There have been few villains more despised by the “information wants to be free” club than the Motion Picture Association of America, an organization that, like its sibling, the RIAA, enjoys the benefits of outrageous government-provided power. That makes what comes next inordinately painful: the MPAA is right in Minnesota. That hurt.
The Motion Picture Association of America, the movie industry’s major lobbying arm, has for what’s believed to be the first time weighed in on a revenge porn bill: Minnesota’s HF 2741. As there is no federal bill or law specifically prohibiting the practice, the biggest battles against revenge porn take place in state legislatures. Currently, 27 states have laws restricting or banning revenge porn.
At issue is a provision in the bill that the person who releases such photos or videos doesn’t have to actually desire to harm the person depicted for it to be considered a crime. In an open letter, to Minnesota legislators, the MPAA worries that this could hamper the distribution of explicit but newsworthy material, like “images of Holocaust victims, or prisoners at Abu Ghraib.”
In a statement provided to Vocativ by spokesperson Chris Ortman, the MPAA defended the organization’s stance as an attempt to strike a balance between free speech and privacy: “While we agree with the aims of HF 2741’s sponsors, we are concerned that the current version of the bill is written so broadly that it could have a chilling effect on mainstream and constitutionally-protected speech.”
The quotes come from a post at Vocativ by writer Kevin Collier, parsed from his post, which is so laden with that unfortunately common combination of traits: facial bias and utter legal ignorance. That makes him the perfect patsy, and he plays his role well.
The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, an anti-revenge porn legal advocacy group of which [Carrie] Goldberg is a member, has countered, saying, “This bill cannot plausibly be read as a threat to the distribution of constitutionally protected material of legitimate interest to the public.”
One might be inclined to ask, faced with Goldberg’s “counter,” why not? Not Collier. If Carrie says it “cannot plausibly be read” that way, well then.
“The stance that they’re taking is for a more narrow law, one that requires the intent to humiliate and harass victims. And Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton are exactly the type who would be excluded from this law,” Goldberg said.
After all, what use is the First Amendment if not to make ensure that JLaw is protected? And Collier dutifully offers this sound tidbit of black letter law:
One of the victims, Jennifer Lawrence, called it a “sex crime.”
How did the president not consider her for the Supreme Court, given this display of legal acumen? But Collier doesn’t rest on his vast grasp of constitutional doctrine. Rather, he finds support in the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative’s “point by point” response to the MPAA’s letter to Minnesota legislators. Who wrote that response? According to Collier, that would be non-lawyer lawprof Mary Anne Franks.
Whenever Franks pops up, there is an immediate need to take a jaundiced view, given her shameless proclivity to lie. Question her and she responds with ad hominems, as is not only the typical attack plan of children these days, but the refuge of the intellectually dishonest. Unsurprisingly, she’s unbothered by the fact that she keep getting caught in lies. More surprisingly, other academics are reluctant to call out her lies for fear of her shrieking “misogynist, pervert and rape apologist.”
Her response here doesn’t disappoint.
CCRI Response: This bill cannot plausibly be read as a threat to the distribution of constitutionally protected material of legitimate interest to the public.
The Supreme Court has stated that while “laws, if too broadly worded, may deter protected speech to some unknown extent, there comes a point where that effect – at best a prediction – cannot, with confidence, justify invalidating a statute on its face and so prohibiting a State from enforcing the statute against conduct that is admittedly within its power to proscribe. … overbreadth of a statute must not only be real, but substantial as well, judged in relation to the statute’s plainly legitimate sweep.” Broadrick v. Oklahoma, 413 U.S. 601(1973).
Wow. A Supreme Court quote and citation. How much more official can it get? She must be on to something, right? And what are the chances someone would go back to the Broadrick opinion and check the applicability of the quote. Clearly, Collier didn’t bother, but then, why would he? The quote confirms his feelz, and why screw with confirmation?
And indeed, those words do appear in the Broadrick opinion, along with others words which were left out, and which would make it apparent that the case bears no connection to Franks’ use of it. This is a rookie trick for lawyers. The sort that will usually result in a judge ripping a lawyer a new one for trying to sneak a lie past the court. But since Franks has never been in a court, and Collier wouldn’t have a clue about rookie lawyer tricks, it’s all new to them. One nifty trick is using ellipsis to conceal portions of quotes that you want to conceal from the unwary. Whenever someone uses ellipsis, it’s a red flag.
So what is the full quote from Broadrick?
It remains a “matter of no little difficulty” to determine when a law may properly be held void on its face and when “such summary action” is inappropriate. Coates v. City of Cincinnati, 402 U. S. 611, 402 U. S. 617 (1971) (opinion of Black, J.). But the plain import of our cases is, at the very least, that facial overbreadth adjudication is an exception to our traditional rules of practice, and that its function, a limited one at the outset, attenuates as the otherwise unprotected behavior that it forbids the State to sanction moves from “pure speech” toward conduct, and that conduct — even if expressive — falls within the scope of otherwise valid criminal laws that reflect legitimate state interests in maintaining comprehensive controls over harmful, constitutionally unprotected conduct. Although such laws, if too broadly worded, may deter protected speech to some unknown extent, there comes a point where that effect — at best a prediction — cannot, with confidence, justify invalidating a statute on its face, and so prohibiting a State from enforcing the statute against conduct that is admittedly within its power to proscribe. Cf. Alderman v. United States, 394 U. S. 165, 394 U. S. 174-175 (1969). To put the matter another way, particularly where conduct, and not merely speech, is involved, we believe that the overbreadth of a statute must not only be real, but substantial as well, judged in relation to the statute’s plainly legitimate sweep. [Emphasis added.]
So she left out the part about “conduct, and not merely speech.” Shocking. There are plenty of other aspects of Broadrick that make it wholly distinguishable, but no need to go there. This omission proves the lie, not that Franks gives a damn.
It comes as no surprise that Franks gets caught lying again. That’s what she does in the service of her cause, and we should expect nothing less. It comes as no surprise that Collier, racked with SJW feelz, blindly adopts her lie. What does come as a surprise is that the MPAA is the voice of reason, defending free speech. Who could have seen that coming? It’s like the whole world’s gone crazy.