In a short exchange on Twitter this morning, I observed:
@JamesFirth I notice your domain has changed to .eu. Do you consider this reasonably out of reach of unreasonable extrajudicial takedowns?
James then responded with the following excellent point:
@eiohel It’s not a question of reasonable vs unreasonable but culture and familiarity. I’m familiar with the law and culture of UK/EU
Over at his blog, James has expounded more broadly and clearly exactly why he has recently moved his .com Blogger-based content to an .eu domain. You can find this post here.
In particular, I’d draw your attention to two passages in the post. Firstly (the bold is his):
Clearly there are some limits to what can and can’t be published, and few would argue against a robust system of oversight to remove illegal content which respects due legal process in order to protect free speech and guard against unwarranted take-downs.
However I am worried about moves to force global websites to submit to US law and in particular extradite website owners to the US to face American justice.
In this I would agree one hundred percent. I have always been in favour of copyright laws. The options provided, for example, by CreativeCommons.org seem to me to be exemplary in allowing one both to choose the jurisdiction and corresponding copyright conditions one is most comfortable and familiar with as well as helping others understand how far they can go with quoting, building on and attributing or not original authorship.
Just because one is against what might be considered by some to be copyright abuse – abuse in the sense of extending periods of copyright to absolutely unreasonable lengths of time – does not mean one is against copyright as a concept. The distinction must be made and consistently sustained and repeated.
The second passage I’d like to draw your attention to is this one:
As I said at the start, I expect to follow the law of land where I live, not the country laying notional claim to a top-level web domain popular around the world.
Whilst the move is purely symbolic – I don’t plan to fall foul of the law and I am after all still using California-based Google Blogger to host this blog, for the time being at least – I think it’s worthwhile.
Again, I agree one hundred percent with this assertion: I too would like to know whose laws must apply to what I create. At the moment, we are living in a truly World Wild West of a frontier situation. Everyone seems to be jostling and pushing to see who can frighten off and inhibit the most. This isn’t what freedom of speech in a modern democracy should be about.
This isn’t right.
I look forward to a time – hopefully not too far in the future – when it will be clear whose jurisdiction each of us, wherever we live and work, is acting under. In the meantime, I’m pretty convinced that steps such as those which James has recently tentatively taken are not only worth it and sensible but also clarifying and understandable.
Where angels fear to tread …