Burleith resident told to blur photos in response to complaints

Heller Information Services (HIS), the server operator behind the website “Drunken Georgetown Students,” has asked Stephen R. Brown, the Burleith resident who runs the site, to “either remove the pix or blur the faces,” according to an e-mail posted by Brown.

Yesterday, Vox reported that Brown has been publishing photographs of Georgetown students on his website, www.drunkengeorgetownstudents.com. But, a visit to the site earlier today revealed that Brown has blurred out the faces of all persons in photographs published on the site.

That’s not to say that Brown censored his site willingly, however. At the top of the site, Brown posted a missive about how “[his] first amendment right to photograph has been usurped by the Universtiy.”

According to the excerpted e-mail written by an HIS representative, “[Brown’s] site has stirred up quite a hornet’s nest, and [HIS] received several dozen complaints about the photographs … We’ve looked at the pix, and whether or not there are any legal issues with them, in our opinion they do meet our criteria for harassment mentioned in our [Acceptable Use Policy.]”

According to the HIS Acceptable Use Policy, clients are prohibited from “[using] the service for illegal purposes,” “[using] the service in such a way as to cause harm to HIS or other parts of the internet,” or “[using] the service to abuse or harrass others.”

After the jump, read Stephen Brown’s response to the HIS e-mail, as well as the excerpted e-mail Brown posted on his website.

Brown’s note about his “first amendment right to photograph”:

News Flash–April 27, 2010

CENSORSHIP??? I received this note from my server operator and it appears even my first amendment right to photograph has been usurped by the Universtiy. I guess what happens at night in our neighborhood is something they don’t want exposed. And they are such a bastion of “intellectual freedom?” And who said “denial was a river in Egypt….?”

The HIS e-mail:

“Steve – your drunkengeorgetownstudents.com site has stirred up quite a hornet’s nest, and we’ve received several dozen complaints about the photographs.  We’ve looked at the pix, and whether or not there are any legal issues with them, in our opinion they do meet our criteria for harassment mentioned in our AUP at…. I’m going to have to ask you to either remove the pix or blur the faces, Google street view-style, so they aren’t recognizable, and remove references to specific addresses, by tomorrow morning or we’ll have to disable the site.

17 Comments on “Burleith resident told to blur photos in response to complaints

  1. And he would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!

  2. Burleith dude: Your First Amendment right does not extend to posting pictures of people without their permission.

  3. First amendment rights violated? Hardly. More like terms of use for his own web host. If he’s convinced that his stuff isn’t a legal liability, he can find another web host or buy his own server.

    PS I’m not a lawyer.

  4. 1) Who says the University is at fault? Maybe it’s students.
    2) This guy was a professor? Check your grammar and your ability to even write.
    3) The website is fully allowed to do such things. It’s a PRIVATE company. PRIVATE. The First Amendment is about CONGRESS.

  5. Mr. Brown, with punnery like yours, I’m surprised your first amendment rights weren’t infringed upon earlier.

  6. To distinguish between ‘drunk’ and ‘drunken':

    “The modifier drunk in legal language describes a person whose blood contains more than the legally allowed percentage of alcohol: Drunk drivers go to jail. Drunken, not drunk, is almost always the form used with nouns that do not name persons: drunken arrogance; a drunken free-for-all. In such uses it normally has the sense “pertaining to, caused by, or marked by intoxication.””

    Dude sucks, but good to see he knows rudimentary html.

  7. “even my first amendment right to photograph has been usurped by the Universtiy”

    Holy shit, there’s a first amendment right to photograph? Has this guy been operating by a secret parallel Constitution? What other heretofore secret rights are in that thing?

  8. This is a clear misuse of the word “usurp.” Hope this guy’s photos are nice, because his grasp on English is tenuous at best.

  9. post thoughts on georgetownneighbors.com

  10. You would think that someone who has enough free time to stalk university students would have enough time to spell check. Or even to learn how to make a decent website.

  11. If this fellow’s work makes Chop’t decide to stay away from the neighborhood, I’ll lose my marbles! Let’s not say anything we can’t take back, Mr. Brown.

  12. Is it just me, or are other people getting a “Sorry – the site you’re trying to reach is not active.” page when going onto the website?

  13. @Where is it?

    The site looks like it was shut down. I’m looking into it and will have a post up shortly.

  14. Pingback: Vox Populi » “Drunken Georgetown Students” shut down, rises again on Blogspot

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