Via Universal Hub, Dan Rowinski notices something fascinating buried in the ICANN TLD requests:

Adam at UH talks a bit more about the business model:

And like Fenway bricks, the Globe will seek to sell personalized domains to Bostonians, who, being proud of their city, will rush to buy them. But non-locals need not fret – the Globe says it’ll sell a .boston address to anybody who wants one, such as people who want the world to know they’re moving to Boston or just enjoy the city.

Journalism be saved!

Oh, So That’s the History of Copyright

Answering questions like, “Why does George Lucas’s copyright last so long?”

via Mental Floss

The Insidious Cost of Ringtone Piracy

Oh, this is just glorious Rob Reid.


Commenter Beware of Defamation…

This actually makes sense: Google was absolved of responsibility for comments posted in a Blogger blog that were allegedly defamatory of a British politician. In an interesting development, as the Guardian piece notes the political candidate “brought no proceedings against either the original blogger or individual commenters.”

I get it. Sue the guy with deep pockets. But accusing the host for comments they didn’t prevent is a horrifically slippery slope.

There’s no precedent being set here, but it’s another piece of the puzzle as we look to define and separate the roles of host of content, publishers of content, creators of content and commenters of content…when each of those actions create additional assets of their own.


QOTD: Assuming the Costs of Piracy

Wonkbook is on the trail of some of the claims about the cost of piracy to the economy, but buried within the post is one of my favorite arguments. Brad Pulmer writes:

Part of the difficulty here is that it’s not always easy to tally up the true costs of piracy. For instance, if a person illegally downloads a movie or song that he never would’ve downloaded otherwise, then it’s not clear what the losses are (the benefits, by contrast, are much clearer).

That point of availability beyond the market, to me, is always fascinating. Just something I’m thinking about during this debate.

Social Media Leading to More First Amendment Love Among Teens?

That’s what Knight Foundation says:

Full infographic here, and don’t miss the rest of the details at

Facebook, the Phone Number Privacy Brouhaha and Birthday Wall Posts

Just as with the changing of the taps on Sam Adams seasonal flavors, every few months or so we can be guaranteed another “OMG, Facebook is invading my privacy because of [x].” This time around? The uproar is that the mobile app for Facebook conveniently grabs any phone number of your friends that they have made public and allows you to access it from within your phone. Of course, the ability to access this was blown grossly out of proportion: some people thought those numbers were completely published or saved by Facebook. They weren’t, but who doesn’t love a good cut-and-paste status message on what Facebook is doing to us?

(Let the record show that the version has had this phone book option for as long as I can remember accessing it. In fact, I remember talking years ago that it was one of my favorite features of the mobile version of Facebook because the time I’m most likely to need and/or use the number that a friend made public on their profile is when I’m using a phone. Utility! I digress.)

Facebook responded with a status message response on Wednesday, and it was generally helpful to nerds like me who read Terms of Service (Termses of Service? Terms of Servii?). I don’t know if that generally explains it well enough. Basically, Facebook encourages you to add your phone number when syncing with one of the apps – and you have full rights to control who sees it based on your levels of privacy.

Talking about phone numbers is complicated, though. So I’m going to change course but write about something that works the exact same way from a privacy standpoint: your birthday. In fact, the settings are really similar (in terms of you limiting who can see it), it is completely required to register your account and actually is promoted even more publicly to your friends.

I don’t have the luxury of historic screen shots, but I hope my memory doesn’t fail me too well.

In 2004 at launch, just like any registration online, Facebook requested the birthday of its users to validate age. This was the profile-only era of Facebook, no walls and certainly no news feed. Birthdays were listed on the page and could be removed from the public eye by the viewer. In 2005, when the pages were first update to include the walls, birthday was still present, but without the news feed, there was no other landing page to gather birthday information (although somewhere in the back pages, you could find a list by day of your friends birthdays – not at all unlike the list of contacts that you can find related to phone number).

The biggest change was when birthday information went from being on the profile page to the landing page – thanks to the late 2006 introduction of the News Feed. Sure, the information was “below the fold” of the screen, but it was public enough that people started more regularly using the occasion to post on friends’ walls. Of course, by the next year, those wall postings too started making the news feed and thus was the birth of the Facebook Birthday phenom. Now? The information on your contacts’ birthdays is in one of the most prominent places on the home page, and it’s probably the way most of your contacts interact with you. (David Plotz’s hysterical “My Fake Facebook Birthdays” is a delightful overview of the banality of these types of posts, but that’s just a worthy tangent).

Do you remember any sort of uprising when Facebook moved the information about your birthday to this public of a place? Probably not. You were bombarded with greetings from friends and contacts. It was enjoyable – and there was a pretty good user reason why Facebook made the change to coincide with existing habits of its members. Now think of phone numbers of your friends and contacts: it is just as easy to hide your birthday from different friends as it your phone number.


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