Saturday, August 09, 2008

Censor or regulate?

I'm really torn on this. I believe in free speech. But, I also know speech isn't completely free. It IS controlled. "fire", "bomb", the "N" word, are all examples of speech that isn't free . . . without consequence. I think everyone would agree, in some cases, oversight of some sorts speech is a good thing.

It is in that vein that I wonder if we're at a point where we need oversight on video postings on sites such as Youtube and Google video. There have been a number of recent incidences in which people plot to videotape a person being beaten just to be able to post the beating on Youtube. It seems the rage.

On the one hand, if you stop glorifying it, playing in to the intent of the posters, perhaps the issue would resolve itself some. Maybe not. In most cases it seems these people are looking for the attention the internet brings. Sick as that seems.

On the other hand, you'd think any assault would be a prosecutable offense. After all, you've got video.

But, people seem to get away with this. The video quality of most of these posts isn't that good as to absolutely identify the actors. Also, there may not be other witnesses to rely on. Victims may not come forward out of fear of retribution.

Obviously, we can't rely on the validity of accounts. It's all to easy to set up a Youtube account using anything but truthful information. Cases such as the Lori Drew cyber-bullying case is evidence of that.

The Lori Drew cases also poses the question of free speech and identity protection. I don't regard a Youtube account in the same way I'd regard a doctor patient relationship. But, some people do.

So, does Youtube and Google video bear any responsibility? They have rules. You can't post anything. Why not add fight videos to that list?

One could argue that you have a better chance prosecuting an assault with the video than without. But, that's like treating the symptom and not the cause.

It's seems that many incidents get outed and arrests are made. Which points to the stupidity of videotaping one's crime. Still, it seems to be the rage all of a sudden. If oversight isn't the answer, and I don't think it is, then the penalties of such actions should be severe.

No comments: