Saturday, February 27, 2021

Important and subtle points about "Fair Use" born out by Mahlmann-Thuderf00t case about video excerpt of a space launch


Kennedy Space Center, FL, 2015

Leonard French and Lawful Masses channel considers the Malmann v. Thunderf00t litigation with regard to Fair Use.

Apparently an 18-second video of a space launch made by Ars Technica journalist Trevor Mahlmann was “ripped” without paying the minimum $750 license that he normally requires for his video photography to help make a living, by science journalist Thunderf00t.  Text articles on this case don’t exist yet, but French’s video makes some points on Fair Use.  For review, look at Columbia law school on the topic. 

The most interesting point, from my perspective, is the contextual or “meta-content’ analysis of the first prong of Fair Use.  If the “ripper” was using the excerpt to transform or do critical analysis of another presentation, that weighs toward Fair Use.  But if it simply is a copy of someone else’s “creative” presentation of the facts of a news story (here a space launch or landing – back in vogue today because of Mars) then it is not transformative, and the normal expectation of the original owner to collect license fees (to make a living) will be honored.  That’s particularly the case with music, video, or photography.

This in my mind raises a question of what happens when a journalist places themselves in a Zoom box on a video and then shows newspaper or periodical commentary in order to discuss the misbehavior or hypocrisy of various politicians (you know, the “vengeful Left”).  If the youtuber is commenting on the journalism on the news story reported, that’s Fair, but not if they are letting the photographed video article provide the content, so it wounds. 

I don’t do this very often, but in one video recently where I discussed the threat of coronavirus lockdowns again from variants, I did show a few graphs from the Hopkins tracker to look at whether cases are really still coming down.  (Hint:  now they are flattening again at a high level, and that’s disturbing).  I think that’s probably OK because there’s really no other reasonable way to present the graphs.  (I could be critical of that site – it doesn’t fit into mobile too well, and is very slow). 

 Update: French has an update, March 9, link

Thursday, February 25, 2021

EFF video mentions copyright case in Canada involving hyperlinks


Ottawa, 2019

The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Effector video mentions the virtual forum on copyright for content creators Feb 26 at 10 AM PST.

But it also mentions an important case in British Columbia where linking to an article critical of university surveillance of students during the pandemic created a copyright infringement liability, at least under 2018 Canadian or British Columbia law.  There was a case in the US (NYState) described here Feb 17m 2018 undermining the so-called server rule.

 Joe Mullin has a detailed story on EFF about this SLAPP lawsuit. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Crowder posts video with some evidence of Nov 2020 election irregularities (he claims) and Twitter suspends him


Philadelphia, 2018

So, Steven Crowder and some assistants develop a video (“Crowder Bits”) showing some random possible fraudulent votes in 2020, and Twitter bans him.  But right how YouTube leaves his funny video up.

It does not appear, to me at least, that the volume of these incidents would have made any difference in November.  Biden won by too much.

Tim Pool jumped all over Twitter for banning Crowder.  Remember the 2019 fight with Carlos Maza?  Really, talking with a lisp means nothing; in Canada it is just a normal accent.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Linked-In "retires" a course in anti-racism by DiAngelo as apparently overly coercive and extremist


Harpers Ferry W Va

Yesterday, on the Books blog, I reported Amazon’s apparently surreptitious removal of a book critical of transgender “ideology”.  Now we see corporate America maybe finally putting the brakes on Left-wing excesses, as LinkedIn “retired” a course “Confronting Racism, by Robin DiAngelo”.

Dr. Karlyn Borysenko explains, with some glee.

This all came up after stories that Coca Cola has asked its white employees to act less “white” whatever that means.

To segregate “white” employees and tell them they are supposed to feel guilty about their ancestors is way over the top.

Actually, 25 years ago, well before Y2K, companies were already getting to the point that they would fire people for explicit racism.  In Minneapolis, a woman was fired for passing a racist remark on a Postit Note in handwriting, and it made the Star Trubune newspaper in late 1997, just after I had transferred there with ReliaStar.  That’s a tremendous change in ten years, when previously (in the early 80s, under Reagan) it had been acceptable to make wisecracks about pro football players when making up the weekly pool. 

