Friday, April 30, 2021

A copyright troll tries to harvest home floor plans


Kipton, Ohio 2010

Leonard French describes a case of copyright trolling of single family home floor plans by a firm named Plaintiff Design Basics, LLC.  A defendant called Signature Homes fought back. The Seventh Circuit found for the defendant. I’ve never heard of floor plans as a target for trolling!

The case considers some doctrines in copyright law, like scenes a faire and merger.  It illustrates that independent creation of a work is an absolute defense to a copyright claim.  It also involves concepts like wrongful appropriation or copying. 

Again, it’s important that the Copyright Claims Office have procedures to disallow trolls from making claims in implementing the CASE Act.  There are various ways they could do this, like with concepts like commercial viability.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Can copyright owners ban hyperlinking for "commercial purposes"? From what I can find, it seems complicated and unsettled


commercial viability in the real world

I’ve noticed at least one channel presenting new classical music on YouTube saying that embedding or hyperlinking is allowed only for “non-commercial purposes”.

Temporarily, I hope, I’ve removed Adsense from “Bill’s Drama and Music News and Reviews” on Blogger (check the Profile) because I wanted to present the piece (today), and I believe there could be other channels with similar instructions that I could have missed, mainly with respect to music performances, especially with sheet music shown.

The use of Adsense, even though its revenue is low, would technical make the blog “commercial” because an ad will appear on any post according to the layout of the blog internally.  It is possible to place Amazon ads inside specific blog posts (and many other ads where advertisers provide embed code) where there is no such concern about a link.

But technically, the official word (EFF, 2007) has still always been that hyperlinks are like footnotes in term papers, and cannot infringe.  With embeds that is usually true, but there is an important unsettled case in New York State (February 17, 2018).  One of the major cases is Perfect 10 v. Google

Back around 1999 or so there was indeed some controversy, but there was a case in the early 2000’s that is thought to have instantiated the “server rule”.  It is based on where the actual copyrighted material is stored. 

There have been objections to this understanding of things.  Some publications, in the past, did not want external sites to link directly into them because they their business models would be disrupted, as visitors would not see many of their ads.  Today, the only major site that tries to enforce this is Fox News, which throws a 403 Forbidden if a Blog tries to reference a deep article directly (you can get around it with Twitter).  Most newspaper and magazine sites now have paywalls to deal with the growing business model problem, and it would help consumers if these paywalls could be bundled and work more automatically. 

YouTube used to allow content creators to disable embedding, but they took that away (I don’t know why).  Wikipedia allows embedding of most of its photos, but does not provide embedding for photos (a small minority) where there is no CCSA license. 

There are news aggregation sites like Smart News, which reproduce entire articles on their servers, but only because they have contracts with specific publications that allow them to do so (especially big with coronavirus stories).  But bloggers (like me) simply “aggregate” by giving you links and letting the reader look up the actual article for themselves.  I’ve done this for 23 years without complaint.

One can wonder if things would change suddenly with the CASE Act, but the Copyright Claims office should not change the rules of copyright as have been established by the courts.  I would say it should not.

Many television stations, which generally do not use paywalls or interfere with use, have disclaimer warnings “this story may not be rewritten or redistributed”.  But news facts themselves may not be copyrighted, only the expression of them.

So this routes back to the question, can a video owner forbid linking by another site with ads on the post or for the entire blog?  Generally copyright law would not address this question.  A musician, who makes their living on contracts for compositions (called “commissions”, not the usual use of the word) might be outgunned by a blogger who somehow makes a lot of money from ads embedding the music.  That doesn’t sound illegal.  It just sounds like the musician needs to understand marketing to advertisers better.  Ethically, and practically, I see the point.  

Another wrinkle in the mix of ideas is that in the future platforms and even hosts are likely to discourage content creation that is not “commercially viable”.  YouTube already hinted at this with a TOS change associated with COPPA and the end of 2019, barely pre-pandemic.

A video from the UK, without many visitors, gets into these points and I’ll have to look at it.  The video also discusses Napster (before it was sued), and even now if it didn’t host anything, how was Sean Fanning infringing?  P2P introduces its own complications into copyright law application;  see this article, and Wikipedia.

The video post says that owners or publishers have the right (though copyright ) to determine how their content is communicated to the public.  But copyright law in the US is not set up to do that for them.

In Europe, they’ve tried to implement a “link tax” as part of the EU Copyright Directive, and some countries like Spain had tried hard on their own before (especially against Google searches). But in the EU there is particular concern that new sites, video channels and blogs are destroying jobs in traditional legacy media. It sounds like protectionism, not real copyright.

This questions sounds more open than we thought, still.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Fuentes on no-fly list? Florida wants to stop tech censorship; Tucker Carlson goes after kids with masks


Tampa 2015

Conservative activist Nick Fuentes says he has been placed on the no-fly list, despite not having been charged with anything regarding January 6.  He denies he was in the Capitol or participated in any way in planning the riot.

