Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Radio Free Scandinavia

Horn-helmet with microphone

As reported here last week, Gates of Vienna has received two emails from Sveriges Television (SVT), the Swedish state broadcaster. The first one was from the executive producer of “Agenda SVT”, and the second from a lawyer in SVT’s legal department. Both messages objected to a video embedded in a post from last spring entitled “A Loss of Faith in Sweden as a Democracy”, and cited copyright issues as the reason for their concern.

Last summer’s decision by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, written by Richard Posner no less, makes it quite clear that the embedding of a video uploaded by someone else cannot constitute a violation of copyright — only the uploader of the video and the hosting service may be considered liable. This decision applies to citizens of the United States who live in the United States, which is what the proprietors of this blog are.

When I outlined the above information in my reply to the second email, I received an automated notice (in Swedish, but clear enough in machine translation) saying that the esteemed lawyer was on leave until the 7th of January. That’s a nice long Christmas winter holiday those SVT apparatchiks get! So we will have to wait a couple of weeks until the next act of this drama unfolds.

Copyright may be a genuine concern with SVT, but I have my doubts that it is the real issue. Why, eight months after it was originally posted, did the video suddenly draw the attention of the legal department at Swedish state TV? Even now, after the recent brouhaha, it has been viewed fewer than four thousand times — hardly a matter of great concern.

A Swedish reader wrote us with an interesting theory of what might really be going on:

The threat of legal action from SVT against Gates of Vienna may have a covert purpose which you may be missing. My guess is that they are hoping for a legal fight — going to court in Sweden. The Swedish kangaroo court would rule in favor of SVT. Since your blog would then have been convicted of a crime, SVT and the Swedish court will be able to have the Swedish government, the government of Norway, and perhaps the EU itself block access to GoV within Europe and wherever else they can.

I tend towards paranoia myself, so I’m not ready to rule out such a possible scenario. Other Scandinavians may want to weigh in with their own evaluation of the likelihood of any devious schemes. What do you think is the meaning behind SVT’s action, and in particular the significance of its timing?

A reader in Norway pointed out another aspect of the affair that I hadn’t considered:

Regarding the Sweden Democrats clip and the accusations of alleged copyright infringement made by SVT, maybe you should write back to the Swedish lawyer and demand that the screenshots of Gates of Vienna featured in this documentary be removed, as they are the legal property of GoV.

I presume that SVT did not have the permission from GoV to use them in their documentary.

In any case, whatever you decide to do you should know that there are lots of people out there supporting you.

Well, that’s a thought — if I ever acquire the bottomless pockets I have longed for all my life, maybe I’ll dig into them and send an entire warren of lawyers haring after Sveriges Television, and clean them out of every last krona.

Until then, I’ll have to be content with buzzing around their ears like an annoying little transatlantic fly.

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This current eruption concerning Swedish state TV recapitulates what happened earlier this year with the Norwegian media during the Breivik trial. The klieg lights were hot in our faces in those days, just as they had been a year previously, right after the slaughter on Utøya.

This unwanted attention from the organs of leftist orthodoxy in Norway had the unintended consequence of sending readers to Gates of Vienna who would otherwise never have found us. As I pointed out at the time:

A couple of weeks ago we discussed a process I likened to a 21st-century Radio Free Norway. Since almost all Norwegian mass media are severely skewed in their bias against Islam-critics, and in favor of leftist Multiculturalism, this blog and other prominent sites of the anti-Islamization resistance act as conduits of real information into Norway.

Now the same thing seems to be happening with SVT. Perhaps the proximate cause is the fact that the Sweden Democrats have for the first time gained the support of more than 10% of the Swedish populace. Or maybe there is some other domestic political reason that makes the Swedish authorities want to shut down or discredit overseas websites that help Swedes discover the truth about what is being done to their country.

Whenever they attempt something like this, thousands of Swedes are pointed to the article and see the video clip. And they don’t just read the SVT-related material: new readers work their way through our archives as well, discovering all our horrifying blasphemies against Multicultural orthodoxy. Worst of all, they are able to see their country from the point of view of an outsider — exactly what their own state media want to prevent.

So the meme propagates, thanks to SVT. The Swedish media are their own worst enemy, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for that, communists or not.

Thanks, comrades!

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Very little real dissent occurs in public within Sweden itself. Like Norway, Sweden is unkind to those who sin against jantelagen, and makes the lives of its dissidents miserable.

It’s not a good sign when no vigorous and open discussion contrary to consensus occurs within Sweden itself. This is one of the characteristics of a “totalitarian democracy”: the state exercises virtually complete control over public opinion, but without the necessity for jackboots or a gulag. Given the right conditions, the total suppression of officially unacceptable opinions may be achieved without any violence whatsoever.

