Christopher Weaver, the ethics of gay sex, and impotent legal threats

July 23, 2010 § 5 Comments

The story so far…

Christopher Weaver is a philosophy Ph. D student at Rutgers. On the internet, however, he has several advanced degrees in internet hooliganism. Whether it’s ripple-firing alts at blogs he doesn’t like, arrant sock-puppetry, or getting banned from almost every chat room/IRC/debate of which he is a member.

However, the drama du jour surrounds a debate he had with Fishpasta on the morality of gay sex. Weaver is rather embarrassed by this debate, primarily because his performance was embarrassing. Weaver thought the best idea to stop it would be to say at the start how he didn’t want it recorded, and then to try and intimidate Fish (and others on the server at that time) with e-threats. He even posted something up on Reasonable Faith Forums about it (note also the large number of Pdf screeds he has too).

So I responded to his post pointing out things like a) the legal statutes he uses either explicitly allow someone to record it, or b) don’t apply, who on earth his e-lawyers are, and why he’s in such a spot of bother. The thread (my post included) got taken down within half an hour of me replying. So I thought I’d immortalize it here for your delectation. Feel free to get in touch if you want to find out more.

UPDATE: Weaver has replied (even more emphatically) here. I don’t intend to respond.

Weaver’s Post

[Thras: I couldn’t include all of Weaver’s coloured highlighting, but I have managed to preserve the oversized font and abuse of underlines and bold. You’d think that being able to write clearly and concisely would obviate the need for that sort of thing. Ho hum.]

There was a discussion over Urban Philosophy’s Ventrilo Server regarding the Ethics of a particular act peculiar to Homosexuality (viz. sodomy). I argued that such an act is demonstrably morally impermissible (just as heterosexual sex outside of the context of marriage would be morally impermissible on my view; or being a Christian and not partaking in communion would be morally impermissible on my view etc.). As two witnesses to the debate/discussion can testify (Christina Weaver, and Blake Guinta, as well as the other debate/discussion participant), I specifically stated that I do not consent to any recording of the discussion, and that anyone who did record me would face a law suit.

So let me be clear here: A previously linked audio file is an illegally recorded electronic conversation between myself and another anonymous individual with the s/n fishpasta:

As anyone can read: http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/18C119.txt

(1)   Provably, conversations over Ventrilo, Skype, and other similar modes of chat communication are phone conversations.

(2)   The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (48 C.F.R. Sec. 64.501) requires at least one of the following measures be taken when recording a domestic or international electronic call or phone conversation:

a.       Both parties consent to the recording; or

b.      The recording party must give verbal notification before recording; or

c.       There must be a regular electronic beep tone during recording.

None of these conditions were met.

The recording was therefore illicit and illegal.

If anyone would like to officially debate me, on sexual ethics recording and all, they need only (a) reveal their identity, and (b) contractually agree to not sale or redistribute the recording without my written consent.

Thank you.

My response

Yo,

I think you need a new lawyer, bro. ‘Cos the statute is all about interceptions by third parties. Indeed, one the explicit exemptions is for if one party to the conversation records it.
“It shall not be unlawful under this chapter for a person not acting under color of law to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication where such person is a party to the communication or where one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception unless such communication is intercepted for the purpose of committing any criminal or tortious act in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States or of any State.”

So, for example. If me (a private citizen, so plainly not acting under the ‘color of law’) wanted to intercept your communication (viz. the debate between you and fishpasta). I’d need to be either a party to this conversation, or I had the prior consent of one of the participants. So as I was in the vent server during this debate I was a party to the conversation (and this debate wasn’t illegal, although your performance was definitely criminal in the rhetorical sense) I’d be covered in making a recording of this debate. Even if I wasn’t a party to this conversation, I could still record it if someone (like Fishpasta for example), agreed. Assuming that whoever recorded the conversation was in the channel, and that (obviously) they consented to doing this recording, then their so recording isn’t illegal under the statute you cited. All of this is consonant with the federal standard of one party recording. You simply don’t have standing to unilaterally veto any recording being made by other parties to the conversation, so the legal threat you make at the start of the debate is feckless.

It isn’t illegal under the other statute you cited either. ((FCC) (48 C.F.R. Sec. 64.501)). Primarily because this statute doesn’t exist. I assume what you meant was 47 CFR Sec. 64.501, as this carries the words you quoted. This part, however, refers to interception by telephone common carriers, not private individuals. [link] So, unless you think the relevant ISP tapped the ventrilo server to record you, this is simply inapplicable.

So, you not only ain’t got no pancake mix, you also ain’t got any grounds for regarding the recording as illicitly made. I’m amazed that any bona fide lawyer would suggest otherwise: who are these lawyers, anyway?