He has been banned from most social media platforms (except twitter).  It’s possible that his behavior on a certain flight contributed to the action, Daily Dot story.   He found out when he tried to book a flight to appear at a conference focusing on his social media bans.

Lauen Chen discussed this development, along with a Florida bill to stop social media companies from banning elected officials and requiring them to provide much clearer guidance as transparency as to who is removed from platforms. (But then how do you ban Russian trolls?- WFLA Story/ 

Texas is considering such a law.  Tim Pool has already said he may move, again, to one of these states.

And Tucker Carlson really opened his mouth. Big time.  NYDailyNews story.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Internet companies' monopolistic powers dangerous for democracy and social stability


Lake near NOVA Fairfax hospital, VA

David Schmachtenberg and Bret Weinstein discuss the idea that social media is bad for democracy, in Feb. 2011, on Weinstein's "Dark Horse podcasts". 

The experience shows that most people are driven farther apart into ideologically hostile camps.  There are not enough well-educated intellectuals in the middle to keep the system sane.

The algorithms are based on dopamine hits, just like processed foods, which make some people obese.  Likewise, maybe half the population can remain reasonably fit on a western diet, but many people (especially with non-European ancestry, since Europeans evolved in a colder climate which may have worked to their competitive advantage, politically incorrect or not) cannot. 

A similar video in March 2021 with Tristan Harris looks at how social media could be regulated so that it doesn’t perform “gain of function” experiments on driving society into more deeply divided camps (as Russia did with the 2016 elections).

The videos mention the warnings of music composer Jaron Lanier (whose works and books I have reviewed before on my blogs).

Harris seems to like the way the world was during Web 1.0, before algorithms driven by ads governed what people saw.  But in a Web 1.0 world (I call it the “weakless universe” Internet), individuals with relatively little volume according to usual analytics can become influential as to policy choices if the right people (other elites and politicians) find them online or hear about them.  That’s also anti-democratic and undercuts conventional organizing and activism.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

I get an angry private FB message from a ("woke") stranger for calling an Asian veteran's "stunt" in a town business meeting (merely) "bizarre"


Mount Vernon, Ohio, 2012 

There was an incident on Facebook recently with me, and I’ll sketch the background.

On March 23, 2021, a town board trustee Lee Wong, in West Chester township north of Cincinnati, Ohio made a bizarre self-demonstration while making ad-hoc remarks about hostility of some Americans to Asian-Americans, and indeed gave some examples where he and his son had encountered this in person.  He also indicated that he came to the UE at age 18, was beaten up but did not get justice, and then joined the US military, apparently at age 20 in 1971.  He served in the military 20 years.  He did not say which branch or when the battle scars shown to the public were incurred.  They might well have been incurred in Vietnam before the US left in 1975, but this is not certain from the text.  But one main point is that he believed the “validity” of his own service had been challenged by someone’s comments with regard to race.

West Chester Township Board of Trustees Regular Meeting - March 23, 2021 from West Chester on Vimeo.

NBCWashington has a story, which leads to a more detailed story from the Cincinnati paper and also from another from NBC News.

The best way to appreciate the event is to watch the entire Vimeo video, where he starts talking about this at 25 minutes and continues for about 6 minutes.

I happened to see the NBCWashington story March 28 immediately after it was published to Facebook.  Without spending much time on it, I wrote a one-word comment “bizarre”.

I got an angry Facebook message from a female with a name from India, which read “You thought it was bizarre that a man had to show his battle scars to show he is loyal to his country and doesn’t deserve to be discriminated against.  Seriously? You are a disgrace to the GWU. Pathetic.”   GWU refers to George Washington University, where I graduated in 1968.  It’s as if she thought I was a professor there and that she could get me fired???  The message was sent March 28 but I didn't open ut until this morning, April 25.  I don't generally open unsolicited messages from non-friends as many of them are silly and flirtatious. 

GWU Corcoran Hall, 2007

She also did not comment herself on the FB stream.  Perhaps the fact that my one word comment appeared first seemed like a deterrent to others.  One person did reply that I did not fear violence because I am white (I am, I guess that’s apparent from my FB picture).  One person commented further down that the thread that the speaker had acted like a “drama queen” and that drew similar negative replies.

The one-word comment was a first reaction.  Had I watched the entire video first I might have felt differently.  On balance, it is unusual to undress oneself in public to show ugly wounds, in a business meeting.  That’s a first reaction.  