There is another disturbing story, of Slate suspending a podcaster Mike Pesca for merely talking naming a racial slur in a subjunctive context.  English needs more conjugation to show abstraction from fact (subjunctive mood in French). The New York Times has engaged in some of the same behaviors. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Why do "social media influencers" have to disclose business relationships to mention products when commercial television doesn't?


after ice storm

Tom Scott looks at the question as to why social media influencers (and that presumably includes bloggers like me) must disclose conspicuously if they were paid for commercial promotion of a product or service or received a free sample to review (like a free DVD of Vimeo link of an upcoming film, which I often do).  In a sense this makes a post an "advert".   These are FTC requirements in the US.  YouTube has additional rules so as not to confuse advertisers.  

On the other hand, commercial broadcast television does not have to make these disclosures (nor do normally produced motion pictures) because normally the audience is presumed to know the context already.  The UK is a little stricter about this than the US, however.

The basic concepts are “payment” and “control”.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Copyright troll in Minnesota (leveraging P2P setups) gets 14 years in prison for wire fraud, etc.


central MN, 2011

A copyright troll, Paul Hansmeier, operating in Minnesota, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison. The 8th Circuit has denied his appeal.  Leonard French explains in his "Lawful Masses" YouTube series. 

His firm Steele-Hansmeier, starting in 2010, maintained registers of IP addresses of people who tried to download copies of movies by P2P file sharing.

They would send litigation coercing settlements ($4000) to defendants who could not defend themselves and would have been embarrassed by the public disclosure of their having downloaded movies.

Apparently they set up a honey pot to lure people into downloading the movies.  Later on they set up a front law firm, Prenda Law, and obtained copyrights to films and pretended to be real plaintiffs.

Later they formed more shell companies apparently creating the appearance that defendants had hacked company systems.

The criminal conspiracies involved wire and mail fraud, and suborning perjury. French talks about the "tree-legged stool" theory.   This is the first case I have heard of where trolls have deliberately enticed violations with entrapment.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Facebook bans all news articles having any connection with Australia (?!) over an Aussie "link tax" proposal


model rr

Claire Miller writes for the NPR, that Facebook is banning all linking to news stories from Australian publications (like about “dictator Dan” and his lockdowns of Melbourne).  Lucas Matney shares a similar story on Techcrunch

Furthermore Australian users of Facebook may not link to any news stories at all.

This reminds me of the debate over the “link tax” in The EU Copyright Directive (and the “copyright disaster” it led to in Spain, leaving Google to stop sharing Spanish links in the country altogether for a while). 

This could apply to Australian stories about coronavirus.  A major rapid test kit will come from Australia soon, and this hampers the public’s learning about it.

All of this has to do with the Australian government essentially wanting to impose a “link tax” (for all practical purposes) on social media platforms making money on advertising.

I could not find the policy on Facebook, but here is an image of what happens if you try to link to an Australian news article.  

There have been sporadic debates and hyperlinking and embedding (especially) and copyright.  Usually, there are viewed as like term paper footnotes.  Fact can’t be copyrighted.  Yet news organizations will often have sentences to the effect “this story may not be rewritten”, or word to that effect.

Fox news apparently doesn’t allow linking to its articles, at least from Blogger, which gives a 403 Forbidden.

  Update:  Timcast has a major video explaining Google and Facebook's different business models.  Feb. 24.  Facebook has struck an interim voluntary "deal" and reversed its policy (New York Times). Jeff Horowitz et al gives some analysis in the WSJ and suggests that smaller channels like on Medium could make similar demands of Facebook.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Police use copyrighted background music to discourage filming by citizens, could lead to more racial profiling, a legal quandary


Trump supporters on Nov 14 after election, DC

Leonard French explains a new tactic by police to discourage filming by citizens.  Police play copyright protected music in the background so that it is a video will be taken down.

