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Saturday, September 22

Usmanov · All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others

usmanov cartoon- and the creatures outside looked from pig to man and from man to pig again but already ..

From Matt Buck's Hack Cartoons

Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov sent one letter to Fasthosts, a Gloucester-based hosting company, alledging defamation and got Craig Murray's website taken down, and along with it a stack of others, including that of Tory Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson.

usmanovA friend of Putin, Usmanov has form in the UK, having demanded similar censorship from Arsenal Bulletin Boards and fan blogs (he's trying to buy the Football Club) and having made requests to Fasthosts to insert editorial changes to Murray's site previously.

His UK legal firm, the appropriately named Schillings, also has form. They are "the celebrity defamation firm par excellence", Keira Knightley and Britney Spears amongst their other, more attractive, clients. In this case, they have even threated under 'copyright' bloggers who've published their legal letters.murray


"As a former British Ambassador in Uzbekistan, I know a great deal more about Mr Usmanov, and especially about his criminal record, than he finds comfortable. The principal point at issue is that he has been able to take down one of the UK’s leading political websites without anything being tested in court. Fasthosts have pathetically repeated Schillings bluster that my site is 'Defamatory', as though that were established."
murder in samarkandIn fact, the supposedly defamatory 'allegations' were repeated from a book, Murder in Samarkand, by Murray published over a year ago and never challenged in court by Usmanov.

Usmanov, however, has been badly served by his lawyers. The heavy handed tactics and 'collateral damage' done to Johnson in particular has, in 48hrs, let loose a wave of support online for Murray from all across the political range.
"This is London, not Uzbekistan," Johnson said.

"It is unbelievable that a website can be wiped out on the say-so of some tycoon. We live in a world where internet communication is increasingly vital, and this is a serious erosion of free speech."
Plus, Murray's original posts are now mirrored across the world and easy to find.

David Warner
It appears Schillings has fallen victim to something our pals at Techdirt like to call "The Streisand Effect." streisand houseBack in 2003, Barbra Streisand sued a photographer in an attempt to remove an aerial photo of her California home from the Internet, despite the fact that the photo was part of a publicly funded coastline erosion study and wasn't even labeled as her home. As a result, photos of her house were published all over the web within days.

A similar situation happened last year to Diebold when internal memos discussing their easily hackable electronic voting machines were leaked to the web, and a group of students at Swarthmore College published the memos to the web. Diebold attempted to have the memos removed, claiming the students were committing copyright infringement. The company was successfully sued for issuing unlawful takedown notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and forced to pay $125,000 in damages.

The Chaser's War on APEC · the stunt

Top effort blokes!

Friday, September 21

Diller gives good ankle

Simpsons greenlighter Barry Diller, also college dropout and former William Morris Agency 'mailroom clerk', also Huffingtonpost supporter, gives a great interview to Portfolio:

The internet mogul speaks his mind on videogames, newspapers, and his own style of management.

[He's] managed over the last four decades to position himself at the forefront of whatever has been new in the popular culture.
I guffawed at one point when the very Ivy League looking interviewer, former gossip columnist Lloyd Grove, probing about the extent of Diller's stake in a Games start-up, said:
L.G.: I was going to ask you to show a little ankle on that.
This bit as well, probing about his 'management style':
... the president of Expedia [Dara Khosrowshahi] talking about how it’s generally people sitting around a table shouting at the top of their lungs.

B.D.: Well, he exaggerates ... But with almost every decision, particularly the ones that get tougher and tougher, you don’t have all the information; you’re never going to get all the information; it isn’t there to get. What you’ve got to try and do is listen for what truth you can hear out of the passions of people arguing what they believe in. Because it’s what they believe in when you don’t have the facts, where you can maybe find something that will give you a lead on what’s more interesting to do, what’s the right course to make a decision.
Talking about the Games start-up:
B.D.: The Xbox and the PlayStation—and of course they’re incompatible with each other. And they’re whiz-bang on graphics—they’re beautiful. But on both sides of it—on the equipment side of it that you have to purchase in on, the production side where you make a game—you’re spending huge amounts of money. The Web, as is proven in so many other areas, is a pretty good distribution mechanism for programming. And very few people have done really high-graphic Web games in a system that will have—in, which is a gathering place both for people who make the games and for viewers to get them—where there’s one easy-to-use, fast place to do pretty sophisticated games. So we think it’s a really original and good idea.
Grove probes him on whether he misses the Hollywood glamour:
L.G.: Some people wonder, just looking in from the outside, they would’ve thought that things like running a movie studio, starting a television network, being an enormous influence on what today is our culture, popular and otherwise, and being responsible for so many things that we just take for granted as part of our daily intake of entertainment, would be much more glamorous and exciting than selling shoes [as with]. Or being in the financial-services business [].

