French police say Grateful Dead are terrorists

The Grateful Dead.

The Grateful Dead are a terrorist threat, according to French police authorities.

In early April, the San Francisco-based Internet Archive (IA) received a series of notices from the French national Internet Referral Unit (IRU), a police agency acting under a European Union (EU) law requiring internet platforms to remove alleged terrorist content within one hour upon official notification.

The Internet Archive (IA) was established in 1996 and holds a historical web collection of more than 150 billion web pages, about 240,000 movies, more than 500,000 audio items (including more than 70,000 live concerts), more than 1.8 million texts, 1600 education items and more than 30,000 software items.  

Among all these things, the IA is a repository of Grateful Dead concerts recorded by fans from the band’s inception to its final demise in 2015. That entire archive was one of those listed by the French authorities.

Also targeted was the CSPAN archive, which is the service broadcasting proceedings of the US government.

EU law has no standing in the US, but if the IA fails to comply then European-based ISPs could be forced to block IA content.

“It would be bad enough if the mistaken URLs in these examples were for a set of relatively obscure items on our site, but the French IRU’s lists include some of the most visited pages on archive.org and materials that obviously have high scholarly and research value,” IA spokesperson Chris Butler said on April 10.

He asked how the EU legislation could “realistically be said to honour freedom of speech if these are the types of reports that are currently coming from EU law enforcement and designated governmental reporting entities?”

“It is not possible for us to process these reports using human review within a very limited timeframe like one hour. Are we to simply take what’s reported as 'terrorism' at face value and risk the automatic removal of things like the primary collection page for all books on archive.org?”

For those willing to risk hearing the Grateful Dead despite the anti-terrorist police, their concerts are here.

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