The Internet meme questioning Glenn Beck‘s possible involvement in a rape and murder of a young girl in 1990 has just taken a step in helping to protect our rights from people who fear criticism. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has just ruled against Glenn Beck regarding his complaint about the original meme’s domain name, GlennBeckRapedAndMurderedAYoungGirlIn1990.com, which can now be accessed at GB1990.com.
The WIPO decision states, “For all foregoing reasons, the Complaint is denied.”
Because Complainant necessarily fails to prove that Respondent’s conduct runs afoul of all three elements required for adverse determination under the Policy, the Panel need not further address the elements of bad faith registration and use.
Even though Beck lost the WIPO case, the owner of the meme’s original domain name, Isaac Eiland-Hall, has decided to turn it over to Beck now that his lawyer successfully fought “this battle only to preserve the First Amendment,” as evidenced by the letter From Eiland-Hall to Glenn Beck.
It also bears noting, in this matter and for the future, that you are entirely in control of whether or not you are the subject of this particular form of criticism. I chose to criticize you using the well-tested method of satire because of its effectiveness. But, humor aside, your rhetorical style is no laughing matter. In this context of this WIPO case, you denigrated the letter of First Amendment law. In the context of your television show and your notoriety, you routinely and shamelessly denigrate the spirit of the First Amendment. The purpose of the expressive freedoms embodied in the First Amendment is not to simply permit the greatest possible scope of expressions, but also, in so doing, to also strive for excellence in the conveyance of ideas. Rather than choosing to strive for excellence and civic contribution, you simply pander to the fears and insecurities of your audience. And in the process, you do them, and us all, a great deal of harm.
So, now that this case has been put to rest, what are the results?
Glenn Beck has been exposed to the Streisand Effect by filing the complaint and taking a simple Internet meme and creating from it a supermeme. By attempting to remove the web site in question, they have done nothing but make it more famous. The meme may have died a fairly quick and natural death. However, by filing the WIPO complaint, Beck and his team have only made it more popular that it would have been otherwise. Thanks to them, it gained the attention of Ars Technica, MediaBistro, Techdirt and Gawker.
The complaint has helped to shed some light on what Glenn Beck may think of his viewers – one of the factors his team used to show that people may be confused by the domain name is the “moron in a hurry” test. Eiland-Hall’s lawyers responded by stating, “It is specious at best for Mr. Beck to assert that his fans, or the public as a whole, would confuse Respondent’s website with Mr. Beck himself—unless of course it is Mr. Beck’s view that his fans and the average internet user are in fact hurried morons.”
This experience has also brought to light Beck’s hypocrisy as noted in the proposed stipulation. He has stated, “once we sign our rights over to international law, the Constitution is officially dead.” Similarly, Beck has said, “Let me tell you something. When you can’t win with the people, you bump it up to the courts. When you can’t win with the courts, you bump it up to the international level.” If he believes that, why did he bypass the U.S. courts? We can safely assume that either he knows his own rhetoric is false, or he thinks it simply does not apply to him.
Finally, and the sole intention of the meme, people are now more aware of Glenn Beck’s use of fallacious reasoning, including the use of the negative proof fallacy. Hopefully his viewers are more aware of this as it’s been pointed out in his questioning of Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim member of the House of Representatives – “Prove to me that you are not working with our enemies…”
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