Activism where involvement of my own body is expected (by implication) has always been a sensitive matter for me.  Look at the posts about "Ice Bucket Challenge" and "Be Brave and Shave" on Aug 26. 2014 and Nov. 8, 2009. So a sudden "stunt" like Mr. Wong's suggests that others should be willing to join in with some sort of visible personal sacrifice if the oppression of a group is strong enough.  It seems to demand it. If those "pharisees" visible from their "much speaking" online don't personally go along with this expectation, then by default (in the view of the Left) they are making themselves oppressors because they are indirectly implying they really don't care about what others do with their speech -- so the "critical theory" reasoning goes. 

There is an intrusiveness, however hypothetical, to this whole thing that I will cover soon on my DADTNotes blog.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Karlyn Borysenko describes shocking critical race theory indoctrinations in US companies

Mt Washington NH 2011

I thought I would share a YT video by Karlyn Borysenko, speaking at Concord NH, about abuses of critical race theory.  (Of course CRT is a rough kind of aggregated social credit.) 

The accounts of companies subjecting white employees to humiliating encounters for their supposed ancestors’ sins is rather disturbing.  Of course, you can read Umair Haque's Eudaimonia rant about how settlers from Europe came over to the New World to become nobility themselves. 

Friday, April 23, 2021

EFF testifies at Copyright Office on Right to Repair in DMCA


model rr scene (Japan)

I wanted to mention that EFF testified at Copyright Office hearings on possible exemptions to the 1998 DMCA so that people will have the right to repair devices they have published.  The link below refers to all of Electronic Frontier Foundation’s arguments.

Louis Rossmann has being running a gofundme on the issue, and has a major panel discussion of the issue April 16.

I haven’t found video of the Copyright office hearings yet.  But this could be watched in tandem with the Copyright office’s work on the CASE Act.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

More people want to create content than who can make a living at it; more on justice by "solidarity" on the Left



Timothy B. Lee (Ars Technica) notes well that more people would like to make a living at content creation than the market will support.  (About two years ago Martin Goldberg made a video about that and then deleted it, but not before it had been played and noted

Charlie Warzel’s substack today decries Facebook for wanting to help creators.  Really, I think it is YouTube’s that is more controversial.  YouTube wants creators to sell things or services (or make consumerist material that appeals to advertisers).  Many creators are passionate about social and political beliefs and want to articulate them independently of established non-profits and political parties. Even so, some are able to attract advertisers.  Others can self-fund their content and gain influence outside the usual channels of activism and social capital. Given the uneven literacy of American and western readership, you are bound to get erosion of normally expected “truths” and radicalization, although sometimes a change in norms is necessary.  But all of this does not portend well for social media and even the Web as a whole to propagate beliefs in the future as it was in the previous decade.

Bree Newsome created a stir on Twitter today suggested (regarding the Columbus Ohio situation) suggesting that adults should not use police to stop a teenage knife fight – that sounds like white supremacy (PostMillennial).

She also claimed that rioting and looting should be an acceptable “politically informed measure” to stop state violence.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Florida's new anti-riot law, the first amendment -- and conscription by the mob?


Miami book fair, 2017

 Ian Corzine discusses Florida’s new anti-riot law, which would cause criminal penalties to protesters who actually injure others or damage property in protests.

The law would also protect people trying to leave protests from liability in certain situations.  But it won’t protect motorists who run over protesters blocking highways. Look at the original provisions

CBS has a detailed news story. 

Orlando Sentinel has another story. On the bystander issue, yes, I have a real problem with being trapped by force into joining somebody's cause (like in an outdoor restaurant).  But many protesters don't want bloggers or journalists to film them without joining in.  It's the "no spectators" and "skin in the game" thing. 

 Chrus Cuomo reported April 22 that the Florida bill makes aggravated rioting a felony and mob intimidation a strong misdemeanor. The New York Times has a detailed story. Oklahoma and Iowa would apparently exempt from liability drivers who run over protesters who deliberately block drivers from streets when they don't have permits.  Indiana would bar those convicted of unlawful assembly from state employment.

 Update: April 25:  New Republic has an article by Alex Pareene, "The Right to Crash Cars into People: How Republicans across the country came to endorse a terrorist tactic against protesters".  The case of James Fields in Charlottesville is mentioned.  There is a comparison to ISIS tactics.  Generally, many people are able to avoid driving in an area with demonstrations in the first place.  But what if you are parked in a garage for work and legally not allowed to leave. What if you are trapped in a residential street and legally not allowed to return home (as has happened in Minnesota, Portland, Seattle).  Then the protesters have used force against you and there is no remedy, so you are required to take their demands in considering your personal actions whether you would have or not,.  That means they have power over you, as a remedy to claimed inequity.  Ponder that.   In my own case, this has not come up.  But it reminds me of protesters going into an outdoor dining space and approaching diners and "demanding" in a threatening manner that the privileged diners join them. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Big tech's hidden social credit scores; More conscription by BLM



First for this Monday, Rob Braxman describes how big tech is giving everyone a social score, with an April 1 video, “You already have a social score.”