B.D.: Well that would be if you were after glamour. It’s not something I want to be after.... The brilliance of Shoebuy [is that] it is one of the first companies that found out to have a virtual inventory, meaning they have no inventory of their own, what they have figured out is how to get the inventory from hundreds of people who sell shoes in a way that one person can come and access all of it and then get instantly—find out instantly—whether that product is available and buy it instantly. And that’s fascinating to me. Each of the things that we do, we’ll find in there some different, new way of doing things. And that really has interested me since the moment that I kind of got involved in it 13 or 14 years ago. So to the people who say that isn’t making a movie and all of that—I ran movie companies for 20 years. If I wanted to repeat myself, it seems quite boring. It doesn’t seem glamorous to me, it seems repetitive.
LendingTree "will emerge very well" during the current US mortgages crisis, Diller says. But the website being down, small thing though that is, don't bode well. Diller is philosophical.

Talking about the future of newspapers (he's on the Washington Post board):
It’s hard when you use the word newspaper. If you mean news-gathering, or just news, take the paper off, then I’m very hopeful.

So the problem for print is print. I mean, it’s paper, it’s current distribution, and it’s going to be supplanted by other paths. So I’m optimistic about the paths but you certainly can’t be optimistic if you’re running a newspaper.

I think that the work that is done produces value, and it will produce value in the internet and in other forms.


Diller also likes very big yachts "I promise you, it’s not about size, it really isn’t" and is bisexual "[he] did not live as a monk before his marriage [to Diane von Furstenberg, designer and fellow former Studio 54 habitué] at the age of 59".

Wednesday, September 19

'Twittering while holding Milan is just freaking awesome'

Tech pioneer Robert Scoble has just Twittered the birth of his son.

The moment, Twittered:

Hugh: I can't get a good link for Flickr for some reason. Hospital wifi is a bit flaky. Just visit my blog and click the Flickr feed there. 04:32 AM September 14, 2007 from twitterrific
Photos of Milan are up at N01/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"> 04:26 AM September 14, 2007 from twitterrific
Thank you so much to everyone for your kind wishes! Everyone is doing well. Milan is 9 lbs and was born at 2.24 p.m. today. 04:25 AM September 14, 2007 from web
Phoned-in TwitterGram 02:55 AM September 14, 2007 from TwitterGram
Milan is here! 02:30 AM September 14, 2007 from iTweet
Phoned-in TwitterGram 02:28 AM September 14, 2007 from TwitterGram
He notes:

Milan isn't the first baby to be blogged from this hospital [Stanford University], either. was born here


Silent Debate

God bless Harry Shearer.

Round I: Clinton V. Romney: "Kind of like all the debates we've had so far this year."

The video 'letter to the Editor'

Here's some history.

The New York Times had posted its first ever video Letter to the Editor.

The damning ten-minute letter responds to an op-ed penned by Paul Bremer III — former Iraq Viceroy — entitled "How I Didn't Dismantle Iraq's Army".

It's classy stuff but that's because it comes from filmmaker Charles Ferguson, and uses footage from his film, No End In Sight.

Said NYT Editorial Page editor Andrew Rosenthal:

"It is an amazing use of the Internet. This is what the Internet is all about."
I think the entry barrier's quite high by that standard! (not what the internet's all about) but it's very significant in breaking from text for one thing and adding immeasurably to the power of the Letter to the Editor. There's a discernible editorial choice in allowing the ten-minute long answer to Bremner to be the history maker and to be done in such a powerful way.

Also noticeable that the NYT doesn't have the vid-letter behind it's pay-wall - TimesSelect - as it's dropped the whole pay concept in its entirety; another significant event, headlined as Paid Newspaper Sites To Become Obsolete. This complete switch in strategy includes the archive.
Why is TimesSelect ending?
Since we launched TimesSelect in 2005, the online landscape has altered significantly. Readers increasingly find news through search, as well as through social networks, blogs, and other online sources. In light of this shift, we believe offering unfettered access to New York Times reporting and analysis best serves the interest of our readers, our brand, and the long-term vitality of our journalism.

We encourage everyone to read our news and opinion - as well as share it, link to it and comment on it. Our highest priority is to increase the reach and impact of our journalism online. The Times's Op-Ed and news columns are now available free of charge, along with Times File and News Tracker. In addition, The New York Times online Archive is now free back to 1987 for all of our readers.

All great. All sensible. Now I (and others) can catch up on Maureen Dowd's great columns.

