Monday, September 12, 2005

Katrina: blog saved lives

[Keyword: ]. Amidst the incompetence and valuing of property over people, here's a more positive story about Katrina:

"Before its offices were literally swamped with water, the Times-Picayune was inundated with frantic phone calls from city residents crying out for rescue. People trapped in their attics sent text messages to friends outside the state, who then used the blogs and message boards to post the addresses and locations of their trapped friends.

""It turned into a vital link for people needing rescue," Donley says of the Web site, which has received over 200 million page views over the past week and a half -- several times its normal amount. "Aids to [Lt. Gen. Russel] Honore told us that his group was specifically monitoring our blogs for directions to trapped people, and they told us lives were saved because of [the Web site]."

Meanwhile, Flickr represents an invaluable and uncensored repository of images related to the hurricane, despite FEMA's request not to show images of those killed. There's also some thought paid by Poynter to the use of maps in reporting the disaster.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Linking to an illegal site?

[Keyword: ]. It's a perennial problem of online journalism. You are reporting on an illegal or potentially illegal activity: do you link to the illegal website? The story is taken up:
"In the middle of January 2005 heise online had reported on a new version of the software "AnyDVD" by Slysoft. According to Slysoft AnyDVD was said not only to be capable of removing CSS protection, but also of cracking a further three copy protection mechanisms for DVDs. The report by heise online critically assessed the statements made by the software manufacturer. The music industry association IFPI claimed that parts of the text amounted to advertising or to a set of instructions on how to pirate copies of DVDs, especially given the fact that the original version of the article contained a hyperlink to the homepage of the software manufacturer.

"Through temporary injunctions eight companies of the music industry attempted to ban the publication of the article. The first-instance District Court in Munich ruled that though heise online was entitled to keep the text online in its original form, it had to remove the hyperlink to Slysoft. Both parties to the dispute appealed the decision. On July 28 the OLG Munich affirmed the decision of the lower court and rejected the motions of appeal."

Now the site is to file a "constitutional complaint" against the decision by the Higher Regional Court (OLG) in Munich.

"Christian Persson, editor-in-chief of heise online and of c't Magazine, likewise published by Heise Zeitschriften Verlag, said ... The freedom of the press would be considerably curtailed if now in each instance editors would have to check whether a hyperlink to any outside item of content infringed the rights of any third party ... As a consequence, because fewer hyperlinks would be inserted, the quality of online reporting would suffer."

"Blogger faces lawsuit over comments posted by readers"

[Keyword: ]. Surely this case can't be won? " sued Aaron Wall, who maintains a blog on search engine optimization ... alleging defamation and publication of trade secrets. ... Mr. Wall's blog included several reader submissions that blasted tools sold by"

Does this mean you or Amazon can be sued for writing a bad review of a book? We wait to find out... although the fact that Wall could be seen as a commercial rival of Traffic-Power, as he is himself selling books on SEO, is a factor to be considered.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina Aftermath: Sept 2, 2005: International Blogging for Disaster Relief Day

Here's a posting which gives an informed perspective on the blogosphere's reaction to Hurrican Katrina compared to how it reacted to the Tsunami. Some useful links in the comments, too.