Wednesday, February 01, 2012
A few weeks ago we spoke with former Federal Communications Commission adviser Steven Waldman about the FCC's proposed regulation that would require local television stations to disclose political ad buys online. Although the information is technically available to the public (interested citizens can physically view the file at the station), the move to online would make it far more accessible. But the National Association of Broadcasters didn't seem too enthusiastic about the proposed changes.
In a recent article in the Columbia Journalism Review, Waldman discusses how the local broadcasters reacted to the FCC proposal:
A comment filed by the stations owned by the major TV networks (NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, and Univision) suggested that researchers should not expect their task to be made easier by the Internet. “Research by its nature requires the expenditure of effort,” they wrote. And for reporters, “a certain amount of leg work is eminently practical.” (One almost expects them to next blurt out, “in my day, we didn’t have no new-fangled Intertubes; we had to go to the damn library and they should too!)
It’s almost as if these companies—did I mention that they’re news organizations?—believe their first obligation is to offer creative character-building obstacles to getting information, not to better inform the public.
You can read Waldman's full article here.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
It wasn't too long ago that On the Media interviewed Electronic Frontier Foundation Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann about the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The act, written in 1986, was designed to outlaw criminal computer hacking, but according to Hofmann, it is written in such a technically imprecise manner that it could be used to prosecute someone who violated Terms of Service for a site like Facebook.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
On our most recent episode, we spoke to Marcia Hofmann, senior attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, about an ages old law called The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The act, passed in 1986, was originally meant to prosecute criminal computer hacking, but in recent years it has expanded to cover everything from wiping information from your work hard drive to violating the terms of service agreements for sites like MySpace. Advocates have called for serious reforms for the law, and at least in the case of terms of service violations, it appears the Senate is listening.
Thursday, September 08, 2011
Update: According to Vegasinc.com, Righthaven has warned that it might have to file for bankruptcy. The warning came in an emergency request for a stay on an order that it pay $34,045 in legal fees to blogger Wayne Hoehn, who successfully defended himself against a Righthaven lawsuit. (original article continues below)
Over the past year, we have reported a couple of times on a company called Righthaven, which buys certain copyrights on newspaper content and sues bloggers and aggregators who repost said content, either in part or in full. This week, several news outlets have reported that Righthaven is facing an existential crisis. Where did Righthaven come from, and how close are they to extinction?