Crediting Other Users’ Content

The Instagram account fuckjerry, along with a few other high profile accounts like thefatjewish, have become notorious over the last few years for stealing other peoples’ content.

It seems Elliot Tebele, founder of Fuckjerry, is finally starting to understand what copyright law is and has issued a statement via Medium:

I know I’ve made enemies over the years for using content and not giving proper credit and attribution to its creators. In the early days of FuckJerry, there were not well-established norms for reposting and crediting other users’ content, especially in meme culture. Instagram was still a new medium at the time, and I simply didn’t give any thought to the idea that reposting content could be damaging in any way.

In the past few years, I have made a concerted, proactive effort to properly credit creators for their work. We have also updated our policies to make sure we are responsive to creators whenever they have reached out to us about posts. It hasn’t been a perfect system, but I do feel it was a significant improvement, as many of my peers have approached these issues in the same way.

Given the conversations over the past few days, and the issues that have come to light, it is clear however, that we need to do better.

Effective immediately, we will no longer post content when we cannot identify the creator, and will require the original creator’s advanced consent before publishing their content to our followers. It is clear that attribution is no longer sufficient, so permission will become the new policy.

Comedic video editor Vic Berger posted a very Berger-y video making fun of Tebele that was pulled from Youtube but has reemerged on Vimeo.

“If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?”

The National Enquirer’s parent company, AMI, tried to blackmail Jeff Bezos with naked they obtained, but Bezos isn’t playing:

Well, that got my attention. But not in the way they likely hoped. Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here. If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can? (On that point, numerous people have contacted our investigation team about their similar experiences with AMI, and how they needed to capitulate because, for example, their livelihoods were at stake.)

In the AMI letters I’m making public, you will see the precise details of their extortionate proposal: They will publish the personal photos unless Gavin de Becker and I make the specific false public statement to the press that we “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”

If we do not agree to affirmatively publicize that specific lie, they say they’ll publish the photos, and quickly. And there’s an associated threat: They’ll keep the photos on hand and publish them in the future if we ever deviate from that lie.

AMI is a scummy company that lacks morals. Who would have thought?

Related: The New York Post didn’t pass up the opportunity to publish a great headline.

Categories:

Law, Privacy

Private Service, Not Public Utility

Shoshana Wodinsky writing for The Verge on the platforms that have removed Alex Jones:

The biggest criticism of Jones and Infowars centers on the seemingly endless torrent of conspiracy theories that were a part of the network’s regular programming — including the idea that the Sandy Hook shooting was entirely staged with paid “crisis actors” and that global pedophilia rings are run by Hollywood and DC elites. Despite being patently false, as well as involved with the incitement of real-world physical violence, some platforms, including Facebook, initially declined to ban Jones from its platform even while acknowledging the damage he does while spreading false information.

After Apple booted five of the six Infowars podcasts available via iTunes earlier this morning, Facebook took down four Infowars pages from its site for violations of the site’s guidelines, including “glorifying violence” and “dehumanizing immigrants.” Hours later, Youtube gave Jones the boot, cutting off the 2 million-plus subscribers regularly tuned into the channel, and killing many of the videos on the Infowars site as a result. Even Pinterest felt pressure to quietly nudge the pundit off of its site.

As many other people who have functioning brains have pointed out, these are private companies with their own platforms that are banning Jones. They are not public utilities and this has nothing to do with denying Jones of his First Amendment rights.

Jones still has his own website and app on which he can spew his vitriol and lies. 

Categories:

Community, Law

Tough Old Jew from the Bronx

Actor Carl Reiner — at 95 years old — just wrote an op-ed in The New York Times directed at Justice Anthony Kennedy:

I would like to start with congratulatory wishes on your forthcoming 81st birthday.

As someone who has almost a decade and a half on you, I can tell you this: It may well be that the best part of your career has just begun. As a nonagenarian who has just completed the most prolific, productive five years of my life, I feel it incumbent upon me to urge a hearty octogenarian such as yourself not to put your feet up on the ottoman just yet. You have important and fulfilling work ahead of you.

