el rato

Evenin', fellow firedogs!  Tonight I'm going to attempt to get us all up to speed about a situation that I suspect we're going to be hearing a lot about in the near future.  This story was brought to my attention by ¡El Gato Negro!.

Where to begin?  First we'll go to A. J. Kandy, who blogs at King Marketing:

ABC/Disney operates a US-wide network of radio stations and affiliates. One of these affiliates, San Francisco’s KSFO, is a die-hard right-wing talk shop whose rabidly eliminationist hosts have publicly endorsed (if not outright revelled in) torture and engaged in hate speech of all stripes. However, the station is sold to its advertisers as a “Disney” station, with all the connotations of family-friendliness that entails.

Self-described “fifth-tier blogger” Spocko decided to “out” KSFO to its national advertisers with a polite letter-writing campaign, and by exposing their hate speech on his blog with short audio clips and transcripts (which falls under the Fair Use statutes.)

This, of course, is what we call citizen action, and most of us know the drill by now.  We write to advertisers and once in a blue moon, they write us back, pat us on the head and tell us that they'll take our suggestion under advisement, then go on their merry way without changing a thing.  This was not the case, however, with Spocko.  From a guest post at BlogIntegrity, Spocko himself can tell us what happened next:

In mid-December I got confirmation that a major national advertiser, VISA, pulled their ads from the Melanie Morgan and Lee Rogers show, based on listening to audio clips I provided them. I also think that FedEx, AT&T and Kaiser are considering pulling their ads. Visa isn’t the first advertiser who has left KSFO, multiple advertisers have left the station, especially from the Brian Sussman show. In July of this year when KSFO lost MasterCard as an advertiser someone from KSFO “outed” me on a counter-blog (which I won’t link to). This same person has also threatened me with local and federal criminal action for using the audio (which I clearly used under the fair use portion of copyright law). And because they have suggested violence toward me (in addition to talking about suing me "for everything I have”) I have chosen to remain anonymous.

As Thers has said,

Hooray, for Thers!!  Oh, uh, ahem.  Sorry.  You were saying, Spocko? 

95 percent of blog fights don’t mean anything, but I think this one does since KSFO is using the full weight and force of an ABC/Disney lawyer and copyright law against a private citizen blogger. I dared to use the audio content in question for nonprofit educational purposes (I don’t even have ads on my blog!), and thus under the protection of the Fair Use Doctrine set forth in Section 107 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C.§107.

Now we go to Online Media Daily:

IN THE LATEST SKIRMISH BETWEEN big media and a blogger, The Walt Disney Company has succeeded in shutting down the Web site "Spocko's Brain."

On the site, blogger and media critic "Spocko" took issue with on-air comments made by right-wing talk show hosts at Bay Area ABC affiliate radio station KSFO. He posted audio files of hosts' comments on his Web site, and also began a letter-writing campaign that, he says, resulted in advertisers fleeing the station.

But Tuesday, Spocko's Internet service provider, 1&1 Internet, pulled the plug on the blog–a move prompted by a Dec. 22 cease-and-desist letter from ABC Radio claiming that material on Spocko's Brain violated Disney's copyright.

And that's where things stand right now.  Many of us are now familiar with ABC/Disney's strong-arm fascism-in-mouse-ears tactics from the "Path to 9/11" debacle earlier this year.  Here's what you can do to help our fellow blogger, Spocko:

1. The KSFO hate clips are all up at Online BlogIntegrity.  Collect 'em all.  Share with your friends.  Spread them around.  It's a veritable cornucopia of Right Wing Hate Speech.  (Listen at your own risk.)

2. Go here and scroll down to "What Can You Do?" and follow the instructions.  Spocko has provided us with a step-by-step plan to alert the blogging world, the MSM (if they'll listen), and KSFO's advertisers to the current situation.

I urge you all to get involved.  This is an example of how we can effectively fight the tide of hateful bile that pollutes our airwaves and rots the brains of millions of overly credulous talk-radio listeners.  We, of course, support the wingnuts' right to say whatever they want to say, but they must be prepared to face the real-world consequences of stoking the fires of ethnic, political, and religious hatred.  If that means losing the support of their advertisers and cutting into their six-figure salaries, well, then, hurrah!  We win.

Thank you and good night.