There is a ridiculous little organisation here in the UK called Straight Pride UK. According to themselves, it is a few people who have been so incensed about not being able to voice their displeasure about us homosexuals that they have felt the need to band together to make a change.
This change appears to consist of sending press releases to reporters such as the young British blogger and journalist Oliver Hotham who, of course, posted information derived from said press release on his blog. He shouldn’t have done that, because Straight Pride UK got a little bit upset.
Being a UK organisation acting against a UK blogger they used American law to send a DMCA notice to WordPress about the info that Oliver posted. As Oliver is a poor journalist he after the takedown decided not to fight any such thing, and didn’t protest the removal of the article. However, Straight Pride UK was not satisfied, and pressed the blogger to remove any reference to the organisation.
Okay, we can point and laugh at the silliness of this organisation, but what is worthy of note is that WordPress, this site that hosts my blog, apparently took the DMCA at face value. According to Oliver:
I thought this was a good enough defence, and I assumed this would all be swept under the carpet, and that their rather sad attempts to remove my article because it made them look stupid were all for naught.
I was wrong – within a few days WordPress caved to them without question, removing my article and telling me if I tried to publish it again I’d be suspended, but that I could challenge the takedown of my article. I responded that yes, I very much would like to, and was emailed a form I’d have to fill in. One of the requirements was that I “consent to local federal court jurisdiction, or if overseas, to an appropriate judicial body”.
I’m a student. I don’t have the money, time, or patience to go through with potentially having to go to court over this. All in all, I just could not be bothered to challenge the decision.
So I accepted the takedown, feeling thoroughly shit about myself.
Then I get another email from Straight Pride UK, which pissed me off even more. They demanded I take down the material (which I had) but also that I:
“…remove all references to Straight Pride UK, The Straight Forward Project, along with images, and links, from your Blog.”
That is far more alarming than a ridiculous organisation here in Britain being up to no good, and this should make British bloggers take note. We are not subject to US laws, and our freedom of speech and our freedom of the press should not be subject to laws of the United States.
Granted, flagrant breaches of the law like posting genuinely copyrighted material, should probably be subject to sanction – but this blatant attempt to censor illustrate the chilling effect on free speech that is at play here.