‘Laws’ Category

New FTC Guidelines for Bloggers, Others

December 1st, 2009

Today — December 1 —  new Federal Trade Commission guidelines for endorsements and testimonials went into effect — guidelines that apply to bloggers and others who endorse products and get paid for it, ie through affiliate links.  The guidelines are broad but it’s basically all about disclosure and being honest. While officially you should seek your own counsel, here is a link that lists a variety of reactions and opinions to the guidelines. Our opinion — and it’s just an non-legal opinion of course — is that if you practice disclosure and you’re honest about why you are recommending a product, you won’t be a target.  See our Disclosure Statement in our “About” Page.

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The Fight For Control of the Internet — It Could Change Everything

December 1st, 2009

Net neutrality. If you don’t know what it is, you should, because some corporations are trying that take it away from you. The Internet is an open platform right now — whether you are AT&T or a one-person internet store operating out of a bedroom, you have equal access to the world wide web. As Justine Bateman explains rather well, corporations HATE this. They — AT&T, Comcast, Time/Warner Cable, Verizon — hate it so much that they have 500 lobbyists in Washington (there’s only 535 members of Congress, so that’s about one lobbyist per member) and they have spent so far over $75 million “to convince lawmakers to restrict your unfettered Internet access.” As Bateman writes:

“They don’t like that they can’t tell you what to watch.

They don’t like that they can’t control the information you are accessing.

They don’t like that with just a couple of bucks, you can build a website or a platform or a web-series that can garner the size of audience that only they used to command.

They don’t like that they can’t get a cut of all of it.”

They want to remove free and equal enterprise from the internet. Not only would it affect your business — or business aspirations — it will change everything, just as the internet itself has changed everything. Call your representative; “save the internet.”

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The Internet: A Rabbit Hole for Those Who Try to Control It

May 13th, 2009

As you may have heard, Craigslist is closing down its Erotic Services section, after a continuous attack by politicians and cops.  Ultimately, though, as many have noted, modern-day bureaucrats cannot control the internet or the oldest profession:

As PC World reports: “The notion that Craigslist and [its] officers should be held responsible for third-party content on their site because they didn’t do enough to satisfy the individual whims of respective state attorneys general is wholly inconsistent with the law,” says (Electronic Frontier Foundation) senior staff attorney Matt Zimmerman.”

The internet is, increasingly, a rabbit hole for those who want to control content, which is to say, the internet has already beat them.

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Craigslist Under “Scrutiny” — Again

April 25th, 2009

Once again, Craigslist is under attack — or as this press report says, under “scrutiny” — following the murder of a woman who advertised erotic services on Craigslist in Boston. As Reuters reports, “Legal experts say growing scrutiny of Craigslist by authorities could lead to big changes at the 14-year-old online bazaar that generates more than 20 billion page views per month in 50 countries with a staff of just 28 people.”

Reuters continues: “Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who led a probe into (AIG’s) controversial $165 million in bonuses, this week called on Craigslist to block ads for escort services that promote prostitution.”

Julissa Brisman, a 26-year-old masseuse, “was bashed in the head and shot three times… A Boston University medical student who answered her Craigslist ad, is charged with the murder.

Meanwhile, some authorities, including Mr. Blumenthal above, is suggesting some of the blame lies with Craigslist. We say this: 99.99999999999% of those who have used Craigslist do not commit crimes. The murderer in this case must be punished to the full extent of the law. But, once again, certain segments of society want to assign some blame to others. By Mr Blumenthal’s logic, we should also blame the car company who made the car that the murderer used to get to the murder scene. Maybe we should blame the hotel for providing the scene. Who else can we blame?

We get worried whenever anybody wants to restrict or censor  the internet. We do not need a nanny-state prohibiting us from going down a dark alley, or telling us we’ve had too many cookies. Also, Blumenthal, like others before him, are using this opportunity to legislate “the oldest profession.” He will fail, like the others before him. We just wish he would separate the crime of murder from basic freedoms, and the existence of the internet.

(review by www.richdogmillionaire.com)

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Internet “Pirate Bay” Founders Sentenced to Jail (Update)

April 20th, 2009

The founders of Pirate Bay, a file-swapping site are headed for jail, in what could be the beginning of increased prosecutions: “Lawyers believe that the sentencing of Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström to a year in jail for breaching Swedish copyright law could lead to a flurry of similar lawsuits as Hollywood and  the music industry battles to regain the upper hand in the war against file sharing.” These prosecutions are going after those who provide the channel for others who are swapping copyrighted material.

UPDATE: The lawyer for the defendants is demanding a retrial after it was revealed the judge in the case belongs to Swedish “copyright groups.”

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“The Internet Kill Switch”

April 13th, 2009

We don’t mean to get too political here, but this is a topic you should be familiar with, because an argument can be made that you might not be successful with an internet business if the internet was, say, turned off. That’s what could happen if a bill, currently in the early stage of development ever becomes law — it would give the President of the United States a “kill switch.” As Mark Gibbs discusses in Computerworld, such a “switch” (after declaring a “cybersecurity emergency”)  might be difficult to implement, but the idea  itself is chilling. Or as Gibbs says, even insane. As we reported on below, several countries have already been chipping away at access to the internet. It might not be easy for them; the web has a way of flowing through obstacles; but that doesn’t mean governments won’t always try, for one reason or another. You can read the proposed legislation, the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 here.

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South Korea Goes After Blogger; And in Iran, Blogger Dead

April 13th, 2009

It’s getting to be a dangerous world out there for bloggers. A South Korean blogger who was arrested in January faces up to 18-months in jail. A verdict is expected April 20th. The blogger — known as “Minerva” — has been a fierce critic of that country’s economic policies. He became famous after several of his predictions came true, including the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Full story here.

In Iran, where blogging has become a major outlet of opinion and dissent, a blogger has died in prison, after being jailed for violating what the regime had called crimes against Islamic law.

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J-Lo Squashes Cybersquatter

April 10th, 2009

Jennifer Lopez has won the case against an Arizona man who registered two domains, jenniferlopez.net and jenniferlopez.org, using them to generate paid advertising revenues. The UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization, which rules in these cases, ordered the domains to be transferred to the Jennifer Lopez Foundation. Cybersquatters, who once took advantage by being quick draws with domain registration, are finding that the laws are taming the wild web.

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Rejete! (Say the French)

April 9th, 2009

The French anti-piracy bill has been rejected by French legislators. We posted about it here.

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French Anti-Piracy Bill Advances; Expected to Pass Thursday (Updated; Rejected)

April 8th, 2009

The piracy bill in France we reported on here, is expected to be approved by both French houses on Thursday. Those who download illegally, may be “kicked off the internet” after a warning; first for three months, then for a year. Update at the New York Times.

UPDATE: As we just posted here, the bill has been rejected.

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