French explains that copyright infringement is a “strict liability offense” so that inadvertent playing of background copyrighted music outside and detected by automated filters, as by YouTube (even more so in the EU with its Copyright Directive with Article 17).

YouTube often flags a video and tells the content creator that monetization of the video will go to the music owner, rather than taking it down. (It may be taken down in some countries.)  That will not result in a copyright strike.  This has happened to me.  However in some extreme cases the content creator might be pursued for damages.  This could conceivably invite trolls into abuse of the new CASE Act.

You do have a right to film the police.  I’ve previously linked to a speech by Ford Fischer (News2Share).

French suggested that Fair Use might deal with this problem, and the Ninth Circuit has at least ruled in favor of the content creator.  The Supreme Court has never ruled on this.

French also mentions that the DMCA requires hosts have repeat infringer policies, which could cause accounts (like with YouTube) to be removed without adjudication of Fair Use claims. 

Congress needs to take a look at this.

I tend not to record demonstrations with incident music in the background.  

French suggests that the music industry could demand that police departments have licenses to use background music this way.

It’s also obvious that police could abuse this technique to get away with racial profiling, or worse.  Activists “even on the Left” should pay attention to this.  Yes, Black Lives Matter should watch French’s video.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Youtuber suddenly has channel removed for, what, just talking about Bitcoin?


Middletown MD

Allison Morrow interviews Eric Hunley after a livestream of his discussing bitcoin was removed and then his entire channel removed suddenly.

There seems to be no apparent explanation for what could be an AI glitch.  He says he has never had any community guidelines strikes.

There are plenty of other channels on YouTube that discuss crytocurrencies and bitcoin, especially tech channels that go into how blockchain works. 

He said he had about 30000 subscribers and wasn’t “controversial”.  The automated email to him mentioned illegal schemes.  But there is nothing illegal about bitcoin or cryptocurrency by itself. 

  Update: Hunley has been restored, details. There is a suggestion that he raised a red flag because he did nor ordinarily talk about cryptocurrency and offered some kind of contest.  But a series of his videos have not been restored (yet). 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Many more COVID19 infections may be asymptomatic (but briefly contagious) than we had thought


Middletown, MD, 2021

Aria Bendix reports for Business Insider that extrapolations from NYC data last spring suggest that only 13-18% of people infected by coronavirus (detectable in nose, throat or saliva) develop significant symptoms. 

There is some disagreement as to whether asymptomatic people often spread infection and become superspreaders, even though they may have enough natural resistance themselves not to become ill.  This may have to do with genetics, youth, or issues like metabolism.  Younger adults with low body mass index seem to almost never have significant systemic symptoms.  That might change with more contagious variants, or perhaps even with those there will be no systemic disease with people who have fewer ACE2 receptors.  Genetics may be far more important than we realize, and that will be a very discomforting conclusion.  But it may also suggest further treatments. 

But there are other studies suggesting a small portion of symptomatic people are responsible for most of the superspreading, or spread may happen just before major symptoms appear.

But the idea that a “healthy” person is responsible for the well-being of the unhealthy (like obese) sounds rather Marxist.  But then consider the consequences of the opposite.  Fascism?

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Cancel Culture explained, succinctly


Seneca Rocks, W Va, 2014

A Twitter Thread called “Wokal Distance” does a nice job of explaining cancel culture.  There are 19 tweets and you can access it here.  

Variety explained the controversy over tweets by Gina Carano, who was to star in LucasFilm’s latest offering. They were edgy but I would not have been phased by them.  The CBS News (Zach Seemayer) went on to report her firing, as an example of “cancel culture”.

Wokal explains cancel cultural as a societal hack that gives large groups in society who believe they have been wronged as a group the power to force others to address their needs, without using government the way more authoritarian (communist or Marxist) especially.

It is mainly a weapon of the “tribal” (and “intersectional”) woke Left.  It is true that the alt-right is also very tribal, but it is trying to hold on to something that wasn’t morally legitimate for members of their group to be able to share or enjoy in the past without personal accountability    The Left could argue that if its opinions could be enforced (with dissent to them not allowed), people now left behind will be better off, even if individually they “fail” according to meritocratic norms popular with, say, libertarians.  That’s why they can be so defensive of “critical race theory” or race-sensitive redistribution or reparation (or simply “affirmative action”) proposals.

