I Remember When the RIAA Thought This Would Work


Fresh from successfully pressuring Amazon into booting WikiLeaks from its servers, Sen. Joe Lieberman (CFL-Conn.) has now persuaded Tableau, a Seattle software company, to take down some WikiLeaks-related material created by the journalist James Bell. Glenn Greenwald, who interviewed Bell today, reports that the material consisted of

charts summarizing the material released by WikiLeaks (for instance, the charts counted the documents which originated from each country, the number of documents by year, and the like). These charts contained no classified information whatsoever, and disclosed nothing about the content of the cables. It was the completely innocuous work of a freelance journalist to inform the public about the categories of documents released. Those charts were then linked to from the WikiLeaks site, but hosted separately by Tableau.

Those are the benign, purely legal documents that have now been removed from the Internet in response to Joe Lieberman's demands and implied threats.

Needless to say, it didn't take WikiLeaks long after Amazon expelled it to find another host and go back online. I'm sure the Bell charts will also be available again soon, if they aren't already. The whack-WikiLeaks crowd may come out of this affair with some new tools for restricting the world's more pliable publications, and perhaps that's what it ultimately wants. But if you think such tactics will actually prevent Julian Assange (or others like him) from making this sort of material available…well, then you probably expected online filesharing to end when Napster went legit.