Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dark Underbelly of the Blogosphere Exposed In Attack Against Tech Blogger

An email from friend Andy Carvin crossed my inbox today--a very disturbing email directing me to a post by distinguished tech blogger Kathy Sierra that details a series of disturbing comments about her relayed through email and then posted on something called meankids.org...

This is indefensible.

Now, I may not agree with Sierra. I may think that sometimes many of the points she makes are things I already knew, and may have said, just without the fancy graphs. But that's just an intellectual disagreement. We can have intellectual disagreements. We can even be kinda blunt or downright nasty in an intellectual disagreement...

Yet personal attacks of the sort that happened to Kathy--attacks that advocate violence, that disparage someone's gender, sexual preference, or physical attributes--are unjustifiable under any and all circumstances.

Most disturbing, though, Kathy's post clearly points to a tolerated dark underbelly of the blogosphere--a place where "boys will be boys" and assholes can go around saying things like "if you didn't have legs you'd leave a trail like a garden slug..." and others will think it's just bloody-darned-fuckin'-funny-free-speech....

When it isn't.

Scoble posted his thoughts on what's happened...notes that he's been threatened before, and has just brushed it off. But he realizes that what's been said to Kathy and about Kathy doesn't constitute something one can just brush off and move on. from Scoble:
It’s this culture of attacking women that has especially got to stop. I really don’t care if you attack me. I take those attacks in stride. But, whenever I post a video of a female technologist there invariably are snide remarks about body parts and other things that simply wouldn’t happen if the interviewee were a man.

Absolutely. Most of us deal with it our whole lives--esp. if we're pretty and smart. A lethal enough combination to make any beta male see red. It's the thing that, at times, makes me feel good about the ability to "frump it up" and disappear from most men's vision...

It's not just the tech culture either. Last year, longtime blogger Peggy Phillip, one of the few women executives, even fewer women tv executives, to ever blog, was forced to shutter her blog due to threats and intimidation similar to those levelled against Kathy...

Then again, I got a bit "cyberbullied" last January when I failed to support another woman blogger's participation on panel and merely suggested someone else might have been more appropriate...

There are lots of reasons for cyberbullying--none are acceptable.

Still, violence against women lurks in this space...across this great huge wonderful landscape. Like the Wild West, it has its Dark Underbelly, where horrific fantasies are bandied about by people who have some sort of strange dark thing living within them that wants to preserve some cro-magnonlike hierarchy of men over women. And some folks tolerate this. They say "boys will be boys" and let the Jack-the-Lads act up and act out, thinking that they can control them in some ways by letting them vent their spleens...

But that never works. Eventually, someone gets hurt. That "someone" is usually a woman--silenced by those who can't deal with their own sorry states of affairs...

The thing, though, that I find most disturbing in Kathy's case is not just that she found the meankids.org site--and that some people would find it funny to bash people in the manner that meankids.org was doing. Sure, there were times when Snappy the Clam was a hoot...but there's a line. And that line gets crossed when we openly say things that propose violence, suggest levels of degradation, and imply that the death of another individual is somehow a good thing. (yes, we may say certain things in private, among people who know we'd never do those things--but we should not take those things and put them out in the light of day. we should, perhaps, look at our venom and figure out what it is about that other person, who's probably minding his or her own business, that makes us feel that way. Why do we feel so inferior or so falsely righteous that we have to think that way about someone else? And then we should, perhaps, use that anger to motivate ourselves to change our own sorry states of affairs. Because it is indeed a truly sorry state of our own personal affairs that makes us "hate" another person to this level. Nazis were, after all, a bunch of self-hating cowards...)

Andy's set up a social network to start discussing this thing. And March 30 is Stop Cyberbullying Day....

We do indeed need to flush this out of our world in here. We can't necessarily cure the ills of the entire world, but we can start working so that others are not silenced in this space by threats of sexual assault, degredation, and murder.

Otherwise, none of us will be safe.

UpdateI've been following this one around, and have noticed that it is being whisper-down-the-lane misconstrued that the emailed threats to KS and the foul blog posts came from one guy--which they did not. Personally, I did not want to post any of her allegations of who made the remarks because I didn't want to repeat things that have not been proven. However, Chris Locke, one of the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto, is taking some serious heat and gives an excellent response. I agree with Locke re the title of Sierra's blog "Creating Passionate Users" which I have always found massively offensive--just never got around to concocting up my own blog post as to exactly why I find it offensive. But now I'll say it: first, "users" is a demeaning term ussed by tech folks to discriminate against those they believe aren't smart enough to understand their code. Please. Grow up. It's not rocket science. Second, "users" aren't created by anyone. They use things and become loyal as acts of free will. Sierra's blog title always smacked of a certain post-Est/Forum stale incense that always made me itch.