That arguably makes even moderate conservatives fearful of what could happen down the road.  Expropriation. 

His point 16 is telling. “Cancel culture means a guy I’ve never met, in a state I don’t live, can see a video I didn’t film, of a thing I didn’t say to him, and get me fired from my job for using a service he didn’t use.”

He gives an example of someone being fired for criticizing a pro-Israel policy.

 Update:  Timcast IRL weighs in on Carano.   Steven Greenhut at Reason also weighs in on the career destruction of cancel culture, and suggests it should be limited to public figures.  But a Blogger like me is probably a public figure by now. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

David Hogg's "Good Pillow" teaches us something about "commercial viability"

Harvard, Aug. 2015
 I can recall from the 2018 book “Skin in the Game”, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb”, that you “must start a business” if you want to be significant in public life.  You must do transactions with real people that meet real needs.  Virtue signaling is for the Pharisees. 

David Hogg, a founder of March for our Lives after surviving the Parkland mass shooting incident on February 14, 2018, and a business partner William LeGate, are forming a pillow manufacturing company, in response to the antics of MyPillow CEO Michael J. Lindell visiting former “President” Donald J. Trump, now under a second impeachment trial, apparently on January 15, 2021, five days before Biden’s inauguration, and allegedly proposing “martial law” (Vox story by Emily Stewart).

The company will be called Good Pillow, and is describing its proposed operations on Twitter and on a new website, which offers a short “manifesto” on its home page. .

The company will  hire union labor within the United States (possibly centered in Massachusetts) and will set up a non-profit operation or subsidiary to supervise community initiatives regarding desired social responsibility (with respect to issues like climate change, health care, countering racism and sexism, etc).  It will seek private certification as a “B Corporation”, as explained here and also discussed by Harvard Business Review.

Setting aside the polarized politics of the country for now, it is interesting to see a Harvard undergraduate ready to start a business, which appears likely to succeed (it has a six-month waiting list for products already?)  Of course, we know that Mark Zuckerberg did that (remember February 4, 2004), and, well, we are today where we are.  This appears to have a great chance of working.  Will Hogg have time to run a company and finish his traditional undergraduate work?  More and more resourceful students are starting businesses today (look at Max Reisinger’s “Perspectopia”).

I’ve talked a lot about “commercial viability” in recent months, as I must contemplate radically restructuring my own activity at the start of 2022. 

This, too, is a real company selling real products to individual consumers, not an intermediary, or another Internet channel dependent on attracting advertisers and clicks.  Nevetheless. Alyssa Rosenberg, among others, has had some fun with Hogg's embrace of capitalism in this Washington Post op-ed about holding Trump and his nightbreed minions accountable. 

It’s something to contemplate as we wonder what the online world will look like in another years after “runaway speech” of the past has led to so much radicalization. 

Update:  Hogg has announced he is taking leave from his board position on March for our Lives to have more time for his company and for school (at Harvard).  

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

ISP (Cox) assessed a $1 billion judgment for a user's copyright infringement (downloading Sony) for not enforcing a repeat offenders policy


Richmond, VA, downtown, 2015/9

Leonard French reports that an ISP must pay $1 billion for a user’s copyright infringement, according to a judgment involving a Virginia user entered Dec. 19, 2019.  

The reason for the judgment is that Cox did not enforce a repeat infringer policy (under the letter of the law of DMCA Safe Harbor), which Cox had set at 13 (not 3) strikes.

The judgment is under appeal in the 4th Circuit (Richmond VA) with a request for a bond deposit.

It is not illegal not to have a repeat infringer policy, but an ISP (telecom style) is liable if there is a repeat infringer with takedowns and the ISP didn’t have a policy and enforce it.

It is not clear from the video how the infringement happened.  I don’t think you need an ISP for Bit Torrent if you set everything up yourself.  The plaintiff was Sony Music and normally infringement is detected from hashtag watermarks.

