Social Media

I’ve decided to start giving a damn again

17 November 2018

From The Digital Reader

I’ve never been one to mark the anniversary of this blog. I started it in January 2010 on the spur of the moment, and generally maintained that attitude of “hey, now that’s a cool idea – let’s do it”. This tended to get in the way planning things like anniversary celebrations (and back when I attended CES in the first week of January every year I didn’t really have the energy for a celebration, anyway).

But as I sit here today, it is two months and eight days until this blog’s ninth anniversary, and I have decided I am going to do something different.

This time around I am going to celebrate the anniversary of the blog, and also its relaunch.

I don’t know if you noticed, but for the past year and a half or so I have regarded this blog as a failed project. I looked at the falling weekly traffic reports, and counted the ever-declining number of comments, and grew depressed about the inevitability of site traffic eventually dwindling away to nothing. This belief came to be reflected in the care (or rather, the lack of care) I was putting into things like proofing blog posts. (After all, why bother investing in something that is going to die anyway?)

. . . .

I now see this blog as being the metaphorical glass half-full rather than half-empty. (As I said, I have started to give a damn about the blog again.)

So, the anniversary.

I’m going to spend the next couple months thinking about what should be done with this blog. I’m also going to be thinking of how I can thank readers, commenters, and contributors, including those who have been here since the beginning and those who read the blog now.

To put it another way, I have started to give a damn about the blog again.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

PG is not certain whether he first picked up on The Digital Reader when Nate first started it or not.

Regardless, PG has appreciated Nate’s ongoing efforts and found a lot of good information at TDR.

If you follow the link, Nate is asking for ideas on how he should improve the blog.

Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis

16 November 2018

From The New York Times:

Sheryl Sandberg was seething.

Inside Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, top executives gathered in the glass-walled conference room of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. It was September 2017, more than a year after Facebook engineers discovered suspicious Russia-linked activity on its site, an early warning of the Kremlin campaign to disrupt the 2016 American election. Congressional and federal investigators were closing in on evidence that would implicate the company.

But it wasn’t the looming disaster at Facebook that angered Ms. Sandberg. It was the social network’s security chief, Alex Stamos, who had informed company board members the day before that Facebook had yet to contain the Russian infestation. Mr. Stamos’s briefing had prompted a humiliating boardroom interrogation of Ms. Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, and her billionaire boss. She appeared to regard the admission as a betrayal.

“You threw us under the bus!” she yelled at Mr. Stamos, according to people who were present.

The clash that day would set off a reckoning — for Mr. Zuckerberg, for Ms. Sandberg and for the business they had built together. In just over a decade, Facebook has connected more than 2.2 billion people, a global nation unto itself that reshaped political campaigns, the advertising business and daily life around the world. Along the way, Facebook accumulated one of the largest-ever repositories of personal data, a treasure trove of photos, messages and likes that propelled the company into the Fortune 500.

. . . .

But as evidence accumulated that Facebook’s power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg stumbled. Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view. At critical moments over the last three years, they were distracted by personal projects, and passed off security and policy decisions to subordinates, according to current and former executives.

. . . .

But as Facebook grew, so did the hate speech, bullying and other toxic content on the platform. When researchers and activists in Myanmar, India, Germany and elsewhere warned that Facebook had become an instrument of government propaganda and ethnic cleansing, the company largely ignored them. Facebook had positioned itself as a platform, not a publisher. Taking responsibility for what users posted, or acting to censor it, was expensive and complicated. Many Facebook executives worried that any such efforts would backfire.

Link to the rest at The New York Times

Twitter is thinking about an edit button to fix typos in tweets

12 November 2018

From TNW:

For the first time since the end of 2016, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey shed some light on the company’s thoughts about building an edit button for tweets. Speaking at an event in India’s capital of New Delhi, he said that the company has to carefully consider use cases for the edit button before making it a reality – and it could potentially be tooled to help fix typos.

“You have to pay attention to what are the use cases for the edit button. A lot of people want the edit button because they want to quickly fix a mistake they made. Like a misspelling or tweeting the wrong URL. That’s a lot more achievable than allowing people to edit any tweet all the way back in time,” Dorsey said.

. . . .

He added that Twitter will ideally prevent unlimited editing, because then anyone could abuse the feature to alter their controversial or damning statements later on. Dorsey noted that the company wants to implement a solution that solves a problem and removes what “people see as friction in the service.”

Link to the rest at TNW

The Autocracy App

10 October 2018

From The New York Review of Books:

Facebook is a company that has lost control—not of its business, which has suffered remarkably little from its series of unfortunate events since the 2016 election, but of its consequences. Its old slogan, “Move fast and break things,” was changed a few years ago to the less memorable “Move fast with stable infra.” Around the world, however, Facebook continues to break many things indeed.

In Myanmar, hatred whipped up on Facebook Messenger has driven ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya. In India, false child abduction rumors on Facebook’s WhatsApp service have incited mobs to lynch innocent victims. In the Philippines, Turkey, and other receding democracies, gangs of “patriotic trolls” use Facebook to spread disinformation and terrorize opponents. And in the United States, the platform’s advertising tools remain conduits for subterranean propaganda.

Mark Zuckerberg now spends much of his time apologizing for data breaches, privacy violations, and the manipulation of Facebook users by Russian spies. This is not how it was supposed to be. A decade ago, Zuckerberg and the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, championed Facebook as an agent of free expression, protest, and positive political change. To drive progress, Zuckerberg always argued, societies would have to get over their hang-ups about privacy, which he described as a dated concept and no longer the social norm. “If people share more, the world will become more open and connected,” he wrote in a 2010 Washington Post Op-Ed. This view served Facebook’s business model, which is based on users passively delivering personal data. That data is used to target advertising to them based on their interests, habits, and so forth. To increase its revenue, more than 98 percent of which comes from advertising, Facebook needs more users to spend more time on its site and surrender more information about themselves.