But, it's an incense that's endemic in the Tech world...with its locus in the Silly Valley. If the emphasis of tech wasn't there, the sentiments it engenders would be very different...

But while I might pointeldy comment on Sierra's concepts and the thinking, I'm not about to attack the her in the manner that was set out in the emails and on those blog posts. That isn't how to get one's disagreeing point across. Nor am I going to levy blame on someone who, while ascerbic as Locke may be, appears to not be to blame for either the emails or the posts.

Also, Locke cannot be held libel for the words that someone else posted to a blog or message board he hosted. And if that's what people supporting Sierra end up leaning towards in their calls for action by law enforcement, they might want to look again at what they advocate--because, one day, the chickens may come to roost on their own palaces of Free Speech.

Update 4/4/07 Crusing around this evening I came across a follow-up on Silicon Valley Watcher that discusses a brokered meeting between Sierra and Locke (by O'Reilly.) O'Reilly, in the SF Chronicle:
"We need to say this is not acceptable behavior," said Tim O'Reilly, CEO of Sebastopol's O'Reilly Media, which publishes Sierra's books and runs the ETech conference where Sierra was scheduled to speak this week. "If you start making offensive comments, they will be deleted from a blog. Don't give people that platform."

, , , ,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fox News, CBS, Jump On Citizen Journalism Content Harvesting Bandwagon

Red Herring reports that both CBS and Fox News have decided to start the push to harvest more "citizen journalism" for their channels. So, what does this mean to you, the citizen, who might want to send your vidphone shots of your dog jumping through a flaming hula hoop??

First, both networks have signed up with Neighborhood America to create the infrastructure. Red Herring sez:
The deals with CBS and Fox will allow the company to gather user-generated video news reports from on-the-rove viewers who want to send in the videos they take with their digital cameras, camcorders, and camera phones.

Okay, so we know what CBS and Fox are looking for, and where you can send in your stuff, but, more importantly why do they want it and will you get anything other than a pat on the ass for giving it to them??

At Fox: Fox News’ UR Report service debuted Monday and will allow viewers to send news reports to the Fox site that will be featured on shows such as Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, and On the Record with Greta van Susteren. “Each will have user-generated content daily,” said Neighborhood America CTO David Bankston. “It will tie into the script and the show

Oh great. More Sean Hannitys. I have my own theories about Sean Hannity...but let's not go there...

It's one thing to read someone's stuff on their own blog. Another to see it as a vid on YouTube. Doesn't mean it should be part of Fox News.

Then again, maybe this is Fox News' way of trumping the Daily Show or the Colbert Report?

CBS plans to cover their ass a bit differently: CBS had an existing bare-bones citizen journalism service, but Neighborhood America has been improving it with categories, mobile access courtesy of its recent acquisition of Movo Mobile, and the ability to approve videos before they’re allowed to run on the site, unlike Google’s YouTube.

And they're running a contest for Katie Couric's summer intern! Why don't they run a contest for Katie Couric's new make-up stylist?? IMO, she just doesn't look well...

Both of these plans really trivialize the importance of citizen journalism in cases of bombings, floods, and other disasters. Why might these very rich networks want to rip content from the citizenry on a regular basis? "Social networking will be increasingly competing for advertiser dollars,” said Rachel Happe, IDC’s research manager for the digital business economy. “A lot of old-line media companies, particularly news companies, are struggling to keep an audience. It makes sense for them to move to a collaborative news environment, to make people feel they’re invested in the news at some level.”

Sure, it makes sense for really big monied companies to compel people to give them their stuff just for the heck of it. But, as I've said, what will the citizenry get--or more likely, what will they lose??

CBS has an explanation of its Terms and Services which has this to say about "Creative Submissions/Communications":
CBS does not accept or consider creative ideas, suggestions or materials other than those CBS has specifically requested. This is to avoid the possibility of future misunderstandings when projects developed by CBS's staff might seem to others to be similar to their own creative ideas, suggestions or materials.

