Should censorship concede to morality?Mikey 10 comments
Here's an interesting case which might bring your morals and better judgment into question. Before I begin though I need to explain how a particular Swedish law works.
In Sweden, after a Police investigation is completed and charges are announced, all documents pertaining to the case are made publicly available (although no effort is made to put them online). This includes but is not limited to autopsy photos, and this is where the next part of this story comes in.
Two toddlers were recently murdered in Sweden and in compliance with Swedish law, all documentation and photos were made publicly available and at some stage somebody decided to make the files available as a torrent on The Pirate Bay. TPB as you probably already know are not in the censorship game, and are not breaking any laws by hosting the torrent file.
Once the file became 'popular' it was only a matter of time before the main stream media picked up on the story and began to slander TPB. Peter Sunde from TPB was invited on a TV show to discuss the issues of free speech and public document policies, a guarantee the TV Station made to him, but one they didn't uphold. Instead Sunde was ambushed and confronted via a satellite feed by the deceased children's Father who let him know how hurt he was and how rude TPB are.
As a result TPB are boycotting and canceling all future and pre-arranged media appearances ().
So TPB having done nothing illegal are now the centre of a media defamation sh-*t storm, which might not fare well with public perception in their upcoming trial on a different matter.
I am kind of divided on this one but leaning slightly towards TPB's side. I totally agree TPB have done nothing legally wrong, and suppressing any document or photos that are already public domain would not only be futile, but also censorship.
But from a moral view point, the request from a grieving father to assist in stopping the spread of the files (although that would be futile as well) would earn a lot of kudos and be a kind act of humanity.
If I had any say in the matter, I might have considered agreeing to stop hosting the torrent out of respect for the family, but also issue a statement saying that not hosting the torrent on TPB doesn't stop it from spreading on other torrent hosts, such and Mininova or TorrentReactor for example. I would have also made sure the family understood this, and that the public understood that they were not censoring the file, but just helping a grieving family, even if their understanding of how the torrent system works is a little misguided.
So who is really to blame here? TPB? The Swedish Government for making theses types of files public domain? Or no-one?
Either way you look at it, TPB is just another distribution method. When the files start getting emailed around, is it unreasonable to blame Microsoft for letting people use Outlook?