The UN Special Rapporteur’s Report: Lex Canis Epulor Opus

The Report of the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression devotes considerable attention to the negative effects on the expression of opinion and access to culture that obtain when artists are allowed to enforce their rights.  The only problem with that is that the word “artist” does not appear in the report—not one time.  You know what word does appear in the report?  Google.  You know what other word appears in the
report?  YouTube.  Because, as we know, intermediary liability for copyright infringement is a very, very dangerous development for civilization as we know it, and who better to illustrate this principle than Google and YouTube.

For example: “[I]ntermediary liability is imposed through privacy and data protection laws. For example, a court in Italy convicted three Google executives for violating the Italian data protection code after a video depicting cruelty to a disabled teenager was posted by a user on the Google video service. Even though the video was taken down within hours of notification by Italian law enforcers, the judge found the Google executives guilty.”

The Very Special Rapporteur thus illustrates the time-honored principle in Judeo-Christian jurisprudence that once you get caught, you should not be punished if you promise never to do it again: Lex Canis Epulor Opus.  And a violation of this revered jurisprudential principle is very, very dangerous to speech.

Well, actually that isn’t the law.  But wait—they did it on the Internet, you see.  And on the Internet, no Lex knows you’re a
Canis.  Even if the Canis really did Epulor the Opus.

All better now, right?

More on this later.