Category: Internet


Facebook Borg“Strength is irrelevant. Resistance is futile. We wish to improve ourselves. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service ours.”

– The Facebook….errr…. I mean The Borg

I see another round of changes have come about Facebook. They’re right, resistance is futile.

This was pulled from Amanda L. French’s blog. Currently, the page won’t load and gets redirected before you get a chance to read it. Fortunately, I was able to copy her entry via Google cache. Please visit her blog at amandafrench.net when it becomes available. (Amanda, thanks!)

February 16, 2009 – 2:28 pm

With today’s outrage over Facebook’s newly altered Terms of Service at its peak, I figured I’d do a quick comparison of their terms of service as regards user-uploaded content to the terms specified by other social networking sites, just to see if said outrage is fully justified. It looks as though the finger-pointing at the Bush robots.txt file wasn’t justified, for instance, and I was guilty of spreading that story.

Conclusion? Go ahead and be outraged. Facebook’s claims to your content are extraordinarily grabby and arrogant. Here’s the rundown, which I go through in more detail below:

  1. Facebook apparently wants to keep all its rights to your stuff after you remove it from Facebook, and even after you delete your Facebook account; they just removed the lines that specified that their rights end when your content comes down. Nobody else (of those I looked at) would dream of that; mostly they specifically state that their rights to your content end when you remove the content from their site or delete your account.
  2. This one kills me: Facebook claims it can do whatever it wants with your content if you put a Share on Facebook link on your web page. Unbelievable–and unique, as far as I can tell. People can post links in Facebook to your content just by copying and pasting the URL, but if you want to save them a few keystrokes by putting a link or a widget on your site, Facebook claims that you’ve granted them a whole mess of rights. Count me out.
  3. Other sites point out in their terms of service that you still own your content: Facebook doesn’t mention that little fact. Facebook also neglects to remind you that you’re giving other Facebook users rights to your Facebook content, too — YouTube, for example, makes it clear that other people besides YouTube have a right to use and spread around the videos you upload. In general, other sites’ terms of service just have a more helpful tone.

So let’s look at what other popular user-generated content sites say about their rights to your stuff:

MySpace’s rights to your stuff:

6.1 MySpace does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials (collectively, “Content”) that you post on or through the MySpace Services. After posting your Content to the MySpace Services, you continue to retain any such rights that you may have in your Content, subject to the limited license herein. By displaying or publishing (”posting”) any Content on or through the MySpace Services, you hereby grant to MySpace a limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce, and distribute such Content solely on or through the MySpace Services, including without limitation distributing part or all of the MySpace Website in any media formats and through any media channels, except Content marked “private” will not be distributed outside the MySpace Website. This limited license does not grant MySpace the right to sell or otherwise distribute your Content outside of the MySpace Services. After you remove your Content from the MySpace Website we will cease distribution as soon as practicable, and at such time when distribution ceases, the license will terminate. If after we have distributed your Content outside the MySpace Website you change the Content’s privacy setting to “private,” we will cease distribution of such “private” Content outside the MySpace Website as soon as practicable after you make the change.

6.2 The license you grant to MySpace is non-exclusive (meaning you are free to license your Content to anyone else in addition to MySpace), fully-paid and royalty-free (meaning that MySpace is not required to pay you for the use on the MySpace Services of the Content that you post), sublicensable (so that MySpace is able to use its affiliates, subcontractors and other partners such as Internet content delivery networks and wireless carriers to provide the MySpace Services), and worldwide (because the Internet and the MySpace Services are global in reach).

See? MySpace grants itself a “limited” license and carefully spells out what those limits are. MySpace does a terrific job in that second paragraph especially of explaining what’s going on, I think. Maybe your average thirteen-year-old would still need some help, but way to go with the “human-readable” language, MySpace. Getting an explanation about why they need to be able to sublicense the content is terrific, and I’m sure that if they then tried to sublicense it for other purposes, they’d be tripped up by their own TOS.

Yahoo!’s rights to your Flickr stuff:

Yahoo! does not claim ownership of Content you submit or make available for inclusion on the Yahoo! Services. However, with respect to Content you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Yahoo! Services, you grant Yahoo! the following worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license(s), as applicable […]:

With respect to photos, graphics, audio or video you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Yahoo! Services other than Yahoo! Groups, the license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Yahoo! Services solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available. This license exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Yahoo! Services and will terminate at the time you remove or Yahoo! removes such Content from the Yahoo! Services.

