23 Jul


A forty one page complaint filed in U.S. District Court lawsuit filed in Utah challenged Utah’s year old AG-GAG law,  AGRICULTURAL OPERATION INTERFERENCE LAW. Activists citing themselves to be journalists and animal welfare groups sued Utah in US District Court claiming claim the law violates their rights to free speech and equal protection.

The year old law makes it illegal to record images or sound inside an agricultural operation without the owner giving consent. State lawmakers created the law a year before Edward Snowden admitted he took the NSA job with intention to access data he left the country with, data Amnesty International it was reported was seeking a FOIA for. The law makes it a crime to apply for work at a slaughterhouse or farm intending to make such recordings, or to gain entry to such an operation “under false pretenses,”  criminalizing undercover investigations and videography at agricultural operations including factory farms and slaughterhouses.

Hinkins is a cattleman and thoroughbred horse breeder. “If people can sneak onto anybody’s property, then we don’t have any rights.”

It was alleged the first person charged with violating the law wasn’t trespassing when she filmed a cow being pushed by a bulldozer at Dale T. Smith and Sons Meatpacking. 

 Will Potter joined the suit as a litigant. Potter supported Utah state Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville statement “It has nothing to do with animals — it’s people trespassing on farms” when Potter clarified not that he is a journalist but he is an activist journalist.

Journalism is not activism. Journalism is the art of journaling- being a fly on the wall, writing what is seen then disseminating the information. Activism is not journalism. Online dictionary defines activism as “The policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.” Masquerading as a journalist to further a social change aught to be the next law addressed by local, state and Federal legislators.

Potter credits his writing on the woman’s arrest as the reason local authority backed off charges made against her.

The conversations, to date, have not adressed that filming on a site can be a violation of Intellectual property ie. logos being used without permission or license, design of unique feeders, that legislators are overlooking in matters as such.  The Property Rights Hinkin is overlooked are 2D IP, ID and Commerce as steps towards pushing back on GOTCHA MEDIA that is getting out of hand, both sides of the political divide….

1)     DID the woman take photographs of people she then posted to the internet without signed releases, after all, they are ‘actors’ in her film.

2)     DID the woman take footage of the farms logo and trademark in Unauthorized Use a violation of 2D IP

3)     DID the woman “stalk” the property

4)     DID the woman’s video of the farm operators IP come at a cost of commerce to the farm operator

The list goes on and on, bearing Intellectual Property Violations being a go to point when adressing Activist Journalists both sides of the political divide ie James O Keefe. What is good for the goose has got to be good for the gander. Spying is spying, trade secrets are trade secrets and there is a legal definition for Whistle Blowing.

As for Mr. Potter, a reminder… beyond Upton, read THE JOURNALISTS CREED written in 1906 by Walter Williams founder of the Missouri School of Journalism

“I believe in the profession of Journalism.

I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of responsibility, trustees for the public; that all acceptance of lesser service than the public service is a betrayal of this trust.

I believe that clear thinking, clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.

I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.

I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.

I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocket book is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.

I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.

I believe that the journalism which succeeds the best-and best deserves success-fears God and honors man; is stoutly independent; unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power; constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of the privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance, and as far as law, an honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship, is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world.”

Without all that, Mr. Potter, then it is ok for the farmer to photograph in your house and bedroom and your website, emails, phone calls, too, to “OUT” activist journalists and Animal Welfare Groups…

It is important truths be told. Most important is how truths are told…. and that legislators know the laws on the books when it comes to embracing a declaration of Property Rights….and push back with the question to the litigants “WHAT MAKES MY FREE SPEECH ANY LESS VALUABLE THAN YOURS”


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