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March 10, 2010

Are harsh internet commenters scaring off sources?

Story Lab - Blowback: Do comments scare off sources? I think we've seen that internet comments on news sources add *nothing* to the conversation beyond race-baiting, ignorant nonsense. It's time we did away with them.
After the story appeared, I sent Sutherland an email asking him what he thought. He wasn’t happy with the drawing that accompanied the story, a couple of sharks circling a woman. And he wasn’t happy with the comments that readers posted on washingtonpost.com about the story. You could hardly blame him. The Post's guidelines say that the site bans any "inappropriate" content and defines that as anything that is "libelous or defamatory," " is obscene, pornographic, or sexually explicit," and "contains or advocates illegal or violent acts" among other things. But among the comments were these hard-to-stomach posts: “What scum....Scam-acne-face-Sutherland and all his little minions, scum....special place in Hell for them,” wrote someone who went by the screen name griffmills. “They should be hung up by their private parts and shot,” wrote billdinva2. Sutherland said such comments were “why I was so hesitant in doing an interview” in the first place. “Lesson learned," he wrote, "I will never allow for another interview.”
*via Violet Blue*

March 08, 2010

Is "Stay the Hell Off Our Yard!!!" a Stable Foreign Policy Strategy?

Mojonaut Milt writes: : Apropos of nothing, I saw a...

World marks International Women's Day

CNN | World marks International Women's Day
(CNN) -- The world marks International Women's Day on Monday, an annual celebration that highlights their economic, political and social achievements. "International Women's Day is the story of ordinary women as makers of history; it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men," the United Nations says. The day was marked for the first time in the early 1900s. More than one million women and men attended rallies in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911, according to the United Nations. They demanded the right to vote and hold public office, and for an end to job discrimination. 'It is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of women's rights," the United Nations says.

March 07, 2010

"Read This And I Own Your Brain" kicks off Noah Berlatsky's Roundtable on Copyright at Hooded Utilitarian

Cuckoo for Copyright: Read This And I Own Your Brain | The Hooded Utilitarian
This week on Hooded Utilitarian we’re going to have a roundtable discussion on issues around copyright and free culture. The roundtable will be anchored by an interview with artist and free culture advocate Nina Paley, conducted by Caro, which will be posted in a few days. We’re also going to have a guest post by Pallas, a sometimes HU commenter who has studied intellectual property law. Finally, we’ll have a guest post by Jonathan Newman, a contemporary classical composer and a bit of a free culture skeptic. To start things off, I thought I’d reprint one of the first things I wrote for The Comics Journal way back when. This was reprinted by the good folks at Poor Mojo’s Almanac(k) a while back [Rant #261], but hasn’t appeared on this blog before.
Noah has been generous in permitting me to add hyperlinks and further notation to his article. It explains the impact of Congress' repeated lengthening of copyright protection for artists and corporations on creators' ability to build upon, recast and re-deploy the basic building blocks of communication as they have done for thousands of years -- right up to 1928 and "Steamboat Willie." Please visit Hooded Utilitarian during the roundtable if you create anything and have an opinion on either your right to own it for many decades, or your lack of a right to re-tool the culture of the past.
The ideal remains in the mind of the public, the legislature, and the judiciary: copyright laws are designed to protect artists from exploitation. But they aren’t. The U.S. Constitution clearly states that intellectual property laws are designed “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” In other words, rights are granted specifically to promote art, not artists.