At the heart of it is Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts, which can identify “conspiracy theorists” and the like. 

He mentions some other sites, like MyLife, Intellius, Spikeo, Alexcius.

The “cohorts” is developed from Internet activity data associated with your real id (an IP address for starters).  So, hiding it with various VPN strategies sounds in order.

He compares this to FICO scoring, the older form of social control that goads everyone into borrowing and consumerism so everyone has a score.

There are a couple disturbing stories.  In Stillwater, MN, east of Minneapolis, a man was stopped by protesters blocking his street as he tried to return home. (Twitter thread), also (Pool).   The lecture he got “"If you think black lives matter you can come march with us, you can come join us. If you don't you can stay up at your house. You can stay up in your driveway looking at us like we're doing something crazy when we're just here trying to fight for our lives”  IE, joining other people’s demonstrations for BLM justice is now mandatory (just like in restaurants).

The motorist was then mistakenly arrested by police. 

 John Oliver has told white Americans on CNN that they must "march in the streets" and stop just blogging about it.  Compelled speech? 

There is also a quirky incident where a journalist in Salt Lake City identified someone who donated to Kyle Rittenhouse’s death (Kenosha WI).  Fox News also reported this story but doesn’t allow Blogger to lik to it, so you can look at the abc4 story and look it up.


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, and malignant avoidance of those who fall behind, and then need to organize as a marginalized group


Charlottesville UVA Rotunda 2007

I have to react to one of Umair Haque’s sermons on Eudaimonia, “Why America’s an ulta-violent society. America’s had 1.4 mass shootings a day in 2021 (not counting the police incidents).  That’s a living nightmare."  He uses my favorite word, "prole".  

He boils it down to Ayn Rand, and earlier Nietzsche.

The superior man, in this translation of philosophy, does not “care” about someone who is constitutionally weaker and less capable. He won’t bond with anyone who isn’t a good reflection of his own values.

The philosophy sounds like this.  Everyone can be assigned a grade for their “worth” in life.  But assets held that exploited someone else’s labor is a moral debt.  Such debt can be prevented by being good at doing manual things for oneself, and helping others as a kind of payback.  If one has more moral standing than one deserves, it can be strengthened by uplifting someone else.  This includes the idea that everyone should be able to provide for a family and raise children, even of someone else’s, if necessary in a family. Personal eldercare fits into this.  It also presents an extreme case where sometimes one has to be willing to fight with others one does not like to protect those really left behind in a system that has no pull of equity to compensate for privilege. 

Still upward affiliation (which sometimes may be erotic and part of sexuality) becomes, in practice, a way people add to self-worth (2014 essay by me).   

I can rationalize a core belief that people can logically be ranked (legacy piece). The modern term for this is "social credit system".  The external sin is "malignant avoidance" of the necessary sharing of personal sacrifice, in outlier circumstances. The term could be seen as synonymous with "cowardice" as related to externally imposed circumstances. The latter is a word we don't use in that context any more much (ever since we stopped the draft in 1973).  

The video today, from Montreal lawyer Viva Frei, shows the absurdity of the far Left’s use of the idea of intersectionality and “microaggression” – and its intolerance in wielding  its authoritarian power in this regard to force its norms, in throwing a student out of the UVa medical school.  This sounds like Patrisse Cullors bragging about Marxism, an incident that sounds like it happened in China.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

The limits of personal liberty may have to do with how it scales (especially with self-defense and public health)


Pulse, Orlando, July 2015

The Editorial Board of the Washington Post has post a long detailed list of all the mass shootings and victims starting with Columbine in Colorado in 1999. The largest incident is Pulse in Orlando in 2016.  I hope the Post lifts its paywall for this one!

Now, I move on.

CNN has an analysis by Zachary B. Wolff this morning that probes the limits of personal liberty. The first title you see is “Choosing personal freedom over public safety”. On the article text the title reads sarcastically, "On guns and Covid, it's liberty over lives".  The byline is more telling. “Americans who didn’t volunteer for duty are on the frontlines and dying for your freedoms every single day.”

The most obvious freedom to dissect is, right now, the Second Amendment.  Generally, a lot of us in the mainstream have no problems with closing background check loopholes and limiting the size and efficiency of weapons that can be possessed in the home (no assault weapons, essentially).  It’s not always easy to draw the line.

There are situations where the “pro 2nd amendment crowd” has a point.  There have been a few situations, with home invasions, where the possession of an assault weapon by the homeowner probably saved the family (one particular case with a pregnant mom with kids in northern Florida).  In my own mind, it’s a question of how people are expected to share risks.  There is no way around that.