When I turned 81, I had finished “Oceans Eleven” and was gearing up for “Oceans Twelve” while also writing another book, which led me to a cross-country book tour.

Just a reminder that most of us aren’t trying hard enough.

Rather Than Innovate, Sue Them

Inside the Hotel Industry’s Plan to Combat Airbnb:

Last year, Airbnb underwent a rough regulatory patch.

The short-term rental company became a Federal Trade Commission target last summer after three senators asked for an investigation into how companies like Airbnb affect soaring housing costs. In October, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York signed a bill imposing steep fines on Airbnb hosts who break local housing rules.

The two actions appeared unrelated. But one group quietly took credit for both: the hotel industry.

In a presentation in November, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, a trade group that counts Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and Hyatt Hotels as members, said the federal investigation and the New York bill were “notable accomplishments.”

Rather than innovate and make booking a hotel room as easy as booking an Airbnb, the hotel industry would rather snitch on Airbnb, form alliances with politicians, and sue them out of existence.

It’s the American way!

I’m not suggesting Airbnb isn’t capable of, or hasn’t engaged in shady business practices like Uber, I’m just saying fighting upstart rivals can’t be the only tool in your box.

Categories:

Business, Law

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“Behind every great fortune, is a great crime.”

Uber’s Top Secret “Hell” Program Exploited Lyft’s Vulnerability (paywall):

As the ride-sharing market was exploding in the U.S. between 2014 and the early part 2016, Uber had an advantage over Lyft that helped Uber maintain its lead, The Information has learned. Thanks to a secret software-based effort within Uber called “Hell,” Uber could track how many Lyft drivers were available for new rides and where they were, according to a person who was involved in the program and a person who was briefed about it.

As the philosopher Chris Rock said in his great standup act, Never Scared (channelling Honoré de Balzac), Behind every great fortune, is a crime.”

Uber is chock full of ’em.

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Law, Technology

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Greyball

How Uber Deceives the Authorities Worldwide:

At the time, Uber had just started its ride-hailing service in Portland without seeking permission from the city, which later declared the service illegal. To build a case against the company, officers like Mr. England posed as riders, opening the Uber app to hail a car and watching as miniature vehicles on the screen made their way toward the potential fares.

But unknown to Mr. England and other authorities, some of the digital cars they saw in the app did not represent actual vehicles. And the Uber drivers they were able to hail also quickly canceled. That was because Uber had tagged Mr. England and his colleagues — essentially Greyballing them as city officials — based on data collected from the app and in other ways. The company then served up a fake version of the app, populated with ghost cars, to evade capture.

It seems every aspect of Uber is shady as hell. From Greyball, to their toxic work culture filled with cases of sexual harassment, to not wanting to pay drivers as employees with benefits.

In 2015, I linked up to an interesting story of a journalist who went undercover as an Uber driver to find out if it was possible, as Uber claimed, to earn $90K a year driving for them. Spoiler: it is not possible.

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Business, Law

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Vizio is shady.

Vizio settles FTC lawsuit and agrees to get viewer consent before tracking TV habits:

Vizio will pay $2.2 million to settle a lawsuit alleging it collected customers’ TV-watching habits without their permission.

The lawsuit was filed by the Federal Trade Commission and the state of New Jersey. It alleged that, in 2014, Vizio began using software built into over 11 million smart TVs to capture “highly-specific, second-by-second information about television viewing.” Vizio was then said to have worked with another company to associate demographic information with each household, so that viewing habits could be paired with information like a viewer’s “sex, age, income, marital status,” and more.

I’m happy I’ve never purchased a Vizio product.

I like this detail:

In addition to the $2.2 million in payments, Vizio will now have to obtain clear consent from viewers before collecting and sharing data on their viewing habits. It’ll also have to delete all data gathered by these methods before March 1st, 2016.