The import of a business model driven by addiction and surveillance became clearer in March, when The Observer of London and The New York Times jointly revealed that the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had obtained information about 50 million Facebook users in order to develop psychological profiles. That number has since risen to 87 million. Yet Zuckerberg and his company’s leadership seem incapable of imagining that their relentless pursuit of “openness and connection” has been socially destructive. With each apology, Zuckerberg’s blundering seems less like naiveté and more like malignant obliviousness. In an interview in July, he contended that sites denying the Holocaust didn’t contravene the company’s policies against hate speech because Holocaust denial might amount to good faith error. “There are things that different people get wrong,” he said. “I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong.” He had to apologize, again.

. . . .

People central to Facebook’s history have lately been expressing remorse over their contributions and warning others to keep their children away from it. Sean Parker, the company’s first president, acknowledged last year that Facebook was designed to cultivate addiction. He explained that the “like” button and other features had been created in response to the question, “How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?” Chamath Palihapitiya, a crucial figure in driving Facebook’s growth, said he feels “tremendous guilt” over his involvement in developing “tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.” Roger McNamee, an early investor and mentor to Zuckerberg, has become a full-time crusader for restraining a platform that he calls “tailor-made for abuse by bad actors.”

. . . .

Perhaps even more damning are the recent actions of Brian Acton and Jan Koum, the founders of WhatsApp. Facebook bought their five-year-old company for $22 billion in 2014, when it had only fifty-five employees. Acton resigned in September 2017. Koum, the only Facebook executive other than Zuckerberg and Sandberg to sit on the company’s board, quit at the end of April. By leaving before November 2018, the WhatsApp founders walked away from $1.3 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. When he announced his departure, Koum said that he was “taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate Frisbee.”

However badly he felt about neglecting his Porsches, Koum was thoroughly fed up with Facebook. He and Acton are strong advocates of user privacy. One of the goals of WhatsApp, they said, was “knowing as little about you as possible.” They also didn’t want advertising on WhatsApp, which was supported by a 99-cent annual fee when Facebook bought it. From the start, the pair found themselves in conflict with Zuckerberg and Sandberg over Facebook’s business model of mining user data to power targeted advertising. (In late September, the cofounders of Instagram also announced their departure from Facebook, reportedly over issues of autonomy.)

At the time of the acquisition of WhatsApp, Zuckerberg had assured Acton and Koum that he wouldn’t share its user data with other applications. Facebook told the European Commission, which approved the merger, that it had no way to match Facebook profiles with WhatsApp user IDs. Then, simply by matching phone numbers, it did just that. Pooling the data let Facebook recommend that WhatsApp users’ contacts become their Facebook friends. It also allowed it to monetize WhatsApp users by enabling advertisers to target them on Facebook. In 2017 the European Commission fined Facebook $122 million for its “misleading” statements about the takeover.

Acton has been less discreet than Koum about his feelings. Upon leaving Facebook, he donated $50 million to the Signal Foundation, which he now chairs. That organization supports Signal, a fully encrypted messaging app that competes with WhatsApp. Following the Cambridge Analytica revelations, he tweeted, “It is time. #deletefacebook.”

Link to the rest at The New York Review of Books

Through a combination of conscious decisions and simply forgetting to do so, PG has cut way back on his Facebook use. If certain of PG’s relatives didn’t post photos of their extremely cute children, he would be off of it for good.

For those who enjoy Facebook, PG will continue to use a plugin that automatically forwards TPV posts to Facebook.

You can download Signal here.

Ten things you should know about Instagram’s terms of use

7 October 2018

From Inforrm’s Blog:

1. The terms are confusing

Users must agree to the terms of use before they can have an Instagram account. The minimum age to sign up is 13. But the reading age for the terms are closer to university level. They are written using complicated language. For example, the licence granted is described as “a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of”.

2. You own your own photos, right?

Instagram claims it does not take ownership of its users’ content. But the terms state that the user grants Instagram a “non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use their content”. What this means is that Instagram has all the rights of the original owner of the content – aside from the fact that it is not an exclusive licence. It is important that photographers are aware of this because if they sell an image under an exclusive licence, posting the image on their Instagram would breach that licence.

3. Instagram can give away or sell your content

Instagram can sub-licence your content. This means that it could licence a user’s photograph or video to any third party, for free, without seeking permission, giving any notice or offering any payment to the user. It could also take a user’s content and let another company use that photo in exchange for a fee – which Instagram keeps.

. . . .

7. It’s a one-way street

The terms state that the same rules do not apply to Instagram’s content, which they specify is protected by Intellectual Property and cannot be copied, modified, edited, published, used or licenced. This restrictive approach is particularly problematic for other app developers, such as those who create apps to work in conjunction with Instagram to perform additional functions, such as analysing followers, unfollowers and boosting likes.

. . . .

10. Instagram should do better

Instagram’s user agreement gives it unnecessarily broad rights over its users’ content. It encourages sharing – for the benefit of advertising revenues – but leave users vulnerable to copyright infringement claims.

In my own research I have argued that Instagram should introduce an improved copyright policy that includes:

  • amending its user agreement so that it is clearer and fairer towards users and does not leave them vulnerable to copyright claims, or licence breaches.
  • adopting a “Notice and Takedown procedure” so users can request that infringing copies of their work are taken down by Instagram – similar to when content is blocked for copyright reasons on YouTube to enable copyright holders to enforce their rights, rather than taking court action.
  • the company should introduce a copyright education tool to provide information and awareness about the law to its users and inform copyright holders when another user has screen-grabbed their image (while at the same issuing a copyright notice to the person who has taken the grab).

If Instagram does not take these steps, the company might find itself in a spot of trouble. Just this month, the Paris Court of First Instance found that Twitter’s Terms of Use (not dissimilar to Instagram’s) were void and unenforceable because they were “abusive” towards users. Twitter, which could face fines of up to €30,000, will now have to remove terms and replace them with ones which are compliant.

