Oxford Union respond to Assange and boost The Tab’s ego by calling us ‘cute’.

The Oxford Union has released a statement in response to censorship claims regarding Julian Assange’s recent video address to the Union.

WikiLeaks claimed on Twitter that the Union had deliberately blurred the background of the video in fear of copyright infringement on the US government.

Assange addressed the Union via video link, a green screen at his back

Assange addressed the Union via video link

A statement given to The Tab by the Oxford Union stated: “we would encourage people to appreciate the distinction between censorship and respecting copyright.”

The footage, said to have been personally selected by Assange himself, came from a controversial video released by WikiLeaks in 2010. Commonly referred to as ‘Collateral Murder’, it depicts a US Apache helicopter firing on journalists and civilians in Baghdad in 2007.

The original background showed the 'Collateral Murder' video

The original background showed the ‘Collateral Murder’ video

What the 'censored' version put out online looked like

What the ‘censored’ version put out online looked like

The whistleblowing organisation has suggested via Twitter that the Union’s account for editing the footage of Mr. Assange’s talk is “provably [sic] bogus.” When contacted for comment over this statement, the Union told The Tab, “When it comes to copyright law we don’t take risks… We received [legal] advice and we followed that advice.”

However, it appears that the reasons given by the Oxford Union bear little scrutiny. After its release in 2010, the footage received widespread global publicity; both a report on the video and the video itself appeared on the homepage of the Daily Telegraph without the slightest repercussions. Indeed, the paper continues to host the video online.

WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told The Tab: “It is general knowledge that any material from the US government does not fall under copyright law.

“I’m not sure using copyright issues is an excuse to blur out this important video; I would be very interested to see the legal advice, I’m sure the quality would be very low.”

Kristinn Hrafnsson: sees straight through the excuses?

Even if the US Government could, in theory, claim copyright in the video outside the USA, it has no record of doing so and would be unlikely to risk further embarrassment by doing so.

The Oxford Union were a little less amicable when approached for further comment. A spokesman for the Union told The Tab: “I find it cute that The Tab is so interested in our legal advice.”

Whilst the The Tab is flattered by such high praise, we would point out this: a ‘bastion of free speech’ trying to garner publicity by inviting the loose cannon that is Assange, and then not having the guts to follow through on freedom of expression is a bit weak.

You can’t have it both ways.

droopy_dog_happycopy

@MaxToomey

  • Here all week

    More beef here than a tescos burger!

    • Horse

      Sadly for me :(

  • haha

    rinsed

  • Wouldn’t

    rather be at Oxford than St John’s based on this

  • nice

    good to see the tab causing a bit of trouble again

  • CaTV

    What about the censorship of Thomas Fingar??? He won the award! Why are they not putting out his speech at all?

  • Voice of Reason

    Come on, this is silly. If anything, the fact that the clip is widely available elsewhere makes it even less relevant that the Oxford Union followed its (admittedly questionable) legal advice and blurred it.

    • deathfromabove

      Or…

      “It was possible to find out who Nikolai Yezhov was from other sources. Jambil Jabayev wrote about him and so did Anna Akhmatova! So it’s silly to call it ‘censorship’ that Stalin had him airbrushed out of all the old photographs, and expunged from the official historical record. People could always find out about him somewhere else! Come on, this is silly!”

      Actually, this is exactly what censorship is.

      The people who attended Assange’s talk saw the Collateral Murder footage in the background. The video was apparently withheld from the rest of us by Oxford Union on the pretext that it might be a copyright violation, but that is not a serious reason.

      When they eventually released the footage, it turned out that the Oxford Union had *actively doctored* the original footage so as to remove the Collateral Murder content. They had taken great pains even to blur (i.e. censor) the footage in the background of the hall shots.

      There still exist people who have not *seen* Collateral Murder. Those people have not yet realized that the US military slaughtered a crowd of civilians with explosive rounds from the safety of an Apache helicopter. It is important that they do know this. One way to get them to know this – to tell them about it – is to show them the film. People who watch the Assange footage online would have seen the film behind him, if it had not been for the fact that Oxford Union *actively and deliberately* removed the footage from the background. As a result of Oxford Union’s actions, that footage can no longer be seen in the background, and its viewers will therefore not see that footage, or be exposed to Collateral Murder.

