by Mike Masnick
Tue, Nov 30th 2010 10:34am
from the questions,-questions dept
It really looks like Homeland Security/ICE may have seriously screwed up here. Whether or not seizing domains in general like this is even legal is an open legal question -- and blatantly seizing domains with tons of legit content that the industry and artists regularly used themselves seems like a test case the government doesn't want just waiting to happen. Hopefully the folks behind both blogs have already gotten in touch with various civil liberties/free speech lawyers who can help make them into perfect test cases to show that the government can't just seize web sites without due process.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Aug 30th 2010 5:43am
from the just-dismiss-the-case dept
Separately, the article notes that the WEHCO Media newspaper chain -- apparently totally and completely oblivious to the massive negative publicity Righthaven has generated for the Las Vegas Review-Journal -- has become the second media company to sign up for Righthaven's brand of "copyright enforcement." Paul Smith, the President of WEHCO apparently said:
"It's a pretty serious matter when someone takes your copy, information you've spent a lot of money to produce."To which we wonder if he even realizes what Righthaven does. First of all, having a random blog or forum repost your content with a link back to you isn't "a pretty serious matter." It's someone giving you some attention. It's certainly not taking anything away from you. Anyway, if you want a list of newspapers not to link to, WEHCO publishes the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (and the NW Arkansas Democrat-Gazette), the Benton County Daily Record, the California Democrat, the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Fulton Sun, the News Tribune, the NW Arkansas Times, the Rogers Morning News, the Springdale Morning News, the Banner News, Camden News, El Dorado News-Times, the Texarkana Gazette and The Sentinel-Record. Apparently none of those papers want you alerting anyone to the news they publish.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Aug 13th 2010 3:10pm
from the for-all-sides... dept
"Media outlets have social responsibilities and have to serve the public," said Carlos Lauria, of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. "This is being produced by someone who is not doing it from a journalistic perspective. He is doing it without any ethical considerations."Ethical considerations like repeating bogus statements from officials rather than getting to the actual meat of a story? Ethical considerations like reprinting press releases without fact checking? What "journalistic perspective" does Lauria think is being ignored here, and why is there some mythical standard that this blogger needs to live up to?
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jul 20th 2010 4:31am
global indian foundation
from the safe-harbors dept
The guy who's being sued, Ajith K Narayanan, points out that he didn't write the words in question, that the terms of service on his blog make it clear that commenters are responsible for their own language and, finally, that there wasn't any defamation anyway because the comments are true. The latter two arguments are interesting, but it's the first one that's the important one. If Singapore properly applies liability to those actually responsible, the case should just get tossed out on that first issue, and the other two issues shouldn't matter at all. If the school really wants to go after the commenters for defamation, it should be required to show that there's a strong likelihood that the material was defamatory, and then request a subpoena for the commenters' information (at which point the blogger can decide whether or not to fight it). But simply suing the blogger and claiming he's liable for the possible defamation takes third party liability way too far, and hopefully the court in Singapore recognizes this.
It should be noted that there are some other oddities involved in this lawsuit as well, many of which are summarized at this Techgoss post. It appears that the school initially filed criminal charges, but those were quoshed by a judge earlier this year. Then there's the really bizarre back and forth from April, that began with a report in an Indian newspaper that police had arrested a former GIF employee, claiming that he had started the blog and that it was a "fake" blog to discredit GIF. That report claimed that Narayanan had revealed this ex-employee to be his co-blogger in an affidavit. Yet, in a post on the site, denies pretty much all of that. This seems like a bit of a sideshow, but it does make the whole case a bit more confusing...