Link to the rest at Inforrm’s Blog

Paris tribunal guts Twitter’s T&Cs… including the copyright clause for user-generated content

26 September 2018

From IPKat:

Have you ever found yourself clicking– ‘Yes I agree to these terms & conditions’, without actually reading them? Probably yes [everyone does it…even lawyers]. Did that include your registration with Twitter? If so, you may not have realized that you agreed to a licence allowing Twitter (and its partners) to use at will any of the copyright-protected content you created and uploaded on their site. But not to worry, the Paris Tribunal, in a 236-page-long decision, “righted wrongs” last month by going over Twitter’s terms and conditions with a [very] fine-tooth coomb.

. . . .

The tribunal’s review declared ‘null and void’ most of the clauses challenged by the claimant, including the contract’s copyright licensing provisions for user-generated content.

. . . .

The case was brought before the Paris Tribunal by the French Consumers’ Association– ‘Union Fédérale des Consommateurs – QUE CHOISIR’ (UFC), on behalf of the (claimed) collective interest of Twitter’s users. This type of legal action is the closest thing to a class action that exists in France. In this case, UFC’s eligibility to act on behalf of Twitter’s users relied on Article L 621 of the French Consumer Law Code, on the basis of which Twitter users were deemed consumers.

The status of Twitter users as consumers was vehemently disputed by Twitter, which argued that its service is ‘free’, making it impossible for its users to be ‘consumers’ (within the meaning of the Consumer Law). According to Twitter, a person may be regarded as a ‘consumer’ only if it pays for contracted products and services.

The Paris Tribunal rejected this contention, stressing that whilst Twitter users do not ‘pay’ for the service, using its platform is not gratuitous. The Tribunal emphasised that users consented to their personal information and other data being used by Twitter (and its commercial partners), in exchange for the right to avail themselves of Twitter’s services. Consequently, since Twitter is not free, the consumer protection law does apply to their terms and conditions.

Twitter’s terms and conditions are spread across three main contractual documents: the ‘Terms of Service’, the ‘Privacy Rules’ and the ‘Twitter Rules’  (see here for the current English versions of these documents).

. . . .

The ToS features a provision according to which Twitter users license the copyright vested in all of the “content” that they upload onto the platform (e.g. text, photos, and videos) to Twitter and its “ecosystem partners” (i.e. third-party partners). The first sentence of the licensing clause reads as follows:

“You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. What’s yours is yours — you own your Content (and your incorporated audio, photos and videos are considered part of the Content).”(here) [this is the English equivalent of the clauses in French as considered by the Court]

Twitter’s licensing terms follow this paragraph (see here for the current English equivalent of the provisions considered in Court).

UFC challenged the licensing provision on two grounds. First, the claimant argued that the opening sentence gives the misleading impression that the licencing agreement is narrow in the scope its grants to Twitter whilst in fact, it grants a world-wide, royalty free licence for any use and for all content ever uploaded on the platform, with the right for Twitter to sub-licence such uses to third parties within their commercial “ecosystem”. In this Kat’s view, the licence granted to Twitter falls short of being an assignment of rights only to the extent that it is non-exclusive. The absence of exclusivity allows users to carry on using and sub-licensing (non-exclusively) their own content as they see fit.

Link to the rest at IPKat

PG notes that there is something of a parallel with the KBoards uproar of a few days ago.

The lawyers who work for the new owners of KBoards and those who work for Twitter have an obligation to act in the best interests of their clients.

One of the typical behaviors of IP and corporate attorneys is to do what PG will describe as “over-drafting” of contracts.

A representative example of over-drafting is the practice of some lawyers working for large Hollywood entertainment companies to ask a creator for a copyright license that grants not just worldwide rights, not but rights throughout “the universe” or “the currently known and unknown universe.” This language will cover exercise of the potentially valuable creator’s rights in the Alpha Centauri system when we get there. Somebody in Hollywood will already own the right to show reruns of Gilligan’s Island to the space explorers.

One species of over-drafting occurs when there is no one who represents a counter-party who is in a position to say, “That’s a stupid clause” or “You’re asking for much more than you need.”

Another species of over-drafting appears when one attorney writes a perfectly good TOS during the early stages of an internet company’s existence, then another attorney or law firm is asked to review the TOS a couple of years later. How does the second attorney demonstrate his/her usefulness? By changing and expanding the TOS.

Boilerplate contracts and contract provisions (a category within which a TOS resides) never get shorter. They invariably expand over time as each lawyer provides a personal legal touch.

In PG’s improbably humble opinion, the attorneys drafting the Twitter TOS wandered into the over-drafting arena. Drafting the TOS in 2018 should cover the uses Twitter will make of user posts in 2018 and knows it will use in 2019 because of current development activities.

PG suggests it is not too much to expect from Twitter to ask it to articulate the actual ways in which it will use content contributed by third parties during the foreseeable future (which is not forever, especially for an internet company).

As the platform changes, the TOS changes and users can make their decisions about whether they want to post something on Twitter or not. Their historical posts are subject to the TOS in place when they made them.

Dumpster Fire at KBoards?

19 September 2018

PG just received a tip that a change in Terms of Service at KBoards has upset a great many long-time participants.

PG did some quick checking at this link and elsewhere and discovered a lot of people who want to delete their Kboards accounts and all their posts, but are unable to do so.

Evidently, the estate of the now-deceased founder and proprietor of KBoards sold the operation to a business group with which PG was not previously familiar. The new owners have changed the Terms of Service and several posts indicate that KBoards moderators are in the dark about what’s going on.

The new owner appears to be VerticalScope Inc., a privately-held corporation headquartered in Toronto. VerticalScope evidently purchases vertically-oriented web properties. The company’s website lists sites in the following categories:

  • Automotive
  • Powersports
  • Technology
  • Sports
  • Outdoor Equipment
  • Pets
  • Outdoor
  • Home Improvement
  • Hobbies & Collectibles
  • Health & Wellness

PG searched for KBoards on the VerticalScope website but was unable to discover into which vertical the company plans to place KBoards. PG checked the VerticalScope Press Release page but could find no mention of KBoards.

