While the revised form of the law is not perfect, it does appear to offer a level of protection against Justice Department inquiries that doesn't currently exist. Although 33 states have some form of shield law, these protections do not apply in a federal context and several U.S. journalists have found themselves imprisoned in recent years as a result.… Read more
If you visit www.vivoleum.com today you'll find nothing, but last month the site was the home of the Yes Men's latest experiment in political theater and a protest against Exxon Mobil. Apparently Exxon Mobil was not amused, and as The Inquirer reports, the Yes Men soon found themselves without a Web site and their e-mail access severed. Broadview Networks, the group's Web host, refused to restore their e-mail until they had removed all mention of the oil company.
Sadly, the Yes Men's story is not unique, and Jimmy Atkinson of The Dedicated Hosting Guide … Read more
We all heard the stories about the Recording Industry Association of America lawsuits and the mostly college students who found themselves in the crosshairs several years ago.
Many people are opposed to music piracy, but far fewer actually agreed with the RIAA's heavy-handed legal approach.
Among dissenters is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against RIAA member Universal Music Publishing Group after the company asked that a home video be removed from YouTube due to copyright infringement. The video features 18-month-old Holden Lenz dancing to Prince's "Let's Get Crazy" and runs for a total of 29 seconds. Following Universal's complaint, the video was removed by YouTube and remained offline until recently.The EFF points out that, "Under federal copyright law, a mere allegation of copyright infringement can result in the removal of content from the Internet." This legal framework mandates that services take down material that may actually be completely lawful or protected under fair use, and this situation is the impetus for the suit.
As a senior in high school in the city of Juneau, Alaska, Mr. Frederick created a large banner that read "Bong Hits For Jesus" and unveiled the banner outside his school on the sidewalk while the Olympic torch relay accompanied by television camera crews passed by on the way to the 2002 games. Upon seeing the spectacle, the principal, Deborah Morse, seized the banner and suspended Frederick for violating the school's anti-drug policy. Frederick appealed and eventually filed a lawsuit in federal court.
In a June 14th article for AP, Gary Gentile writes, "Although details remain sketchy, the effort worries privacy advocates, who fear the San Antonio-based company could become a beat cop, monitoring which Web sites customers visit and what computer files they share." Like other invasive maneuvers the initiative is apparently focused on those overseas, but who's to say that your own computer wouldn't be flagged for watching the wrong video on You Tube or downloading the latest mix-tape from your favorite hip-hop DJ?
The full video can be found here.… Read more
So why are these shield laws important, and why should journalists be afforded this protection in the first place?
One of the basic defining principles of a democracy is a free press. If information is being stymied by the government, or the political conditions make it impossible for people to engage with the press then the public is robbed of all the facts they need to make an informed decision. Much of the work that journalists due relies on a trust relationship between their contacts, and the material uncovered through the investigative process is not dissimilar from that of detectives. Unless there are protections established than journalists can easily be subpoenaed and forced to do the work of law enforcement thus muddying their position as the Fourth Estate and the trust they have worked so hard to establish.