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Tuesday News: Reddit’s dilemma, Adobe Digital Edition 4, Baptist responds to The Economist, and authors buying reviews

Tuesday News: Reddit’s dilemma, Adobe Digital Edition 4, Baptist responds to...

It is pretty much impossible to be a free speech absolutist without having to defend the right to publicize some really skeevy stuff. And for absolutist First Amendment attorneys and scholars, the principle might be enough. But for the corporate entity Reddit (which is largely owned by Conde Nast’s parent company), the “ideal” of unfettered free speech is unlikely to remain uncompromised – for good and bad.

The challenge for Reddit now is: How does it retain its commitment to such free-speech principles while it is trying to raise money from a group of what could be nervous or conservative venture funds? Twitter has also wrestled with its early commitment to being the “free-speech wing of the free-speech party,” and its desire to grow and generate revenue for its public shareholders has led to a form of quasi-censorship in which certain tweets and accounts are banned or hidden from users at the request of governments. But Twitter’s challenges are like a day at the beach compared with Reddit’s.

Remaining committed to free speech is hard enough when the speech you are trying to protect is violent or homophobic or repulsive in a number of other ways, but it becomes exponentially more difficult when you have investors with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line breathing down your neck. Will Reddit start to water down its commitment, in the hope that it can bridge those two divides without losing its soul? Or will it be forced to mimic Facebook, which routinely removes photos of women breast-feeding and never says why? –Gigaom

For example, Adobe DE 4.0 does not support embedded audio or video, and it is also lacking support for basics like right to left languages (Arabic, Hebrew, etc) . The search function is incomplete, and the app is also lacking advanced rendering features (such as knockout, overprint, and non-separable blend modes). And last but not least, mouse wheel scrolling is officially not supported for Epub3 ebooks. –The Digital Reader

But the Economist didn’t apologize for dismissing what slaves said about slavery. That kind of arrogance remains part of a wider, more subtle pattern in how black testimony often gets treated – sometimes unknowingly – as less reliable than white. The Economist reviewer was saying that the key sources of my book, African Americans – black people – cannot be believed.

As the historian Jelani Cobb pointed out to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Friday night, the reviewer’s ideas about slavery’s history are not actually as uncommon as many of us would like to believe. He’s right: All across the American south, you can go to historic plantation sites still pushing the idea that slaves who had a “good” master were happy, and “faithful.” –The Guardian

To date — it’s currently Sunday, 7 September 2014 — no Goodreads author has lost her or his account due to buying of fiverr reviews. Even though Patrick, Director of Author Marketing (or whatever his official title is) hinted that authors could be deleted if they were buying fiverr reviews, not one has been so terminated.
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Frustration with Goodreads’ lack of action on this issue prompted me to announce publicly that I would no longer spend my limited free time doing their job for them. I would not track down the information, collect the screen shots, do the leg work to clean up their site of fraudulent — and illegal — “ads” masquerading as customer reviews. I didn’t say I’d stop doing it; I just wasn’t going to give the information to Goodreads any more. I was, shall we say, moving house. –Linda Hilton

Friday News: Conan Doyle estate smacked by SCOTUS, Rupert Murdoch pursuing Time Warner, future-world Archie dies, and new Emily Giffin review drama

Friday News: Conan Doyle estate smacked by SCOTUS, Rupert Murdoch pursuing...

There is a case to be made for the aggressive protection of an author’s intellectual property rights by their estate. However, it must also be remembered the the US Constitution guaranteed those rights for only a “limited time,” and that the whole of the copyright clause is related to the “Progress of Science and useful Arts.” And this progress necessitates the public’s interest in copyright, in the sense that works in the public domain provide inspiration and fodder for other works. That the Conan Doyle estate seems content to collect licensing fees raises my cynical left eyebrow (that one gets a lot more upward movement than the right one these days), and I doubt this is their final move.

Doyle has been dead for eighty-four years, but because of extensions of copyright terms, ten of his fifty-six short stories continue to be protected from copying. All of the short stories and four novels were published between 1887 and 1927, but all of the collection except ten short stories have entered into the public domain as copyrights expired.

The Doyle estate, though, is pressing a quite unusual copyright theory. It contends that, since Doyle continued to develop the characters of Holmes and Watson throughout all of the stories, the characters themselves cannot be copied even for what Doyle wrote about them in the works that are now part of the public domain and thus ordinarily would be fair game for use by others. –Scotus Blog

Combine their international cable footprints and its uber-huge with Fox revenue 44% of total and strong in Europe while TW 36% and well penetrated in Latin America. Murdoch’s resultant international cable scale would create synergies on ad sales, affiliate fees, and pay-TV penetration, according to the analysts. That’s good for the companies.

What this also means is that, just as a time when a wealth of new buyers like Goggle, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube, Yahoo and Netflix for scripted professional TV programming have appeared, it’s entirely possibly that 2 of the biggest traditional buyers will become one combined entity to better control over how content is sold to these new online players. That’s bad for you. A merged Fox/Time Warner company would negotiate digital rights more effectively and create an even more formidable rival to these still fledgling programmers and distributors. That’s good for the companies. –Nikke Finke

Why did a series that for so long revolved around malt shops and the virtues of blondes versus brunettes take such a dark and political turn? Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics publisher and co-CEO, told the Associated Press they “wanted to do something that was impactful” and that would “resonate with the world.”

“That’s how we came up with the storyline of saving Kevin,” Goldwater said. “He could have saved Betty. He could have saved Veronica. We get that, but metaphorically, by saving Kevin, a new Riverdale is born.” –MSNBC

I did not finish this book because I did not like the direction that the relationship between the Coach and Shea was going. I wrote on Emily Giffin’s Facebook page that I loved all of her previous books, but I wasn’t comfortable with the direction this book was going in, my comments were deleted by her staff. I then wrote to her organization only to have her husband, Buddy Blaha wrote back to me with some “poor Emily” type stuff. –Amazon, Goodreads