      That is censorship. It is not diminished by the fact that people, if they already know about the video and want to see it, can find it elsewhere. Censorship does not have to be total or complete in order to still be censorship. The promulgation of knowledge through society has been impeded by the fact that the Oxford Union – which pretends to advocacy of freedom of expression – *censored* one of its videos. It edited out a part of it.

      It is no different to the editing out of a scene in a movie that is carried out by censorship boards, or the removal of lines from books by censors to accord with “decency.” What do you call it when people’s genitals are covered by black bars with the word “censored” written in red across them, but “censorship” ?

      It is censorship. You might think it is trivial, but it’s not, really, because this is an important video. It depicts something important, that people should know about, and it was censored. But even if you do think it is trivial, you should still be able to acknowledge that, trivial or not, it is censorship.

      It is censorship, whatever the excuse the Union uses. If they really did censor it because they were afraid of highly improbable copyright claims, it is copyright censorship. If they censored it for another reason it is still censorship.

      It isn’t somehow less “censorship” because you can still get it somewhere else.

      • Voice of Reason

        Don’t be dim. It’s still censorship, but it’s self-censorship – and so less dangerous than centralised censorship of the type you describe. This material is widely available elsewhere; nobody loses access to this film because of the Union’s decision to blur it (which is not the case in any of the other cases you describe).

      • Come on

        Clearly no-one is going to read all that

  • Vlau
  • Arbed

    “The whistleblowing organisation has suggested via Twitter that the Union’s account for editing the footage of Mr. Assange’s talk is “probably [sic] bogus.”

    Um, that’s not what they said, actually. “Provably bogus” is the quote you’re looking for.

    https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/298195617388318721

    • Justmytwocents

      “”and the Oxford Union should get better lawyers.”
      I think the only one who should get better lawyers is Assange. He lost every case in the UK and he will, if it ever comes to that, lose the case in front of the ECHR. But what do you expect from someone who points to Wikipedia for information or thought he has enough knowledge of asylum law (probably from Wikipedia as well) that he allegedly did not consult his lawyers before he scurried off to that embassy.
      Even if the Union is wrong, it is completely up to them to decide if they don’t want to get involved in a possible copyright issue. Maybe the US military cant claim copyright, but Assange cant neither.
      The speech is not censored, its a movie in the background. Unless you want to suggest that Assange`s speech was so thin that without the visual background no one gets what he tries to say. But this is not the problem of the Union if a speaker is unable to make sense without propaganda footage as a booster.

      • morality

        maybe he lost those cases because, instead of getting better lawyers, he needs to commit fewer crimes.

      • dontuseexcuses

        collateral damage isn’t propaganda – saying a country has WMD and immenent danger is propaganda. collateral damage is real footage of innocents being murdered don’t excuse it.

  • SomeOne

    The copyright argument is, to put it bluntly, bull. By US law, US Government works are in the public domain – even classified works are free once leaked. Because the video was produced under US law, US law governs its dissemination. Even if it were subject to copyright, US fair use law would permit it to be shown because the video itself is newsworthy. UK fair dealing law, while more restrictive, would probably allow the same. And even if it were copyrighted, the PR of actually bringing infringement proceedings against a non-commercial user of public interest material is so bad that no-one in their right mind would do it. Any copyright claim would be utterly frivolous, and the Oxford Union should get better lawyers.

  • Jamie Scott, Age 7

    At first I didn’t like John Bardsley because he is fat and ugly, but then I did because he made the tab good.

  • Jamie Scott, Age 7

    “In the land of the King’s,
    Where the chapel bells chime,
    The Cold War is thawing;
    And death has his time. “
    Jamie Scott, age 7.

    • justmytwocents

      “Here’s why:
      17 USC § 105 – Subject matter of copyright: United States Government works”

      Pointing to a law and interpretation of it are two different pair of shoes. If the former would be so clear cut there would be no need for lawyers.

      Even Assange knows that and tweeted on the 23.01.2013:
      “How the U.S. could prosecute #WikiLeaks using copyright and intellectual property law | Stanford Journal https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2042692
      https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/294235667284754432

      So, if Assange knows that the copyright issue is not as clear cut as you just argue, so why is he so outraged that the Oxford Union doesn’t want to get drawn in it.
      Or he is certain that he has nothing to fear, so why hype up his sheeple with hysterical claims.