I have said all these things before concerning Norway, and the same is just as true of Sweden. This blog did not set out to become a haven for Scandinavian dissidents. We stumbled into the role accidentally, over the course of six or seven years, as disgruntled Swedes and Norwegians took an interest in the translations, the news stories, and the free-ranging discussion in our comments. We gradually accumulated more tipsters, more translators, and more correspondents.

Now, as 2012 draws to a close, our broadcast radius has increased to the point that the official state media of Sweden find it expedient to bring us to heel — or try to.

To paraphrase what I said last June:

We beam our signal into the oppressed forests and snow-covered uplands so that ordinary Swedes may realize that yes, there is another point of view besides the one they are spoon-fed by SVT.

That their homeland and heritage are worth preserving and protecting.

That not only is there nothing wrong with having such a goal, but that striving for it is in fact a noble and worthy enterprise.

That saving their culture is a moral necessity for all Swedes.

The same is true for the rest of us in our own homelands, of course. We really need a Radio Free Everywhere.

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One final point is worth considering. Suppose the Swede who wrote to us last week is right?

What if this operation by SVT is an attempt to obtain a legal judgment against Gates of Vienna, and thus provide a pretext for blocking access to us within Sweden, and possibly other countries as well?

I am by nature obstinate. This is especially true when someone attempts to bully me. My first tendency is always to resist, to be defiant, to dig in my heels. I am wont to say, in effect, “Take your filthy hands off me, Sirrah, or I warrant that you shall live to regret your insolence!”

But is this the most prudent course, given the current context?

SVT has no case against Gates of Vienna under any law that a court in the United States of America would recognize. But suppose they succeed with some intra-European gambit, and shut down access to this blog in Scandinavia or elsewhere. What then?

Which course would be better? Should we censor ourselves, and remove the embedded video in order to obviate such a pretext? Or should we remain defiant, and thus take the risk that Sweden will jam our signal?

I’ll be gratified to hear from our Scandinavian readers. Radio Free Scandinavia is here to serve you, so your interests in this matter are paramount.


William Gruff said...

I don't know when it was started but throughout the Second World War the BBC broadcast the Morse code for V, which is also, I think - memory hazy - the opening notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (one of your better informed readers will correct me, I hope).

There was no internet then and 'the wireless' was the conduit for information, and the BBC a trusted source. These days the BBC is no longer trustworthy and the wireless is digital, and the internet is the conduit.

Perhaps you could broadcast the Morse for v from a permanent hyperlink? Who knows, perhaps partisans everywhere will tune in to you as they did to the BBC seventy years ago. I'm not being sarcastic.

Anonymous said...

They can not stop the signal.

No matter what happen we will find other means of communication.

They might drive us underground and then it would be even harder for them to keep track on us.

They can not stop the signal.

Anonymous said...

Not long ago, I read somewhere that communism makes laws that make all people into criminals - which is all the easier to arrest anyone at any time.

Not to alarm you, but is there is any possibility of a criminal prosecution rather than a civil action?

I suggest that you contact the American Freedom Law Center and ask their opinion.

American Freedom Law Center - lawyer bios


Anonymous said...

SVT, is a National television broadcaster funded by compulsory fees paid by all television owners in Sweden.
SVT is a public limited company and is owned by an independent foundation, Förvaltningsstiftelsen för Sveriges Radio AB. This foundation's members are politicians appointed by the government.Hans Göran Persson served as Prime Minister of Sweden from 1996 to 2006 and was leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party from 1996 to 2007.
In April 2005 Lars Engqvist former deputy prime Minister was appointed as chairman of the Swedish public service television company Sveriges Television, The appointment drew criticism because of his close ties to the Social Democratic Party and the government.
Ah so there we have it the members are Politicians appointed by the Government no less.The Chairman of the Board is Lars Engqvist, deputy Prime Minister of the previous Social Democratic government.
The party has a close, historical relationship with the Swedish Trade Union Confederation
The Social Democratic Party's position has a theoretical base within Marxist revisionism.

Could this be a case of Political persecution of the highest order?

Sveriges Television shares many traits with its British counterpart, the BBC. And we all know how politically biased the BBC are!!
The slogan of SVT is Fri television which when translated means "Free Television"
They obviously do not understand the meaning of "Free".

Nick said...

Is it even possible for a TV station to force individuals' ISPs, or the likes of blogger, the company, to prevent a specific website from being accessed by individuals?

And even if they did, why not just open a mirror site with a slightly different name, & bob's your uncle and fanny's your aunt.

Nick said...

Course as I said already, you're in the habit of taking anything down if anyone asks you to, so why not do so in this case as well, after all, having limited resources, one must choose one's battles, and why risk so much hassle over a post that as you say, hasn't had that much attention & isn't all that important or groundbreaking at the end of the day.

