04 March 2007

Tories Suppress Free Speech!

Via Recess Monkey, this is the photo the Tories have banned. Not exactly the man of the people image they want to project of David Cameron is it? When Islam suppressed the Prophet Mohammed pictures, Boris Johnson and other right-wing bloggers were up in arms, not so vocal now are they?


  1. "...not so vocal now are they?"

    because you are comparing apples with oranges?

    On the one hand, the copyright owners have utilised their right to withdraw their images; on the other, people stirred up a cauldron of hatred and violence over publications that were not theirs to withdraw.

    However you try to present it, this is not a free speech issue. People who own the rights to an image are free at any time to withdraw publication for whatever reason - or, indeed, no reason at all.

  2. So suppressing free speech with wealth is ok, but suppressing it by other means is not?

  3. As I said, this is not a free speech issue. You have aimed at the wrong target. This is a copyright issue, nothing more. I fail to see how withdrawal of this image by the copyright holders affects anyone's right to free speech.

    I have taken issue over unauthorised use of my images. Had the thief tried to argue freedom of speech, I would have laughed in his face. Theft is not freedom of speech, it is theft.

  4. One man's theft is another's freedom of speech.

    Seriously though, we are talking about suppressing an image, this has nothing to do with protecting copyright. I think that is pretty obvious.

  5. No, Neil, theft is theft. Copyright law is clear on this matter. There is no room for interpreatition.

    Whatever the reasons, or none at all, the owners of the image withdrew it. That is their right in law. That's what "all rights reserved" means. They own it they can do as they please with it.

    I haven't heard anything to suggest that either Cameron or Boris wish to suppress the image - it doesn't do them any more harm than the similar one of Blair during his student days. Mildly embarrasing, but nothing more. And, frankly, why should anyone care?

  6. longrider: Of course it is pure coincidence that the owners of this image want to ban it.

  7. Why is irrelevant. It is their image. If they tried to ban it and they didn't own it, well, then you would have a case.

  8. Pull the other one. Whatever spurious justification is used. You and I both know this is the Tories suppressing an image they think is damaging, whether they own the image or not is irrelevant. It is either a cash in brown envelopes job or pulling strings with friends behind the scenes. Whichever it is, is a suppression of information.

  9. The image isn't damaging. This is a big "so what?" Who cares?

    There are plenty of things you could go for the Tories on; this isn't one of them.

  10. Well it may be 'so what' to a lot of people, but the Tories obviously feared its use, hence its banning.

  11. Neil.

    Get a grip.

    You suggest that some demonstrate some - shall we say - flexibility as to what constitutes an abuse of freedom of speech.

    The only problem is that you have to employ a certain - shall we say - flexibility in your attitude to property rights in order to make your case.


    That aside your case is shite, top to bottom. In order for this to be a freedom of speech issue, you would have to show not just that this - copyright - photo were embargoed, but that attempts were being made to stifle the discussion of this particular topic at all. By anyone, in any terms, using any medium.

    In fact, now that we think about it, I must have missed your headline "Labour party suppresses free speech - rot goes right to the very very top" following the Cash for Honours embargo - where a much more serious infringement of freedom of speech actually happened.

    Argue that there is an ill-fated attempt to counter some negative publicity if you will, but don't confuse this with the use of real violence against dissenting opinion.

    Given the choice, I think even you would prefer to be governed by the Tories than Islamists. For fuck's sake admit that for once.