Yahoo! makes distinctions between its Groups and other services like Flickr, but that need not concern us here (Yahoo! reserves fewer rights to Groups stuff than to Flickr stuff). They start by reminding you that they don’t own your stuff, then go on to say that they have the right to copy your stuff “solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted.” In other words, they don’t grant themselves the right to use it in their advertising, as far as I can tell. And, sanely, the license ends when you (or they) take the content down. I checked out the Flickr Pro TOS, as well, and there’s nothing extra in there, whew. I also love that Flickr makes it very easy to stick a Creative Commons license on your photos, although to be honest I’m not sure if I’ve done that with mine. Must check.

Google’s rights to your Picasa stuff:

Google claims no ownership or control over any Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through Picasa Web Albums. You or a third party licensor, as appropriate, retain all patent, trademark and copyright to any Content you submit, post or display on or through Picasa Web Albums and you are responsible for protecting those rights, as appropriate. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Picasa Web Albums, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, distribute and publish such Content through Picasa Web Albums, including RSS or other content feeds offered through Picasa Web Albums, and other Google services. In addition, by submitting, posting or displaying Content which is intended to be available to the general public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, distribute and publish such Content for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting Google services. Google will discontinue this licensed use within a commercially reasonable period after such Content is removed from Picasa Web Albums.

Sounds reasonable. I don’t really mind their using my stuff in their advertising, though “other Google services” may soon encompass every single conceivable service on the planet. They, too, stop the license when you take the content down.

YouTube’s rights to your stuff:

For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your User Submissions. However, by submitting User Submissions to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the YouTube Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels. You also hereby grant each user of the YouTube Website a non-exclusive license to access your User Submissions through the Website, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such User Submissions as permitted through the functionality of the Website and under these Terms of Service. The above licenses granted by you in User Videos terminate within a commercially reasonable time after you remove or delete your User Videos from the YouTube Website. You understand and agree, however, that YouTube may retain, but not display, distribute, or perform, server copies of User Submissions that have been removed or deleted. The above licenses granted by you in User Comments are perpetual and irrevocable.

I really like it when these paragraphs start with the helpful information that “you retain all ownership rights.” Also note that YouTube points out that “You also hereby grant each user of the YouTube Website” some rights. Way to look out for the community. Good job. Now add the ability for us to put Creative Commons licenses on our videos somewhere other than in the description, okay? Thanks.

LinkedIn’s rights to your stuff:

License and warrant your submissions: You do not have to submit anything to us, but if you choose to submit something (including any User generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques and data), you must grant, and you actually grant by concluding this Agreement, a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sublicenseable, fully paid up and royaltyfree right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, and use and commercialize, in any way now known or in the future discovered, anything that you submit to us, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties.

LinkedIn is the one exception to the general conclusion I state above: its language about its rights to your content is at least as strong as Facebook’s, if not more so. The thing is that people don’t upload pictures and videos to LinkedIn; the main user-contributed content is the facts in a profile (where I worked, where I went to school). People usually don’t mind having that information spread around. Also, you can tell that LinkedIn is thinking mainly about the suggestions for improvement that people submit (”ideas, concepts, techniques”) — but still, LinkedIn would be well-advised to revise.

Twitter’s rights to your stuff:

1. We claim no intellectual property rights over the material you provide to the Twitter service. Your profile and materials uploaded remain yours. You can remove your profile at any time by deleting your account. This will also remove any text and images you have stored in the system.

2. We encourage users to contribute their creations to the public domain or consider progressive licensing terms.

Isn’t that sweet? Granted, the only stuff people contribute to Twitter are their little 140-character tweets, plus a profile pic or two — these terms don’t cover what you post to TwitPic, for instance. But Twitter wants you to know that your stuff is yours, and it wants you to share your stuff with others. Twitter doesn’t reserve to itself the right to use your tweets in its promotional campaigns — does Twitter even do any self-promotion? They hardly need to; the New York Times has certainly been giving them enough press lately.

Facebook’s rights to your stuff:

You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.