Reader’s of these febrile legal denunciations would have to wonder why you are so het up about a debate over ventrilo. Permit me to explain it to them: you’re het up about it because you (three degrees, presenting at EPS this Nov) lost to a fairly well educated eighteen year old. You didn’t just lose, but you lost badly. Your performance was genuinely the worst I’ve ever heard in my life, pre-sophomore mock-debates at my school inclusive. So you find this an embarrassment, and the best way you think of putting things right is intimidating eighteen year olds with your e-threats. Some advice: this behaviour is counter-productive, in most part because it is disgraceful.

Parties interested in this tawdry tale are welcome to contact me.

Enjoy life,

Thrasymachus.

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§ 5 Responses to Christopher Weaver, the ethics of gay sex, and impotent legal threats

  • Someone says:

    These are of course interesting attempts at defaming, and I will not give them the time of day except by continually pointing out that the recordings in quesiton were illegal recordings:

    Consider:

    “Currently, there are three means by which a party may legitimize the recording of a telephone conversation . These mechanisms are detailed in Section 64,501 of the Commission’s rules, which prohibits the “the use [of] any recording device,” except as follows:

    (a) Where such use shall be preceded by verbal or written consent of all parties to the telephone conversation, or,

    (b) Where such use shall be preceded by verbal notification which is recorded at the beginning, and as part of the call, by the recording party, or,

    (c) Where such use shall be accompanied by an automatic tone warning device . . .

    These provisions of the rules apply by their terms only to the conduct of telephone companies in recording conversations between members of the public and their agents, but identical conditions are made applicable to the conduct of individual users of telephone service through prescriptions governing telephone companies’ tariffs.” [1]

    “The Federal Communications Commission also has a rule and tarrif prescription prohibiting the recording of telephone conversations without either prior notice or the consent of all parties to the communication.” [2]

    And see: http://rfforum.websitetoolbox.com/file?id=1008331

    It is quite illegal to record and distribute or make public recordings without the consent of all parties directly due to Federal law (see above), and the State Laws of Illinois (the state in which one of the participants–as a witness testifies, was).

    I love you to Nocterro.

    ———————————-
    [1]http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Mass_Media/Databases/documents_collection/88-236.pdf 3 FCC REd. No. 19 FCC 88-236. Note 17.
    [2] Internet and Online Law (New York, NY: Law Journal Press, 2003), sect. and page 5-7.

  • Someone says:

    The above comments are completely defamatory, I have no clue why “gay sex” and the like is being mentioned here, or why false remarks are being made.

    I have lodged a formal complaint against the above post, and repeat the charge that any would-be recording of me discussing anything was illegal (per the above post).

  • Thrasymachus says:

    Weaver.

    Our desire not to give each other the time of day is mutual. I don’t take you seriously, and your legal pseudo-scholarship even less so. Given you are just repeating yourself, I see no reason not to repeat myself: the legal argument you gave is bunk. So much seems to be implied by your newer post now employing an entirely different argument. For what it’s worth, that also seems like bunk: I don’t see why Illinois would hear a suit from you (not in IL) against someone in yet another state (or country) just because a party to the conversation (who might not even have been recorded) was there.

    Your accusations of defamation are no better, and I doubt your reporting this to WordPress.com would help, as you’ve ignored their own guidelines that you are meant to attempt to settle things with me first. Insofar as the defamatory material goes, the only thing which could be considered remotely defamatory is if someone misread the post (rather, its title) and took from it the implication that you’re homosexual and/or that you have ever performed gay sex. I think any fair reading would make it clear the reference to gay sex is because this is the subject of the debate that was recorded. However, to make it abundantly clear that there’s not even a semblance of an implication of me fraudulently ‘outing’ you, I have changed both the title and URL appropriately. I am confident that anything else you take exception to is easily defensible under grounds of fair comment or truth. I’ve popped an email to WordPress saying just this. Obviously, the decision for any take-down resides with them.

    Before you start a reply, I simply don’t want to hear it. Again, I don’t take you seriously. Your prior comments will be left untouched, but any future ones will be deleted. I will not respond to any of your emails.

    The person I am happy to hear from is your legal representative (whoever they are). If they tell me that what I’ve written is defamatory, or even if they tell me your reading of the law is right and mine is wrong, then I’ll happily delete this page and replace it with a public apology, as well as convey the same to you in writing. However, this lawyer will need to prove he is who he says he is, and I will want to confirm his identity myself.

    Absent that, kindly sod off.

    Enjoy life,

    Thrasymachus

  • Thrasymachus says:

    WordPress.com have informed me they’ve been advised that prior comments were not left by the individual named as the author, but someone acting upon their behalf. They have requested that I edit out the individual’s name, and I have done so. The content of the comments remains unaltered.

    The ip address of the doppelganger is 98.228.144.173

  • Peter says:

    Watch out for those Internet Police!

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