If you do send us any creative materials, including creative suggestions, ideas, notes, drawings, concepts or other information or if you transmit to the Site by electronic mail or otherwise, communications including any data, questions, comments, suggestions, or the like (collectively, the "Information"), the Information shall be deemed, and shall remain, the property of CBS. None of the Information shall be subject to any obligation of confidence on the part of CBS and CBS shall not be liable for any use or disclosure of any Information. CBS shall exclusively own any now known or hereafter existing rights to the Information of every kind and nature throughout the universe and shall be entitled to unrestricted use of the Information for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or otherwise, without compensation to the provider of the Information.

Hmm.....sounds like the citizen loses once again! no money, and they own your content forever and ever across the universe! (somewhere I hear maniacal laughter)

This may change if they establish an entirely separate social network to take video submissions. But I'd bet that it's not going to change all that much. Esp. the part about the no money...

In Fox's Terms of Use, it's a similar story:
The Site may provide you with the chance to upload or provide messages, photos, videos, clips, ideas, feedback, comments or other content (“Content”). You understand and agree that FOX has the right in its sole discretion, but not the obligation, to monitor, edit, and remove any posted Content, and assumes no liability for any such Content. You warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to such Content, that it is accurate, and that its use does not violate these terms and will not injure any person or entity. You further agree not to upload, post or otherwise make available Content that is protected by a third party’s copyright, trademark or other proprietary right without the express permission of the third party owner of the copyright, trademark or other proprietary right. You shall be solely liable for any damage resulting from any infringements on third party rights resulting from your submission of such Content.

You agree that your uploading and/or transmittal of Content does not violate any of provisions set forth under the “Bulletin Boards and Chat Rooms” section of these terms. If you upload or transmit Content, you grant to FOX a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, publish, translate, create derivative works (including products) from, distribute, and display such Content, in whole or in part, throughout the world in all media. You grant to FOX the right to use the name that you submit in connection with such Content.

You agree that any Content that you submit shall be considered non-proprietary and non-confidential. FOX shall have no obligations of any kind with respect to any Content and shall be free to reproduce, use, disclose and/or distribute any Content for any purpose whatsoever, without limitation. You also agree that FOX shall be free to use any ideas, concepts or techniques embodied in the Content for any purpose whatsoever, including, but not limited to, producing, developing and marketing news stories, shows, content of any kind, products or services incorporating such ideas, concepts, or techniques, without attribution. In addition, you hereby waive all moral rights you may have in any materials uploaded or sent to us by you.

Well. I guess that says it all, doesn't it? Fox holds your video, can use it to its heart content...the odd thing though is that Fox doesn't really want you, the citizen, to touch its content:
You are also strictly prohibited from creating works or materials that derive from or are based on the materials contained in this Site including, without limitation, fonts, icons, link buttons, wallpaper, desktop themes, on-line postcards and greeting cards and unlicensed merchandise. This prohibition applies regardless of whether the derivative materials are sold, bartered or given away.

But I imagine if a particular image Fox has "harvested" really catches on, they'll make a postcard of it, and not give *you* any portion of the profits from said postcard...

To a greater or lesser degree, these networks are looking to rip-off citizen content--and not paying for it as well as keeping the rights, makes sure that you the citizen stays an amateur.

And what about the professional videographers? Well, that's a crapshoot at the moment. who knows....

Still, I keep coming back to *why* if there are no compelling emergencies, should The People provide the networks with free stuff they can hold in perpetuity and eventually make money from? When there's an national emergency, then we are doing major networks a very big favor by providing images that they may not be able to attain any other way. But on a regular, daily basis? What's the point of that? Is it merely to pad out their already-lame news programs?

It may be the job of the people to help get the message out when there's an emergency...it is NOT the job of the people to provide free content so that a multi-million dollar corporation can keep making multi-millions of dollars.

Then again, as some wise person said in the last century "There's a sucker born every minute..."

, , , , ,

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Feeling that Google Search Love Again

If you've been following, I've had some trouble with Google de-indexing me--even though, as I reviewed my stats this a.m., I'm back in Google. Apparently, I'm among good company in the de-listing: Deborah Ng penned this post at About.com on her own de-listing from Google, and what it took to get back in.

Jordan McCollum at Marketing Pilgrim offers very good advice for Blogger users on the mattter. Jordan explains a little quirk that's occured to some Blogger templates in the conversion over to Google/Blogger that could only happen when a site is run by bots rather than by people--thus causing many of us some serious headaches:the problem, or some of it, being in Blogger's <$BlogMetaData$> element...

