Sunday, June 11, 2017

Red Flags For Regular People

This is not about bulls (bullies, perhaps), and it is not about persons who do not need laxatives. It's about Trojan Horses. (Not Trojans.)

Beware if you see this phrase, or anything resembling it, "We may collect, use, transfer, sell and disclose non-personal information for any purpose."

The "any purpose" will usually mean "for our profit" but it might also mean "because some businesses would like to know about the business you do with their competitors."

Have you seen the fascinating article in The Washington Post about how "Unroll me" (which purports to be a useful free service to remove unwanted marketing emails from subscribers inboxes) made its money by scraping information from emailed wanted sales receipts?

I followed a link from one of my favorite law bloggers to that article. Mark Sableman of the law firm
Thompson Coburn LLP gives a legal analysis of the problems of privacy policies which no one (except class action plaintiffs' lawyers) ever reads. 

If you want to use a free service, remember that nothing is every free.  Read the TOS and privacy policy. Know that if they don't want your money, they want your data.

What beats me, is why respectable companies that sell physical products apparently believe that it is good business to advertise on free sites to people (often) who are only interested in free stuff...

... which brings me to an excellent article by a lady musician --Tessa Lena-- who rants most entertainingly and in the strongest terms about these Silicon Valley middlemen and intermediaries who would have musicians, songwriters and authors believe that there is something glorious, ingenious and romantic about having to beg for a living.

We have a culture of digital theft. Where did that come from? The coolest "kids" bully and steal, and the government doesn't just turn a blind eye, the administration, the legislature, and the judiciary actively praises and protects the thieving bullies.

One of the methods used by billionaire bullies and thieves is "lawfare" (like warfare, but using the size of one's bank account to exhaust one's little victim into submission and despair.)

The Trichordist has some choice words for American Librarians, who ought to be grateful to American authors for allowing American libraries to lend out physical books without having to pay the authors for every "lend", but who aren't, and who are joining in with the bullies who want to eliminate more and more copyright protections for individuals.

Authors in Europe are paid for every "lend".  

However, to end on a positive note, not every copyright infringement case goes the same way, and not every powerful plaintiff (or powerful dependant), destroys their opponent with legal fees.

Mark Sableman tells the tale of two copyright infringement cases that worked out very differently in terms of cost for the losing party.

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

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