Saturday, January 29, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Master Card may default "voluntarily" to the terms of COICA, even with no law, in cutting off sites.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Update: Jan 27
The Washington Post (Hayley Tsukayama) reports that Facebook will definitely introduce encrypted https logon Jan. 26 or 27 link here. So far, my recalled unsecured signon works. I'll play with the https soon.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Salt Lake Tribune joins Righthaven troll; EFF notes new concerns about downstream liability in Washington DC
The article reports warnings that anyone (any blogger or message board user) who has reprinted news stories from any of these papers (or even major excerpts) without permission is likely to be sued by Righthaven soon.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Post script: I like whiffleball, so I thought this Bing video was entertaining (25 seconds), getting ready for Sping Training and MLB, while I work my "project". Yup, I wonder if Stephen Strasburg is throwing again.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Note that Green links to an Oct. 20 story on the LVS site about the one trial settled so far, one that went against Righthaven on Fair Use grounds.
It does seem that Righthaven is doing this "because we can."
Thursday, January 13, 2011
As noted before, other government agencies are having to look harder at employee personal web use, because of indirect threats to confidentiality, and some are instituting "prepublication review" policies.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
1980s law gives little protection to Internet users from government snooping; more rulings in copyright cases
In the mid 1980s, Internet use was rather esoteric, with main protocols (lik html) not yet well established. But another point not understood is that when someone distributes information electronically, in practice there is much greater chance that many more eyes will see it. And many people have misunderstood the concept of "friends" in the digital world.
But it seems that more attention should be paid to privacy with respect to government snooping (as as reaction to Wikileaks), and less to the "harm" of "tracking" users for advertising purposes. But then we have another issue, "See something, say something."
Electronic Frontier Foundation has some important news on copyright, including an amicus brief (Corynne McSherry) in the First Circuit regarding excessive damage awards in copyright cases (link) and another ruling allowing resale of promo CD’s, rejecting a claim by UMG, and reaffirming consumers’ “first sale” rights. More about that will come.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Dead celebrities may control a "right of publicity", another possible legal trap for amateurs; looking at Elvis, Michael
For “ordinary speakers” the issue is potentially important because apparently dead celebrities retain their “right of publicity”, upon which amateurs could infringe. That would also merge with risks of trademark infringement.
Some of the celebrities covered in the segment included James Dean, Elvis Presley, and now Michael Jackson. The CBS report included a brief visual tour of Presley’s Graceland (link) in Memphis. I remember the “controversy” when Presley was drafted.
Roesler is credited for having pressured many states (through legislatures and sometimes the courts) to recognize a “postmortem right of publicity”, which Roesler explained as “We have the right to prevent our name, our likeness, our image, our signature, our voice, from being used in some commercial fashion.” Kroft noted that “the right of publicity” isn’t mentioned in the Bill of Rights, but it has always been a recognized source of torts in common law, and many states regulate it.
Sunday, January 09, 2011
Now, in the wake of the Arizona tragedy, we have a general discussion going on that the Media, by being available 24x7 and being very addictive (via the Net and social media, which even customizes the News Feeds now) is getting, if not “abusive”, at least “dangerous” in that it can spurn unstable people into horrific actions. (Check the media stories to follow the details of the Sarah Palin PAC "cross hairs" metaphor.)
I suppose there is something to this: we have a world where everyone sees himself (or herself) as personally wired (maybe even tied biologically as in James Cameron’s “Pandora”) to the whole outside Universe, without regard to any preferences or loyalties implicit in family or other social grouping. We have indeed moved away from the social insect model. But it means that many of us may be much less involved with other people in any way that “gets real.”
There’s another side to this, asymmetry. Fareed Zakaria explained it in a recent Time Magazine essay (linked in my posting yesterday on the International issues blog). But individuals can instantiate themselves on the Web. They may be just giving away evidence of their instability (and providing evidence for the police to find after the fact), or they may be adding to the pot of vitriolic speech particularly condemning of those who indulge themselves in modernity (a complaint of some of radical Islam), or of those who have become dependent on others, whether due to moral flaw or laziness or to circumstances beyond their control (and it’s often hard to tell the difference).
There does seem to be a particular danger in modern asymmetry, where anyone can be heard from without supervision. Unstable people may pose real threats. These range from domestic “mentally ill” (Hinckley, Kaczynski), to anti-government Right Wing radical (McVeigh), to radical Islam (underwear, shoes, etc). Unlike the times of forty years ago, during my own coming of age (the Weathermen, the People’s Party of Benjamin Spock, etc.) the extreme Left seems relatively left out of all this right now. We heard this idea stated shortly after 9/11 (in connection with "jihad recruiting" and also fears about steganography), but not so much lately until suddenly after Saturday's tragedy.
Should the media be required to restrain itself (beyond specific areas of confidentiality already well-established in journalistic practice, although maybe challenged in the battle over shield laws) because of what a few unstable individuals might do? That’s not a vacuous question for ordinary Internet users, because blogging platforms and now social media (especially Facebook) is making many of us journalists. It’s particularly worrisome today, because Boehner and other House members have said today that they’re suspending their usual agenda (“conservative” as it was, like “repealing Obamacare”), as if they saw asymmetry as a national security emergency that could lead to draconian legislation shutting a lot of what we do down.
Of course, most of us remember reading a stanza in high school English, “No Man Is an Island” (John Donne, “Meditation XVII” (link )). We are affected by what others do, and can be called upon to sacrifice because of the “weaknesses” of others, which may be reflections of our own flaws in different forms. In today’s world, we’re less conscious of this than we used to be, perhaps (as with previous generations that faced military drafts). It seems as though a lot of the Gospel was about dealing with this, following the Old Testament (typical discussion of the "Brother's Keeper" moral problem here). Despite the opportunity that technology gives so many of us to excel without the approval or supervision of others, we have to remember that we are social creatures, like it or not.