      Yes, the Oxford Union should not complain that they are mocked. They knew what a snake he is and they thought they could handle this and use it, maybe with a smirk towards Cambridge who had the bad experience earlier and said then: “No thank you, no time for lying men without integrity”. Oxford thought they are better. But if you get cozy with a known viper, don’t complain if you are bitten.Oxford handled that issue badly and without grace.
      The good thing is that we hopefully are now spared from any half decent academic podium giving Assange a platform for his drivel and from his temper tantrums. And the rest, well this year he was honored by Yoko Ono “as an artist who demonstrated independent thought”. Maybe next year he gets the Lady Gaga “little Monster Award”.

  • deathfromabove2007

    It would have been nice if The Tab, Cherwell, or or everyone else had actually bothered to check, instead of behaving as if this there wasn’t an easy-to-find, simple answer to this question.

    Is content produced by the US government subject to copyright?

    No.

    Why?

    Here’s why:

    17 USC § 105 – Subject matter of copyright: United States Government works

    Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.

    LINK: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/105

    Honestly, anyone following the WikiLeaks story knows that this question was dealt with in 2010. It is implausible that the Oxford Union is afraid of a copyright claim. There exists no legal basis on which such a claim could be brought, and even if there did, the chances one would be brought is so miniscule as to throw this excuse into question.

    It seems to me far more likely that they removed the video because it depicts the actual murder of a number of Iraqi civilians, and that they are just not hardcore enough to stand by making people watch that.

    But can it please be recognized that there is actually an answer to the legal question? The Union is wrong.

  • silly Oxford

    trix are for kids.

  • Max Toomey

    Is all over the Tab this week. Like a rash this week!

  • Actually

    They’ve clearly shown you can have it both ways….come now, don’t be jealous. The only repercussion they’re facing is from Cambridge (yeah big surprise there) and the wilfully-blind-to-acts-of-anyone-he-doesn’t-disagree-with Assange.

    On a side note, re: the massive post: ‘from the safety of an apache helicopter’….um…yeah…most modern warfare is attempted to be waged in such a way as to put the soldiers waging it as less risk….do you suggest that war without collateral damage is possible? or that we should arm soldiers with only pointy sticks?

    • Not so sure.

      It was all over the very popular blog techdirt.

  • Pingback: 4 February 2013 | This Day in WikiLeaks

  • Oliver C-Eskdale

    A protest is nothing without protesters. George Robb didn’t fail. Those thousand odd people who clicked attending and then didn’t bother to show up failed him, Bristol is a conglomerate of middle class wastemen more concerned with being cool rather than doing anything that actually makes a difference. This was a real shame.

    Also, please don’t diminish my achievements, there are too many detractors waiting to pounce on those trying to illuminate moral wrongdoing. The system stinks, merry Xmas.

    • Such ignorance

      You went to Shrewburys school you entitled rich bastard, the definition of champagne socialist….your education is already “free” as mummy and daddy eskdale no doubt pay up front as well as offering cheques to facilitate your shit garms.

    • Irony free zone

      “please don’t diminish my achievements”

      You sound like a laugh mate

    • Who the fuck is will Lloyd

      Writing for Huffpo and being shortlisted for the Guardian Student Media award is genuinely sick. Definitely a lot better than editor of the tab haha. I wouldn’t bother trying to justify yourself to these little snakes. I’d remember the name ‘Will Lloyd’ – you’re clearly going to be his superior later on in life

      • Mate…

        We could probably get our pets blogs on the huffington post

      • Karl Marx

        If that cunt Oli gets what he wants there won’t be anyone to be superior to – we’ll all be sitting around the campfire smoking a bong and singing about the red fucking flag

  • Lara

    What unites George Robb and that very posh lefty, Oliver Carter Esdale, is that they’ve both devoted large amounts of time to trying to get a better deal for students as a collective. Whether you agree with Robb, Carter Esdale or neither of them, I’m sure you appreciate the fact that they’ve acted in what they believe to be our best interests and it’s a shame that so few people turned up to support them.
    The author of this article is a very different sort of person. He appears to be motivated only by the desire to belittle the effort’s of others and to encourage people to laugh at them. It’s Christmas Eve and Will Lloyd has nothing better to do than scroll through George Robb’s Facebook photos in an effort to find the least flattering ones possible – yes, we get it, he’s got a lazy eye.