VerticalScope further describes its business strategy as follows:

We leverage our deep in-house expertise in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Internet marketing, and traffic acquisition to build highly targeted, successful online communities and websites. Our arsenal of tools includes a significant portfolio of irreplaceable, generic domain names we have acquired over the past decade. These domains drive organic type-in traffic to our web properties resulting in hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts arriving at our network every month by means of direct navigation.

Through targeted acquisitions and development, VerticalScope has built a portfolio of more than 600+ websites with more than 25 million aggregate pages of content and more than 105 Million unique visitors per month – and growing.

It appears VerticalScope lists its job openings on LinkedIn.

When PG checked, there were two job openings. Support Representative and Account Executive, (Digital).

Here’s an excerpt from the job description for the Support Representative:

Responsibilities:

Review flagged ratings, doctor verification requests, doctor profile updates and other related information
Clearly and consistently enforce RateMDs’ review standards
Respond promptly to users’ inquiries by email or phone
Triage requests and unresolved issues to the designated internal stakeholder group
Lead onboarding sessions for new clients
Troubleshoot and report site issues
Answer emails/tickets professionally
Research required information using available resources
Identify and escalate priority issues
Manage and monitor the forum for spam and user compliance
Assist with quality assurance and testing of new products and features
Contact and solicit feedback from churned organic clients
Generate and update patient, provider and internal facing usage, review and support guidelines
Generate and refine usage guidelines for forum users and staff
Take part in onboarding of new RateMDs support staff
Guide users through navigating and using the sit

Qualifications:

Post-secondary degree, diploma or equivalent
Strong interpersonal skills, tact and discretion
Customer service orientation
Ability to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing
A capacity for working well under pressure, meeting set objectives and capability to generate responsible solutions to day-to-day problems
Knowledge of customer service principles and practices
Knowledge of relevant computer applications, such as word, excel, vBulletin, internet explorer / firefox / chrome
High attention to detail and accuracy
Strong ability to prioritize and pivot as necessary
Ability to recognize and adapt to changing conditions, including re-definition of role as needed
Start-up experience, a plus
Experience in a health practice or clinic environment is an asset
Interest in IT, including internet media is an asset
Ability to learn quickly and work with minimal supervision
Understanding of forum communities an asset

And for the Account Executive (Digital) position:

We are seeking a client-facing Account Executive with responsibility for Sales Prospecting, Lead Management, Client Communication, Customer Service, and aggressive Revenue Growth for a defined Sales Territory.

Act as both a Social Media consultant and subject matter expert on our assorted products, services, tools and sponsorship programs
Manage a portfolio of new and existing clients with a view towards revenue and territory growth that meets or exceeds company targets
Interact with Ad Operations, Sales Support, Finance, Community Management and Editorial teams as required to execute successful online advertising campaigns and sponsorships for clients
Represent the company at industry events and tradeshows in order to generate new revenue opportunities and strengthen client relationships
Negotiate costs and terms of online campaigns with clients
Actively prospect for new business opportunities and ways to increase revenue
Utilize Salesforce CRM software to track daily sales activities and schedule appropriate communication activities with client base
Develop and maintain Revenue Forecasting and Sales Reporting tools as outlined by company policies and timelines

Desired Skills and Experience

2-3 years of Online sales experience, preferably in Media Sales
General understanding of Marketing, Advertising and emerging Social Media trends
University or College-level education
Proficient in MS Office, SalesForce (or other CRM) software
Above-average communication skills
Entrepreneurial skills, ability to thrive in growing organization
Willingness to travel and attend industry events/meetings across North America.
Team player with experience at collaborating with cross-functional teams
Cost negotiation skills and demonstrated ability to close business
Experience managing large and diverse portfolio of clients with varying sales cycles
Exceptionally well-organized
Interest and experience in the automotive or outdoor pursuits sector is a valuable asset

At the end of this post is a copy of the new KBoards Terms of Use and Notices evidently created by VerticalScope.

PG hasn’t had a chance to comb through this document in detail, but a quick scan revealed the following interesting (at least to PG) provisions. VerticalScope doesn’t include paragraph numbers, so if you want to see any of this in context, you’ll need to do a word search. Other than the section headings, emphasis is PG’s:

 

Submissions

By posting/sending a message in any public electronic forum on the Web Site, you agree to have that message along with your name and/or user name posted for public viewing both here and in other promotional and advertising materials and on other VerticalScope Inc. web sites, without compensation. KBOARDS.COM does not undertake to necessarily post every submission. All messages that are posted here represent the opinions of the individuals or organizations posting those messages, and do not express the ideas or opinions of KBOARDS.COM or VerticalScope Inc. You may copy the posted messages for personal use, but redistribution in any way requires the written permission of KBOARDS.COM. In consideration of this authorization, you agree that any copy you make of any message(s) located on this web site shall retain all copyright and other proprietary notices contained therein.

You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the content posted by you on or through the Web Site or otherwise have the right to grant the license set forth below, and (ii) the Posting of your content does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights or any other rights of any person.

You agree to grant to KBOARDS.COM a non exclusive, royalty free, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual license to reproduce, distribute, transmit, sublicense, create derivative works of, publicly display, publish and perform any materials and other information you submit to any public areas, chat rooms, bulletin boards, newsgroups or forums of KBOARDS.COM or which you provide by email or any other means to KBOARDS.COM and in any media now known or hereafter developed. Further, you grant to KBOARDS.COM the right to use your name and or user name in connection with the submitted materials and other information as well as in connection with all advertising, marketing and promotional material related thereto, together with use on any other VerticalScope Inc. web sites. You agree that you shall have no recourse against VerticalScope Inc. for any alleged or actual infringement or misappropriation of any proprietary right in your communications to KBOARDS.COM.

