Saturday, December 11, 2010

WikiLeaks vs. Pirated Books

Whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, which has been disclosing classified U.S. information, has been in the news lately, and a comment from Navanethem "Navi" Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, caught my attention.

According to The Associated Press article written by Raphael G. Satter and Jill Lawless and published on on Thursday, Dec. 9, under the headline "WikiLeaks Supporters Wage Cyber Wars", "The U.N.'s top human rights official raised the alarm Thursday over officials' and corporations' moves to cut off WikiLeaks' funding and starve it of server space — something she described as 'potentially violating WikiLeaks' right to freedom of expression.'"

By this logic, if companies are not allowed to sever ties with individuals and companies that are using their service for illegal activity, than that causes quite a few problems.

For instance, if a someone were to publish online, without consent, free books such as the Planet Pirates series by Anne McCaffrey, Lucky Starr and the Pirates of the Asteroids by Isaac Asimov and plenty other science fiction books not in public domain, does that mean this person is allowed to continue disseminating the books and companies can't sever their funding, web-hosting, etc.?

Of course, there are differences between the situations such as copyright law not applying to government documents and The Espionage Act not applying to those books, but don't both situations involve pirating?

What are your thoughts?

(For further reading, here's an article published by The New York Times on Tuesday, Dec. 7, titled "U.S. Prosecutors Study WikiLeaks Prosecution.")

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