Should censorship concede to morality?

Mikey 10 comments
Should censorship concede to morality?

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?

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Saturday 13th September 2008 | 05:25 PM

The people who murdered the kids are the ones at fault. You go to the Holocaust museum in Washing D.C. and you will see videos of the experiments that were preformed on the victims, countless pictures of the dead including children stacked up like common trash. One video sticks out in my mind was where a prisoner is put in a pressure tank, and they increase the pressure in the tank until his body could not take it anymore and he died. They then continue to dissect his brain in the video as to try to prove whatever hypothesis they were working on. Its horrifying but its history, true, and honest. Censoring things like this is to pretend it doesn't exist, which is untrue, and dishonest. There is so much ugly to this world, and it is necessary to be reminded of this, otherwise we would be living a pointless jaded existence.

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Saturday 13th September 2008 | 05:33 PM

But aren't they responsible for putting it on the internet?

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Kim OJ

Saturday 13th September 2008 | 06:00 PM response to this comment by Trace. TPB did not put it on the Internet, one or more of their users did. So by the same extension we could also blame the Internet.
The Swedish Government might consider changing the law and withhold some of these materials in the interest of protecting privacy.

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Saturday 13th September 2008 | 07:29 PM

Maybe the initial uploader needs to take a look in the mirror and figure out if they belong in polite society.

It's not the law, it's not the torrent host, it's the lack of common decency by the initial poster that's the problem. And you can't make laws to force consideration for other people on a population in situations like this.

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Sunday 14th September 2008 | 12:31 AM

Hi Mike...

I think this is a pretty straight forward, black and white issue: Either we allow censorship, or we do not allow censorship.

Censorship is bad in my opinion is an infringement on our most basic human rights. Today photos of child murders, tomorrow library books.

It's sometimes painful and unnecessary, but I don't think you can have it both ways. either we have our lives uncensored, or not.

I may seem cruel, but that is not my intent. I'm sure it is painful for the family, as it would be for me. But where do you draw the line?


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Sunday 14th September 2008 | 07:38 AM response to this comment by Friendo. Friendo,
I second your view on this subject. I too would rather be called cruel but have my rights intact than to be called politically correct and have no my rights at all.

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Kim OJ

Sunday 14th September 2008 | 08:02 AM

One might argue that the family has rights too, and that their right for privacy should include not having pictures of their childrens' autopsy made public.

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Sunday 14th September 2008 | 09:05 AM

Who the heck would WANT to see such photos?????

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Monday 15th September 2008 | 08:17 AM

While TPB has every right to host the torrent, they are not censoring the content by removing it from their site, the photos etc are still available. Based on this I would certainly have removed the torrent with a note stating that they had removed the torent out of respect to the family, perhaps with a link to another site that was hosting it.

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The Movie Whore

Tuesday 16th September 2008 | 12:56 AM

There is a difference between morality and acting in the best interest of kidness and compassion. In this case I would say kindness and compassion would motivate me to pull the torrents and then I would be writing a nice long blog post telling the people that are posting these kinds of photos to take it to where that kind of stuff is welcome and really shame on the Swedes for making such sensitive material public domain.

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