And here's another good look at what sometimes happens with Google from Your SEO Plan. This article explains how websites in general--not just blogs-- get dropped or banned from Google. This advice is great to know overall, even if it isn't specific to the quirks resulting from the Google-Blogger merger.

Ultimately, it's up to us bloggers (and web designers) to keep an eye on what's going on with our sites via our stats. For many bloggers, our reps are contingent on our blog's searchability, and with Google being pretty much everyone's default search engine, it is exteremly important that our blogs are part of Google (as much as they are part of Technorati, which via its rankings, bestows a degree of trackable credibility on our blogs.)

So, for now, I seem to be back in Google. I will admit that I was feeling a tad cresfallen--"what's the use of blogging if no one can find me?"--and just wasn't feeling much like posting. Things have improved...

Although I'm beginning to wonder about my feed...and if it's time to burn a new one.

just a thought...

, , , ,

Friday, March 09, 2007

You can't say that out here!: Veteran Journalist Commits Career Suicide via Blog

Yesterday, something from Folio magazine titled When Blogs Go Bad appeared somewhere in my morning info gathering. The short post gave an extremely incomplete outline of 30-year veteran gun columnist Jim Zumbo's dismissal from Outdoor Life magazine, as well as the loss of his TV program and a number of endorsement contracts, for a comment he made on his blog...

The Folio article blames the blog--rather, as I discovered in my search of the term "fired Outdoor Life columnist", there was a heck of a lot more going on here than Zumbo firing from the mouth rather than from the hip...and committing an act of career suicide

As I read in a number of blog posts about the matter,I got that to lots of folks Zumbo wasn't all that liked even before he fired away. Zumbo was perceived as something of a "gun snob," who got a lot of perks for trophy hunting, but wasn't concerned about protecting hearth and home; that publicly saying something negative about one type of gun ("black guns"/assault rifles) might lead to severely crippling the Second Amendment; that many of said "black guns" are manufactured by Remington, one of Zumbo's sponsors; that Zumbo's words may have been used on a site that's perceived to be an "astroturf" group of gun control advocates posing as concerned sportsmen.

The key text from Zumbo's blog (now offline) that raised everyone's hackles:
I must be living in a vacuum. The guides on our hunt tell me that the use of AR and AK rifles have a rapidly growing following among hunters, especially prairie dog hunters. I had no clue. Only once in my life have I ever seen anyone using one of these firearms...

I call them "assault" rifles, which may upset some people. Excuse me, maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity. I'll go so far as to call them "terrorist" rifles. They tell me that some companies are producing assault rifles that are "tackdrivers."...

Sorry, folks, in my humble opinion, these things have no place in hunting. We don't need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them, which is an obvious concern. I've always been comfortable with the statement that hunters don't use assault rifles. We've always been proud of our "sporting firearms."

Trying to sort out the irate rhetoric from how Zumbo caused damage to Outdoor Life just enough to get him canned was an arduous task.

Emotional arguments, though, usually don't lead to established publications to fire long-term, trusted writers. There was more...

Zumbo did indeed offend Remington, one of his sponsors. Remington's a manufacturer of assault rifles (and ammo) like the ones referred to in his post.

Very bad move.

A good summary of how and why Zumbo's criticism of the AR-AK assault rifles heated to atomic is on Tom Gresham's Gun Talk blog. Tom uses those guns, and explained more clearly in his non-vitriolic post what motivated the shite-storm that was part of Zumbo's dismissal, as well as its locus:
"The next thing we learn from this is that the world has just changed. This entire episode took place inside of 36 hours, on a weekend -- a three-day weekend for President's Day. It happened...and this is important...entirely on the internet. The original posting was on the net, the reaction was on the net, the emails demanding that companies break off with Zumbo were on the net, and the reactions from the companies were all on their web sites. This was completely an internet event. It was a nuclear explosion, with tens of thousands of messages posted, spanning all the firearms-related web sites.

