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The Internet Explained and Endangered

There are a lot of ideas about what the internet is. This is probably the best explanation out here.

The internet thrives based on the flow of information. You want information to flow more broadly, rather than to hoard it. Historical economics is based on worlds of scarcity, and in worlds of scarcity it makes sense to hoard resources, as they are valuable by themselves. Yet, in worlds of abundance you want the opposite. You want abundant or infinite resources to flow freely because they do something special: they increase the value of everything else around them.

Mike Masnick Tech Dirt 03/05/2015

We can embrace the original peer to peer design of the internet, or sink into a quagmire of thought control promoted by companies whose goal is to own you.

The poster child for the new control is Facebook’s Internet.org. Doc Searls notes:

Internet.org calls itself “a Facebook-led initiative bringing together technology leaders, non-profits and local communities to connect the two thirds of the world that doesn’t have Internet access.” But what it offers is not the Internet, but a sphinctered fraction of it: Facebook plus a few chosen others.

Doc Searls

Over at Wired is this article about the folks who are the recipients of this Zuckerberg largesse questioning and rejecting Internet.org.
Backlash Against Facebook’s Free Internet Service Grows

The Last thing we need is to welcome newcomers to the web through Facebook.

Welcome to Our Social Network!

What You thought You were Getting

What You Thought

What You Thought You Were Getting

What You Got

Welcome to Our Social Network! Now SHUT THE FUCK UP and BUY!!!

Welcome to Our Social Network!
Now SHUT THE FUCK UP and BUY!!!


Welcome to Your OUR Social Network!

Facebook’s Business Model – Panhandling!

The digerati, internet business ‘experts’ and venture capitalists have been muttering for some time about when Facebook was going to actually make some money and stop being a rathole for cash , getting ready to apply for some of that government bailout cash.

Well they have done it! Electronic Panhandling! You give Facebook a buck you get a hundred ‘credits’ to spend on your friends. I suppose this is a step above (a very small step) giving a buck to some rheumy eyed guy hanging outside the package store, knowing that you will be forgotten with the first swallow of that smooth white port, or the robust flavor of the 40 ouncer.

What a unique monetization strategy! You can gift your friends with credits, and they can spend it at the Company store! They take your money and they take your money! Move Over Bernie Madoff!

Facebook Proposed Statement of Rights & Responsibilities, bullshit walks Take 2

The kids at Facebook are still trying to dig themselves out of the intellectual property hole they dug themselves. The latest episode in this saga is: Facebook Town Hall: Proposed Statement of Rights & Responsibilities

This is their latest proposal. The cute thing here is calling it a Statement as though it is just folks talking. Make no mistake, this is a fucking Contract, and will bite you on the ass. This is a work in progress, but still falls short.
The most important section of this is Section 2, which deals with your stuff, and licensing it to them.

2. Sharing Your Content and Information
You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, including information about you and the actions you take (“content”). In order for us to share your content and provide you with our services, you agree to the following:

This is reality slapping them in the face, due to to Copyright Law in the US. Here is the problem with this. Currently if you have Copyright in one hand and shit in the other, you will need to have toilet paper handy. (Also in section 14, they make the point that they are bound by the laws of the State of California, so Federal Copyright applies. Cal hasn’t seceded, or fallen into the ocean yet)

2.1 You give us permission to use, store, and share content you post on Facebook or otherwise make available to us (“post”), subject to your privacy and application settings.

Here is where the rabbit hole opens up. “You give us permission to use, store, and share”. This opens the door to granting them a license in absence of any other statement they make. ‘Implied’ and ‘reasonable’ have won more contract lawsuits than you can imagine.
The only thing this needs to say is: You give us permission to store, because that is the deal here, you get space and they get numbers and data. They are providing space, but you are creating the page. There is no reason for Facebook to need usage or sharing unless they are going outside of this agreement.
The only one who is using or sharing your stuff is you, and the folks in your circle.

Privacy? This is the fucking Internet. There is nothing private out here.

