Thankyouqwest.org in the Mainstream Media
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, a liberal blogger and his web master
started the site thankyouqwest.org on Friday. They have had some 15,000 visitors since then. And 250 people going online to say thanks to Qwest. Even some people thinking about switching service are now going to stay to show their loyalty. We reached out to Qwest to find out if this was having any impact on their service. And they say they refuse to comment on this or any matter they say is relating to national security.
Online reactions. At www.thankyouqwest.org, visitors applaud Qwest for not turning over phone records and say they're dropping carriers that did. The site is an offshoot of Empire Burlesque, a blog created by Chris Floyd, an American-born author in Oxford, England, and Canadian Richard Kastelein, who runs the website in the Netherlands. Floyd, a frequent Bush administration critic, is author of Empire Burlesque: The Secret History of the Bush Regime. The thankyouqwest.org site is getting about 6,000 or more unique visits a day, according to its founders. It was created Thursday.
Website urges people to sign on with carrier. A pair of Europeans say they wanted to show their appreciation for the telecom's standing up to the NSA's call for data.
Qwest's reported refusal to give its customer calling records to the National Security Agency is winning the Denver-based phone company big fans online. At least 15,000 people have visited thankyouqwest.org since two bloggers in Europe launched the website Thursday, said co-creator Richard Kaste lein. Most of the 269 comments posted as of Monday evening praised Qwest. "Thank you Qwest for behaving like a real American company!" exclaimed one visitor. The site links to dozens of other blogs also following the story.
"Thank you Qwest! It's nice to see someone following principle over profits," wrote a user named Terra at ThankyouQwest.org, a Web site hastily erected by the purveyors of the left-wing blog Empire Burlesque. "When will you have cell service in Ohio?"
"Thank you Qwest," wrote one commenter who was not really with the program at ThankyouQwest.com. "What will your next advertising campaign be — 'Qwest: Telecom provider to the terrorists'? Well done."
One blogger even created a Web site, www.thankyouqwest.org, praising the company for its decision not to cooperate with the government's surveillance plan.
Bloggers also have expressed their support, and Richard Kastelein, a Web designer based in the Netherlands, created thankyouqwest.org, which commends the company as the only holdout and declares: "Qwest customers are safe."
Kastelein said he started the site "because it's about time someone stood up. Qwest has had a lot of bad press during the past few years and its fair share of problems. But they certainly deserve kudos for not buckling under to the heavy-handed tactics of the Bush administration."
Kastelein's praise and reference to "bad press" capture the two faces of Qwest: the defender - of privacy - and the defendant - in securities litigation.
"By Thursday afternoon, a Web site had gone up called thankyouqwest.org, which encouraged visitors to contact the company's chief ethics officer to express their appreciation for so-called "NSA-free" phone service."
This new web site thanks Qwest for not turning over its customers’ phone records to the NSA.
At least 250 phone customers posted messages to the hastily put together Web site ThankyouQwest.org. in the last five days. Chris Floyd, who created the Web site, also encourages readers to send a congratulations e-mail to David J. Heller, Qwest's chief ethics and compliance officer according to the site.
Lastly, I'm having a real hard time understanding the celebration/worship of Qwest. They're the one big telecom that didn't hand over their phone records, instead asking for a subpoena, which of course, wasn't offered. So people are falling all over themselves to thank or reward Qwest for standing up for customers.
And sure, Nacchio has a checkered past, but what’s a little insider trading when you’ve just stood up to the NSA and protected the privacy of millions of Americans? That’s heroism, and I say that with my tongue only slightly in cheek.
Unassociated Press in the Mainstream Media
QAP facing boycott, to set blogger guidelines
An online petition has been set-up urging bloggers to boycott the Associated Press (AP), after the agency filed takedown notices against Drudge Retort for use of its content on the site.
The campaign run by UnAssociatedPress has gained 75 signatures since it was set-up on Saturday and encourages bloggers to make use of other agency’s material.
Since issuing the takedown notices to the Drudge Retort,AP vice president Jim Kennedy has said the agency’s tactics have been heavy-handed and a more thoughtful approach would be considered going forward.
According to the New York Times, the agency is considering a set of guidelines for bloggers on how to use their content.