. . . .

Preservation of Intellectual Property Rights

All material on this site, including, but not limited to images, illustrations and multimedia materials, is protected by copyrights which are owned and controlled by KBOARDS.COM or by other parties that have licensed their material to KBOARDS.COM. Material from this Web Site or from any other web site owned, operated, licensed or controlled by VerticalScope Inc. may not be copied, reproduced, republished, uploaded, posted, transmitted, or distributed in any way. Modification of the materials or use of the materials for any other purpose is a violation of the copyrights and other proprietary rights held by the respective providers thereof. The use of any such material on any other web site, ftp server or network environment is prohibited.

. . . .

Classified Advertising

The Web Site may include certain classified advertising services. When you submit a classified ad for publication on the Web Site, you agree that the advertisement as it appears on the Web Site becomes our property and you assign all ownership interest in the advertisement as it appears on the Web Site under copyright law or otherwise to us.

 

Here’s the entire VerticalScope TOU:

KBOARDS.COM

WEB SITE TERMS & CONDITIONS OF USE

KBOARDS.COM is owned and operated by VerticalScope Inc. of Toronto, Ontario.

KBOARDS.COM reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time, and you agree that each visit you make to KBOARDS.COM shall be subject to the current terms and conditions as published on our website at www.KBOARDS.COM (the ‘Web Site’)

General Terms of Use

By accessing KBOARDS.COM you are agreeing to be bound by these Web Site Terms & Conditions of Use and all applicable laws and regulations, and you agree that you are solely responsible for compliance with any applicable local laws. If you do not agree with any of these terms, do not use this site. Any claim relating to KBOARDS.COM shall be governed by the laws of the Province of Ontario, Canada. The materials contained on the Web Site are protected by applicable copyright and trademark laws.

Internet Etiquette

Electronic forums such as email distribution lists, web-based forums, and classified advertising lists that may be provided by KBOARDS.COM have ground rules and established etiquette for posting messages or material to these forums. Users should be considerate of the expectations and sensitivities of others on the network when posting material for electronic distribution. You may not use the Web Site to impersonate another person or misrepresent that you have authorization to act on behalf of KBOARDS.COM or any other party. All messages transmitted by you should correctly identify you as the sender. Any attempt to alter the system configuration, to breach the security of the network, to gain unauthorized access to other users. email accounts, or any other attempt at ‘hacking’, is prohibited, and will result in the immediate cancellation of all access and privileges and the possibility of criminal and/or civil charges being brought.

Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

Throughout the Web Site we have provided links and pointers to Internet sites maintained by third parties, sometimes through third party advertisements. Our linking to such third-party sites does not imply an endorsement or sponsorship of such sites, or the information, products or services offered on or through the sites. In addition, neither we nor any of our respective affiliated companies operate or control in any respect any information, products or services that third parties may provide on or through the Web Site or on websites linked to by us on the Web Site.

THE INFORMATION, PRODUCTS AND SERVICES OFFERED ON OR THROUGH THE SITE AND ANY THIRD-PARTY SITES ARE PROVIDED “AS IS” AND WITHOUT WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED. TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMISSIBLE PURSUANT TO APPLICABLE LAW, WE DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. WE DO NOT WARRANT THAT THE SITE OR ANY OF ITS FUNCTIONS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT ANY PART OF THIS SITE, INCLUDING BULLETIN BOARDS, OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE IT AVAILABLE, ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.

WE DO NOT WARRANT OR MAKE ANY REPRESENTATIONS REGARDING THE USE OR THE RESULTS OF THE USE OF THE SITE OR MATERIALS ON THIS SITE OR ON THIRD-PARTY SITES IN TERMS OF THEIR CORRECTNESS, ACCURACY, TIMELINESS, RELIABILITY OR OTHERWISE.

You must provide and are solely responsible for all hardware and/or software necessary to access the Web Site. You assume the entire cost of and responsibility for any damage to, and all necessary maintenance, repair or correction of, that hardware and/or software.

The Web Site is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended for trading or investing purposes, or for commercial use. The Web Site should not be used in any high risk activities where damage or injury to persons, property, environment, finances or business may result if an error occurs. You expressly assume all risk for such use.

Certain sections of the Web Site may allow you to purchase many different types of products and services online that are provided by third parties. We are not responsible for the quality, accuracy, timeliness, reliability or any other aspect of these products and services. If you make a purchase from a merchant on the Web Site or on a site linked to by the Web Site, the information obtained during your visit to that merchant’s online store or site, and the information that you give as part of the transaction, such as your credit card number and contact information, may be collected by both the merchant and us. A merchant may have privacy and data collection practices that are different from ours. We have no responsibility or liability for these independent policies. In addition, when you purchase products or services on or through the Web Site, you may be subject to additional terms and conditions that specifically apply to your purchase or use of such products or services. For more information regarding a merchant, its online store, its privacy policies, and/or any additional terms and conditions that may apply, visit that merchant’s website and click on its information links or contact the merchant directly. You release us and our affiliates from any damages that you incur, and agree not to assert any claims against us or them, arising from your purchase or use of any products or services made available by third parties through the Web Site.

You agree to be financially responsible for all purchases made by you or someone acting on your behalf through the Web Site. You agree to use the Web Site and to purchase services or products through the Web Site for legitimate purposes only. You also agree not to make any purchases for speculative, false or fraudulent purposes. You agree to only purchase goods or services for yourself or for another person for whom you are legally permitted to do so. When making a purchase for a third party that requires you to submit the third party’s personal information to us or a merchant, you represent that you have obtained the express consent of such third party to provide such third party’s personal information.