In the past few years, as I had to deal with my own family eldercare situation, I had to ponder the idea that my own outspokenness, even when I was "right", could (however wrongfully) attract danger to others besides myself, even if I had not "chosen" to be "responsible" for them in the usual sense.
Still, I’d rather see Congress get back to its (distracting) “anti-spending” agenda, however partisan .
Here's a 14 minute CNN video, "is political rhetoric too heated?" On CNN, one reporter said that even the "meta-talk" (in subjunctive mood) about issues might incite some unstable people.
Update: Jan. 12
Sarah Palin has issued a statement saying that journalists and pundits who criticize her rhetoric are bowing to the concept of "blood libel", link here. That concept has little or no relevance in US law.
Friday, January 07, 2011
"Implicit content" issue likely to become an increasing problem for "amateur" bloggers (when functioning as journalists)
One is the government’s proclivity to pick on a few things and blow them out of proportion, to protect itself. Government has been saying that anyone who links to or even reads Wikileaks threatens the lives of civilians overseas – no, it’s the original leak of operationally critical information that endangers people overseas, not ordinary speakers, even regular journalists. This was settled with “Pentagon Papers”.
Another is the difficulty in pinning down what is really “confidential”. Identification of private stakeholders (and their PII) or of trade secrets obviously is wrong, but someone with access to any sort of confidential and non-public information might be giving out hints as to what future public information will be by expressing opinions. It’s a very gray area. It could lead to much stricter guides for “pre-publication review” for holders of many jobs, of almost anything they post. And remember, many of the concerns will be "prospective" (even a personal journalistic "purpose").
Facebook has tried to say that it is about social cohesion, not publication; but one can parse or inverse the news feeds of Facebook and see they are blogs, that can go viral easily. One can even say that about Twitter; over time, the mass of a person’s posts adds up to something. (Yup, compute “A” + “K”).
Thursday, January 06, 2011
In the past few days, financial papers have been reporting on the arrangements by which Facebook remains a private company but attracts more investors, implying that there is some controversy. Privately-held companies do not have to report as “much”, and the tendency in recent times is for many successful tech companies to want to remain private.
Kathleen Pender has a typical story in the San Francisco Chronicle, (website url) here.
Companies with fewer than 500 shareholders (including institutions) may remain private.
The biggest psychological reason for remaining private may be freedom: “I do what I want.” This has, to say it in a kindly way, been somewhat Facebook’s position, even if it maintains it is benevolent. I experience the same sort of feeling about my own online publishing activity, and even plans for a film. I know the feeling. Once you're publicly traded, you're first priority isn't self-expression, it's profit.
A private investor in Facebook needs a large wad of cash, and is subject to certain other restrictions. According to news reports, some newer employees stock options become valuable only if the company goes public or certain other special events happen.
The shenanigans in the movie "The Social Network" don't happen with public companies (that's not to say that the movie was accurate). It's only a movie, maybe. Maybe the CNBC documentary series starting 9 PM Eastern tonight will be more true-to-life.
I worked for a company in the 1980s that was taken private to keep it from "corporate raiders". The "Capital Partners" put a lot of squeeze on management for profits. Is the tech world different?
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Saturday, January 01, 2011
Happy New Year: Some formal project management, and "eliminating redundancy" in 2011: How will I push my "do ask do tell"?
There was a major personal event, covered here on Dec. 21, 2010.
December 2010, however, also came to a climax with the repeal (with caveats) of the policy "don't ask don't tell" regarding days in the military, an issue that I have been documenting on line since 1996, with my three books to boot. I had my own way of working this, which would spread to other issues (like COPA, online reputation, implicit content, and Internet free entry -- and now restory sanity over Wiki:Leaks). I will say that had I not approached it the way I did, and remained steadfast for all these years (which was more challenged than most people know, as I will reveal in coming months) we might well not have the Repeal accomplished (or the COPA victory or even the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling).
I do want to focus on the idea of a “Do Ask Do Tell” independent film. It seems that the concepts like “do ask do tell” (inspired by the notorious “don’t ask don’t tell” policy finally and historically repealed in December 2010) jives with Anderson Cooper’s “keeping ‘em honest” (which sounds like a registerable trademark to me, even though I haven’t checked) . Connected to all this is Facebook’s Paradigm (as in the Time Magazine issue, discussed here Dec. 26, 2010), where personal identity is not very mutable and must maintain public cohesion, where double lives (or maybe second lives) so popular in the early days of the Web are falling away. We still face major challenges: overzealous implementation of protection of "privacy' and of government "secrets", and of the "establishment" business interests of the past (in the media) could still deep-six free expression in a seas of "dues paying" in the future.
My plan of work will involve some indirect steps, pulling together the loose ends of much of my work, and eliminating redundancy and obsolescence. I have a novel to finish, a second sci-fi screenplay, and then I will get to my “final vision” for the “Do Ask Do Tell Screenplay” (it will be heavily layered, like a wedding cake), a third non-fiction “book” (probably an E-book), in “Five Movements”, which will become the centerpiece of a restructure web presence, with fewer blogs (news analysis and media reviews) rather analogous to high school English “grammar and literature”), and a well focused Facebook and Twitter setup for news links.
I have a “project plan” for all this (invoking the “project management” techniques of my illustrious IT career), and it looks like it will take me to about the first of May, 2011, to get there.
I should have more details in about a week. I’d better not go delinquent, or someone else will take away my own “mark”.