In a statement he stressed the importance of bloggers in ‘the news conversation of the day’, but said the agency is concerned by wholesale reproduction of its content, which goes beyond reference.
US: AP admits to being "heavy-handed," will define standards for fair use on blogs
After the Associated Press filed take down notices against community-created Drudge Retort, arguing copyright violations for quotes from 33 to 79 words long, the blogosphere responded with vehemence.
Bloggers boycotted referencing or linking to Associated Press articles and a website for the "UnAssociated Press" was founded.
Following the backlash, on Saturday the AP retreated, but didn't recant, saying it was "heavy-handed," but has not withdrawn its take down requests.
The AP will now "attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.'s copyright,"
Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of the AP.
"The A.P.'s effort to impose some guidelines on the free-wheeling blogosphere, where extensive quoting and even copying of entire news articles is common, may offer a prominent definition of the important but vague doctrine of 'fair use,' which holds that copyright owners cannot ban others from using small bits of their works under some circumstances," observed The New York Times.
The Associated Press plays role of Metallica in Napster-esque war with bloggers
The Associated Press created a feeding frenzy when it first filed seven Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) take-down notices against the Drudge Retort, claiming that the blog aggregator violated fair use copyright guidelines when repurposing The A.P.’s content. As ZDNet’s Denise Howell pointed out on Monday, The A.P.’s attempt to set more clear re-use standards for bloggers is an uphill battle, as “the legal standard is unclear, and subject to interpretation on a case by case basis.”
It appeared at first that The A.P. was heeding community outcry when Saul Hansell of the New York Times reported that Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of The A.P, claimed the goliath news service was going to reconsider its policies:
“We don’t want to cast a pall over the blogosphere by being heavy-handed, so we have to figure out a better and more positive way to do this,” Mr. Kennedy said.
The situation, however, has now morphed from a slap on the wrist and into a dollars and cents game. Yesterday BetaNews reported that The A.P. is now instead assessing licensing fee for republished content, which looks a little something like this:
- 5-25 words: $12.50
- 26-50 words: $17.50
- 51-100 words: $25.00
- 101-250 words: $50.00
- 251 words and up: $100.00
Tim Conneally makes some fair points in his coverage of the new fees, calling out all of the potentially convoluted situations in which both The A.P. and the bloggers could find themselves considering fuzziness around the U.S. Copyright Act and the fact that bloggers could potential quote a subscribing newspaper vs. The A.P. itself. Conneally also poses the question of whether simple commonly used introductory phrases or attributions would be considered in the word count for the fines.
Concerns for this usage restriction go far beyond bloggers alone at this point. What happens to companies who receive news coverage via The A.P. and want post it on corporate sites, social media newsrooms or corporate blogs? Will they be assessed a fee, too? Even further, will The A.P. soon start charging teachers and students who participate in news evaluation projects in the classroom? “I’m sorry Tommy, you’ll get an ‘F’ unless you pay $12.50 out of your allowance to The A.P.” Or maybe little Tommy would be protected as long as he didn’t publish his analysis on his Web site.
Another quote from Hansell’s NYT article on the matter:
“We are not trying to sue bloggers,” Mr. Kennedy said. “That would be the rough equivalent of suing grandma and the kids for stealing music. That is not what we are trying to do.”
Try or not, I fear that may be the direction in which The A.P. is moving. Perhaps I am taking this a bit too far (especially in exploiting little Tommy) but this is the type of situation that can quickly escalate out of control and shake an industry. While The A.P. certainly is not metal band material, nor to Kennedy’s point has it yet engaged in any law suits against bloggers, the situation reeks of the same type of censorship concerns debated during the Metallica vs. Napster fan law suit several years back. While Metallica (and the other musical acts behind the suit) likely never intended to create the legal monster that it did, the music industry was never the same. Music sharing permanently moved to a paid model. And, well, Metallica lost a lot of fans.
The A.P. will meet tomorrow with the Media Bloggers Association to discuss, and with hope, hammer out a more reasonable workaround for bloggers who want to use The A.P.’s content. Some bloggers already claim to be done with The A.P., many going as far to participate in an organized a
boycott of the press service’s articles, touting a petition and encouraging others to use Reuters and smaller news organizations who have not seemingly taken an offensive stance against the blogosphere.
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