In no event shall KBOARDS.COM or its service providers, affiliates, associates, subsidiaries or partners be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages for loss of data or profit, or due to business interruption, arising out of the use of or inability to use the materials contained on the Web Site even if KBOARDS.COM has been notified of the possibility of such damage. Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion of implied warranties, so the above exclusion may not apply to you. This disclaimer of liability applies to any damages or injury caused by any failure of performance, error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, computer virus, communication line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, alteration of, or use of record, whether for breach of contract, tortious behavior, negligence, or under any other cause of action.

The information and opinions expressed in Bulletin Boards, Chat Rooms, or other electronic forums conducted on the Web Site are not necessarily those of KBOARDS.COM or its service providers, affiliates, associates, subsidiaries or partners and KBOARDS.COM makes no representations or warranties regarding that information or those opinions. Neither KBOARDS.COM or its service providers, affiliates, associates, subsidiaries or partners shall be responsible or liable to any person or entity whatsoever for any loss, damage (whether actual, consequential, punitive or otherwise), injury, claim, liability or other cause of any kind or character whatsoever based upon or resulting from any information or opinions provided in such forums.

Limited License

KBOARDS.COM hereby grants you a limited license to view on your computer, print, or download any content made available on the Web Site for which a fee is not charged, for non-commercial, personal, or educational purposes only. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing you may not make any commercial use of such content, either alone or in or with any product which you distribute, or copy or host such content on your or any other person.s web site or FTP server. Nothing contained in this limited license shall be deemed as conferring any right in any copyright, trademark, trade name or other proprietary property of KBOARDS.COM or any other party who owns or has proprietary rights to the content, information and materials provided on the Web Site.

Preservation of Intellectual Property Rights

All material on this site, including, but not limited to images, illustrations and multimedia materials, is protected by copyrights which are owned and controlled by KBOARDS.COM or by other parties that have licensed their material to KBOARDS.COM. Material from this Web Site or from any other web site owned, operated, licensed or controlled by VerticalScope Inc. may not be copied, reproduced, republished, uploaded, posted, transmitted, or distributed in any way. Modification of the materials or use of the materials for any other purpose is a violation of the copyrights and other proprietary rights held by the respective providers thereof. The use of any such material on any other web site, ftp server or network environment is prohibited.

Changes and Improvements

KBOARDS.COM may make changes, improvements, alterations or amendments in and to the products, services, information and materials contained on the Web Site including the terms and conditions of your use of this Web Site, without liability.

Jurisdictional Issues

Due to the nature of the Internet, it is not possible for KBOARDS.COM to restrict access to its web site only to those jurisdictions in which it does business. Some or all of the products and services offered on this web site may not be eligible for solicitation in your jurisdiction. If you are accessing this web site from such a jurisdiction, you should not consider anything on this site as an offer to sell or as a solicitation to the public to purchase any product or service from KBOARDS.COM. This site is for use only by persons residing in jurisdictions where such products and services may legally be sold.

KBOARDS.COM offers services and programs in many parts of the world. The web site may refer to certain services or programs that are not available worldwide. Without specifically limiting the offers made on this web site, reference to such services or programs does not imply that KBOARDS.COM intends to offer such service or programs in all countries or locations.

Unless otherwise specified, the materials contained on the Web Site are presented solely for the purpose of providing information to persons primarily located in Ontario, Canada. This site is controlled and operated by VerticalScope Inc. from its offices in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. KBOARDS.COM makes no representation that any of the materials contained in the Web Site are appropriate or available for use in other locations or jurisdictions. Those who choose to access this site from other locations do so on their own initiative and are responsible for compliance with local laws, if and to the extent local laws are applicable.

This agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the Province of Ontario and the laws of Canada and users of the Web Site irrevocably attorn to the jurisdiction of the courts of the Province of Ontario. Any provisions of this Agreement which are or may be rendered invalid, unenforceable or illegal, shall be ineffective only to the extent of such invalidity, unenforceability or illegality, without affecting the validity, enforceability or legality of the remaining provisions of this Agreement. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties pertaining to the subject matter hereof and supersedes all prior and contemporaneous agreements, understandings, negotiations and discussions, whether oral or written, of the parties.

Privacy

KBOARDS.COM appreciates and respects the privacy concerns of the visitors to its web site. Certain information may be recorded by VerticalScope Inc. and KBOARDS.COM as a matter of course by KBOARDS.COM.s servers in order to track the number of visitors to the Web Site and to help provide an enhanced online experience for the visitor. The type of information tracked by our servers may include the browser and operating system in use by the visitor and the domain name of the visitor.s Internet service provider. Collecting this information allows KBOARDS.COM to optimize the visitor.s web site experience. E mail addresses and other personally identifiable data about visitors to this site are known to KBOARDS.COM only if and when voluntarily submitted by the visitor, for example through the registration process. All personal information collected by KBOARDS.COM is retained by VerticalScope Inc. and/or KBOARDS.COM, and not sold or otherwise provided to third parties, unless there is a disposition of KBOARDS.COM or of part or all of VerticalScope Inc..s business. KBOARDS.COM sometimes uses email addresses and other personally identifiable information to communicate with visitors who have provided KBOARDS.COM with their email addresses. Visitors should be aware that when they voluntarily disclose personal information on bulletin boards or in chat areas, that information can be collected and used by others and may result in unsolicited messages from other parties, notwithstanding that this is expressly prohibited by these Terms and Conditions of Use.

Many of KBOARDS.COM’s web pages may place a ‘cookie’ in the browser files of a visitor’s computer. The cookie itself may not contain any personal information. Although cookies may enable KBOARDS.COM to relate a visitor’s use of the Web Site to information that the visitor may have specifically and knowingly provided, KBOARDS.COM does not do so for any sites specifically designed for and aimed at children. KBOARDS.COM believes that parents should supervise their children’s online activities and should consider using parental control tools available from online services and software manufacturers that help provide a kid-friendly online environment. These tools can also prevent children from disclosing online any personal information without parental permission.

