In reaction to the recent post at RonPaul.com: Ron Paul Calls on United Nations to Confiscate Domain Names of His Supporters.
An excerpt from the post:
Earlier today, Ron Paul filed an international UDRP complaint against RonPaul.com and RonPaul.org with WIPO, a global governing body that is an agency of the United Nations. The complaint calls on the agency to expropriate the two domain names from his supporters without compensation and hand them over to Ron Paul.
Now, let’s pretend for a moment…
The year is 2003 and I own the domain name GeorgeBush.com and I am using it to rail against the Presidency of George W. Bush. George Bush is a political figure and because I have freedom of speech I am allowed to use any means available to me, including ownership of a domain with his name, to express myself and my thoughts about his presidency. There is nothing that George Bush can do about it. The principles of the constitution protect me and I am thankful that they do.
Now the year is 2009 and George Bush is no longer President. Does that mean George W. Bush is no longer a political figure? Does that mean I no longer have the right to freedom of speech and I no longer have the right to keep up a domain that rails against his past political career? Or does George W. Bush now become a private citizen with the right to take my freedom of speech about his presidencies misdoings away from me, away from us?
Our movement has always prided itself on sticking to principle no matter the situation. We have always railed against our opposition when they were willing to go against the principles of the constitution so long as it went their way.
Yes, Ron Paul is the beloved hero of our movement, but what are the principles at stake here?
While many of us (myself included) would like for Ron Paul to own RonPaul.com we have to ask ourselves about the precedent we are setting if we support this idea that the government should seize this domain (by force, with a gun) and hand it over to Ron Paul, a political figure. I believe this idea conflicts with the principle of freedom of speech and so I cannot support it.
Having said this I do agree with Israel Anderson’s point in his video response where he states that Ron Paul could do much more good for the liberty movement with the domain RonPaul.com than the current owners of the domain can. I do hope that the owners of RonPaul.com and Ron Paul himself can come to an agreement among themselves that will be satisfactory to all.
Some say that the owners of RonPaul.com should give the domain to Ron Paul freely, they have an absolute right to that opinion and they are free to express it. But that doesn’t mean the masses have the right to use force against the individual to forbid them to take part in the political process.
Some also say that the owners of RonPaul.com “made money off of Ron Paul”. I couldn’t disagree more. What the owners of RonPaul.com did was to exercise their inalienable right to participate in our political process via their right to freedom of speech.
If I were to sell a t-shirt that said “George Bush is a big jerk” and I sold a million of them, would anyone accuse me of making money off of George Bush’s name? Or would they applaud me for helping to promote a political point of view and being smart enough to fund myself as I did so? So then how does it become different if I sell a t-shirt that says “Ron Paul is awesome”? It doesn’t. Principles never change depending on circumstance. That is why they are so powerful.
To use the force of law to take away someones protected right to freedom of (political) speech is incorrect and I hope this lawsuit will be rescinded immediately and that negotiations over the rights to the domain can take place without the threat of force.
What is your opinion? Is this a first amendment freedom of speech issue, or no? Please share your opinion in the comment section below.