Gresham makes a great point about all this happening on the web--that, coupled with the event occuring in a very particular niche is also why it wasn't covered by the MSM. Yet what happend could have a huge impact on blogging efforts at magazines Therefore, it would have been important to know who and where all those emails came from, as much as who and where all those irate comments came from. Where they from the same ISP and phony email accounts? As much as the gun guys say a particular organization may be astroturf, astroturf comes in comments and email too. Comments can come in at such a fast and furious rate--esp. if they're coming from the same ISP--that it's difficult to know if those comments are legit. What may look like a shite-storm of "public" opinion--a "grassroots" outcry of "foul!"--may be a concerted effort on the part of a particular minority group to get something to happen.

I don't think Outdoor Life, nor any of the companies involved, would be all that interested in letting the public know if all the negative comments they received were legit--or if there was some "astroturf" mixed in. Perhaps OL doesn't even have the mechanisms to evaluate whether or not all the comments were legit. Most companies don't even think that there could be concerted, astroturfy efforts to get someone fired.

Publications should have mechanisms in place--a combination of human and algorithmic-- to evaluate huge outpourings of comments to absolutely guarantee that the opinions of the people are indeed the opinions of the people and not the efforts of special-interest organizations or or ad-hoc groups with agendas.

Further, Zumbo may not have been given any instruction on how to handle himself on a blog. He may have felt it was ok to say whatever popped into his head--that's happened before. Often, though, that's not the case. Bloggers know that we have to keep an eye on where our words go--and if high profile, keep track of what people are saying about us (not something I worry too much about--I'm small potatoes.) Bloggers and other media personages (journalists included) will often run "vanity searches" on Google, Yahoo, Technorati, Icerocket, and other search engines, to dredge up any place their words might be quoted and anywhere they might be misrepresented.

And they will often do what they can to triage anything they find damaging.

Overall, though, I would think that offending a huge sponsor like Remington (that also received a number of complaints), combined with a sufficient number of cancelled subscriptions (and complaints), could have been just enough to end the very long and prestigious career of Jim Zumbo.

(and it would have been nice if Folio got more of the story right and not blamed the blog for human error...)

Further reading: Outdoor Life and Jim Zumbo Part Ways
and Bill Schneider at New West on The Zumbo Affair, Afterthoughts

, , , , ,

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Links 3/7/07 - the trouble with video

The problems with webcasting from the Adirondaks, the French say "you can't video that!... if video's so great, why isn't Jeff Jarvis the next Ze Frank?

In New York, new gov Elliot Spizter issued executive order No. 3 mandating webcasting of all public meetings be webcast by July. But, he didn't mandate any money to help foot the bill for more bandwidth or infrastructure. So, the Adirondak Park Agency, nestled way up in the mountains has requested an exemption. In this WAMC report the APA explains that it would be not only too bloody expensive (about $75 grand a year) but also that they just don't have the IT to do it. Yep...Governor, we've got an access problem...

In France new legislation may just make it a criminal offense to be a citizen with a cameraphone. PaidContent relays the message: The French Constitutional Council has approved a law that makes it illegal to record acts of violence by anyone other than professional journalists, according to InfoWorld (via Yahoo News). Operators of websites that publish such images also could face prison or a fine of nearly $100,000, warned French online civil liberties group Odebi (the name is a play on the French word for broadband). yikes!

Meanwhile Jeff Jarvis is in London at the Online Publishers Assoc. gathering and gives a great rundown of Jeff Rayport's talk on video. But there are some problems--namely like the one in France, but also about video in general: like the difficulty in searching, plus the issue of how are media outlets going to handle "citizen" video contributions--if they begin to rely on citizen video contribs, will they eventually give a royalty of some sort? Esp. if they're going to be "harvesting" the video? and there's problems of access, and there's problems of fair use, and there's lots and lots of issues that Rayport's enthusiasm for video doesn't seem to consider.

Sometimes the prognostications on the future of media sound like they're made with a textbook in one hand and the I-Ching in the other...


Monday, March 05, 2007

Yahoo Plan B Gains Momentum

In January I posted these two entries on Yahoo Plan B--the stockholder grassroots social media effort spearheadded Yahoo stockholder Eric Jackson (who blogs Breakout Performance) to unseat Terry Semel and re-make the Board at Yahoo--I've been hearing regularly from Eric...

The Yahoo Plan B wiki has grown to include 13 articles, spawned its own YouTube network--and Eric has recently used onetruemedia to creat this great video montage explaining what's gone on at Yahoo! over the years, and why Jackson believes Semel, and most of Yahoo's Board, should be replaced.

But Jackson's not alone. Email updates from Jackson inform me that this "informal group" of dissenting Yahoo! stockholders is up to $60 million in Yahoo! stock holdings.