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jul 19th 2010 12:59pm
from the overreact-much? dept
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jul 16th 2010 6:08am
from the that-doesn't-seem-right dept
"this was not a typical case, in which suspension and notification would be the norm. This was a critical matter brought to our attention by law enforcement officials. We had to immediately remove the server."That seems odd. If there was problematic content from some users, why not just take down that content or suspend those users. Taking down all 73,000 blogs seems... excessive. TorrentFreak speculates that this may be a part of the recent Homeland Security efforts to shut down file sharing site, and points to some evidence that there were at least a few Blogetery blogs that shared copyrighted works. However, no one's talking, and the ISP seems spooked, saying that it's "serious":
"Simply put: We cannot give him his data nor can we provide any other details. By stating this, most would recognize that something serious is afoot."I'm still wondering what could be so serious that the specific problems couldn't be pinpointed? Taking down 73,000 blogs with no notice seems like overkill, no matter what the actual issue turns out to be.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jun 11th 2010 9:36am
from the missing-the-point dept
First, I won't be tweeting stories that followers can't read. I will be tweeting stories that followers have to pay for if they wish to read. That is an entirely different thing.It's not that different. Most people won't pay, so the vast majority of people who follow your links are going to get frustrated. It's not a good consumer experience at all -- especially when you're talking about using Twitter or other social media platforms where sharing and link passing are encouraged.
Apparently, folks over in the UK aren't quite getting that message. Felix Salmon notes that the Financial Times, who has one of the more annoying paywalls out there is now putting its blogs behind a paywall too. Salmon rightly questions this idea:
The move makes sense in a kind of tyranny-of-consistency way: the FT.com site believes that paywalls are the way to go, Money Supply is on the FT.com site, therefore Money Supply must be behind the paywall. But beyond that, it's silly.But that's the thing about both the Times and the FT's view of things. It's never been about "adding online value" at all. It's been about stamping your feet and declaring "we are valuable, now pay us." Unfortunately for them, that's not how the world works.
For one thing, the best reason for newspapers to put a paywall around their website is to support the circulation of the print product, where readers are much more lucrative in terms of both subscription and advertising revenue. Newspapers with free websites fear that their print readers will desert the newspaper for the online product, and they put up paywalls to make that decision less attractive.
Blogs are a great way for a newspaper to add online value for their print subscribers: they can put nichey content like wonky posts on central banking online, without using up precious newsprint. But the FT doesn’t give online access to its print subscribers: that's a key difference between the FT paywall and the one being proposed by the NYT. And print subscribers understandably don’t particularly want to pay twice for the same content. So their relationship with the FT will necessarily weaken when they lose access to the blog content.
Salmon goes on to explain how this will totally take certain FT blogs out of the conversation. It's a key point. What makes blogs work so well is that they usually are not the same as a traditional journalistic reporting platform. They're not designed to just report the news and move on. The blogging ecosystem tends to be about discussion and conversation, with blogs linking to each other, building off what each other said and continuing the conversation and the debate. But walling it off takes away from all that. That's why we've already seen at least one blogger from The Times bail out from the paper and move his blog elsewhere. I wouldn't be surprised to see FT bloggers do the same. Putting a paywall on blogs is the equivalent of putting a paywall on a conversation... And, speaking of that, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention our conversational paywall t-shirt, which is getting mighty close to selling out:
by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 14th 2010 4:40pm
from the disclose-everything dept
However, back in February, some were wondering if retailer Ann Taylor's offer of gift cards to bloggers who covered their new line of clothing violated the rules. Apparently, the FTC did take notice, and Michael Scott points us to the news that last month, the FTC decided to give Ann Taylor a one-time pass, though it did express some concerns about the program:
by Dennis Yang
Wed, Apr 14th 2010 2:15pm
from the times-they-are-a-changin' dept
Entries for journalism awards must be based on material coming from a text-based United States newspaper or news site that publishes at least weekly during the calendar year and that adheres to the highest journalistic principles.So, it's unclear whether or not blogs would be eligible for a Pulitzer. Plenty of blogs would meet the weekly publishing requirement, but from the rest of the definition it would appear that any site not affiliated with an "official" news site would not be eligible. As for the "highest journalistic principles," The National Enquirer was accepted as a nominee this year, so surely there's a blog or two out there that can bring their quality of reporting up to that level.
That said, the Pulitzer does not have to change their rules to include blogs, after all, by definition, it is a prize for the newspaper industry. Magazines and broadcast news are also not eligible. But, these prohibitions seem artificial since many of the prizes focus on reporting, and plenty of quality reporting happens outside of the newspapers. Times change, and if the Pulitzer wants to continue to be relevant in the public eye, it needs to evolve or it risks becoming a big award in a small pond.