Belgian Racist Uses Spurious Copyright Claim to Censor Libertarian Websites

Two left-libertarian organizations, the Center for a Stateless Society and Students for a Stateless Society, are fending off a bigot who believes his critics don't have a right to quote his words while criticizing him. Roderick Long, a senior fellow at the center (and occasional contributor to Reason), has the details:

Center for a Stateless SocietyCenter for a Stateless SocietyThe Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) has an associated student group, Students for a Stateless Society (S4SS), with affiliates around the world. A couple of weeks ago, S4SS noticed that its affiliate at the University of Ghent in Belgium (S4SS UGent) was being taken over by racists and Islamophobic bigots, so it issued a public statement disaffiliating with the group, and explained why. The explanation included quotations from bigoted comments made on the S4SS UGent facebook page – a page that was public at the time, though it has since been made private. C4SS then put up a link to the S4SSstatement.

One of the racists quoted in the statement, a certain Olivier Janssens, demanded that the notice be taken down, alleging that a) his comments were copyrighted and shouldn't be quoted without his consent, and b) his privacy was violated, and personal safety threatened, since we had made public his comments from a private forum. Since we judged that explaining the disaffiliation, and warning potential comrades against Janssens and his entryist colleagues, created a fair-use context for the quotations – and since, contrary to Janssens’s assertions, the forum in which the comments were made was actually public at the time he made them – we declined his request (with some asperity).

Apparently unaware of the concept of the "Streisand Effect," Janssens engaged a lawyer – one who publicly brags about the ease of using flimsy DMCA claims to intimidate web hosts into compliance – who thereupon used a flimsy DMCA claim to intimidate C4SS/S4SS's web host into compliance, and both the C4SS and S4SS websites were shut down.

Long goes on to reprint the post that got the two websites in trouble. Among other things, it quotes one of Janssens' cronies calling for "Guns to kill all those sand-niggers and their servants...just like the animals they are." You can see why S4SS would want to distance themselves from this crew.

The Center for a Stateless Society -- which never even posted Janssens' words but got hit by his spurious copyright claim anyway -- has put up a backup site; its front page currently quotes the takedown notice. (An actual line from Janssens' attorney: "Your hosting customer...decided to embarrass Oliver Janssens in the worst and most effective way – by words out of his own mouth." Well, yeah.) It also includes a request for financial assistance. The Students for a Stateless Society page is still down.

Update: Janssens has withdrawn his takedown demand and the two censored sites are claiming victory. For more details, go here.

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  • Brandon||

    Why does assholeish behavior always seem to coincide with rank stupidity?

  • Father Jack||

    I want to know the name of this pig attorney, ASAP. Feck! Drink! Arse! Girls!

  • liam.lah||

    It's JD Openberger from http://xxxlaw.com/

    That is according to the page up on c4ss itself.

  • ||

    Couldn't the webhost have told him to suck their balls?

  • UnCivilServant||

    It's less legally risky to takedown first and resolve afterwards.

  • ||

    Long goes on to reprint the post that got the two websites in trouble. Among other things, it quotes one of Janssens' cronies calling for "Guns to kill all those sand-niggers and their servants...just like the animals they are." You can see why S4SS would want to distance themselves from this crew.

    Maybe we can bring him to this website and send 'Merican to the Belgian one in like a troll foreign exchange program.

  • Jerryskids||

    Popehat has regular posts of stuff like this. I believe the accepted response to spurious threats of lawsuits and censorious asshattery is "Snort my taint".

  • Azathoth!!||

    There is no such thing as a 'left-libertarian', the term is an oxymoron. Leftists are statist at their core.

    This is one group of leftists fighting another group of leftists(racism is a type of collectivism). Why should we care? With luck, they'll destroy each other.

  • ||

    What's this "we" you speak of? You sound like a tribalist. (Tribalism is a type of collectivism.)

  • johnl||

    Was this page fine before highnumber posted? I notice that some people think it's the usernames with email addresses that, along with some new script from reason, are breaking reasonable.

  • Azathoth!!||

    We are Azathoth. But you are dimensionally, temporally, and spatially limited, so please replace 'we' with 'I'

  • sgs||

    "What's this "we" you speak of? "

    Um, the readers/audience you stupid fuck.

    Jesus, why do you always try so hard to look intelligent and pedantic, yet always fail?

  • ||

    Ha! Joke's on you. I'm just trying to piss off the idiots.

  • Jesse Walker||

    There is no such thing as a 'left-libertarian', the term is an oxymoron....Why should we care? With luck, they'll destroy each other.

