|Wikipedia version of the symbol. What does it mean? Apparently Blogger doesn't want you to know for sure!|
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
The Vegvísir, or "Runic Compass"
What happened to the Vegvísir post? Censorship in the name of “copyright”.
If you are looking for information on the Vegvísir or "runic compass", I must inform you that for the second time the information I has compiled was deleted, and I am not going to attempt to put it up a third time. I will only give the clue that it indeed contains some runic symbolism, but that this was heavily modified with curved lines and such to appear to the medieval Church as a harmless drawing rather than a runic magickal stave. I believe that the claims of "copyright infringement" against both my original and rewritten posts on this symbol are frivolous as I did my own research into the symbol and credited all the images of the symbol that I used (and even gave their makers some free publicity). However Blogger still saw fit so censor the entire thing AGAIN without specifying which part they had a problem with.
Last summer, I had to completely delete and rewrite everything in this post, offline and from scratch, due to repeated harassment and frivolous “copyright” claims. Since the claims made no specific references, I changed much of the post numerous times inasmuch as I could without losing its substance, hoping whatever the harasser perceived as “infringement” would be gone. Rather than agreeing to such an amicable solution, they filed a DCMA complaint aimed at silencing the now heavily altered post. Then blogger support desk sent me this email (abridged here for brevity):
Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog is alleged to infringe upon the copyrights of others. As a result, we have reset the post(s) to "draft" status. (If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.) This means your post - and any images, links or other content - is not gone. You may edit the post to remove the offending content and republish, at which point the post in question will be visible to your readers again.
If it is brought to our attention that you have republished the post without removing the content/link in question, then we will delete your post and count it as a violation on your account. Repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account including deleting your blog and/or terminating your account. DMCA notices concerning content on your blog may also result in action taken against any associated AdSense accounts. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel.
So essentially the deal was, if you remove the “offending content” then re-posting the rest is okay. I wrote to Blogger Support asking them to show which material constituted infringement... and getting no response for several days, I slowly began to realize that this complaint was not some well-meaning cautious attempt to comply with copyright law, or even a matter of a misguided vigilante who somehow imagined I may have copied their material, but rather a game of “who blinks first”. Support Desk did not respond to my emails at all, so it appears they have no interest in explaining themselves, and are simply waiting for me to take the bait. Hence why I deleted and rewrote the entire post instead.
UPDATE as of January 23, 2017, Blogger once AGAIN took down the post, even though it was completely rewritten from scratch. They send the exact same email again and claim there is another DMCA complaint. However on a quick search of the "Lumen database" where these things are recorded, I only found the same two old complaints from summer of last year. There is no new complaint regarding the rewritten version of the post at all. Blogger unilaterally took down the new post without any actual complaint being filed. They still did not respond to my initial inquiry so I don't see much point in asking them the same questions again.
Remember, this was a completely redone-from-scratch post that they took down. It contained NONE of the content of the previous post which was taken down, and there have been NO new complaints against it since the rewrite.
Now that particular post probably wasn't all that significant. But freedom of speech has been violated, ironically in the name of “legality” itself, so the threat is real. In earlier times, people with independent beliefs or who honored the old ways would simply be burned. Today it seems, they are digitally censored on a rumor and threatened with bankruptcy. Take it down and you're fine. But the community of runers, Odinists and Ásatrúars is ultimately poorer for it.
What's more disturbing here is that this sort of action fits into a pattern of behavior by various groups and individuals I have noticed attempting to control the expression of alternative beliefs, symbols, and cultures that do not fit into the “mainstream” consumer mindset being pushed by the media, politicians and other “good shepherds”. Essentially using the law to bully those who refuse to bleat with the sheep. After reading Richard's excellent post on HonorTheRoots regarding social media censorship of the Black Sun, another Germanic symbol worthy of exploration, I realized that his experience and mine are not very different. Particularly telling is his following insight:
“While it is clear that the church has lost its power over society, somewhere we have enemies who want to control the revival of our ancient religion. What I learned from posting the Black Sun was that the people in charge consider it a dangerous symbol. But the story is much deeper than that. It was a realization I came to slowly, but whole heartedly. The people in charge want to control the revival of our ancient religion.”
This is ultimately what this sort of harassment comes down to: censorship. There are some people who want to control the revival of primal Indo-European spiritual paths. Not to destroy or squash it, no – they are more subtle than that – but rather to mold the revival into ignoble or feeble-minded directions, into an artificial “orthodoxy” of blind repetition without knowledge, much as has happened to other religions or philosophies that began by ruffling too many feathers. And to do that, they have to censor independent voices and promote only groups and speakers who will toe their line and not think too much.
Do I absolutely know for sure that this second takedown was due to censorship? Can I prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Blogger purely intended to prevent me from posting anything about the Vegvísir at all, when other people have done so without incident? Can I prove that there is someone particularly malicious at Blogger Support who takes down blog posts without there even existing a new DMCA notice in the past couple of months or at least pertinent to the latest version of the post?
No, unfortunately I cannot. But you see, this is what makes the situation so perverse. They don't respond to my questions and don't leave any paper trail; There is no way to "prove" it in court, and to contest their takedown at all would take an agreement to arbitration by a court, with far more legal and financial resources than your average blogger has. I think it is stupid that DMCA entails procedures that require you to give out your personal information and retain an attorney merely to overturn one frivolous takedown notice and get a single blog post unlocked - this is a non-commercial blog, I don't make a dime from it. They take down a post written from scratch, cite the same old outdated and now-irrelevant complaints that they used on the old post, and once again threaten to delete my blog. Do I know why they chose to target the Vegvísir instead of some other symbol? Your guess is as good as mine. But I do know that they removed a totally rewritten post with no offending material (and indeed it is doubtful if there was any in the old post either).
Therefore, I regret to inform my viewers that I may be posting less often than I previously did. This is not a given, but it is looking more and more likely as Blogger seems determined to censor certain topics with these frivolous copyright claims. One day I may write another, far more concise explanation of the Vegvísir but for now this is apparently a symbol that Blogger believes I am not allowed to touch or explain the esoteric meanings of. Perhaps in a hidden way, this may be for the best. I do not want to reveal all I know of runelore publicly, only that which I believe cannot be used for harmful purposes - for a fuller understanding of it, one really must learn face-to-face from a teacher as in the old days. That said, I am not planning to take down this blog, I believe there is still much useful information to be explored and recorded. However I am seriously considering moving this blog to another platform that is less draconian in its actions. We all know that Blogger is now the property of Google, whose owners don't exactly have the greatest track record of respecting the religious freedom of Indo-European traditions. Be mindful, and if you see this post disappear too, know that it is for reasons that have nothing to do with “infringement”.
May the wisdom of Odin, light of Freyr, strength of Thor, and justice of Tyr be with you.
*As a side note, when I tried looking at the offender's own website to see what the heck they claimed I had “infringed” from them, it turned out the site contains malware, it set off my antivirus on a “red alert” so it blocked their URL and my browser won't touch it - which means I could not even view their material, let alone “infringe” on it, except at great and foolish risk to my own computer and data.
So the person who accused me of copyright infringement is themselves apparently running a hacking/malware site... why am I not surprised?