There has been some suggestion that this liability would not exist if Obama-era net neutrality were in place.   

Monday, February 08, 2021

Another Section 230 reform bill requires "tattle tale" by platforms; Gamer mysteriously loses entire Google account to unexplained TOS issue


Overlook near Frederick MD

Coindesk, a cryptocurrency site, has reported that the Senate has reintroduced a “tattle tale” bill, a “See Something Say Something Online” act, based on the BSA Banking Secrecy Act, but requiring platforms and hosts to submit Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs, ironically) when they get reports from users or can see through moderation that criminal activity is being planned.  It was introduce dy Denator John Cornyn not Texas.

The bill is S4758.

Hoeg Law (Virtual Legality) offers a video about a game developer Andrew Spinks, creator of Terraria, who pulled his port connection (Stadia) from Google after Google perhaps by mistake terminated Spinks’s entire Google account or some mysterious TOS issue. 

Taylor Lykes explains on The Verge 

Sunday, February 07, 2021

NYTimes gets overrun with its own cancel culture


NYC looking toward Brooklyn 2015

Matt Welch explains in Reason how it forced a 45-year veteran of the paper Donald MacNeil, a pandemic reporter, for using the N-word in context, in doing an interview for a story, about a classmate being suspended for a racist video made at the age of 12. 

Merely using the word itself started a protest in the NYTimes newsroom.   

Robby Soave describes a similar incident where a teenager got another teen essentially thrown out of school for an old racial slur on Snapchat (which didn’t disappear), with the "help" of the Times.  Now I had my own missteps as a teen, a particular one in ninth grade, and I shudder at what the consequences would be today.

The "Gray Lady"? 
The vengefulness of these campaigns seems to be derived from the thought that the racism of the past is a cancer that must be stopped with zero tolerance as the highest possible priority.

In the embedded video, MacNeil explains to Rachel Maddow on MSNBC how China takes people into quarantine.

Saturday, February 06, 2021

More Bit Torrent litigation for downloading P2P adult content, large settlements to Strike Three Holdings


White Plains, NY Oct 2014

 Leonard French explains a default judgment against a copyright infringer by “Three Strike Holdings” which distributes adult content. 

The infringer had used Bit Torrent and P2P to download and distribute a large number of films.

The assessment of over $108000 was recommended by a magistrate judge when then go to a state district court, which concurred (March 2020).

The files were identified with long hash codes (we call them watermarks) that were presented (as a list of evidence).

The award was $750 per file, which could have been tripled as punitive damages (under normal tort law;  French says this is perhaps avoided because the defendant did not request a trial.

Criminal penalties and jail could be imposed on failure to pay.

He talks about statue of limitations (3 years) for downloading stuff illegally. But he admits to having done this in the distant past, even as a copyright attorney.

It sounds likely that the Case Act might handle some of these, and that Bit Torrent is likely to have the Copyright Office’s attention although the awards are limited to $30000. 

French warns that these sorts of cases are served to consumers without warning, through an ISP usually.  This has nothing to do with DMCA Takedowns, as from YouTube.  A pirated file need not be posted online to create infringement;  mere personal possession is infringement.

Families who have kids using the Internet should be wary.  People hosting others (like asylum seekers) should be careful about this (set up separate accounts for other people in your home).  What about Airbnb rentals?

Defendants had to destroy all their copies (like even on thumb drives?)  One wonders if cloud backups of personal hard drives could be searched for infringement (which would be way outside of Bit Torrent) but I have never heard of that being done (yet).  This case seems to resemble Malibu Media.

Here is an article on the Strike Three situation by a law firm called Avvo.

The Copyright Office has posted a report about “modernization” and applications for positions by mid March for this effort.  That probably is preparatory to later setting up the “tribunal” for the Case Act. 

It’s worthy of note that YouTube has sometimes removed gay soft-core porn videos for “spam or deceptive practices” when it looks like the reason was probably an infringement claim.

