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Harvard Law “journal of the legal left” attempts to silence anti-Holder protest website (Update: HLS Dean of Students circulates email denouncing website

Harvard Law “journal of the legal left” attempts to silence anti-Holder protest website (Update: HLS Dean of Students circulates email denouncing website

I reported last night on plans to protest via posters on campus the appearance of Eric Holder tomorrow at Harvard Law School regarding the Fast and Furious controversy.  At the end of my post last night I joked:

I wonder how long they will stay up.  And how long before half of the Justice Department is tasked with unmasking the force behind Harvard Law Unbound.

The protest is organized by a website “Harvard Law Unbound,” which in its banner notes that it is not connected to “Unbound – harvard journal of the legal left.”

Apparently “Unbound” previously had objected to this website using the name “Harvard Unbound” and the website was taken down. But using the current configuration, the website has operated since April 9.  The website was no secret, as it was written up both in the Harvard Law Record (April 16) and Above the Law (April 17).  [Correction: While the website has been up since April 9, the name referenced in these articles was a Tumblr account for Firmly Refuse.  The posters distrubted on campus by the group call it an “Unbound campaign.”]

But all of the sudden, with the website getting publicity regarding Holder’s visit, a person claiming to speak on behalf of Unbound has attempted to get the protest website shut down, and posted a comment asserting a violation of WordPress terms of service and copyright law:

Andrew says:

This comment is to notify you that this blog is in violation of the WordPress terms of service and the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, for its unauthorized and illegal impersonation of a Harvard Law School journal. WordPress, its licensed copyright agent, and the Harvard administration have all been contacted about this website. We advise you to permanently delete this site and its contents, and desist from any further impersonations and false representations.

How curious that the objection and attempt to shut down the website comes just as the Holder protest is starting, even though the website has been operating openly for over a month.

I have an e-mail into the person believed to be responsible for the notice.  I will let you know the position of “Unbound – harvard journal of the legal left” if and when received.

Update:  A Legal Insurrection reader who attends HLS forwarded me this e-mail in which HLS officially joins the case against the website:

From: Ellen Cosgrove [**********]

Sent: 5/22/2012 3:32:01 PM

To: [email protected]; [email protected]

Subject: a note re: Class Day

We look forward to celebrating with you and your guests this Wednesday and Thursday.

Some of you have heard about a wordpress website that is protesting our Class Day speaker, Attorney General Eric Holder — a site that uses the word “Unbound ” in its name. I wish to make clear that this site has no connection to Unbound, one of our student law journals.

To be clear, Unbound’s website is and their leadership is upset by this anonymous attempt to use their name.

Whoever is responsible for the wordpress site is free to disseminate his/her/their content via any number of legitimate means or channels. But I wish to make sure that no one is confused about whose speech, and whose content, is being advanced on the wordpress site, which appears to be infringing on the use-of-name rights belonging to Unbound and to Harvard Law School.

Ellen M. Cosgrove I Associate Dean & Dean of Students I Harvard Law School I 1585 Massachusetts Ave. I Suite 3039 I Cambridge, MA 02138

Further update:  Harvard Law succeeds in taking down anti-Holder Fast and Furious protest website.


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The left cannot win in the arena of ideas so they must resort to shutting down ideas to which they are opposed. It’s why, in the end, every leftist government winds up imprisoning its populace. And still, sheep follow along.

    myiq2xu in reply to Jim. | May 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Please do not confuse Obama’s authoritarian followers with lefties.

      Jim in reply to myiq2xu. | May 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      Lefties are inevitably authoritarian. Obama is the end game for the left in this country and as such will become increasingly authoritarian. You can’t have one without the other because no one wants what the left is forcing upon them.

    Neo in reply to Jim. | May 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Tolerance — it’s a difficult concept for the closed minded

[…] HARVARD LAW BLOG PROTESTS ERIC HOLDER VISIT, gets hit with bogus DMCA claim. […]

Freedom of speech for me but not for thee.

Jack-booted Collectivist thugs…

sometimes wear Birkenstocks.

Their effect is the same, and their intent is identical.

Wait – lawyers at a law school being overly litigious? Huh?


No offense meant to the resident Gentleman law Prof.

I hope they back up the site immediately with a mirror on an offshore web server.

Isn’t the website, “Harvard Law Unbound,” run by a Native American making the attempt by “Unbound – harvard journal of the legal left” a possible violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ?

While it’s fun to mock the left as being anti-free speech, it was kind of stupid for the creators of the website to give it a name that will cause a likelihood of confusion with an existing name. You just have to hope they don’t rename their website “Nike. Just Do It”.

HLU should use the Holder excuse: “…I didn’t read the comment notifying me that the blog is in violation of the WordPress terms of service and the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.”

Not so off-topic…

Can we mount a SEAL Team Six mission to free Cory Booker…???

Insufficiently Sensitive | May 22, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Dissin’ Eric Holder is a terminal sin
I’m a cool Harvard leftie and Obama says I win
There’s an incorrect noise coming from Harvard Law Unbound
but there’s no free speech with us legal thugs around

Shut it off, shut it off, buddy now I shut you down

Not the first time something like this has happened though usually it’s the Borg Collective, aka Google (Blogger) that is trying to quash conservative speech.

Business idea for someone with the capital to fund it: start up a hosting service for conservative blogging where writers don’t have to fear the heavy hand of Obama’s minions.

    gusmahler in reply to abenson229. | May 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Except this is WordPress, which is not related to Blogger.

      vanderleun in reply to gusmahler. | May 22, 2012 at 6:24 pm

      WordPress does this sort of takedown if anyone even farts in their general direction. In a sense it is what you pay if you take advantage of WordPress’ “free” service. My advice. Spring for the five/six bucks and buy a real host. Here they got what they paid for. Free and easy take down. In a way it serves them right for being so cheap.

[…] attention of law professor William A. Jacobson, of “Legal Insurrection.” In posts on May 22 and  May 23, he gave detailed attention to Harvard Law School’s bogus assertion, made […]

[…] documented contemporaneously on Professor Jacobson’s website, the bogus DMCA claim was made at 11:34 a.m. on May 21, and out blog was deleted less than six hours later.  The only difference is that this time our […]