    Will Lloyd has all the hallmarks of someone who was mercilessly bullied as a child. He then came to university, discovered the Tab and the cretinous points scoring payback begun. A girl who was in halls with him put it more succinctly, ‘he’s just a friendless cunt with a wanky man-bag’ but it’s the 24th of December so I’m not going to indulge in that sort of abuse. Perhaps 2015 will be the year where you write something half reasonable. Your flabby, unamusing, juvenile, personal attacks are a shit stain on student journalism. Merry Christmas to all.

    • Will

      Abuse me all you want but please leave my man bag out of this.

      • Will’s Friend

        The man-bag was never a good idea Will.

    • Actually no

      “I’m sure you appreciate the fact that they’ve acted in what they believe to be our best interests”

      I think that’s patronising bullshit. I don’t agree with these two private school boys and I don’t want ANYONE acting in my “best interests”. They can both piss off.

      And judging by the turnout at this pathetic shower, most people agree with me.

    • Pseudoscientist

      Will Lloyd bullied at school? This post is simply delicious.

      I’ll save you the suspense, you aren’t making it as a psychologist.

      • Bennie

        As you might be able to judge from the way he writes, Will actually tended to do most of the bullying. Not very nice to anyone.

        • Cleugh

          Yup, a 24 carat, five star cunt.

    • Detective

      I’m still trying to work out if this pathetic, hypersensitive comment was written by George’s Mum or his girlfriend.

      • George Robb

        Or just a normal person who didn’t like corruption or theft.

    • Detective

      If Oliver Carter Esdale is very posh what does that make george? Slightly less posh? £5000 of the school fee less posh? They are both posh wankers lara you cretin

      • George Robb

        mate £5000 is not that much, minimum wage is £6.00 an hour, 6*24*365=£52,000 so even people on minimum wage can afford to send there children to the school I went, you bitter jealous little person.

  • Callum

    Piss of Will

    • TabGrammarPolice

      Send us a link to your profile.

  • Grant

    An intensely cynical article that, ironically, sums up how totally useless the tab is – articles must be either satirical or outright sarcastic. It wd have been possible to write quite an enlightening article, citing the facts and figures that are said to be public and published but, as one can expect, the author went for the more immediately entertaining (in terms of writing it also) form of satirising a somewhat worrying reflection upon Bristol students (i was one of the many who failed to show up) – i truly hope this current generation of bristol students produces no journalists, it certainly doesn’t warrant any. I shan’t stoop to the author’s level and write unnecessary personal criticisms, but were i George Robb i would he simply hurt by this (a faux-apology at the end does not mean a thing).

    • Reader

      That’s quite clearly an expression of pity, not an apology at the end there.

      Having actually attended the protest I would agree with Will that George was not much of a protest leader, and that his speech, already unimpressive, was continually heckled by members of the crowd. He just made that clear in a really cuntish way.

      • Grant

        You are very right, it was an expression of pity not an apology – my apologies (ill claim xmas morning as an excuse). And tbh my issue is with the pernicious and nasty way the article treats Mr. Robb, something id hope is entirely unnecessary, rather than his true leadership qualities. If the protest failed, feel sorry for him or give him kudos for attempting a fairly extensive undertaking – kicking him when he’s down (possibly, admittedly i havent spoken to george robb abt how he has been affected, perhaps the comment beneath is indeed him) as i wd assume he was is simply nasty. I cant say i understand why the tab allows damning articles, this isnt celebdom, theres no need for such scrutiny (not that celebs deserve it also).
        As to the first comment, aside from an admission of my own laziness i see no reason why i cant stick up for someone – nastiness tends to strike a chord sometimes in others, or atleast i wd hope it does.

      • George Robb

        no matter what way I said it someone would of complained, its not about the words and there specific ones and there order, but the meaning of them, instead of all this infighting we should all work together, look other people I talked to said they enjoyed my speech.

    • LOOOL

      “i was one of the many who failed to show up”

      Then who the fuck are you to be throwing stones?

  • George Robb

    Here’s a list outlining the various situations I was in when I discovered the various Tab articles about me:

    1) Hanging out having a fun time with my girlfriend
    2) After I’d received a phone call saying I’d got through to the final round of interviews at an advertising agency in the top 3.
    3) Hanging out with my amigos
    4) Christmas Eve, surrounded by my family, after I was fortunate enough to enjoy a day’s stalking in some of the most beautiful Scottish landscapes.

    It’s sad to think that, whilst I was enjoying all this, will Lloyd was tapping away on his keyboard like a bitter, ruddy-faced gremlin. But that’s life I guess!

