September 9th, 2010

kitty

Cyber-bullying

Cyberbullying does not just apply to children. There are adult groups dedicated to harassing and defaming others as well, along with websites created online specifically to make fun of and demean individuals. These people can be found in communities linked to blogs and chat rooms and they use the disguise of “anonymity” to harass their prey. Sometimes, these bullies will take their online squabbles offline and press people online to harass their prey's family and friends. As a bully myself, then a victim of large-scale bullying, let me tell you my story.

Now that we have virtual worlds, cyberbullies have a new venue to torment people. Take a look at this site, and do a Google search on "cyberbullying". There are a lot of good pointers you can follow to (hopefully) keep your online life bully-free.

The only thing I'd like to add is this: If it does cross over into real-world shenanigans, that's considered stalking, and it's against Federal law. You do have recourse. Contact the FBI.

In the meantime, add your adult voice to the thousands of others calling for a broadening of existing cyberbully laws so that adults are also covered.
kitty

Retroactive Copyright

EDIT: I guess I didn't make it really clear why I posted this post. My intention is to clear up a common misconception, that the owners of intellectual property rights can "change their mind" and try to make the changes retroactive.

This misconception illustrates a lack of knowledge of copyright law, and the reasons why it exists.

The first case I cite is one that shows, beyond a doubt, that you cannot change your copyright license and then expect it to cover things you've already sold and/or granted rights to.
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It is against Federal law to change a copyright and attempt to make it retroactive. See below.

Reposted from: http://www.mofo.com/news/updates/files/13228.html

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that all retroactive copyright transfers and licenses are invalid. In Davis v. Blige,—F.3d—, 2007 WL 2893003, 84 U.S.P.Q.2d 1353 (2d Cir. 2007), the court found that “retroactive transfers violate the basic principles of tort and contract law, and undermine the policies embodied by the Copyright Act.” Although the decision appears sound under the facts of the case, its broad conclusions could have far-reaching effects in the world of copyright licensing.

Sharice Davis, a co-owner of two musical composition copyrights at issue, sued Bruce Miller, the alleged transferee of the rights of the other co-owner, Bruce Chambliss. Davis also sued a host of alleged licensees of the disputed compositions who obtained licenses from Miller and others, including recording artist Mary J. Blige. According to the district court’s summary judgment decision, Davis v. Blige, 419 F. Supp. 2d 493 (S.D.N.Y. 2005), Chambliss and Miller documented the transfer of Chambliss’s interest in the disputed compositions after the defendants recorded and distributed the disputed compositions—in fact, the transfer was not reduced to writing until the day before Chambliss’s deposition in the case. Chambliss and Miller claimed that the writing merely ratified an earlier oral agreement that Chambliss would grant Miller certain rights in the compositions, but the district court held that the existence of this alleged oral agreement was a genuinely disputed fact issue. Nevertheless, the district court granted defendants’ summary judgment motion based on its view that the disputed fact issue was immaterial, because, in the district court’s view, past infringement could be cured through the grant of a retroactive assignment of the Chambliss copyright to Miller.

Also see the comments on this article: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090408/2314274447.shtml#comments

"Congress wasn't allowed to make the new terms retroactive; it would have been unconstitutional. As mentioned, the "Takings" clause of the Fifth Amendment doesn't allow the government to arbitrarily remove your existing property rights."

Trading on a "name"

I guess one of the things that really bothers me are people who demand respect based on a reputation earned someplace else. "Well, don't you know me? I'm big on such-and-such grid."

We see it all the time in the United States: Someone has gained fame and fortune and expects others to kowtow to them based solely on their fame and fortune. Well, I was brought up to judge people on how they act, how they treat others, and what their basic values are - not on how much money they have or how famous their name is.

I am not going to buy from a merchant because they have a "name" someplace else. NOT being rich has taught me to shop around, and often you will find things by lesser-known makers that surprise you with their quality.

At the same time I advise those "big names" to NOT assume that people will pay ANY price for their goods. I see Inworldz as a "leveling of the playing field" where many lesser-known or unknown creators have the chance to "make it". Please don't expect us to show you an undue level of respect or favoritism based solely on your reputation somewhere else.

Also, if you haven't noticed (and who hasn't when reading this blog) I have an especial dislike for Second Life's profit-driven consumerism. That isn't what SL started out as, and it isn't what Inworldz started out as. Total driven consumerism has a very bad habit of wiping out imagination and creativity, and discourages those who perceive themselves as being "less than Person A" or "less than Person B". It makes little robots out of people and programs them to "buy this designer" or "that designer" as a way to "keep up with the Joneses".

Sorry, but I'd rather go to a virtual Flea Market and see all the undiscovered talent out there, some of which makes a far better product than so-called Big Names.

In my own opinion, Inworldz is a fresh start for many of us, where we can shine without necessarily having to "fight our way upstream". It's an artist and creator's paradise and yes, I am fiercely protective of that.
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