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September 2020
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French Government To Make Insulting Mayors A Criminal Offense

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French government entities continue to clamp down on speech. Following a terrorist attack on a French satirical newspaper, government leaders vowed to double down on protecting controversial speech. The govenment then fast-tracked several prosecutions under its anti-terrorism laws, which included arresting a comedian for posting some anti-semitic content. It further celebrated its embrace of free speech by arresting a man for mocking the death of three police officers.A half-decade later, that same commitment to protecting speech no one might object to continues. The country's government passed a terrible hate speech law that would have allowed law enforcement to decide what content was acceptable (and what was arrestable.) Fortunately for its citizens, the country's Constitutional Court decided the law was unlawful and struck down most of it roughly a month later.But that's not the end of bad speech laws in France. Government officials seem to have an unlimited amount of bad ideas. Some government officials are being hit with far more than objectionable words. Assaults of French mayors continue to occur at the rate of about once a day. Mayors assaulted and unassaulted have asked the French government to do more to protect them from these literal attacks.The government has responded. And it's not going to make mayors any more popular or make them less likely to be physically attacked.

Any insult targeted at a French mayor will now be treated as contempt - an offence that carries a maximum penalty of community service or a €7,500 fine - France's justice minister has announced.“Any attack perpetuated against a mayor is an attack perpetuated against the Republic”, warned French Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti on Wednesday after a ministerial meeting to which local mayor associations were invited, according to BFMTV.
Assault is already a crime, so the government has ways to deal with those who physically attack government officials. This new wrinkle makes being mean to them a crime. The Republic as a whole will feel every insult targeting a town mayor. So will the people uttering the insults. $7,500 fines and/or 280 hours of community service await those who like to fight with their words, rather than their fists.This may trim down the number of public insults but it's hardly going to make the government any more popular with the governed. If French citizens are physically attacking mayors 300+ times a year, there's something more going on that just a little bit of assholishness that's gotten out of hand. Protecting people from violence is something any government should do. But protecting them from being insulted is something only authoritarians do.

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posted at: 12:00am on 10-Sep-2020
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Esports Milestone: Guild Esports Looks For London Stock Exchange Listing

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For years now, we've covered various milestones the esports industry has hit as it has exploded in popularity. Once relegated primarily to a few overseas markets, the past decade has seen an acceleration of the industry hitting the mainstream, from features in sports media on participants, college scholarships for esports, IRL leagues getting in the game, and even the betting markets opening up to esports gambling. While this trend began long before the world's current predicament, it's also true that the COVID-19 pandemic, which shuttered live sports for months, acted as a supercharger for all of this.All of which contributed to the latest milestone the esports industry has managed to hit, as famed footballer David Beckham's Guild Esports franchise has announced it plans to get listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Guild Esports, a UK-based owner and developer of esports teams, confirmed plans for an initial public offering in a statement Wednesday. The company said it wants to build a global sports franchise modeled on the English Premier League, NBA and NFL. It will float 40% of its shares next month and hopes to raise £20 million ($25.9 million) to recruit new players and invest in the business.Beckham, a former Manchester United and England footballer, will use his global influence and following to support the Guild Esports brand, the company added. Beckham is also co-owner of Inter Miami CF, a Major League Soccer team in the United States.
The CNN post goes on to note that ad revenue in the industry for 2019 was just under a billion dollars. The point in all of this is that the difference between a beloved hobby and professional sports is the "professional" part. In other words, money. Now that esports has not only emerged as a major force in competition when it comes to ad revenues and eyeballs, but also now a place for potential owners of sporting franchises to invest very real money, the only question is just how popular and dominant esports will grow to become.Based on the company's plans, it has some very lofty goals.
The company plans to recruit up to 20 esports players by the end of next year, modeling player training and scouting on the talent academies pioneered by Premier League football teams.
The last milestone is probably one we're hurtling toward at speed: when the maturity of the esports industry is so accepted that these posts on Techdirt no longer make sense to write.

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posted at: 12:00am on 10-Sep-2020
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