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What would you do if a company asked you to remove content?

Written by Tyme White on June 25, 2008

Many bloggers/writers state an opinion in their articles. Sometimes it is a formal review or it could be someone sharing an experience they had. What would you do if the company or person you were talking about contacted you and requested that you remove the article? This situation happens often. Reading Ars Technica, Atari went after a site over their negative review. The site received a copy of the game early, not via the publisher, and Atari claims the site did not respect the embargo on the game. If the site received the game via the publisher that would make sense, however, the site allegedly received the game earlier via retail. The site claims Atari pulled their advertising campaign with them in retaliation. In another example, a blogger wrote a negative restaurant review and the restaurant owner called their job to complain about it.

I know, you’re thinking that you don’t write reviews and this couldn’t or wouldn’t happen to you. What about when you have a bad experience with a company and you blog about it? What if that company contacted you and wanted to sue? Honestly, you don’t hear companies going off when they are written about in a positive light. You have a lousy flight experience, you write about your experience and a week or two later the airline is threatening you. What do you do?

That’s something to research. What are the laws in your area? Do you want to fight for your rights or do you not care and you’ll just remove the article? What are the goals of your site and how do the answers to those questions fit in with your future plans?

Many people get online and write without really thinking through the possible repercussions of what they do; until it is too late (action has already been taken against you). The longer one writes online the more experienced one becomes in these areas. Some people decide to fight it tooth and nail. Others remove the article in question (or does whatever it takes not to go to court) to resolve the issue quickly. One response isn’t “better” than the other – it depends on your goals for you site. So, to get the ball rolling:

If you received a request to remove an article where you expressed your opinion or experience about a company or service, would you fight it or would you remove the article? The sad point in situations like this, the law might be on the writer’s side but the writer would have to spend resources to have the law recognized in their favor. Some people or companies have to learn that negative criticism will come…learn from it.

The fair use debate

Written by Tyme White on June 16, 2008

This weekend TechDirt published an article about Associated Press (AP) sending Drudge Retort, a site that mocks Drudge Report, seven DMCA requests siting that the instances they specified in their DMCA requests were not fair use. In Cadenhead’s article he points out that one of the AP articles uses 18 words, a quote from Hillary Clinton, and links back to the originating article. Looking at Drudge Retort I found instances where almost 1/3 of the original article was used (non-AP content).

I was talking to someone online and I mentioned this situation. Their response was that they didn’t use AP articles so there was no need for concern. It didn’t cross their mind that Yahoo articles might be an AP article. One of the DMCA requests was for this article syndicated via Yahoo. This could cause a blurred sense of perception. A writer or blogger could be thinking “Yahoo is safe” when that doesn’t seem to be the case, does it? It’s not Yahoo’s content, it’s AP’s.

The bottom line is that there seems to be a disconnect on what is considered fair use. Content creators have different requirements on how their content should be used. Some writers do not mind if their articles are redistributed in full and on the flip side, others prefer permission be granted for any use but cannot get around fair use.

There are quite a few people talking about this. One cannot deny it does bring up the question, as writers, how our content should be used and just as important: how much outside content should be used on our sites.

Do you have clear policies in place on your site that lets people know how your content can be used?

Happy Birthday To Tyme!

Written by Mike Rundle on June 6, 2008

Everybody, it’s Tyme’s birthday today, and I wanted to officially make this known on the 9rules Blog to get maximum exposure. Happy Birthday, Tyme!

I’m sure it’s completely no surprise to anyone that Tyme has been doing an unbelievable amount of work here the past few months and our latest membership round would have been dead-on-arrival without her managing the whole thing.  She’s always been on top of our membership rounds but this latest one was something special for us, and she did a marvelous job. If you want to know why going through all of the sites went exponentially smoother than it has in previous rounds, you can simply look to Tyme. She did a great job.

9rules and our new sites would not be the same unless she was here working her butt off on them.

I don’t know how she manages to do it, but every year I’ve known her she happens to turn 29 over and over.  Now that’s a feat I’m jealous of.

Happy Birthday!


The Triad did an interview…it’s been a while

Written by Tyme White on June 5, 2008

9rules member James Woodcock asked us for an interview months ago. We were swamped switching 9rules back to member only content and launching the Chawlk subsites so we didn’t have time to do the interview when he asked. James was patient with us (thank you James!) and The Triad got up at 7am to do the interview. o_O We owed it to James for his patience.

We talked about how 9rules began, the changes we’ve made to the site, answered the question “Are you still using WordPress as the backend?” (hint: funny story behind that one), how we see the internet evolving – fun stuff.

You can download/listen to the interview here. It’s 52:05 minutes long.

Thanks James!