2.2 You may delete your content or your account at any time with the understanding that removed information may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be generally available to other users), and that content shared with others may remain until they delete it.

The gem here is the qualifier “(but will not be generally available to other users)”. If you delete your account, under what specific scenarios would it be kept? The internet is just like a neighborhood. Stuff appears and disappears just like neighbor who moves or the store on the corner that closes down. The space may be there, but nobody is home and you have to move on.
Content shared with others? let me see here… you write on somebody’s page, it becomes part of their page, you share a photo, it becomes part of their page, and no longer is yours, making this a bullshit argument. Creating a url to a picture or page on your page is leaching and is frowned upon. In a worst case, somebody’s page will show a busted link or a broken image. This is a pancake makeup argument. They want to have every bit of crap to be permanent, so they don’t have to explain that your page get busted links and a demonstration of churn, and looks like shit because your ‘friends’ left Facebook. Remember when I mentioned that these sharecroppers don’t publicize how many active accounts they have?

Before we get to the money shot part of this, let’s review Copyright. In its simplest form, Copyright covers original writing and creation, whether it be words, photographic, visual(painting, dancing, design, still or moving like video), or auditory such as music. As the Creator of stuff, your Copyright gives you a limited monopoly to license your work, such as copying , publicly perform or display, distribute, modify, translate, and create derivative works. Licensing is what makes the book, movie, and music industries possible.
Do you really want to give all of these away for free?

2.3 For content that is covered by intellectual property rights (like photos and videos), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use, copy, publicly perform or display, distribute, modify, translate, and create derivative works of (“use”) any content you post on or in connection with Facebook. This license ends when you delete your content or your account.

Let’s start with they left out. Your writing. Everything you write is covered by copyright. Copyright got its start with the written word.
Here is where the bullshit gets deep. you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use, copy, publicly perform or display, distribute, modify, translate, and create derivative works of (“use”) any content you post on or in connection with Facebook.
They do not need nor should they be allowed to have a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use, copy, publicly perform or display, distribute, modify, translate, and create derivative works of (“use”) any content you post
You do need to grant them a license of sorts to play on Facebook.
This covers your ass and acknowledges you as the Copyright Owner.
They need a non-exclusive license to be able to display your writing and images, as this again notes that you are the copyright owner. The primary reason is that you may be one of those fickle people who has a MySpace or windows live account, as well as a Facebook account. They are smart enough in one respect of understanding that an exclusive license would put them in a world of hurt. Somebody would sue somebody, and there is no need to stimulate the economy with full employment for lawyers.

They do not need nor should they be given, any transferability as you are in a gated community, nor should it be sub-licensible, which gives them the rights to grant or sell your stuff without any permission or royalties.
They do not need a worldwide license as their servers are in California, and despite where you may be viewing from, at the end of the day, you are viewing things in California.
They do not need a license to copy except for backups which are not publicly available(hopefully).
They do not need a license to publicly perform or display, as this is a gated community and you have to be a member to see things.
They do not need a license to distribute, modify, translate, and create derivative works. Distribution is your right as the copyright holder, modifification, translation and creating derivative works are also Your Rights as a copyright owner.

You really do not want to give these rights away.

Royalty Free
This is not an outrageous demand, since they are providing you with space for your cat photos.
Royalties are money and what you get when you license your stuff for money. Social Networks are not the place to make money. Besides, there are not enough accountants on the planet to track this stuff. They are all busy trying to figure out what credit default swaps are or where the ponzi scheme money is.

Here is what a fair license grant should look like:

In exchange for my uploading materials to your site, you will receive a Limited, fully revocable, License to Display my materials on your network in the Original forms as delivered to you, with full attribution to me as the author/copyright holder, for the duration of our engagement, being the period of time that we are entered into this arrangement, evidenced by my use of the username/password you have provided and the space on your network you have made available to me.

All others rights are Reserved including, but not limited to, reproduction, modification, distribution outside of the aforementioned space, subsidary public display, public performance, and or derivative works in any format, online or offline.