Didn't you say that there were some scandanavian groups poring over GoV to try & find something to use against you - maybe that's why this post has come to their attention now - that's all they can find. If so, cut it adrift and be on your way ...

Anonymous said...

- What an amusingly uplifting thought, William Gruff!

Green Infidel said...

In the unlikely scenario that this case would lay the groundwork for an Iran or China-style censorship...

1) Such a judgment would be noteworthy in itself, bringing the "brand" of GoV to thousands (millions?) of new internet users inside and outside of the EU. Many of whom - especially students (of the vast majority not belonging to Antifa) - will not take kindly to being told what they can, and can't, view.

2) Ways exist to bypass internet censorship - even in places like Iran or China. The article here is just one of many on the topic.

3) If the worst comes to the worst, the offending video could always be deleted!

So, whatever the "goals" of this case, looks like SVT will have their work cut out for them. And short working hours, coupled with holidays until 7 January are not going to help!

Anonymous said...


You have to consider that there is a touch of deep insanity in that Socialist-Lutheran-Freezedried culture, and destructive compulsions that may manifest further in SVT's approach to this laughable matter.

This is the social system, after all, that in January 1976 arrested the greatest artist in Swedish history, Ingmar Bergman, in the middle of his rehearsal of a play by the second greatest artist in Sweden's history, August Strindberg, on phony tax evasion charges. The arrest caused Bergman's nervous breakdown and resulting hospitalization, his liquidation of his movie studio and permanent cessation of film production, breakdown of his creative powers, and self-exile to Germany that lasted eight years though his fear and loathing of Sweden's ruling regime would last to the end of his life.

Two months after the arrest, the prosecutor dropped the charges and admitted that there was no valid basis for it. Wikipedia has a good write-up of this affair, with this hair-raising coda:
"Director General Gösta Ekman, chief of the Swedish Internal Revenue Service, defended the failed investigation, saying that [it] was dealing with important legal material and that Bergman was treated just like any other suspect. He expressed regret that Bergman had left the country, hoping that Bergman was a "stronger" person now when the investigation had shown that he had not done any wrong."

To understand how a such a socialist system works, though ostensibly in the West, a diet of Kafka and Solzhenitsyn might be appropriate.
Takuan Seiyo

Baron Bodissey said...

Nick --

That video is hardly the only one of its kind. Take a look through our archives and note the subtitled SVT, NRK, TV2 and other state TV clips -- you'll lose count very quickly. Translating and subtitling Scandinavian news reports is something of a cottage industry in the circles I hang out in, although I am not the channel owner or the uploader of the videos.

Removing this particular one might be a mistake, since it could be seen as an admission of guilt, when of course I have no guilt to admit.

If I were to do so, it would have to include a VERY public assertion to that effect, a disclaimer pointing out that I lack all liability, and that I am un-embedding the video in the face of illegal, repressive, and totalitarian behavior on the part of the Swedish government.

Anonymous said...

You only have to look at the American MSM and it's vicious, albeit inane attack on the 2nd amendment and you can see where their and all international (BBC if instance) cronies is based: ****Total, world-wide Socialist Control****

Your friend in NJ

Anonymous said...

"If I were to do so, it would have to include a VERY public assertion to that effect, a disclaimer pointing out that I lack all liability, and that I am un-embedding the video in the face of illegal, repressive, and totalitarian behavior on the part of the Swedish government." Surely the most prudent and perhaps effective way to go?

Can I add my support to Mr Gruff's creative idea.

Baron Bodissey said...

Thanks for all these thoughtful replies.

To those who are "Anonymous" and don't sign your comments in any other way: Please mention whether or not you are Swedish (or Norwegian). It is primarily those two countries that would be impacted by what I proposed, so I need to hear your opinions.

Anonymous said...

Sweden also persecuted Astrid Lindgren, the authoress of the Pippi Longstocking books, over taxes, back in the 70s. She wrote a scathing, satirical story about it, although I don't recall the title. Googling could probably find it.

mriggs said...

Re: the shut-down hypothesis.

This may be what the SVT has in mind, but I think it doubtful that they could succeed. I mean, what other web pages have been blocked in Scandinavia so far?

I think you should stay the course. If you give in once, it will never stop.

Baron Bodissey said...


My gut feeling is in agreement with you. No matter my reason for removing the embed, the bully would perceive it as a cave-in to his bullying, and would consider it an invitation to kick me in the head a couple more times to see what else he could extort from me.

I am reminded, perhaps infelicitously, of Rudyard Kipling's warning "That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld/You never get rid of the Dane."

Fjordman said...

I am not a lawyer, but from what I gather, I don't think they have a legal case according to US law. This is ideological intimidation, plain and simple. I think my vote goes for keeping the material as it is. To hell with the mainstream media, and the Swedish MSM in particular. Pretty much everything that annoys them and is not illegal has my vote.