Furthermore, on the other side of the scale, homeowners or even renters who do not have firearms are indirectly protected by those who do, as a kind of herd immunity.  Criminals may be deterred or run if they believe the homeowner is likely to have a firearm and be proficient in it.  Examples of this are known in the LGBT community even (“Pink Pistols”).

Let’s move on to the pandemic, and the rather ridiculous exchange with Dr. Fauci with a member of Congress.  For any policy choice that libertarians would prefer (such as no vaccine passports, or no mandatory vaccines, or mandatory testing, or even lockdowns), the expected outcomes and results have to be considered.  Some extreme positions would amount to “survival of the fittest”, with huge numbers of deaths and people incapacitated for life, to be thrown away ("purged") as failures?  That simply leads right back to fascism, even Nazism.  Look at what is happening in Brazil.

I understand the decision to vaccinate the elderly and care homes first, in order to reduce burden on health care system.  But ordinary workers in retail and in making in home repairs or installations, for example, have to take more risks than the “elite” who can work from home or the elderly who may be retired, and may disproportionately be POC.  There is a real issue with risk-sharing here.

That gets us back to old issues of the past, with the previous  military draft and deferments. 

The pandemic issue still leaves open the social behavior that will be reasonable in the future.  I hope discos can come back.  Right now, you can’t effectively go to a bar without being in a “pod” first, which I am not.  But it is not completely clear that the vaccines will allow the wild scenes of the past with the dirty dancing to resume.  It’s not completely clear that the vaccines will overcome the safety issues of large indoor events like big classical concerts and opera.

Back in the 1980s, the male gay community lost the “baths” for good. 

Now, a different virus, transmitted casually that seems to target large families (behave in a manner 180 degrees opposite to HIV) still threatens the socialization and independence that younger adults need to build their own “high agency”.

And we have a similar problem with “freedom of speech”, well, really, “freedom of reach”, and uncontrollable radicalization, related directly to mass inequity.  And the misinformation that can spread without previous gatekeeping can undermine public health and potentially make a mutating pathogen more dangerous and lock everyone done again, maybe more indefinitely. 

And freedom an individual needs, especially early in adult life, must entertain whether it scales up, and if it does, how others will behave in practice in an inequitable environment. It does invoke the memes "skin in the game" and "no spectators".  I can certainly take this further.  

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Lauren Chen and Andy Ngo discuss the idea that journalistic objectivity is compromised by regard for oppressed minorities and by critical theory

Northeast Portland homeless camp tents


Lauren Chen, on April 12, 2021, did a sobering interview of Andy Ngo, “What the Media won’t tell you”, that is particularly critical of what has happened to journalism, even basic reporting.

At about 7:10 into the video, Andy says that now he was taught in journalism that even original source reporting should take into account the effect of a story on oppressed communities.

But that process would itself constitute bias and undermine reporting facts completely.

That could complicate reporting, say, on public health (COVID transmission, lockdowns, vaccination issues) but also particularly on police profiling and on cases where police appear to have targeted black persons. 

Some of these cases (even though, for example, the facts still may warrant conviction, as in the Chauvin trial for the charged murder of George Floyd) may disguise the fact that reckless behavior by the victims make police work itself inherently more dangerous. 

Ngo, in the video, also talks about critical race theory as undermining the idea of rule of law, and as supporting an anarchistic form of communism, and that people who feel goaded to support BLM publicly may not realize they are coming close to giving in to endorsing communism or Marxism, under duress.

  A particularly disturbing idea is that, because domestic right wing or white supremacist terror is so dangerous now (as in the film "American Insurrection", TV blog, April 13, 2021), ordinary people (homeowners and small business) should willingly accept the property losses imposed on them by Antifa-style protestors as necessary combat against the extreme right. Antifa-style thuggery and anarchy and "autonomous zones" also can threaten normal law and order. 

This focused excerpt from Twitter is particularly relevant. 

 There is an interesting article by Margaret Sullivan April 14 in the Washington Post "Bad news for journalists: the public doesn't share our values, but there's hope".  The argument gets a bit convoluted.  Nicholas Sandmann (the Nathan Philips confrontation Jan. 2019) called the piece "malignant narcissism" on Twitter. 

Wikipedia embed: Portland homeless camp, click for attribution. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Some notes on whether I should do locals, Substack, or a Patreon-style YouTube channel (maybe by 2022)


my music, original manuscripts, 1960-1962

Here are some quick thought about future modes of activity, for me.

Would a Local site, or a Substack site (which would pay income) be appropriate?

I would need to be much more focused on a narrow and novel topic to draw users who would sign up.

In the beginning, two decades ago, when the focus was “don’t ask don’t tell” such an idea might have worked.  If the right kind of political issue comes up, such as abolishing Selective Service, or even forcing women or trans people to register for the draft (and it was getting attention), with my background it could make sense.  It has been brought up but is not getting much traction right now.