Anything less is bullshit. They need you a lot more than you need them.
Remember, without you, there is no them.

Facebook’s Terms of Service Assplode Adventure

My previous posting outlined the changes, which at the end of the day gives Facebook:

You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.

This is standard boilerplate which does form a contract between you and your social network. In most cases, a contract ends when one or both parties call it quits, such as when you stop using the service.

However, Facebook added the following to their TOS:

The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other.

This section now gives them the rights that you gave away in the original TOS. This survives your original contract and expressly grants them a license to your stuff forever.
This is the Assplode Moment.

Assplode : To unexpectedly, and violently poop ones pants

Remember This? irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) We will get back to this in a moment.

Zuckerberg attempted to explain his way out of this here. His theory is that if you share with anybody else, that sharing is theirs and by extension everything else. This is the money shot:

One of the questions about our new terms of use is whether Facebook can use this information forever. When a person shares something like a message with a friend, two copies of that information are created—one in the person’s sent messages box and the other in their friend’s inbox. Even if the person deactivates their account, their friend still has a copy of that message. We think this is the right way for Facebook to work, and it is consistent with how other services like email work. One of the reasons we updated our terms was to make this more clear.

He is ignoring two important bits of information that have been in existence since the first internet site went up.

Shit gets deleted, links get broken.
By taking this position he is trying to use ‘sharing’ to put forth the proposition that they need to retain this information. Trying to use email as a representation of this model ignores the fact that Facebook is a website, and email is on a person’s computer except for those folks that think that using GMail or Hotmail is a great idea. Even the internet virgins catch on to a broken link or a “404 File not found” message.

Folks on the internet have woken up to the reality why social networks like Facebook are not your friends. The recent change to the Facebook TOS showed us how many internet virgins are out here.The Angry Drunk sums it up quite nicely:

“for every one of them, there are millions of people using services like Facebook in order to do mundane things like reconnect and keep in touch with friends and family. These are people who are uploading content to share with the people that they care about and who, rightly, balk at the idea of a corporation asserting ownership of that content in order to make a buck.”

He is wrong in one particular, that being Ownership. In the current environment when you create it, you are automatically granted copyright, at least in the US. None of the social sharecropper networks, Facebook, My Space, Ning, assert Ownership, but they all require you to grant them” irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you upload.”

This is the deal, you may claim ownership,(and point in fact be able to use your computer and files to support that, but not registering copyright, puts ‘ownership’ on a slippery slope for somebody with a lot of lawyers. Fox and the Watchmen movie comes to mind here) but you gave away every right associated with that ownership, and this being a digital universe, that is basically the same thing as giving it away. Being digital you can cut n’ paste, right mouse click, save as, or use any number of programs to suck entire sites to your hardrive. You may or may not have the original image, but the difference is negligible.

Everyone of these Social Networks is attempting to monetize their sites by posting/inserting advertising to make money off your back. It is not a matter of wanting to dip your beak for a piece of the pie, as you accepted the TOS when you created an account.
Fair enough as far as it goes. You could speculate on how stupid this model is, as the grandfathers of this, Newspapers, Television and Radio are seeing Ad revenues plunging forcing them into bankruptcy, consolidation or fire sales. I will save that.

Asking for a license to ‘use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display’ your content is nothing more than a reality check of copyright law. What is however is the “irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense)”.

This is bull shit. You probably joined this network as the last one crashed and burned, or the cool kids are here, or you got sucked into this by some New Media loon.

Here is what a fair license grant should look like:
In exchange for my uploading materials to your site, you will receive a Limited, fully revocable, License to Display my materials on your network in the Original, forms as delivered to you, with full attribution to me as the author/copyright holder, for the duration of our engagement, being the period of time that we are entered into this arrangement, evidenced by my use of the username/password you have provided and the space on your network you have made available to me.

All others rights are Reserved including, but not limited to, reproduction, modification, distribution outside of the aforementioned space, subsidary public display, public performance, and or derivative works in any format, online or offline.