Submissions

By posting/sending a message in any public electronic forum on the Web Site, you agree to have that message along with your name and/or user name posted for public viewing both here and in other promotional and advertising materials and on other VerticalScope Inc. web sites, without compensation. KBOARDS.COM does not undertake to necessarily post every submission. All messages that are posted here represent the opinions of the individuals or organizations posting those messages, and do not express the ideas or opinions of KBOARDS.COM or VerticalScope Inc. You may copy the posted messages for personal use, but redistribution in any way requires the written permission of KBOARDS.COM. In consideration of this authorization, you agree that any copy you make of any message(s) located on this web site shall retain all copyright and other proprietary notices contained therein.

You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the content posted by you on or through the Web Site or otherwise have the right to grant the license set forth below, and (ii) the Posting of your content does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights or any other rights of any person.

You agree to grant to KBOARDS.COM a non exclusive, royalty free, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual license to reproduce, distribute, transmit, sublicense, create derivative works of, publicly display, publish and perform any materials and other information you submit to any public areas, chat rooms, bulletin boards, newsgroups or forums of KBOARDS.COM or which you provide by email or any other means to KBOARDS.COM and in any media now known or hereafter developed. Further, you grant to KBOARDS.COM the right to use your name and or user name in connection with the submitted materials and other information as well as in connection with all advertising, marketing and promotional material related thereto, together with use on any other VerticalScope Inc. web sites. You agree that you shall have no recourse against VerticalScope Inc. for any alleged or actual infringement or misappropriation of any proprietary right in your communications to KBOARDS.COM.

KBOARDS.COM reserves the right to overwrite or replace any affiliate, commercial, or monetizable links, posted by users of KBOARDS.COM, with our own internal tracking. You agree not to post or otherwise make available content that constitutes or contains “affiliate marketing,” “link referral code,” or “unsolicited commercial advertisement.”

In order to maintain an informative and valuable service that meets the needs of the users of the Web Site and avoids the harm that can result from disseminating statements that are false, malicious, in violation of the rights of others, or otherwise harmful, it is necessary to establish the following rules to protect against abuse.

You may not:

Restrict or inhibit any other user from using and enjoying the Web Site.
Use the Web Site to impersonate any person or entity, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity.
Interfere with or disrupt any servers or networks used to provide the Web Site or its features, or disobey any requirements, procedures, policies or regulations of the networks we use to provide the Web Site.
Use the Web Site to instigate or encourage others to commit illegal activities or cause injury or property damage or interfere with business interests or contractual relations of any person.
Gain unauthorized access to the Web Site, or any account, computer system, or network connected to this Web Site, by means such as hacking, password mining or other illicit means.
Obtain or attempt to obtain any materials or information through any means not intentionally made available through this Web Site.
Use the Web Site to post or transmit any unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane or indecent information of any kind, including without limitation any transmissions constituting or encouraging conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any local, state, provincial, national or international law.
Use the Web Site to post or transmit any information, software or other material that violates or infringes upon the rights of others, including material that is an invasion of privacy or publicity rights or that is protected by copyright, trademark or other proprietary right, or derivative works with respect thereto, without first obtaining permission from the owner or rights holder.
Use the Web Site to post or transmit any information, software or other material that contains a virus or other harmful component.
Use the Web Site to post, transmit or in any way exploit any information, software or other material for commercial purposes, or that contains advertising.
Use the Web Site to advertise or solicit to anyone to buy or sell products or services, to cease using the Web Site, to visit another competing Web Site, or to make donations of any kind, without our express written approval.
Gather for marketing purposes any email addresses or other personal information that has been posted by other users of the Site.
You agree to indemnify KBOARDS.COM and VerticalScope Inc. and each of its officers, directors, employees, agents, distributors and affiliates from and against any and all third party claims, demands, liabilities, costs, or expenses, including reasonable legal fees, resulting from your breach of any of the foregoing provisions.

You understand that we have no obligation to monitor any bulletin boards, chat rooms, web logs, or other areas of the Web Site through which users can supply information or material. However, we reserve the right at all times to disclose any information we believe necessary to satisfy any law, regulation or governmental request, or to refuse to post or to remove any information or materials, in whole or in part, that in our sole discretion are objectionable or in violation of these Terms and Conditions of Service. We also reserve the right to deny access to the Web Site or any features of the Web Site to anyone, for any reasons, including as a result of persons who violate these Terms and Conditions of Service or who, in our sole judgment, interferes with the ability of others to enjoy our website or infringes the rights of others.

To access certain features of the Web Site, we may ask you to provide certain demographic information including your gender, year of birth, zip code and country. In addition, if you elect to sign-up for a particular feature of the Web Site, such as chat rooms, web logs, or bulletin boards, you may also be asked to register with us on the form provided and such registration may require you to provide personally identifiable information such as your name and email address. You agree to provide true, accurate, current and complete information about yourself as prompted by the Web Site’s registration form. If we have reasonable grounds to suspect that such information is untrue, inaccurate, or incomplete, we have the right to suspend or terminate your account and refuse any and all current or future use of the Web Site (or any portion thereof). Our use of any personally identifiable information you provide to us as part of the registration process is governed by the terms of our Privacy Policy.

Copyright Infringement Policy

KBOARDS.COM and VerticalScope Inc. reserve the right, but not the obligation, to terminate your license to use the Web Site if determined in the sole and absolute discretion of KBOARDS.COM or VerticalScope Inc. that you are involved in infringing activity, including alleged acts of first-time or repeat infringement, regardless of whether the material or activity is ultimately determined to be infringing. KBOARDS.COM and VerticalScope Inc. accommodate and do not interfere with standard technical measures used by copyright owners to protect their materials. In addition, KBOARDS.COM and VerticalScope Inc. have implemented procedures for receiving written notification of claimed infringements and for processing such claims. If you are a copyright owner who believes your copyrighted material has been reproduced, posted or distributed via the Web Site in a manner that constitutes copyright infringement, please inform our designated copyright agent by sending a written complaint that complies with the requirements below to our designated agent by registered mail or courier:

VerticalScope Legal Department
111 Peter Street, Suite 901
Toronto, ON
M5V 2H1
CANADA
mailto: legal@verticalscope.com

Please include the following information in your written notice regarding any defamatory, or infringing activity, whether of a copyright, patent, trademark or other proprietary right: (1) a detailed description of the copyrighted work that is allegedly infringed upon; (2) a description of the location of the allegedly infringing material on the Web Site; (3) your contact information, including your address, telephone number, and, if available, email address; (4) a statement by you indicating that you have a good-faith belief that the allegedly infringing use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; (5) a statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, affirming that the information in your notice is accurate and that you are authorized to act on the copyright owner’s behalf; and (6) an electronic or physical signature of the copyright owner or someone authorized on the owner’s behalf to assert infringement of copyright and to submit the statement.

