Jim Robinson Destroys FreeRepublic.com in Lawsuit

Part of Jim Robinson's defense in the lawsuit brought against Free Republic by the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times is the claim that Free Republic operates under the "Fair Use" provisions of the copyright law as an educational resource.

Key to that defense is a claim of objectivity and a forum free from censorship.

At http://www.techlawjournal.com/courts/freerep/19991018mem.htm one can find the text of a memorandum submitted to the court by Free Republic's defense attorney. Note the highlighted portions.

BRIAN L. BUCKLEY, SBN 116705
LAW OFFICES OF BRIAN L. BUCKLEY
11661 San Vicente Blvd., Suite 820
Los Angeles, California 90049
(310) 207-4224 FAX (310) 820-2187
Attorneys for Defendants
FREE REPUBLIC, ELECTRONIC ORCHARD,
JAMES C. ROBINSON s/h/a JIM ROBINSON

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES TIMES, and THE
WASHINGTON POST COMPANY  
and its wholly owned subsidiary,
WASHINGTON.NEWSWEEK
INTERACTIVE COMPANY,

Plaintiffs,

v.

FREE REPUBLIC, ELECTRONIC
ORCHARD, JIM ROBINSON, AND
DOES 1 THROUGH 10, inclusive

Defendants.

)
)  CASE NO. 98-7840 MMM(AJWx)
)
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT
OF DEFENDANTS' MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

)
)  DATE: November 8, 1999
)  TIME: 10 a.m.
)  Courtroom 790
)  Hon. Margaret M. Morrow
)
)

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 
PRELIMINARY STATEMENT 7
INTRODUCTION 8
ARGUMENT 9
I.  Defendants' Use of Plaintiffs' Copyrighted Content is a "Fair Use" within the meaning of 17 U.S.C. ?107 9
A.  Standard of Review for the "Fair Use" Defense: Equitable Rule of Reason 10
B.  Each Statutory "Fair Use" Factor Weighs in Favor of Defendants 11
(1)  The Purpose and Character of the Use 11
(2)  The Nature of the Copyrighted Work 14
(3)  The Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used 14
(4)  The Effect upon the Plaintiffs' Potential Market 15
C.  The First Amendment As An Element of Fair Use: To Find Other Than Defendants' Use is a "Fair Use" Would Cloud the First Amendment Rights of Both Defendants and Users of the Free Republic web site 15
II.  FIRST AMENDMENT AS A SEPARATE DEFENSE (An Issue of First Impression) 16
CONCLUSION 19

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

STATUTES
 [omitted]
CASES
 [omitted]
SECONDARY AUTHORITIES
 [omitted]

 

PRELIMINARY STATEMENT

"In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and statement....." When Franklin Roosevelt spoke these words to a gathered Congress on January 6, 1941, he added eloquence to a revered notion in American history, though he did not express a new idea. Americans have been and are accustomed to free speech as an underpinning of our social stability. Without the right to express ourselves freely, even and perhaps especially through harsh criticism of those who govern us, the vitality that assures our continuance as the greatest nation on earth is directly and immediately threatened.

It is well known that our free press, which is the envy of stifled voices throughout the world, found its footing and secured its permanence by ratification of the Constitution and enactment of the Bill of Rights, the 1st amendment of which guarantees protections against laws inhibiting free speech.

On September 28, 1998, two of the most prominent and influential newspapers in the United States, in a feat of special irony, filed an action in federal court in Los Angeles, California seeking to shut down an internet web site that is devoted to giving statement to political and social commentary from anyone who wishes to participate.

The website operated by the defendants, www.freerepublic.com, permits anyone who wishes to post news articles or other items and to post commentary about the article as well. Thousands of persons participate every day. No fee of any kind is charged. The site is a not for profit enterprise that summons us to enjoy the very essence of free speech principles. The political views expressed by the majority of participants are congruent with the goal of rooting out corruption in government, though no censorship is made and all views are permitted.

=============================

Note From Webamster: I registered there one time about a year ago and I made one post disagreeing with some freeper and even posted a link to a story proving I was right and my post was deleted and I was banned.

I was banned for one post, how is that not censorship ?

No views are permitted there except freeper views. I never tried to register again either like the freepers do on my message board. On my message board I get freepers who post that I bang dead horses so I delete their post and ban them.

Then they come right back with a new post the next day saying I bang dead horses, I delete it again and the next day they do it again.

=============================

The internet has arrived with a bang, and virtually all major newspapers have set up their own websites to exploit it for profit, as is their right. Jim Robinson, a disabled wheelchair bound activist, set up www.freerepublic.com not to compete with them but to give a voice to individuals throughout the land. It is a virtual town hall for the nation. If this action by The Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post is permitted to close town hall, we are headed back toward what Franklin Roosevelt and others before him feared. Free speech must remain a treasured national asset, accessible to all, including but not limited to The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.

INTRODUCTION

Defendant Free Republic (freerepublic.com) is a not-for-profit politically-conservative internet web site begun as a hobby by defendant Jim Robinson ("Robinson"), a disabled wheel-chair bound victim of Muscular Dystrophy. Free Republic is a "bulletin board" type of internet site which allows visitors to the site to "post" articles and commentary to the site which can be read and commented upon by other visitors to the site. Robinson created Free Republic in 1996 out of shear frustration. He was dissatisfied with the current Presidential administration (the "Clinton Administration") and with the "mainstream" media coverage of its policies and activities. Robinson was frustrated with the inability on other internet sites and alternative forums to engage in a completely free and open discussion of news and politics -- especially by dissenters to the current Presidential Administration's policies and activities and dissenters to the "mainstream" media coverage of same. Before creating Free Republic, Robinson frequented other internet discussion sites and was frustrated by their censorship and restrictions on free statement of ideas.

Already in the computer consulting business, Robinson saw the need to create an alternative forum which would allow open discussion of news and politics -- and allow open discussion of the "mainstream" media coverage of same. Thus was born Free Republic.

[END EXCERPT]

Now read Jim Robinson's public statements below.



Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2002 02:50:39 -0800
From: "Jim Robinson"
Organization: Free Republic
To: "Larry McDonald"
Subject: Re: What Are You Scared Of?

Those who are coming in here to post a bunch of propaganda to smear Bush or otherwise harm the war effort are going to be deleted.

And...

Jim Robinson (Free Republic)
by JIM ROBINSON in This thread
Lots of grumbling lately about deleted posts. Well, my friends, the simple truth is the game has changed. We are now at war. We have been attacked by a vicious cold-blooded force of international terrorists who want to destroy our nation, our freedom and our way of life. There is no doubt about this. Knowing this, I am alarmed to read some of the stuff that has been posted to FR in the last few days. This is not the time to raise doubts about our leaders. This is not the time to raise conspiracy theories. This is not the time to second guess our intelligence agencies. This is war. This is survival of our way of life. We must unite behind our Commander-in-chief and do all we possibly can to support him and our war efforts. We do not have a choice in this matter.

Free Republic's claim: "The political views expressed by the majority of participants are congruent with the goal of rooting out corruption in government, though no censorship is made and all views are permitted."

Free Republic's reality is quite different. Censorship is (and frankly has been) rampant at Free Republic. Only the corruption of certain acceptible targets is tolerated; the corruption of others is banned, the threads yanked, the posters banned.

Jim Robinson says the rules have changed. he's wrong. The rules are the same. The American people still need a place to share ideas and ask questions without fear of censorship or abuse, and if Free Republic is not going to be that place, then it has outlived its' usefulness.

I am certain that as Jim Robinson's recent statements are made known to the court hearing the lawsuit against Free Republic, that the court will take due notice and respond accordingly.