My best chance for something like this to work could occur with my larger music projects from the past (one of them, the Third Sonata, has gotten a lot of work recently, like in the late summer and fall of 2020) .  If I could get this music professionally assembled (like on Avid Sibelius) and somehow performed publicly, it could attract interest.  Most composers who write classical music for a living do so on commission and compose in a “useful music” style that is antithetical to post-romanticism.  I could possibly bring the discussion of post-romanticism back. 

Could I start a video channel?  I don’t have the equipment or studio space or experience in editing to make it work easily.  But I have made higher quality videos with a second person filming me and editing. I do have in mind possibly two projects that would be likely to attract an audience.  One of them has to do with “fundament rights” or “natural rights”.

I have said that it probably be wrong for me to start a Patreon channel requesting sponsors since I have an inheritance to manage, although I have never found such a notion in the Patreon TOS, despite the controversy starting in late 2018.  However, it the sponsorship were regarded as a conventional paying subscription, that would be OK.  A subscription is a conventional business transaction where the consumer pays for receiving periodic content and more or less a predictable schedule, and is east to track with conventional accounting (and credit cards).  That would suggest it would be OK to trademark the name of a channel that regularly does business (earns income from consumers or other businesses in an orderly way suggesting a brand). 

Stay tuned. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

The "Good Men Project" weighs in with the expectations of anti-racism, and it sounds demanding


Detroit, 2012

The “Good Men Project” proffers a moralizing piece by John Pavlovich.
, “America has a White Male Problem – And It’s Not the One We Think”.  

To cut it short, it’s that most white men (he believes) don’t speak up when they are in the company of others who do make racist comments.  Or, with more gravity, that white men must drop everything else they are doing on their own and join organized anti-racism to stamp out the problem (coming to a problem specifically with police profiling and then attacks on blacks).  It’s a little more complicated now with anti-Asian prejudice arising because of media coverage of China’s national responsibility for the global coronavirus outbreak.

In the past 15 years or so, I have almost never been in the company of people who make obviously disparaging racial remarks, so there is nothing to react to.  Back in 2007 (I think) I was at a Thanksgiving dinner where someone made a remark expressing disapproval of the end of segregation, and I was rather shocked but said nothing then.

Back in the 1980s, in Dallas, where I was living at the time, one could hear disparaging remarks occasionally in the workplace, when certain white men believed no black person was within earshot. Once I heard a remarks about DFL pro football games as “My Bl__- v Your Bl__”   There was a tendency for employers to leave downtown Dallas or nearby Oak Lawn to move farther north to the Richardson TC school district, to preserve the privileges of de facto segregation.  I heard a racist remark from a female landlord when I was moving into a garden apartment in 1979 after moving there.  I remember hearing a much worse remark from another female rental agent in Arlington VA in 1971.

By the early 1990s most major employers were pretty good about enforcing rules against personal misconduct at work (at least with salaried professionals) involving making racial (or homophobic)  remarks.  In the technology workplace, there were many non-white professionals (although often Asian rather than black).  I have never belonged to a union, so I don’t know how quickly unions adopted the norms of conduct that were normally expected.

Nevertheless, I wound up being a witness in a lawsuit against my employer in 1996 got racial discrimination after I happened to be the person who moved into his position (“a white male”).  While the case is probably still confidential (it was dismissed by a judge) there were, in the complaint, allegations that suggested a more group-oriented or tribal mindset than I am used to.  As I have discussed elsewhere, there were some other ironies about my employment moves in the 1990s over “conflict of interest” because I was going to (and did) publish a book about gays in the military.

A more serious issue today seems to be, if you are on a public stage, and you are a white cis male, you should be expected to work publicly for anti-racism (or anti-fluid) causes before you otherwise speak for yourself.  This view stems for the view that systemic racism is so invisibly entrenched that it can only be reversed with race-conscious policies that require personal and sometimes pubic and even humiliating sacrifices by (especially) cis white makes.  That seems the only way to stamp out this problem, is total solidarity?? 

  There is also an issue when someone perceived as "privilege" refuses to "fight" for others if called upon to do so, when refusal can put whole communities in danger when there are extraordinay external threats. 

The video embedded above is pretty explicit and challenging.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Twitter suspends users for re-reporting BLM founder's real estate purchase as "doxing:, but this is already widely published information!


ReclaimtheNet has run a story about Twitter users being suspended for publishing a link to a “Dirt” story that identified the home that Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, not ashamed of her ties to “Marxism”.

The New York Post also ran two stories, and they ultimately link to a real estate blog that identifies the property.  

So I’m making this post to discuss the censorship and privacy issue, but won’t give the links to those stories.  It is very unusual for me to do this.  (I don’t usually post the names of suspects charged with crimes or “persons of interest”, unless it is very certain who they are and public already (such as the officer in George Floyd’s case – to avoid attracting unwanted search engine attention in case of a wrongful conviction).

