Thursday, August 21, 2008

Links on bloggy and copyrighty issues

*Good news for advocates of copyright reform and fair use, as long as you live in the United States that is:

U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel has ruled that fair use -- a complex set of exemptions to copyright meant to allow for commentary, criticism, and parody -- must be taken into consideration before rightsholders request the removal of infringing content from websites like YouTube.
Here in Canada, alas, Jim Prentice is trying to ram through a far more draconian copyright approach on behalf of the Conservatives and their friends in industry.

*Bad news for anonymous blog commenters:
Take EDF Ventures, an obscure Michigan VC firm, which may well have gotten a bum rap on, a VC-ratings site. After issuing a subpoena to find the identity of the entrepreneur who said the VC firm was "to be avoided unless you are desperate," it has now filed a lawsuit against the anonymous commenter. "If someone lies about you, it isn't right," says Mary Campbell, the firm's founder.

Reading the comment they’re actually taking issue with, EDF seems rather overzealous in initiating legal action here. I just hope they don’t sue me for saying so.

*Still on anonymous blog commenters, Wired has a much different, and more important, story on relating to the issues of Web anonymity, how it can be misused, where the privacy lines should be drawn, and what the role of the courts and libel law should be when the Web is used to attack and defame:
"Women named Jill and Hillary should be raped."

Those are the words of "AK-47" -- a poster to the college-admissions web forum AK-47 was one of a handful of students heaping misogynist scorn on women attending the nations' top law schools in 2007, in posts so vile they spurred a national debate on the limits of online anonymity, and an unprecedented federal lawsuit aimed at unmasking and punishing the posters.

Now lawyers for two female Yale Law School students have ascertained AK-47's real identity, along with the identities of other AutoAdmit posters, who all now face the likely publication of their names in court records -- potentially marking a death sentence for the comment trolls' budding legal careers even before the case has gone to trial.

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