The Edge of Reason

Simon Parkin has written a very detailed article for Eurogamer on the on-going legal battle between Mobigame and trademark-troll Timothy Langdell over Mobigame’s iPhone game Edge.

T-Mobile Selling Unlocked iPhones in Germany

Caveat: they cost €999, or £719 at the current exchange rate. This is T-Mobile’s way of saying “fuck-you” to Vodafone for taking them to court.

BPI wins damages against CD-WOW


CD-Wow says it will continue to sell cheap CDs and may appeal the ruling. “I fear what is happening is an attempt to use the combined brute force of the record industry to force the retailers and, in turn, our clients, to keep lining the pockets of the fat cat executives,” said Mr Wesslen. “It shouldn’t matter whether we are buying from an official distributor in the UK, Europe or the Far East, what is important is that we are buying legitimate products from the record companies themselves.”

Flickr’s censorship angers it’s own community

After Digg’s recent PR fiasco, you’d think other companies would learn that using the heavy handed approach on your community is a very bad idea. As Matthew Haughey explains:

If the Digg HD-DVD encryption key fiasco taught us anything, it’s that you can’t make rash top-down decisions and expect your community to be okay with it.

But, it seems Flickr (or it’s parent company Yahoo!) has been very heavy handed with Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir, a prominent photographer in the community. Rebekka found that a company was stealing her photographs and selling them through their website and eBay. She posted to Flickr about it, and gathered hundreds of comments. However the Flickr Staff have seen fit to delete that photograph, giving the reason Flickr is not a venue for to you harass, abuse, impersonate, or intimidate others. If we receive a valid complaint about your conduct, we will send you a warning or terminate your account..

Never mind that there weren’t any threats made by Rebekka at all, it seems Flickr got a little pressure from some lawyers about the public humiliation of a company and decided to blindly follow it rather than risk legal action. This is a sure fire way to drive a community to the edge, picking a company/lawyers over them when clearly the community is in the right and the company is wrong.

Flickr has since apologised for it’s rash decision to delete the photograph, although unlike Rebekka, I view this as no amends for it’s actions. My opinion of the Flickr Staff and Yahoo! have been reduced substantially, and I will probably not recommend their services as eagerly as I did before. This is not the end of Flickr by any means 1 and I hope it will continue to thrive and improve. But most of all, I hope it learns that you must respect your users and the community, and realises that while it may be relatively easy to get users and build a community, but make one wrong move and it might just come crashing down on you.

  1. I will still be using them, and although a few people have deleted their account in protest, they are in the extreme minority.

RIAA vs The World

A woman is sued by the RIAA for using an “online distribution system” to “download, distribute, and/or make available for distribution” plaintiff’s music files, even though she has never used a computer in her life.

Before you fry the RIAA, perhaps you should read this interesting comment on Slashdot:

This woman does laundry a lot and has no dryer, so she hangs her clothes to dry. When the RIAA said she was using an “online distribution system” to make plaintiff’s music files available, they were not referring to a computer; what they meant was that she is often heard whistling copyrighted songs while she hangs clothes on the line; hence, “online distribution system.”
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