    You know what I think is an oxymoron? "Libertarians who don't care about censorship."

  • np||

    Did you know Bastiat was a leftist? He sat on the left side of the French courts, hence the term. Karl Hess, Robert Anton Wilson, Roy Childs, Samuel Konkin III (and in many ways Heinlein) were leftist. Today, Sheldon Richman and Cody Wilson (and similarly pro-tax evading, pro-black market folks) also considers themselves leftist.

    Sheldon Richman, who's also part of C4SS, discusses that here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZVPVCrY_Po

    Keep in mind this is the same guy who also gave a lecture Articles of Confederation versus the Constitution. So perhaps you can say there are two types of "leftists" like there are two types of liberals vis-a-vis classical liberals.

    But if there's no such thing as left-libertarian, then there's also no such thing as a right-libertarian. As such I'd agree there's only libertarianism as pure political philosophy. However, to me the qualifiers of "left" and "right" really just denotes how you'd use your freedom given by libertarianism and the culture you'd embrace, essentially a superset philosophy, so it is not an oxymoron per se.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Well said.

  • Calidissident||

    Left and right is a stupid concept, and however you try and define them, radically different groups get put on the same side

  • Sevo||

    "Left and right is a stupid concept, and however you try and define them, radically different groups get put on the same side"

    True when defining others, but those who self-define as left are typically authoritarian statists.

  • liam.lah||

    "True when defining others, but those who self-define as left are typically authoritarian statists."

    This is almost guaranteed in reverse too.

  • Sevo||

    "This is almost guaranteed in reverse too."

    Not sure; what mean?

  • Azathoth!!||

    So perhaps you can say there are two types of "leftists" like there are two types of liberals vis-a-vis classical liberals.

    When this dawned on you, you could have deleted your post as your pedantry became pointless.

    There is no 'right-libertarianism' because, in the right/left spectrum, libertarianism is on the right, past the GOP, past conservatism. Both of which are to it's left.

  • kuro||

    you're a fucking dork. I joined this site just to tell you this, that's how much i appreciate your dorkness.

    when user np says that the libertarians sat on the left in the Estates General of 1789, it didn't just "dawn" on him, they actually did. That's where the definition of "left/right" originates from.

    *your* definition on the other hand is totally arbitrary, like you just pulled it out of your ass one day. Or like it suddenly dawned on you one day watching Glenn Beck's chalkboard

  • Azathoth!!||

    Genius, when he said--
    "So perhaps you can say there are two types of "leftists" like there are two types of liberals vis-a-vis classical liberals."

    he was acknowledging that I was using the term in the modern sense and not referencing its beginnings in 1879.

    Something you clearly did not understand...though np appears to have grasped it.

    Now please run on back to Huffpo, or Kos or whatever leftist asshole squeexed you out.

  • kuro||

    smartass,

    the modern term is intrinsically tied to it's origin, hence libertarian leftists like Charles 'radgeek' Johnson, Kevin Carson, Thomas Knapp and the like.

    Also, dude, in your arbitrary definition, there are two types of rightists, the GOP and conservatives (centre-right) and libertarians (far right,and beyonnnnnnnnd). So by you're own acknowledgement, there can be two types of rightism, authoritarian and libertarian. But somehow, the same doesn't apply to the centre-left, far left, and beyond. You're just making it up as you go along aren't you?

  • JeremyR||

    Heinlein was not even remotely a leftist.
    Sure, he had very open social values, but he supported Reagan's SDI program, which arguably makes him more of a Republican than anything else.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    If there isn't any such thing, Roderick Long does a reasonable impression of one.

  • AgoristInTexas||

    Nope, you're wrong. Left-Libertarians don't engage in the political process, are against corporatism, and view the concept of "intellectual property" as bullshit. Right-Libertarians want to play within the system (the LP, Cato, etc.), see no problem with corporatism, and believe in IP. So, Left-L's are more about action, while Right-L's are about talking. Lastly, "Google mofo, can you use it?"

  • Free Society||

    "left-libertarian" is a euphemism for "pseudo-libertarian". they describe a stateless society that's actually dominated by a state they pretend isn't a state. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

  • Sevo||

    ..."they describe a stateless society that's actually dominated by a state they pretend isn't a state."...

    Just clicked on five or six sites hoping to see what they are about; nada.
    Got a cite?

  • np||

    You will have to wait until they get their site back up to judge for yourself

    Welcome to our backup site.

