Lawsuit-free since 9/14/05

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Dogs, Dregs and the Dastardly Quietus of the SLU Admins

Well, the dogs of the administration have set to their work, ripping and tearing flesh with bare and white incisors fit only for that kind of sanguine business. It wasn't enough to simply ban Take Back Our Campus from the University network-- now they're using University monies to sue us.

For what are we being sued? Copyright infringement. It seems that SLU has no idea about the concept of fair use. Further, it seems that they have suddenly objected to our use of several images from the SLU website. However, if all they wanted was for us to take down the pictures (which we have voluntarily done), they could have sent us a nice cease and desist order. They did no such thing. President Sullivan and his administration, in ordering the suit, are not concerned with protecting SLU's copyright (which we never actually challenged). They want revenge.

While some might say the timing of the suit is curious, I would term it bare-fanged. A short timeline for those unfamiliar:

SLU blocked Take Back Our Campus from being seen on the SLU network on 12/22/05, in response to our criticisms of the administration slashing Upward Bound, a program meant to encourage children from lower-class backgrounds to pursue higher education.

However, when we reported on the ban and more importantly, on President Sullivan's unilateral change to the Acceptable Use of Computer Resources Policy, which allowed Sullivan to order monitoring of e-mails and personal files of any student, staff or faculty member, we were suddenly hit with a lawsuit.

The lawsuit (for copyright infringement) came without any cease and desist letter, which is the norm for any website using images under "fair use." And even if "fair use" is in dispute, SLU's lawyers should be aware of "innocent infringement," found here: http://assembler.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode15/usc_sec_15_00001114----000-.html
"Innocent infringement" would only necessitate that we take down the pictures in question (which we have already done).

Thus, in persisting with the lawsuit against Take Back Our Campus, it is clear that Dan Sullivan and the SLU administration are interested in one thing: revenge.

We criticized them for valid reasons: for Dean M.L. "Cissy" Petty's proselytizing to Jewish student-workers, for the classist implications of eliminating Upward Bound at SLU, for the Stalinist monitoring and restriction of information access that is (a unilateral work of Dan Sullivan) the new AUCRP, etc.

But it was not enough for them to ban Take Back Our Campus. Now they've mobilized SLU's lawyers (and expended precious University funds) because they can't stand to be criticized. Edmund Spenser himself never imagined any beast so single-minded and vicious.


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