We are all Spartacus

Citigroup, citing the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), has ordered economics blogger Doug Henwood to remove a February 2009 Citibank report from Henwood’s Left Business Observer site. Henwood complied because WordPress, who hosts his site, would not allow him to post anything new to his site until he deleted the document.

Berkeley economist Brad DeLong was not happy. He seems to suspect, very reasonably, that the real reason Citigroup wanted Henwood to take down the file was because it gave a pretty friendly read to the Obama administration’s handling of the banking sector at the time. DeLong:

Today –nineteen months after this document was written– it is of historical interest only: none of Citigroup’s paying clients would pay a cent for the information contained in it, for nobody could in any way profitably trade today on Citigroup’s February 2009 analysis of the policies of the Geithner Treasury.

Whatever you think about the DMCA, it should not be used to prune the historical record of primary sources about how various economic policies were perceived at the time.

In response, DeLong has posted the Citigroup document on his site here (pdf).

And, just in case, you can also download it (pdf) from my site too (at least for now). [LINK REMOVED BY REQUEST FROM CITIGROUP’S ATTORNEYS, 11/08/10.]

UPDATE 11/08/10: I’ve received a DMCA take-down notice from attorneys for Citigroup, so I have removed the Citibank report from my site. My guess is that you can find it elsewhere on the internet. You might also try contacting Citigroup directly.

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