Your Boycott-Related Homework – Support Planned Parenthood
Life Decisions International publishes a biannual list of corporations that support Planned Parenthood, in an attempt to encourage individuals to boycott the organization. A July 2007 press release from LDI lists several new additions to the list, corporations continuing on from previous editions, and “dishonorable mentions,” or charitable organizations that “are associated with Planned Parenthood and/or its agenda.”
The boycott list, however, is not freely available, as the organization claims that “pro-Planned Parenthood people were urged to send for The Boycott List in an effort to bankrupt us–which they nearly did; and we began to realize the enormous expense involved in obtaining the information needed to prepare The Boycott List.” LDI apparently thinks they can make up their own copyright laws in order to enforce their restrictions on the list’s availability, stating:
The Boycott List may not be reproduced, altered, or placed on the Internet, in whole, or in part. Requests for permission to copy The Boycott List are never granted. An organization wanting to advertise the availability of The Boycott List may select the names of five corporations active in their respective area for publication, so long as ordering information is provided for those who may want to obtain a complete List.
Please note that these very explicit restrictions are not part of U.S. copyright law, as some degree of fair use always applies. Copyright law never specifies that, under a fair use, you may only quote 5 items or must explain to people how to buy the source material. Furthermore, copyright protects the expression of ideas or facts, not the facts themselves. For example, I could take a BellSouth phone book, extract all of the phone/address information, present it differently, and copyright my version. Nothing in copyright law prevents me from republishing those *facts,* it only prevents me from copying them exactly as presented by another.
LDI also refuses to provide supporting documentation that a corporation supports Planned Parenthood, stating:
It is impossible to honor requests for evidence that listed cor-porations have donated to Planned Parenthood as it involves many documents (including government forms), telephone calls, letters and other research. Similarly, we cannot honor requests for the amount of funds donated by a corporation (the issue is the funding, not the amount, so we no longer even track such data). You may be assured that all corporations on The Boycott List are there based on our long employed, clearly explained and uniformly applied standards and that excuses offered by corporations are unacceptable.
Impossible? Surely a generous amount of documentation is created in the investigation and confirmation of the donations. If those documents, letters, and other research had not been collected, there wouldn’t be a list in the first place. Why not make copies available to requestors for a fee, given the “enormous expense” of creating the list?
The boycott is apparently only so strong, however. Apparently eBay is a new target, and they own PayPal, which LDI uses to process credit card orders for the list. While stating that they are investigating alternatives and encouraging folks to order by mail, they haven’t actually halted online ordering in respect of their own boycott. Sigh.
Despite these restrictions, you can view a list of local and regional boycott targets by state, boycotted credit cards, and several national targets in the organization’s press release. Go send some businesses your thanks for helping to support responsible sex education, access to well woman care and contraception, and women’s bodily integrity and autonomy. Then give a little or a lot to Planned Parenthood. You know, if you’re so inclined.