish and watching the door while I smoked outside; otherwise, I'd need your linebacker power to guard me. Lord knows Guy's not capable.

Well, I drove my car today and the tires weren't slashed nor the brake lines cut (not that I'm smooth and *not* giving them any ideas!) so I figured I was ok, and the long arm of the law & the US Constitution is on the Side of the Offbeat Drummer.