Yeah, so I took the Facebook icon out of my Sociable WordPress widget. All my stuff here has a Creative Commons license, so I’ve already allowed everyone including Facebook to use my stuff for “non-commercial” purposes anyway; it’s not quite clear what counts as a “commercial” purpose in a Creative Commons license, granted (though they’re working on clarifying the term), but any use that Facebook would make would probably be commercial. I don’t even mind all commercial uses: I don’t really care if they want to use my profile picture to show that the people who use Facebook are really sexy and good-looking. But the stuff on my blog does not become Facebook “User Content” if I put a link that allows people to share it on Facebook. Come off it.

Straight No Chaser

YouTube Internet Celebs make it to the big leagues! I have heard of them just before they released their Christmas album so it is satisfying to watch these guys make the most of their talents. All the best to them and support them by buying their music.

Yes, we’ve reached the all races, creatures, and levels to determine who’s got the edge.

Comedian Rich Kuras infiltrates the World of Warcraft to poll players on the 2008 Presidential Election.
We broke down the results per race and Class. What we found may…and please excuse the pun…WOW you!


Howard Stern secretly replaced Obama’s policies and replaced them with McCain. Will the staunch supporters be able to tell the difference? Let’s find out…

Click here to listen to audio

All of the information via television, radio, internet, and newspapers. All the debate watching, the pundits, the bloggers, the wikipedia entries, the campaigning, the good and not so good ads, the parodies on SNL, all this and even more – NULLIFIED BY YOUR IGNORANCE! WHY DO WE EVEN BOTHER VOTING? NO WONDER THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IS THE REAL CLINCHER IN THIS AND EVERY ELECTION!

People! When are we going to start learning on our own!!!

People! When are we going to start learning on our own!!!

Hello!

Hello! We should make an appearance on SNL to boost our ratings as well as theirs. Whaddya say?

You’ve got to admit that John McCain has a hilarious sense of humor. He’s made appearances at SNL before so why not have the trifecta done twice? Here’s the skit I’m envisioning.

Setting: In a laboratory that’s in a dark dungeon. Tesla coils in the background. A gurney in the center of the room with a body covered completely in a white sheet.

McCain: [Dressed in white lab coat on the phone] Yes, tell them to come in.

[Enter McCain’s future appointed cabinet and wife Cindy, dresssed in lab coat as well]

McCain: Welcome my minions. I’ve gathered you here today to witness my ultimate secret weapon that will garantee us the White House. Muahahahahaha!

McCain cabinet: Muahahahaha!

McCain: SILENCE! Mrs. McCain, you may bring him in now.

[Enter Barack Obama, eyes blindfolded as he walks in front of McCain and his cabinet. His blindfold is removed.]

Obama: What’s the meaning of this? John!? What are you and your staff doing here? Why did you bring me here? I thought we were going to have a photo op at the golf course?

McCain: Something stinks, B.O. and it’s this election. You’ve been gathering momentum as the months have gone by and it’s time that I take matters into my own hands. You see, I’m going to win this election and it will be done in such a way, you will be rendered helpless in your desperate attempts to overthrow me! Muahahahaha!

Obama: [looking bored] John, John, John. Once a snowball rolls down the mountain, it only picks up more speed and cannot be stopped. You’ve been coasting all this time but it’s my turn to drive. The American people are going to vote for me. You can’t convince them otherwise!

McCain: Really? You don’t think this old fart’s got a few more hands to play? Watch and learn from someone who’s been around the block a few more times. Behold! My ticket to the White House!

[McCain dramatically rolls away the white sheet once draped over the gurney as it tilts forward revealing the identity. The woman revealed has a frozen, disconnected look on her face.]

Obama: [still unimpressed] John, what’s Tina Fey doing under the sheet? Is this another one of those $10,000 a plate celebrity fundraisers? So where’s the buffet line start. I am getting a bit hungry.

McCain:Muahahahaha! See, you are even fooled at close range! Muahahaha!

Obama:[looking puzzled] What are you talking about?

McCain: It’s all part of my plan, B.O. Thanks to the advancements scientists have made in cloning, I’ve decided to clone Tina Fey and turn her into… [dum, dum, dum music plays….] your next Vice President of the United States! Meet Sarah Palin, current governor of Alaska!

Obama: Sarah, who?

to be continued…

Charlie Bit My Finger!