Upon the receipt of written notice compliant with the requirements set out above, it is the policy of KBOARDS.COM and VerticalScope Inc. to remove the allegedly infringing material from the Web Site.

KBOARDS.COM and VerticalScope Inc. will deny access to the Web Site or any features of the Web Site to anyone who is the found to be the source of allegedly infringing material and after a warning from KBOARDS.COM, continues to post allegedly infringing material.

Passwords

To use certain features of the Web Site, you will need a username and password, which you will receive through the Web Site’s registration process. You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of the password and account, and are responsible for all activities (whether by you or by others) that occur under your password or account. You agree to notify us immediately of any unauthorized use of your password or account or any other breach of security, and to ensure that you exit from your account at the end of each session. We cannot and will not be liable for any loss or damage arising from your failure to protect your password or account information.

Classified Advertising

The Web Site may include certain classified advertising services. When you submit a classified ad for publication on the Web Site, you agree that the advertisement as it appears on the Web Site becomes our property and you assign all ownership interest in the advertisement as it appears on the Web Site under copyright law or otherwise to us. Submission of an advertisement does not constitute a commitment to publish the advertisement, and publication of an advertisement does not constitute an agreement for continued publication. We will accept only standard abbreviations and require proper punctuation. We reserve the right to edit, reclassify, revise, reject or cancel any advertisement at any time, in our sole discretion. Rates and specifications, if any, are subject to change.

Termination

We may cancel or terminate your right to use the Web Site or any part of the Web Site at any time without notice. In the event of cancellation or termination, you are no longer authorized to access the part of the Web Site affected by such cancellation or termination. The restrictions imposed on you with respect to material downloaded from the Web Site, and the disclaimers and limitations of liabilities set forth in these Terms and Conditions of Service, shall survive.

Why Can’t We Stop Instagramming Our Books?

16 September 2018

From Medium:

Back in April, The New York Times noted an Instagram trend: NYRB Classics were popping up everywhere. The imprint, issued by the New York Review of Books, “specializes in reissuing volumes that have fallen out of print or been otherwise neglected,” the Times reported, yet the books have now “become design objects and totems of intellectual status.”

What attracted people to this relatively obscure set of books? Their design. Their dimensions (in photos shot from above) are identical, their cover layouts are standardized. But their spines are varying, seemingly random, colors. Arranged together — for instance, on a shelf — they are chaos within limits, and perfectly Instagrammable.

This was, by all appearances, unintentional. The NYRB Classics line didn’t set out to be an Instagram favorite; they’ve looked the same for ages. But that reversal of intent might now be occurring elsewhere in the publishing world as, more and more, book jackets are designed with social media in mind.

Of course, books aren’t off-limits as Instagrammable objects. Aesthetic appreciation of books might be more worthwhile than fetishizing other consumer products. Yet, literary purists are likely depressed by the idea that book covers could be designed to be purposefully displayed as totems — that is, as reflections of the reader’s taste and style — without an awareness of the words inside. After all, whatever happened to not judging a book by its cover?

But maybe all is not lost. Maybe sharing book covers on Instagram isn’t just about projecting intellect or lifestyle. Maybe books — as objects used to display one’s taste — are fundamentally different from furniture or clothes. Maybe there’s more beneath the filter.

. . . .

We are not the first generation to spend time arranging the books on our shelves for public display. As far back as the 16th century, members of high society in Britain elaborately embroidered book covers as an alternative to leather binding. In the late 1800s, the craft underwent a revival.

“In a variety of publications, from magazines to histories of bookbinding and collecting, middle-class Englishwomen were encouraged to ply their needles within an explicitly patriotic historical tradition,” Jessica Roberson, an Ahmanson-Getty postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, wrote earlier this year in a review of a spate of late-19th century book embroidery histories.

Link to the rest at Medium

As a consequence of PG’s sheltered life, he had never heard of book embroidery.

In the event one or two of the visitors to TPV are in the same sorry state of ignorance, here is an example of book embroidery. It is the embroidered cover to a 1578 edition of The Epistles of St. Paul, owned by Queen Elisabeth.

Here is yet another example of book embroidery.

As PG is certain many have immediately surmised, this is an embroidered book cover for Henshaw’s Horae Successivae (1632), white satin with a floral design edged in gold cord, featured in Cyril Davenport’s English Embroidered Book-bindings (1899).

PG must note that he has always preferred the 1891 edition of Davenport’s masterpiece due to a better job of typesetting. The 1899 edition was basically a rush job necessary to meet unexpected demand when Lord Curzon praised it as the definitive work in its field and said he would be taking his copy to India.

As members of a particularly astute group, visitors to TPV have undoubtedly realized that causing the death of book embroidery is yet another sin one may be accused of committing when one purchases an ebook instead of a printed book.

If you are one of those sinners and need a snappy retort, you can point out that Amazon offers handmade fabric iPad covers created by Hmong artisans living in the Lanna district of Northern Thailand. You can also ask any critics whether they realize that the northern Hmong tribes originate from the Tibetan area of China, so they are refugee artisans. Additional points may be awarded for this attribute.

Next Page »