Not bad for a grassroots effort, wouldn't you say?

What Jackson's doing is worth noting on many levels: but mostly because it is an ingenious use of social media in a group that one normally dosen't think of using social media. But, lots of stockholders are bloggers, too...and lots of stockholders would like to change what goes on with companies they care about. Why not use social media tools to make it happen?

, , , , ,

More on the problems with Google, Blogger, and My Blog

I did a search today in Google just to see what's going on with the Constant Observer, and found this very odd page and very odd thing

There doesn't seem to be any real explanation for this. Other than the cryptic "Error code bX-e6oh4W" which I received this morning....

I wonder if I'll be able to switch to a new url and avoid this problem in the near future.

Links 3/5/07

Marketing blog still not ready...a Canadian newspaper editor gets confused...citizen journalism in India...looking at USA Today's new social media redesign

I'm still working on my social media/marketing blog Having a bit of a time with the title. That seems to always be the biggest of my worries. But I've got loads of links to lots of great marketing folks! (and, of course, a whole bunch of ideas...or is that opinions? ;-) )

Paul Berton, who I *think* is an editor at the London Free Press has a few interesting (and rather broad)musings on citizen journalism Personally, I think confusing letters to the editor, phone message gripes about the paper, ad hominem attacks on fourms and message boards as forms of citizen journalism isn't going to do any of us any good. In fact, it will probably hurt an awful lot of people and could have a chilling effect on free speech on the Internet...

groundviews is a new Sri Lankan citizen journalism initiative using blog software! Read their About page..here's a bit:
Called citizens journalism elsewhere, this is the first attempt in Sri Lanka to create a means through which civil society and concerned citizens can bear witness to human rights abuses, write their own brief daily accounts of life in conflict zones, call attention to humanitarian emergencies, give information on security / ground conditions etc and also a place provincial journalists can pen down their thoughts, in Sinhala and Tamil, with a guaranteed global audience.
Good luck everyone! (via International Journalists' Network)

Brian Murley has a great run-down of USA Today's new "social" design, with great links to conversations going on about it, and how it's a pretty good indicator that new journalists are going to need a whole new set of skills if they're going to survive the new newsroom.

, , ,

Friday, March 02, 2007

Content, Content, Who's Got Your Citizen Journalism/User Generated Content?

and are you going to get anything for it??? (other than a nice firm pat on the ass...)Lately, there's been loads of talk about the integration of "citizen journalism" or "user generated content" (not sure which is a euphemism for what) into mainstream media outlets. There's also been a rise in the kinds of sites that want to acquire user-generated content.

Yay, whoopee, and all that...but a big question y'all should be asking is: What's going to happen to my content when it's put on sites like NowPublic, Associated Content and MSNBC's new FirstPerson?

When I first heard the news about a deal between NowPublic and the Associated Press (when I was in Miami at We Media) I started to wonder about how the thing was going to work. I was esp. concerned when I heard a bit of conversation that Now Public was going to offer the content to AP in a raw, unfiltered state (some time ago I got asked to join NowPublic. back then, the site was difficult to understand and to maneuver--so I joined, but never used it...)

So, what are your rights when you submit something to NowPublic? Well, you may not get any remuneration, *but*, according to its Terms of Use,
Unless otherwise stated for specific Services, You will retain ownership and all related rights in any original information or other content that you publish on the Site or through the Services. In the event of any inconsistency between the provisions of these Terms of Service and the applicable license terms, these Terms of Service shall prevail to the extent of such inconsistency and such license terms shall be deemed to have been modified, in writing, by NowPublic and You.

So, if you wanted to, you can take what you posted to NowPublic and get it re-published somewhere else...maybe even for money. That's fair. NP also has an Intellecutal property policy just in case someone rips off your content.

I haven't however, checked out the arrangement between NowPublic and AP vis a vis the citizen content it uses, so while one still retains rights on NP, but I'd have to further investigate what will happen once AP gets it...do they hold it "exclusively" or what?? I don't have a problem with NP making some money off of AP--esp. if it's used to keep the thing running. Eventually, though, if there's a significant profit, it might be nice to see some kicked-back to folks who get picked up by AP...

As for the aforementioned Associated Content: they have a rather extensive FAQ explaining lots of aspects to how they work. AC "curates" and "publishes"...hmmm....so they will save your content, thus making it an advantage to publish to their site exclusively, since it will always be on their site (and they will pay--sending a 1099 at the end of the year...)