The law doesn’t do much to protect the privacy of public figures (and it has higher standard for libel, for that matter), and here is a discussion of the issue from the law school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, 2017.  

Twitter, however, is entitled as a private business to have this rule if it believes allowing publishing homes of public figures would harm its business.

In practice, it’s very easy to look up a real estate transaction for anyone identifiable;  most localities have their real estate tax records online along with owners and dates.  So this is not really private information.

Other people known to me have made large home purchases.  YouTube commentator Tim Pool made one in 2020, and it’s easy to look up (Since I know him, I won’t reproduce it here, but there is a video about it online.)  Various other YouTubers, many of them young, some of them LGBT or other groups, film in their homes and don’t disclose exactly where they are but people can look them up if they try hard enough with various real estate sites or public records.  So privacy in practice for many Internet stars is going to be more limited. (When people rent and don’t own homes, they may well have more privacy, however.)

It’s also getting murkier to define who is a “public figure”.  My three “do ask do tell” books, and knowledge of my past work on the “gays in the military” issue is probably sufficient to make me public.  The Internet has done that.  

When I lived with my mother in her house from 2003 to the end of 2010, when she passed away at 97, I was a little but concerned that “publicity” could create security problems, possibly for the caregivers who worked there in the last eighteen months of her life. It never materialized as an issue (a kind of “don’t ask don’t tell”).  The house was sold in 2017 and I’m more obscured now, I think. 

There is little question that Ms. Cullors could face public criticism for her hypocrisy if she is serious bout communism, well, Maoism.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Journalist attacked in Detroit out of pure tribal malice, as protesters claim he is an enemy for not joining them


Detroit MGM 2012

Journalist Brendan Gutenschwager covers a very disturbing incident in Detroit where he was assaulted by protesters when the protest security tried to order him to leave (Twitter thread). The protest concerned evictions and could have been construed not only with regard to race but also capitalism and Marxism, given the pandemic.

Of course he has the right to film a demonstration in a public place.

The “security” officer complained he was part of the problem.  Because he is white?  Probably more because he doesn’t (in their eyes) have “skin in the game” (well he does it for a living), or is a “spectator” when they need “activists”.

This reminds me of protesters going into outdoor restaurants and confronting diners that they must join them.  

Update: April 12

Ford Fischer has a thread showing how this kind of behavior reflects a belief that "primary source independent journalism amounts to endorsement", as with this thread.    Ironically, when I looked at it, Twitter claimed Brendan's tweet was unavailable but when I tried a second time it worked. Ford says te Proud Boys have tried to remove him from a public space before claiming that he was "Antifa".  A line of TPB walked right past me in Washington DC Nov. 14 when I was filming them myself. (And, no I am not "endorsing" them.  I haven't had anything taken down, but YouTube and Facebook seem to fear that this is what the public believes, as a result of tribalism.)

Friday, April 09, 2021

How some people make money on YouTube without creating their own videos (by "re-uploading", legally, with licenses)


model rr 

“Caffeinated Blogger” explains how to make a living on YouTube by reuploading elements of videos, legally, to create “relaxation channels” that are popular.

He suggests using the sites Story Blocks, Social Blade, and Pexels to find scenery and background music with Creative Commons licenses or very low cost licenses to use legally.

The title of the video sounds sleazy, “How to make money on YouTube without making videos yourself from scratch”.

It takes some hours of effort and then a few months to build up a channel with the required subscribers and viewing hours to become eligible for monetization.

Why do I present this concept?  To encourage the visitor to consider what “commercial viability” can mean.

This is stuff “real” people want, not necessarily the same as what you want to say. I’ll probably revisit this topic soon.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

UK strain now dominates in US as non-elderly people, largely unvaccinated, start getting more severe disease


Upper MI, along Lake Huron, 2019

Most of my postings about COVID have been on the “Domestic Issues Blog” or “International Issues” Blog, where is on my eponymous blog I’ve preferred to cover technology, censorship, free speech, copyright, and similar topics. 

Today I’ll switch, as on Issues I’ve already covered DC statehood. Some alarming news about the variants that could still matter comes in.

A major story in the Washington Post by Ariana Eunjung Cha today traces a major outbreak, largely of B117,  in Carver County, MN to youth sports.  Out of 181 cases, there were two hospitalizations of coaches and one (formerly a cancer patient) died, bleeding out and clotting at the same time.  Case histories showed deadly cases in older coaches and employees who had been meticulously careful for a year, with spouses avoiding grocery stores.

With the new variants, researchers have found more “lattice-like” transmission patterns, not dependent on superspreader events.  That is, the new variants have less dispersion and are behaving more like flu.