When you find a network that respects your contributions, let me know.

Bonus Links
Terms of Enslavement: Web Sites’ Outrageous Service Agreements
Facebook’s Privacy Muddle
EPIC readying federal complaint over Facebook privacy policy

Facebook owns you and your stuff forever.

The latest news in the sharecropping follies is the revised Terms of Service from Facebook.
The Consumerist has the scoop.

I have mentioned before what a bad deal these sharecropper networks are,
Social Network Bill of Rights
A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web – The Sharecropper’s Revolt
Facebook – Emerald City’s Newest Sharecropper Network

This being the standard TOS:

You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.

You give away ALL RIGHTS to EVERYTHING you post on Facebook. Plus you let them put ads on your page, track you and anybody who stops by, and let them ‘share’ this data with their ‘partners’

You can get a free Blog for the cost of your internet connection, and have much more control over your stuff. But if you want to be Zuckerman’s bitch, post more stuff.

Tits Up !! The Breastfeeding Sharecroppers Revolt

In yet the latest collision between the Plantation Owners and Sharecroppers is FaceBook and the women who don’t think that pictures of breast feeding are obscene. I am with the women. I don’t think the entire breast is obscene either singly or in pairs, let alone what is visible in most of the images in question.

However, I warned everyone what would happen when you join a sharecropper network.
Social Network Bill of Rights
A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web – The Sharecropper’s Revolt
Facebook – Emerald City’s Newest Sharecropper Network

Sorry Ladies You Lose
There is nothing ‘social’ about Facebook. There never was, there never will be. This is not limited to Facebook. MSN Livespaces, My Space, Ning, Flikr, You Tube, and every other ‘Social Network’ is a Plantation that hires out space that you get to play on so they can sell advertising against it. You are a sharecropper. And the Master is having no truck with those photos!
Even BlogHer the most visible Womens network is a business, and if it doesn’t sell advertising, it doesn’t play.

Here is why Nobody wins on a “Social Network”. According to a report at Mercury News.Com it was reported:

Facebook has removed these photos from members’ albums and profiles, saying that displays of areola — the dark skin around the nipple — violate the company’s policy regarding “obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit” material.

What is happening here is the same tired story that is killing TV Radio and Newspapers. ADVERTISERS!! Somebody from Dry Gulch, Missouri, told somebody that human breast feeding is obscene and or sexually explicit, (which when you really think about it is Nutritionally Explicit strictly speaking) who got an advertiser or their lawyer to have a brain fart and rattled their advertising budget in front of them. “Hmmmn… Tits or Revenue?

NO MORE TITS!! NO MORE TITS!! NO MORE TITS!!

Further down the same article is this nugget:

Facebook says its policies are designed to ensure its Web site remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many teenagers who use the site.

Is it coming clearer? Despite the fact that the majority of teenagers were breast fed, and would have a much clearer memory of such an event, the advertisers are not interested in your lactation issues because, you can’t play a video game, drive a car, buy more trendy worthless shit while breast feeding. And lawdy lawdy, teenagers are not supposed to think about such things, but are supposed to buy all that trendy worthless shit.

It is their Plantation and they make the rules.

Here is the problem in a nutshell. Everyone of these Social Network Content Plantations has you enter into a Contract. It’s the Terms and Conditions Page. That you didn’t read the fine print or understand it, makes no difference. This is basic Contract Law 101. You will not even get a place on a docket to fight this in court. This has not even touched the license that you granted them for your little corner of cyberspace.
Social Network Bill of Rights

The most surprising thing to me is not this areolagate happened,(because next week, It will be Nutritionally Explicit photos, you know those pictures of folks stuffing food into their mouths with a bit of the tongue showing) but all the folks who continue to get sucked into these sharecropper networks.

Social Network Bill of Rights
A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web – The Sharecropper’s Revolt
Facebook – Emerald City’s Newest Sharecropper Network