Social Media's Impact On Mobile Marketing + PR

from Technology and Entertainment Video Network by Jennifer Jones
The mobile phone is the link in the movement from a networked society to a more connected one. What does this mean for mobile marketers? Jennifer Jones spoke with Chad Stoller, executive director of Organic, a digital marketing agency, to gain his perspective on current opportunities.

"Location-based services are the key"
"The biggest problem with GPS is people can't figure out where they are"
"We're 3-4 years behind Europe"

"Now your customers are giving it to you whether you like it or not"

Jeremiah Owyang interviews PR professional David Parmet at Miami's WeMedia conference at the University of Miami, in February, 2007. David writes Marketing Begins at Home. David's got some clients that embrace social media, such as English Cut, Stormhoek, and Scrapblog. He explains some of the things to look for when searching for a social media PR professional, and why some of the best consultants aren't afraid to give their clients "bad news."

Tuesday, September 18

Fight for kisses

Great, spooky online viral ad.

Google Docs in Plain English

Monday, September 17

That's how they get you

... or try their hardest to. But:

Story about a group of Care home workers who started an online campaign about their pay.

Their bosses cried 'defamation' and because the default is 'take-down' when pressured with such talk, their ISP, 1&1, complied and took the site down.

Fortunately, the workers could call on a big stick - their union, UNISON - and got the ISP to reverse. This was after the workers website had been mirrored on overseas servers.

Defamation is a great tool for silencing people. You need lots of money or good, free legal to defend yourself against the rich and determined. ISPs have a business to run.

I notice that they used an Australian non-profit host (SocialChange).

A decade ago I did a website for an Aboriginal group which was trying to stop a sacred site being developed over. The developer's lawyers used defamation law extremely well (amongst other tactics, chiefly lying) to try to silence them. The site got chased from four hosts, around the world before I found another Aussie non-profit (GreenNet) who would take the risk.

Pattison: "The whole privacy thing isn’t going to go away"

addicted2tv has an interesting interview with David Pattison, former President of the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising).

He talks about his career and the relationship of a 51 year-old with Social networking. Pattison's asked about all the developments pointing towards increased policing of the net, or the division of the Net:

Yes, its on its way, but its hard to see how you can do it without it being so severe that it limits the upside, I think its such a shame but of course one persons censorship is another persons freedom.

Who is going to be the judge and whose going to set the level? If you leave it to the authorities its all about lowest common denominator stuff. That usually means that context is ignored. It’s going to come, but its not going to come in a good way.

One of the things that became clear at the IPA is that the lobby groups are very well funded. Probably more so than the group defending the issue.

There is also the whole area of who is right. So if you take an issue such as ‘advertising junk food to children’, your view on junk food versus my view on junk food is probably different and that’s just two people. Put four people in and you’ve got four different views, in order to police it most times the solution resorts to lowest common denominator. Everyone suffers.

He thinks that "The whole privacy thing isn’t going to go away".

Most of the issues about the Internet moving forward are about privacy, about limitation of use rather than extension of use.

The Social networking comments are funny:

Im quite a private person and I think there’s an element about blogging that is about therapy and showing off. I don’t feel the need to do any of those things. If I want to talk to someone I tend to use a thing called ‘mouth mail’. I am not dismissive of social networking, its just that I am 51 years old and all of these things are generational. I use the computer loads, email, searching, online shopping, use it all of the time, the whole social networking thing is something I've just not got into. But I do understand the importance of it, to a company like ours its absolutely fundamental to what we do.

Owh, sarcastic. Not that Mr Ad Man would know anything about 'showing off ... '

Sunday, September 16

Joan Rivers joins 'the bloggers'

Too, too funny ...

From her blog:

My doctor told me blogging was what happened after eating too many bananas. But blogging is so much more — it’s sitting alone in a dark room, eating raw cookie dough out of the package while my dogs lick my bare feet, and wondering where my life has gone. Melissa, my daughter, love her to death, but the bitch never calls unless I threaten to update my will.

... these videos and podcasts, much like Senator Larry Craig in an airport bathroom, will be coming at you hard and fast all day on Sunday.

... since this is the internet, and since most celebrities can barely read much less use a computer, I can finally get to say all the dirty and disgusting thoughts that those old-fashioned TV networks never let me get away with. As the evening wears on, Melissa and I will also be appearing in something called “Podcasts,” which I’m praying is some type of body-transplant surgery.



Who knew Al Gore owns a TV Station? So far he’s got an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, and now he’s going for a Tony. He’s doing a musical on President Bush called The Lyin’ King.

What’s Al Gore’s speaking fee? Something tells me it’s $All You Can Eat. He’s probably wondering if his Emmy is made out of chocolate. He didn’t learn after breaking all his teeth on his Oscar!

Internet People!

Dan Meth's v. cute run through of the last few years of Internet hits.