    Both C4SS.org and S4SS.org as well as all our content has been temporarily suspended by our web hosting company, Bluehost ...
  • Sevo||

    np|9.25.13 @ 1:35PM|#
    "You will have to wait until they get their site back up to judge for yourself"

    I was hoping for a reference to them by other parties; seems there are none that I could find.

  • BerserkRL||

    As for what we as left-libertarians stand for, a couple of links:

    http://www.theamericanconserva.....arian-left

    http://bleedingheartlibertaria.....rtarianism

  • AgoristInTexas||

  • MJGreen||

    So you have no idea what these particular people advocate.

  • VicRattlehead||

    They advocate state coerced communism without the authoritarian elements.... so we will force you to give up part of your shit to the less fortunate (laziest) or else we will use our collective force to make you....
    Anarchism in my book means at my house i decide whats going to happen,you get nothing if i decide not to give it, and a face full of buckshot if you try and take it then i leave your rotting thieving carcass for the dogs to pick clean in the front yard without worrying about some dick in a suit telling me it was wrong and questioning my right to defend my property

  • Sevo||

    "They advocate state coerced communism without the authoritarian elements.... so we will force you to give up part of your shit to the less fortunate (laziest) or else we will use our collective force to make you...."

    So mob coercion rather than government coercion?

  • liam.lah||

    The term "market" is in their subtitle. They are not communists. Vic's post is just wrong, and I suggest people wait for their site to come back up and read their shit before making judgements based on other people's opinions.

  • Free Society||

    Unless they are mistakenly labeling themselves as "left libertarians" it's certainly a pseudo-libertarian group.

    Left-libertarians, left anarchists, anarcho-syndicalists, anarcho-communists et cetera. pick virtually any "left libertarian" platform and you'll find claims to the property of others, the forceful break-up of societal "classes", "positive freedom" and equality of outcomes (etc).

    There is no way to advocate what those philosophies are advocating without state coercion. In every single case they describe some sort of redistributive agent which is claimed to NOT be a state.

    So yeah I think even if I give them the benefit of the doubt for their logical consistency, they are not true libertarians or anarchists.

  • Robert||

    No, not all "left"-libertarians. Some of them are just non-proertarian anarchists. You can't aggress against anyone's person, and you can't own anything.

  • kuro||

    "and you can't own anything"

    This isn't true at all. even the most non-propertarian anarchist supports ooccupancy and use rights of land. IT's just a lesser degree of stickiness to rothbardian no-proviso lockean rights.

  • Sevo||

    You seem to think you have some idea of what they propose. There must be some reference other than the web site; why don't you give us a link?

  • kuro||

    "they describe a stateless society that's actually dominated by a state"

    No they don't.

  • AgoristInTexas||

  • CE||

    The Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS)

    Oh great, the Tea Party anarchists have another captive think tank.

  • Killazontherun||

    Not like the left doesn't often engage in false flag ops to discredit the Tea Party.

    http://goo.gl/rtAJjH

    Think Progress is an unofficial auxiliary of the Democratic Party, apparently run with the singular purpose of generating reams of dubious (and sometimes shockingly bad) propaganda. One of their more recent abortive efforts was to fabricate a video that they they would like to use as evidence supporting the popular left-wing meme that the growing tea party movement is chock-full of racists. Here it is.

    Not like any of you would ever apologize for your bad faith bullshit if it turns out the same thing is happening here.

  • VicRattlehead||

    Hardly Tea-partiers more like progtards posing as anarchists "cos its so cool and in right now"

  • kuro||

    "cos its so cool and in right now"

    That sounds suspiciously like every Ayn Rand reading objectivist and ronpauloompa in the wake of Obeezy's election

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Rumor has it Olivier Janssens sticks iced cream up his ass.

  • VicRattlehead||

    C4SS needs to re-educate themselves on the precepts of a truly stateless society, perhaps some light reading "Days of War, Nights Of Love" "Memoirs of the Superfluous man" and "Expect Resistance" might be some good places to start educating themselves on the principals that make a stateless society work. or just stick to empty proglotard "anarchist" rhetoric cuz free markets are inherintly evil, and we need big government to protect us from it but we are stateless.... yep absolute morons. the closest thing to achievable anarchy is the idea of libertopia and these sheeple should just get on board the train though they would likely become the new progs complaining about how the market isnt free because being a lazy waste of space isnt a paid job.

  • kuro||

    You seem to be trying to pin a label on them as anti-free market. That's how I know you haven't read anything by the folks at C4ss. You're just making an ass of yourself.

  • AgoristInTexas||

    Nice strawman, but it is wrong nonetheless http://praxeology.net/all-left.htm http://agorism.info/

  • kuro||

  • Flemur||

    Belgian Racist Uses Spurious Copyright Claim to Censor Libertarian Websites

    Oh my golly gosh! And *gasp*, too!