 Also, I had an bizarre experience where I tried to go to an account on Gab (I don't have an account), got an error page that gave my IP address, and said it was not OK to photocopy the error page because they had my IP address.  What kind of sense does this make? 

Friday, February 05, 2021

A Washington DC food blog is a great example of a "niche blog" that does help charities


DC near convention center, Jan 2017

WJLA7 in Washington has a story about a food blogger, Danny Kim, who has donated his GameStop “winnings” to a DC restaurant feeding needy children. 

The blog UR: is “Eat the Capital”.  It’s hard to tell what Wordpress (I presume) theme was used, and plugins, but it is technically pretty sophisticated. You don’t have to make the blog the landing page of a Wordpress site. This is certainly a great example of niche blogging as advocated by “Blogtyrant”.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

YouTube suddenly turns on journalists who posted detailed footage of Capitol Riots and other "Trumpist" demonstrations

Capitol 4th, 2016

 In the past 24 hours, YouTube has behaved again in a knee-jerk reaction. 

It had taken down a video by Ford Fischer on News2Share which showed the crowd (or mob) near the Capitol on January 6 reacting to Trump’s speech (“I’ll be with you…”) trying to disrupt Congress’s certification of the electoral college vote. 

Then, in a long series of tweets and replies (and I added a few myself, more of that in a moment) YouTube maintained that a video that shows people articulating challenges to the validity of the electoral vote result without context within the video showing that these claims are now untrue, can not remain online.  The YouTube maintained that one reason (why context in description in insufficient) os that videos can be emedded in other online blog posts, which are not guaranteed to explain the context. But, for example, you can code the embed parameters so as to guarantee that the “Watch on YouTube” link appears inside the embedded image so that the visitor can read context in the description.

YouTube could also allow creators to disable embedding for specific videos, as has been done in the past.

Or it could except overstrike text in the video.  But if you took some of YT's tweets literally, every video would have to present opposing views within the video, or else refutation of false (election) claims within each video. That would affect me, as I made a number of short videos of "stop the steal" demonstrations in November, well before the courts and state audits had completed certifications (and before the Electoral College vote)  

The Daily Dot gives a detailed narrative about Ford and several other journalists and channels, and spares me reproducing all the details.  You can look at Ford’s Twitter feed and at mine (@JBoushka) directed at @TeamYouTube but there is a great deal of detail going back and forth to follow.  Ford’s tweets and the Daily Dot eventually lead to the fact that much of this material is evidence for the impeachment (formal charge).  Furthermore, various news outlets have licensed “on the ground” footage from Ford, as have several documentary films. 

Then, this afternoon (literally while I watched an EFF livestream) YouTube demonetized the whole #News2share channel.  Then an hour later, in another tweet, Youtube agreed to take another look at it.  In the recent past, YouTube has hinted that it might close channels that are not likely to become “commercially viable” for them, which would terminate my channel, at least as it is set up now.

News2share went through all this in 2019 for seven months, caught accidentally in the Crowder-Maza duel (adpocalypse).  I learned about YT’s reversal on a Sunday in December 2019 when I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop in Harper’s Ferry W Va after filming the aftermath of a train wreck there (when no one else in my own cohort did).

YouTube seems to believe that the larger corporate channels automatically guarantee context in the way they are set up with viewers.  Smaller creators cannot do that readily.  We depend on visitors to look at a variety of videos or blog posts (which can be related by label or tag;  I wish videos could be also) from one creator to get the context. 

One of Ford’s tweets noted that corporate media tends to turning controversial material into shouting matches, as CNN and Fox go after each other.  That, he says, is not genuine context.  Viewers should understand that news footage of protests is exactly that – private citizens joining together in movements, often tribal, to express commonly held views which may not be literally correct.

Although some of YouTube’s conversation with Ford and others is about specific policies regarding election results, others have to do with controversial issues”.  

YouTube is rattled by the fact that its content creators take on controversy individually rather than in leaving activism to conventional non-profits who “organize” people;  it also wants to see creators do lifestyle or commercial material, ignoring the reality that right now Covid has turned a lot of that upsidedown.  Remember it’s “commercial viability” clause? This doesn’t make sense during a pandemic, which is essentially “wartime”.