Henrik R Clausen said...

That's becoming elaborate...

If SVT has a beef with anyone, it's with the uploader of the video, not the embedder. Gates of Vienna is in the clear here, under American law.

In case of doubt on this, add in the "Fair use" clause of US law, and it becomes clear that the original article is fair and relevant use of the material. It is not like GoV is trying to become a state broadcaster or in any meaningful sense of the word is being serious competition to a fully-fledged broadcasting station.

I'm not sure about Swedish law, the corresponding Danish situation is currently unresolved.

Now, any copyright issue here is basically with the person who originally uploaded it - but then, this still seems to be "Fair use" to me, as he is obviously not trying to republish the broadcasts of SVT en masse, but instead has picked out one clip due to the content of that clip being of particular interest.

Now, Swedish law probably doesn't have any "Fair use" clause (Danish law doesn't, Swedish law is probably similar), but the jurisdiciton does play a role here.

As for embedding, the Danish legal situation is unresolved, it is not clear if embedding copyrighted material constitutes a violation of copyright or not. I do not know about Sweden.

Finally, I find it quite ironic that a public service channel, paid for by public funds, gets up in arms about reusing a small clip of its quite vast production. In any sensible system of public broadcaster, they would voluntarily refrain from exercising copyright over their material, for instance by publishing it under a Creative Commons license.

Apparently the Swedish media is scared by Gates of Vienna. Isn't there a tale of an elephant being scared by a mouse..?

Anonymous said...

I agree that you should include the V for victory signal on you site as suggested by my compatriot.
Perhaps in retaliation those two governments might like to set up their own overseas radio broadcasts entitled Sweden Calling or Norway calling, just like Lord Haw Haw with his Germany Calling during the War.

However, I also remember that in the old cold war days there was an insitution cold Radio Free Europe which was funded and promoted by the United States. Perhaps the G of V is the modern day equivalent.
The problem is that even in your own country there are Marxists and Islamophiles who would gladly close you down.

As regards Scandinavia, perhaps a Scandinavian could correct me but I believe that the Viking who discovered Iceland had been banned from Norway after falling out with its king.

Many of the freedom-loving and democratic vikings who sought land and a new life in England, Scotland and the Isle of Man, as well as elswhere might have been there for the same reason. Does this mean that the tradition of Scandinavian democracy is not as clear cut as it seems and that the ones who, like the above blogger and I myself, who like to claim Viking blood, refused to be bullied were simply driven into exile?

månesteiner said...

The pressure won't stop with this one video.

You hold all the cards in this instance. You're not going to jail, you're not going to go bankrupt. If you self-censor anyway then you will be seen as caving.

You can make "a VERY public assertion" as to your lack of liability when you remove the link but I doubt that will help. Some might wonder if the concession is made more quietly next time around.

Yes, there are times when it's best to step back, like when the Sheriff's about to slap the cuffs on you or when your wife's giving you the evil eye. But when the Swedish government is threatening you with a baseless lawsuit? No.

Baron Bodissey said...

månesteiner --

I have to say that my sentiments agree exactly with yours.

In this case, however, I have to listen to all the Swedes and the Norwegians to gain a sense of what they think is best. So far, they seem to agree with you and me. But we'll give them a while longer to check in and voice their opinions.

LN said...

Everyone of GoV's visitors reading 'Scandinavian' (Swedish) are eagerly encouraged to read Julia Caesar's latest both tragic and humorous chronicle dealing with the Swedish Television's program setting in the Christmas season and how the big boss, the Mughal of the Swedish Demokrature himself, Fredrik Reinfeldt, orders his subordinate managers Eva Hamilton & Cilla Benkö of the (SVT) Sveriges Television and the (SR) Sveriges Radio to arrange a maximum indoctrineting program composition. As Sweden is self-appointed conscience of the world, strong emphasis should be laid on creating a people's attitude of heartwarming worldwide kindness, xenophilia or love for strange, especially Muslim, stranges and of course a general and strong aversion to the yet only mass immigration critical party, the Swedendemocrats (SD).

mazarin said...

Swedish journalists HATE websites like this that report on everything they try to hide from the public, i'm sure they'd be delighted if it was somehow blocked, but i don't think it's something they had planned to achieve with this copyright threat.
Assuming that it really is in breach of Swedish copyright laws, and i'm not sure that it is, citing american laws is completely irrelevant though as they are not valid here. You can of course not be prosecuted in your homeland for it, but if you ever intend to set foot in the EUSSR again it is a problem.
Morally of course you are in the right, one shouldn't just sit back and take being bossed around by a state propaganda machine of an authoritarian state like Sweden.