There are also reports of positive tests in fully vaccinated people, now in Michigan, with three deaths, but the percentage of people vaccinated is miniscule. Epoch Times tried to sensationalize the story calling SARS-CoV2 the “CCP-virus”.

Today, the CDC said that the B117 variant (ABC story) has become dominant in the United States, as it has outcompeted the older strains against vaccines, and previously infected as well as vaccinated people. But the vaccines seem to be giving reasonable protection against the variant.

It may be necessary to have boosters available much sooner containing some of the common protein configurations in many of the variants.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Recipe scraping site generates controversy and resentment for "lowballing" but probably does not commit copyright infringement


landing at DFW 2018 

Recently there has been a controversy about a site called “Recipeasly”.  This site apparently prints lists of ingredients from recipes from any other sites in a format convenient for the user.  The owners were anticipating a subscription business model.

And there is a lot of blowback, as with this article on “eater”.  The fear is that this site will lowball real sites earning revenue from legitimate culinary work and presentation.  The owners of the site appear to have apologized and taken it down, but this was probably not legally necessary. 

A mere list of ingredients from a recipe cannot be copyrighted.  Expressive material surrounding it might be (including photographs and videos). 

Leonard French, a copyright attorney who runs the “Lawful Masses” YouTube channel, explains here.

A cookbook in its entirety would normally be copyrightable, I would think, as it adds a surrounding expression.  Back in 2002 or so, the Writer’s Guild, as I recall, awarded a cookbook from a restaurant in Waxahachie, Texas called “The Dove’s Nest” an award for best self-published book of the year, although a cookbook is a different beast from a normal fiction or non-fiction (or maybe both in DADT3)  narrative book. But obviously it takes attention to a lot more than just lists of ingredients to write and put together such a book.

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Patreon suspends account of writer for edgy article about a vaccine company (Astra-Zeneca) on her own website; remember Carl Benjamin?


Emergent BioTech in Baltimore (has had a vaccine manufacturing issue recently)

 Here we go again.  With Patreon.  Remember their fiasco with Sargon of Akkad? Then Subscribestar? 

Before I go further, let me reiterate, both the far Left and far Right are guilty of duplicity, authoritarianism, and intellectual dishonesty.

Allison Morrow described (during a month where she has announced a strategic demonetization of all her content) Patreon’s suspension of Whitney Webb.  It turns out that the suspension is for an article on her own website, UnlimitedHangout, which links to Patreon, and which Patreon claims might dissuade gullible people from getting vaccinated, at least if Astra-Zeneca is the only vaccine available to them.  (It is not available in the United States yet.  Part of the political sensitivity comes from the likelihood that Astra-Zeneca is being “sold” particularly to the developing world, but then also so are vaccines from Russia and China.)

If you go to her Twitter account thread, you see what happened.  If you go to the article, Twitter rudely intercepts you and claims the article is dangerous or spammy.  It lets you through.  The article, written with Jeremy Leffredo, is titled “Developers of Oxford Astra-Zeneca Vaccine Tied to UK Eugenics Movement”.  The article describes some of the principles in the company (Astra-Zeneca) as linked to the Welcome Trust, and then some at least indirect links to quasi-eugeneics movements of the past.  As you get to that part of the article it might have been better if I could find more authoritative links proving her point, but it seems credible, because “conflicts of interest” and questionable connections among people have always happened in the past.  She is also connected on Twitter to “The Last American Vagabond”, whose Twitter account is currently suspended.  The site seems a little over the top (Breitbart-like) but, well, read it and make up your own mind, check some the claims out (about masks) if you like.

Twitter warns on a personal website link

This situation might have played out differently had the UnlimitedHangout site been owned by someone other than her.  This state of affairs could play into the dangers of the Senate’s proposed “Safe Tech” Act that I discussed here on March 25.

Patreon suspends account for personal website post

I need to re-emphasize, yes, go to these sites and see how credible you think they are for yourself.  As for myself, I have taken both Pfizer shots, and still wear an N95 clone mask when out in public.  I still generally avoid indoor gatherings.  The availability of other opinions or materials (like the current debate on vaccine passports) does not dissuade me from doing what is in my own interest and I believe a common good.

But possibly the public health threat (that the variants outrun the vaccines) seems so dire that Big Tech believes it needs to behave in an authoritarian matter and manipulate people into obedience for their own good.  It’s the nanny state. Like Dictator Dan in (Victoria) Australia which (along with New Zealand) has done very well in almost crushing the virus to almost zero even before the vaccines. 

 Reminder: because I have access to inherited funds, I do not believe I would (or should) be allowed to use Patreon.  But if I did, I would be concerned that if I took money from Patreon as a way to make a living (even as a "contractor") they could control what I could say anywhere else besides their platform. 

So we see again what Tim Pool calls “the authoritarian Left”.