An internet classic. Yes, you know you want to watch it again! Oooooooooouch, Charlie!!

If you have a page on Facebook in the US and/or Canada, then you are obviously aware about Hasbro’s halting of the very popular word game knockoff, Scrabulous, due to copyright infringement of it’s more recognized game, Scrabble. I was in the middle of a marathon match when it all got interrupted. Not very happy over these recent developments, I decided to write an email to the folks at Hasbro to let them know how I felt.

I know I am not the only one that has been unhappy with the way you (Hasbro) are handling the Scrabulous situation on Facebook. What a wonderful opportunity it would have been for you to show your generosity by allowing the games to continue while you resume talks with the creators of Scrabulous. They say that even negative publicity is better than no publicity but I believe in this case, you’re only hurting your image. You create toys and games for family entertainment and fun – doesn’t this strike you as going “against the grain” of what your company represents? Or is it fun and entertainment to send down the legal eagles to strike against anyone who gets in your way of making profits? I believe there is still enough time to make sure you can allow Scrabulous back on Facebook as gesture of gratitude for all the Scrabble fans, hire the programmers of Scrabulous, and start taking a percentage of the ad revenue retroactive to January. Whatever you do, know that there are a ton of us watching and waiting to see what decisions will be made. This can make or break your future sales and affect you negatively in the long run. Think about the fans!!!!

By the next day, I received confirmation of my email’s receipt which was to be expected, but the following day, I get the “official” statement that further explains their side of the argument.

We understand your passion for the SCRABBLE brand. In fact, we have been hard at work creating a variety of great new ways to enjoy SCRABBLE, from the classic board game, to playing in the digital space on the iPod, iPhone, pogo.com online game site, and now, social networking on Facebook.

We are pleased that the unlawful Scrabulous application has been removed from Facebook, and it is our pledge to provide you with a better an authentic version of SCRABBLE on Facebook. Unfortunately, the Electronic Arts SCRABBLE application – which is the legitimate and authentic version – was the target of a malicious hacker on July 29, resulting in the temporary disabling of SCRABBLE on Facebook. EA is working to resolve this issue and have SCRABBLE back online and ready to play as soon as possible. We know that you are upset and disappointed that you can not currently enjoy an authentic SCRABBLE experience on Facebook, and we share your frustration. Together with EA, we are confident that this issue will be resolved soon, and you will be back to enjoying SCRABBLE on Facebook with friends and family in the United States and Canada.

Some people have asked us why we couldn’t coexist with Scrabulous, and compete head-to-head. In the toy and game business, we have many legitimate competitors, and we welcome healthy competition as our industry strives to provide the best entertainment value for consumers everywhere. Scrabulous did not represent legitimate competition. Scrabulous was an infringement, it was unlawful, and we took the necessary action, similar to what the recording industry did when kids were posting music to illegal sites and allowing their friends to copy the music for free.

As you know, Hasbro filed suit on July 24 to protect our intellectual property rights. However, in deference to SCRABBLE fans like you, we waited to take this action until we had an authentic alternative to offer players. We know that many of you have been closely scrutinizing the new SCRABBLE application developed by EA. Please note that once the application is up and running again, the application remains in beta stage on Facebook, and both EA and Hasbro are continually monitoring feedback from fans. This feedback will help us as we continue to improve the experience leading up to the official launch scheduled for the first half of August. In fact, EA is already in the process of streamlining animation and taking other steps to allow for faster game play. Some of the specifics include and animation on/off button that will allow users to skip all future animations, including splash screen animation; stars when counting points; rotating board; and “flying in” letters.

In closing, we want you to know that SCRABBLE is a very important game and brand for Hasbro. We share your frustration about the recent malicious attack on EA’s authentic SCRABBLE application, and we are working very hard to make the new application the best experience possible.

So there you go. Thought everyone should know.

I think it is so hilarious that after I express my desire for a WordPress app for the iPhone, it just shows up the next day! Now the circle is complete and I will be free to blog with photos from my iMistress (as my wife likes to call it). Yes, we shall march forward!! SPARTA!!!!!!!!!

There is nothing more fascinating to me than the sociological perspectives that life has to offer. Here’s someone who decided not just finding out but reporting it back as an art form. I really digg what this guy did. Almost reminds me of the Right Now video from Van Halen (which is my favorite song of all time).