    Also, just for the record, William didn’t ask my permission for any pictures. In fact, when I spoke to him he came across as endearing and verging on insipid! I thought he was just a confused, desperate young whelp. I bet someone got coal in their stocking, you naughty little boy.

    • Privilege Checker

      Wow, cis white male who went to £25,000 a year school tries to get public sympathy by boasting about his girlfriend, his job in advertising and spending christmas in a scottish castle in the highlands. Oh, and after organising and personally MCing the worst protest I’ve ever gotten out of bed for.

      You total fuckboy.

      • dfdf

        >>>/tumblr/

      • George Robb

        Mate my girlfriend is an ex model who does everything in the bedroom, who the fuck are you?? just because my parents care about me and are prepared to send me to not a shit school, while your parents clean the rubbish of the streets?, and spend all there money on heroin. Mate the protest would of been bigger but some of the lectures purposelessly put exams the next day so not everyone could turn up.

    • Don Draper?

      You are a shit writer. Whelp? Ha. Good luck at that ad agency.

      • George Robb

        Haha mate got the job but decided to turn it down I’ve decided I might do something else, you’re dads a shit writer!

    • One of your amigos

      George man, you had the moral high ground here and you’ve spunked it all away by boasting about how great your life is and showing that he got to you.

    • ThankMum

      Buck your ideas up pal. You’ve just provided him with a host of material. Enjoy the new year ;)

    • Fucking hell

      You really let him get to you didn’t you?

    • Advertising you say?

      George Robb = Pete Campbell

      • George Robb

        Good one!

    • George’s Girlfriend

      George its over

      • George Robb

        Haha very funny (buy the way this is not my girlfriend but some lying twat), mate I’ve had 2 threesomes in my life. You get as much action as Dexter (from Dexters laboratory), so haha your’e a loser

  • bossman

    the private and personal slurs degrade this article so much…what a dickhead this author is

  • Sarah Lovren

    Although I’m opposed to the crass language used in the comment below, I do agree; the thought of Will fucking me makes me sick. I’m just imagining myself being bent over doggy style – sweating like the filthy whore I am – only to stare back at this pink, over-sized ogor. I’ve let some awful things inside me during my time at Bristol, but I can safely say that Will’s tongue or micro phallous would be the worst.

    • George Robb

      Look even though I shouldnt make fun of Wills micro phallous, he after all did not choose to have it, fuck it, he wrote this article about me and made fun of my lazy eye.
      Will pays homeless people to let them stick his micro equipment in there snoty nasal cavity and then moves onto licking out there waxy ear canals and then uses his equipment in there as well.

  • stigs

    will lloyd if i see you on road your gonna get juxed excuse my knife work beg my pardon

  • Will’s friend

    Lol Will probably ripped the shit out of you publically in that weird Sherlocky way of his, instead your just facelessly being a massive bitch

  • Moist?

    I didn’t realise Dapper Laughs lived in Ealing

  • George Robb

    Hahaha the only thing will is good at is giving his homeless dad a blowjob, more people would of turned up and fought against the uni had it not been for unusual circumstances. Look if the Uni said black people have to pay loads to go to uni but were not going to spend any money on them it would be racism and on the front page on the newspapers, but when you do the same for social science students is just fine.

  • George Robb

    Yeah mate next time I will go a bit slower with you’re mum. turd face

  • George Robb

    I don’t have autism mate, Bristol is nice city in a proper country unlike some shit hole, the nearest thing to a job in Glasgow is someone stabbing them for there heroin, shut up mate English man talking here, you our are little bitches,

  • George Robb

    would it be funny if the uni stole several thousands pounds of you and gave it some random person of a boring subject. social science and the arts are what life is all about unlike boring useless science subjects which tries to suck the life out of everything. If anything it should work the other way they should take money of the scientist and spend it on the art students, as art is all about enhancing peoples life.

  • Rich Science Student

    You appear to be illiterate, in addition to being a complete fucking joke. Just reread what you’ve just written, whilst remembering your assumed role as ‘representing the student body’. Solid work m8 8/8

  • George Robb

    You think you would recoil in fear imagine his 8 year old sister, shes even more shocked she was a sleep, when he tried it on.

  • TabGrammarPolice

    One can see why you were so brutally torn apart. You haven’t got a modicum of wit, your banter is grossly off point.

    Btw ‘English Man’ it’s THEIR heroin and they [are our] little bitches.