So, here's what happens if your original content has already been on your blog (vs. published exclusively on AC): if you have published your content elsewhere first (blog or other pub. means) your content will be considered "non-exclusive." But once your "non-exclusive" content's been published on AC, they can re-publish it indefinitely--and you can't grant exclusive rights to a third-party (re-publish it on some other site or publication.)

AC also has a getting started page with more links to how much one might earn, etc....

It will be interesting to see if content published on AC could add up to "clips" that one might submit in a query to "mainstream" (or "un-citizen") media outlets....

Now, MSNBC is trying, again, to get citizen journalism content, and has re-vamped their old efforts for its new and improved FirstPerson feature. Here, though, is what happens--rights-wise--when you submit content:
All materials submitted to MSNBC (the “Submissions”) become the property of MSNBC and will not be returned. Without affecting any of your ownership rights to the Submission, by submitting your Submission, you grant MSNBC an irrevocable royalty-free, worldwide right, in all media (now known or later developed) to use, publish, alter or otherwise exploit your Submission and to sublicense such rights to a licensee at MSNBC’s discretion

There's more in the Terms and Conditions:
By posting messages, uploading files, inputting data, or engaging in any other form of communication through this service, you are granting MSNBC a royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive, unrestricted, worldwide license to:

Use, copy, sublicense, adapt, transmit, publicly perform or display any such communication. Sublicense to third parties the unrestricted right to exercise any of the foregoing rights granted with respect to the communication.

The foregoing grants shall include the right to exploit any proprietary rights in such communication, including but not limited to rights under copyright, trademark, servicemark or patent laws under any relevant jurisdiction.

Hmm....you give big media your content. They give you the privilege of being on big media. That's it. No money. Nothing.

But, the way I see it: they'll eventually be making *some* money off your content. Even if they tell you that web-based content doesn't make money (at this point in time, revenue for online content is a bit tough to track), I'd think that they're making *something* off your citizen-user-generated content...somewhere....somehow...

Hmmm...does this then translate into our content is being "harvested"? (NBC isn't as bold as ClearChannel's Spendlove to say that directly, so I won't go as far to paint them with the exact same brush...but...)

So, there you have it: three places that are asking for citizen-user-generated content of some kind, and three different modes and models for how it will be used. It's up to you, citizen journalist, how you want your stuff to be used. Are we here to feed our content to big media in turn for a small ego-stroke? Or are we better served by supporting smaller independent media outlets? Or do we want to support any media outlets at all?

Think about it...

, , , , ,

Thursday, March 01, 2007

this blog is *still* not being indexed by Google. I am still wicked furious--as when I'm google'd only my personal blog comes up. If anyone has any advice--or knows if just changing the url will help--let me know. email's in the sidebar...

Links 3/1/07

Some very cool and important things to check out:

NewsTrust Suffering from TMN--too much news? NewsTrust is looking to cultivate a community of newsjunkies who will find, and rate, the best news stories out there. Not just the tech stuff like on Digg. This is Digg for grown-up newsjunkies. And stuff you might not find other places: like this piece in the Secular Humanist Bulletin on whether or not secular humanists should "bash" religion in order to elevate secular humanist views (a particular interest of mine, really...)

Chuck Olsen's Blogumentary--great stuff! even just to hear Dave Weinberger talk about how to find blogs on forgiveness...and about Chuck's mom and friends...and Rebecca Blood...and Dan Gillmor...and Jeff Jarvis actually being himself rather than a pontificating pundit...

The Press Institute for Women in the Developing World This bit from a press release from founder Cristi Hegranes (who I met at We Media) sums up their important mission:
The Institute was founded on the belief that journalism is an empowering tool that can bring voice, strength and light to issues that are hidden and people who are oppressed. It is in this vein that the Institute trains women in the developing world to serve as reporters and writers in their own communities. The Press Institute emphasizes reporting on six core issues that most affect women in their communities and are scarcely subjects of international media coverage: HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, poverty, reproductive rights, political oppression, and community development.
If you want to know more, you can check out the site or email Cristi (cristi@piwdw.org) Something Cristi and I agreed on: there are people for whom the Internet just doesn't figure into their lives. The thing is not to forget about those people...

Now, Go. Read. Do Something....

, , ,