In the copyright and First Amendment case Harper & Row, the Supreme Court famously called copyright law "the engine of free expression." Indeed, properly limited, copyright can be an engine of free expression. However, when not properly limited, copyright can, instead of promoting free expression, become an engine of censorship.
Many have argued this point, but seldom do you see such blatant and concrete examples of this phenomenon as when the Walt Disney Company aligns itself with would be censors of "dirty bits" in order to promote expanded copyright law. The Agitator had the story 10 days ago (Mousetrap):
So I was a little curious why Walt Disney Company sponsored a booth at CPAC [Conservative Political Action Conference]. It's the only notable corporate booth at the conference. My first thought was that maybe Disney's trying to win back family values crusaders still pissed off about the whole (ridiculous) "gay day" thing.
Turns out, Disney's presence at CPAC is a Grover Norquist project, and represents a soul-selling symbiotic effort between cultural conservatives and the Mouse to ban peer-to-peer technology. The Disney booth is lined with op-eds, Heritage backgrounders, and dire warnings to conservative parents about how their children are utilizing peer-to-peer to download pornography.
Is it a coincidence that the copyright industry (which usually celebrates the First Amendment) seeks to get in bed with censors? I think not.
UPDATE 1200 PT
Frank Field's Furdlog notes this hypocritical alliance (Alliances in the Grokster Battle) He quotes from an AP article on the New York Times website (File - Sharing Case Unites Unlikely Allies):
"Hollywood is definitely a strange bedfellow to most of us," said Jim Backlin, vice president of legislative affairs for the Christian Coalition of America. "Our goal was to cut down child pornography and other kinds of pornography, and if for some reason we were allied with the Hollywood types this time, so be it." ....
In building a wider coalition of support, Bainwol [head of the RIAA] said he sought to find a way to ensure that the "mainstream of America would embrace our position."
Bainwol's predecessor, Hilary Rosen, doubts a cozier relationship between conservatives and the entertainment industry will ensue.
"There is a bizarre but cool irony to the conservatives who hate the media we produce but defend to the death our right to make money when we produce it," added Rosen, whose tenure at the RIAA coincided with the 1999 congressional hearings over violent lyrics that followed the Columbine High School slayings.
I really have to admire the brazen way Rosen turns around the classic rallying cry of free speech "I disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it."