Imagine that! Getting consent before collecting and selling peoples’ information.

What a novel idea.

Categories:

Law, Technology

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Kickass Gets Ass Kicked by U.S. Feds

TorrentFreak: Feds Seize KickassTorrents Domains, Arrest Owner:

The complaint further reveals that the feds posed as an advertiser, which revealed a bank account associated with the site.

It also shows that Apple handed over personal details of Vaulin after the investigator cross-referenced an IP-address used for an iTunes transaction with an IP-address that was used to login to KAT’s Facebook account.

“Records provided by Apple showed that tirm@me.com conducted an iTunes transaction using IP Address 109.86.226.203 on or about July 31, 2015. The same IP Address was used on the same day to login into the KAT Facebook,” the complaint reads.

All our information is out there, just floating around on the tubes, leaving breadcrumbs back to us.

In other news, the number of file-sharing lawsuits have dropped by more than half:

The number of copyright lawsuits in the US over online file-sharing have dropped significantly this year, according to data compiled by Lex Machina. Data released by the legal research company shows there were 249 file-sharing lawsuits filed in the second quarter of 2016, compared to 517 cases the previous year.

Ars Technica notes that until recently, the number one filer of lawsuits was porn studio Malibu Media.

Update: IsoHunt already has a working mirror of KickassTorrents up

Categories:

Law

Google Wants Everyone’s Milkshake

Ars Technica: Frontier teams with AT&T to block Google Fiber access to utility poles:

AT&T’s lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Western Kentucky, concerns the Louisville Metro Council’s “One Touch Make Ready” ordinance’s effect on AT&T-owned utility poles. This type of ordinance is designed to speed up construction of new networks by making it easier for companies to attach wires to poles.

The Louisville ordinance lets companies like Google Fiber install wires even if AT&T doesn’t respond to requests or rejects requests to attach lines. Companies could also move AT&T wires to make way for their own wires without notifying AT&T, as long as the work wouldn’t cause customer outages. This also limits the number of construction crews needed for pole work, since each provider wouldn’t have to send its own workers to move their equipment.

AT&T, which is building its own fiber network in Louisville, claims that the ordinance lets competitors “seize AT&T’s property.”

It seems if AT&T owns these poles, then they have the right to reject another company adding an additional cable to it. So does this mean if a new company wants to run their own wires through a county/city/state they should be required to construct their own telephone poles? That would get messy.

AT&T used to hold a government-authorized monopoly when they built out the first trans-continental telephone network in the United States in the early 20th century. If it weren’t for this approved monopoly the US wouldn’t have had as reliable a longline network as it does today—if you’ve ever used a “land line”, how many times has it dropped a call on you? The government eventually broke up this monopoly in 1982. Perhaps there shouldn’t be a monopoly around these poles either.

Google’s attitude towards these telephone poles reminds me of how Google used to use public bus stops here in San Francisco for free for their private company shuttles. In 2014 they had to start paying to use them. Maybe they should be required to share their poles with other countries, but charge them a fee for using them. Google can’t expect they can continue to use other people’s shit for free.

Categories:

Law, Technology

Just My Luck

This is a map of the fireworks laws by state:

It’s my luck that I grew up in New Jersey. One of the 3 states that bans them. It was so sad that we actually got excited if someone was able to get a hold of some sparklers. And if someone had bottle rockets? Forget about it. Shit got real.

Categories:

Law

Apple Responds to the FBI

The FBI is asking for Apple’s help unlocking the iPhone 5C of San Bernardino terrorism suspect Syed Rizwan Farook.

Tim Cook responded:

The government would have us remove security features and add new capabilities to the operating system, allowing a passcode to be input electronically. This would make it easier to unlock an iPhone by “brute force,” trying thousands or millions of combinations with the speed of a modern computer.

The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.

Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government.

No way, Jose. This would set a horrible legal precedent.

I’m happy to see Apple standing up for the privacy of their customers.

Categories:

Law, Technology

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