Bogus Copyright Infringement Claims Violate Law

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warned ABC, Inc. Thursday not to pursue its bogus copyright infringement claims against 'Spocko' -- a blogger who sparked nationwide debate over a San Francisco radio station -- and asked the media giant to retract its baseless threats.

The free speech battle began when Spocko posted audio clips of what he deemed to be offensive talk-radio rhetoric from ABC-owned and San Francisco-based KSFO-AM on his blog at In response, ABC, Inc. sent a threatening letter to the blogger's hosting company, claiming that copyright law prevented Spocko from posting the clips. The hosting company responded by shutting Spocko's website down, forcing him to move to a different provider. In a letter sent to ABC, Inc. Thursday, EFF warned that further false copyright claims could compel Spocko to take action to protect his free speech rights.

"Copyright law is not designed to silence speech that you dislike," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "ABC and KSFO know that their legal threats were absolutely groundless. Their time and efforts are better spent explaining why they think Spocko is wrong, and letting the public decide, instead of resorting to thuggish legal tactics."

EFF's letter to ABC is the latest development in its ongoing campaign to protect online free speech from the chilling effects of bogus copyright claims. In November, EFF reached an agreement with the corporate owners of the popular children's television character Barney the Purple Dinosaur to withdraw meritless legal threats against a website publisher who parodied the character.

For the full letter to ABC:

For more on Spocko:


Matt Zimmerman
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation

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