    Somebody doesn't love those cuddly lil Muslims!

    Nice selective editing, though. Here's more of the quote:

    "...our hosting customer, who operates http://s4ss.org, decided to embarrass Oliver Janssens in the worst and most effective way - by words out of his own mouth. Words of his own creation which, when reduced to the tangible medium of a FaceBook page, acquired a copyright recognized by the United States Copyright Act and international conventions concerning copyright. And because the words he wrote, in what he imagined to be a close discussion among like-minded persons in a FaceBook page, reflected heterodox social and political views about Muslims in Europe, its further publication on your servers presents certain practical dangers to the safety and well-being of Mr. Janssens, who lives and works in that part of Europe in which violence is so routinely applied by Islamic Extremists to those who oppose them, that it seldom makes the news here when its victims are nailed into coffins and buried."
    http://itnewsandmovies.com/tag.....lications/

  • Jesse Walker||

    From the post: "contrary to Janssens’s assertions, the forum in which the comments were made was actually public at the time he made them."

    Even if this were not true, of course, Janssens' fears would not justify his copyright claim. Copyright law doesn't work like that, and neither do the free-speech principles that libertarians accept.

  • liam.lah||

    Aside from the fact that faux safety concerns do not justify copyright claims, this is from the Lawyer, Openberger's own website. Regarding dirty secrets of the DMCA:

    "If you write the request for a takedown on a leaf of stale cabbage in magic marker, without stating any reason or offering any proof or affidavit pursuant to the DMCA, and transmit it by a casual, friendly courier, who works a garbage truck route running past their office and offers to drop it off for you, most of them will take it down fairly immediately, within hours, because they are more afraid of you and your attorneys than they are of the posters. …"

  • Gweskoyen||

    Fuck off fascist scum.

  • Winston||

    Bastiat was a leftist, true. But so were his socialist enemies. So I question the point of using such broad, practically meaningless, terminology.

  • Free Society||

    Bastiat was a leftist (a broadly useless term like you said) but he was a leftist of his time and place, which is not the same thing as what we would today call a "leftist" in the US. As useless as the term is, it's also a relative term, adding to it's uselessness.

  • Agammamon||

    1. There's no such thing as 'left-libertarian' they're just mild socialists.

    2. Anyone who actually uses the term 'comrade' to refer to other people is not a mild socialist.

  • angus||

    2. unless they are non-native English speakers from continental Europe, where comrade has different baggage.

  • kuro||

    3. some socialists *are* libertarian because they believe that free market means will achieve socialist ends

  • Sevo||

    What socialist ends?

  • kuro||

    that "labor be put in possession of its own"

  • Hawk Spitui||

    Around here we call those "Cosmotarians".

  • kuro||

    ok, 'round other parts, they're just called "individualist anarchist" and "mutualists"

  • Azathoth!!||

    Libertarian and socialist are diametrically oppositional ideologies.

    Socialism does not allow for individual liberty that operates at odds with social goals. Thus is cannot ever be part of anything libertarian.

  • JeremyR||

    In this case, they are out and out communists. That's the supposed end game of communism, where everyone is equal and there is no government and everyone owns everything collectively.

  • Sevo||

    "In this case, they are out and out communists. That's the supposed end game of communism, where everyone is equal and there is no government and everyone owns everything collectively."

    Those defending them seem less than willing to offer specifics or any sort of reference that suggests why they are defending them.
    I'm suspicious of 'left' claims in that libertarianism seems to be structurally reliant on people acting in they're self interest, and yes, owning stuff.
    Claims that humanity will evolve 'out of' that sound religious to me.

  • Sevo||

    "their", not "they're", damn it.

  • AgoristInTexas||

    http://praxeology.net/all-left.htm http://agorism.info/ There's the info as to what left-libertarianism is.

  • AgoristInTexas||

    There is such a thing as left-libertarians. Do you know how to use Google? http://praxeology.net/all-left.htm http://agorism.info/

  • Azathoth!!||

    Notice the influx of 'left-libertarians' to defend their stance. Why? They didn't seem too interested until it started getting pointed out that they weren't actually libertarian at all.

    And they're not.

    They're leftists doing that leftist task of taking an group/ideology/movement that is not specifically anti-leftist and turning it into one that is safely leftist.

    And they're terrified that people are finally starting to notice that they're there.

    The Gramscian March can be stopped, ended and reversed.

    Do it. Lift the rock. Let them wither in the light.

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