Some younger creators, in fact, particularly “college” channel, do very well with this kind of content, because the circumstances favor their setting up channels with the right balance of lifestyle and serious issues (John Fish, Max Reisinger) while offering legitimate commercial sales opportunities that aren’t pushy (Perspectopia).  But this is generally not easy.  I have, for example, have talked about national security issues because in the past I worked on gays in the military and expanded from that.  That has led Facebook to ask me why I don’t have advertisers vouching for me, as if I should offer people volume discounts on my books (that isn’t really feasible now with older material) or sell Faraday sleeves to protect laptops from future pulse attacks (a doomsday prepper idea, but sounding asinine as a business to push on people!)

I’ve had other brushes with the “context” problem, which keeps coming back, as with an incident that happened when I was substitute teaching (see July 27, 2007 post).

Roberto Blake has an interesting video, “Social Media is Over” (although he has other videos explaining how to make YouTube channels work) and explains the value of going back to your own hosted website and email lists.  That was the theme of Blogtyrant in the past.  But can any small business make it without being on the big corporate platforms, which have a monopoly on audiences?  Do people want to be on email lists, given the security risks to them?  And now even webhosts are feeling the pressure of the cultural wars (see Jan 16).  

Update:  Sputniknews has another account of this and discusses Jamal Thomas, who is actually a progressive.  Ford Fischer now reports that Fox News (Joseph A. Wulfsohn) has reported his story with screenshot details.  

Update  Feb 5:  Ford reports that his channel is monetized again. 

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Facebook gets dirty with RobinHood v. Wall Street fiasco; Twitter calls spying on employer "critical theory" indoctrination as "hacking"; Biden administration looks at tech companies as part of his sphere



Facebook took down Robinhood Stock Traders, an investor discussion group, out of fear that it had somehow manipulated share prices of Game Stop and other securities (like AMC Theaters and Blackberry). Reuters reports (and AOL picked up the story). 

Yet the explanation given by Facebook to discussion group founder Allen Tran was that it contained adult content, which was a “lie”.  (The company founder is Vlad Tenet, who is also young.)

Facebook had suspended the group as a “dangerous organization”. 

Eventually the group was restored.

In the meantime, Robinhood would indicate that it regulated trading because it did not have the short term capital to cover all the risk.

Karlyn Borysenko has an interesting take on reporting what was sent to her about CVS’s employee training with critical theory.  She was suspended from posting on Twitter for 12 hours for reporting “hacked content” sent to her by a CVS employee, regarding materials like the definition of “intersectionality”, “privilege”, and “misappropriation” – as if these were “trade secrets”.

Then David Rubin (above) discussed when Hen Psaka is saying the Biden administration will jawbone tech companies into left-leaning censorship, as if they didn’t do enough of that already.

Monday, February 01, 2021

Could enforcing anti-trust law fix big-tech (instead of changing Section 230)?


Outside Facebook, Menlo Park, 2018

Katharine Trendacosta has a brief but useful op-ed to open the new month, “It’s not 230 you hate, it’s Oligopolies. 

My take is that Facebook and YouTube could deal with the loss of 230 by turning into either ephemerals (Facebook becomes a glorified snapchat) or mini-Netlfix.

YouTube would continue to accept content from previously non-established people, but it would vet them carefully, especially for social creditworthiness.  Hopefully it wouldn’t get fooled by critical theory.

YouTube had hinted this back in 2018 in response to the EU Copyright Directive, which Susan realized was an attack on the idea of lettering amateurs lowball established media companies and drive people out of work.

The usual criticisms of removing 203 is that small companies could not get started.  Well not if they allowed users to add content. So the natural answer is to strengthen anti-trust laws or litigation, which has already started against Facebook.

Yet, for all intents and purposes, Mark Zuckerberg, Susan Wojcicki and Jack Dorsey became unelected co-presidents of the United States from January 7 until Biden took the oath on January 20.  And we have Tim Pool to keep them in check.