I’ve done a bit of editing to the news article below, but you can probably guess where it’s from:
“The latest group of netizens has been named and shamed for spreading online rumors and disturbing public order by a website that assesses Internet credibility.
The details of 14 netizens, including their online user names, real surnames, IP addresses, real addresses and legal violations from the period of June through October were posted on a website run by the Information Network Security Association and supported by the municipal public security bureau.
The latest entry was about a man who on Oct 6 spread online rumors about fake murders. According to the entry, he has since repented following police intervention.
Other violations exposed include spreading rumors about bombing a government building, posting articles on how to make explosives and promoting the flying of model planes when the city had banned flying objects.
Three of the 14 exposed were fined, while the rest were cautioned by the police, according to the website. No one was detained or jailed.
Earlier this year, the website publicized the details of 66 netizens who committed similar violations between April 2007 and May 2010.
However, many netizens have expressed concern that such exposure means their online activities are under surveillance.
In contrast, some other netizens find that exposure is beneficial to maintaining a healthy Internet environment. “More exposures could help reduce fake information online,” said another netizen.”
If you guessed, China, you’re right. Despite making huge economic advances that have created 875,000 multi-millionaires, freedom of speech remains out of reach in this nation of 1.3 billion, which also has the world’s largest online population.
Censorship is not confined just to what one posts online. The top 3 U.S. websites, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are blocked in China; Google now operates from Hong Kong to avoid censoring search results.
Will the Great Firewall eventually crumble? What do you think?
For those of you old enough to remember, in 1971 Yippie provocateur Abbie Hoffman penned “Steal This Book,” a best-selling guide to fighting the establishment. Part of his premise was that information should be free, so he encouraged people to go to their local bookstores and take the book without paying. Now an editor with a food magazine has done one better.
Judith Griggs, an editor with Cooks Source Magazine found an article about apple pie on the Web, copied it, reedited it, then published it in the magazine. When the writer, Monica Gaudio, was alerted to this brazen theft, she contacted Griggs to protest.
Gaudio wasn’t after payment. She wanted an apology and a donation of $130 (about $.10 per word) to the Columbia School of Journalism–a very reasonable request IMHO. Here’s a portion of the e-mail response from Griggs:
“But honestly Monica, the web is considered “public domain” and you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole article and put someone else’s name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me!”
Yikes! Griggs added insult to injury. If content posted on the Web is in the public domain, it’s news to tens of thousands of online publishers and to the U.S. Copyright Office. While short excepts of an author’s work can be quoted with proper attribution under the doctrine of Fair Use, wholesale copying without permission is copyright infringement. And just because students do it, that’s no justification for a professional editor to plagiarize. For more on this, I encourage Ms. Griggs (and you, too) to read Understanding Copyrights.
When Monica Gaudio posted Grigg’s e-mail on her blog, it ignited an Internet firestorm directed against Griggs’ blatant disregard of the law. Astute netizens have identified other articles ripped-off by the magazine. Snide comments litter the Cooks Source Facebook page.
Has Griggs learned her lesson? Apparently so. The food editor has apologized for the “egg on her face.”