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Taking the content we create seriously

Terms of service changes deserve more than just a shrug and a click

Instagram terms of use

The debate simmering over Instagram's pending terms-of-service changes shouldn't come as a surprise. These days, changes to a site's or app's terms of service get a lot more scrutiny than they used to.

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Fractal blogging

A final dig at our website thieves

A recursive series of screen captures

Ah, there we go - our masterpiece: a screen capture of a stolen blog post that included a screen capture of a stolen blog post that included a screen capture of a stolen blog post.

This little piece of involuntarily collaborative art deserves a title. Suggestions?

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Bookmark Devil readers, please enjoy this stolen post

Screen capture of our blog post about BookmarkDevil.com... on BookmarkDevil.com

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Dealing with scrapers: when people steal your content

One of the great things about the social web is the culture of sharing that it fosters. One person writes a blog post; another quotes it, disagrees with some parts, corrects a passage or two, and adds some more information; a third synthesizes it all into a cool infographic. It's a little like the coolest potluck dinner in history.

But every great potluck dinner seems to attract the folks who have no intention of cooking a damn thing. They're there to gorge on as much Jell-o salad and chicken fingers as they can before someone notices they didn't bring any dishes themselves.

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How your non-profit can earn revenue with Web 2.0: Part 2 - Intellectual property

This week, I return to the questions I recently posed about social media and social enterprise:

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You can't download sovereignty

I waited for Tivo. I waited for iTunes video downloads -- and I'm coping with its still-too-limited content. I'm even scraping by without Amazon Unbox. But THIS is the last straw:

We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.

Our friend Adam put us onto Pandora a couple of months ago. It is a deeply groovy, rapidly addictive web radio service that creates custom channels based on your musical preferences. It took just a tiny bit of feedback to get a great mix that plays a great range of mellow working tunes on one channel, a set of showtunes on another channel, and energetic hip-hop on a third. Most magically, each channel settles into that perfect balance of tunes you know and love, and tunes that you are thrilled to discover. For those of us who have ceded control of the radio to our children, this is a wonderful chance to explore musical genres that don't involve farm animals or princesses.

But once again, Canadian sovereignty has done me out of my online content. Part of me (the part that subscribes to Entertainment Weekly) wants us to undertake the digital-era equivalent of those currency schemes in which countries adopt the US dollar instead of going to the trouble of running their own currencies; let's just trade our precious intellectual property freedoms for a broadband hookup that delivers all the goodies available to our southern neighbours, and sign onto all the American I.P. laws so that what works there works here.

The other part of me (the part that subscribes to the New Yorker) is sick of being ingored by media companies that can't be bothered to navigate regulations they haven't written themselves. Yes, it's very convenient to get the laws changed when your mouse is about to go rogue, but sometimes companies have to figure out how to comply with laws instead of just writing new ones.

And the way I see it, there's no time like the present: with the majority of the US media empire stymied by a labour force that has recognized its own interests in digital media rights, their lawyers might as well turn their attention this way. Maybe we can catch their attention if we point out that the writers up here are covered by a different union.

Postscript: I just checked out the Pandora blog post on why they've just blocked the UK, and they make it sound like it isn't a matter of navigating regulatory hurdles (at least in this case) but rather, of needing to negotiate with every MPAA/RIAA-like organization worldwide. But look back further in time to the discussion that accompanied taking Canada offline, and someone points to the paragraph in the Pandora FAQ that bemoans the lack of a DMCA in the rest of the world (or at least, the lack of a DMCA-like provision for streaming music). It sounds like quite a tangle -- as confirmed by Michael Geist's explanation of webcasting law up here.

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