Apr. 6th, 2017

shadowkat: (Default)
Before, going further, if you know me well, you'll know that it takes a lot to get me to move or leave something. I do not do it lightly. Pit-bull mentality. And like most people, I don't like moving or change. I will hold on tightly to things, most people would have let go of long ago. It's not necessarily something I'm proud of, although it has served me well at times -- and I guess you can say that it demonstrates two things 1)I'm loyal to a fault, and 2) I don't give up on these easily.

That said, I will walk away if something pushes me too far or I feel it is not in my best interests to remain. I walked away from a job in NYC without another one in place. I walked away from a 25 year old friendship. And I walked away from an apartment and neighborhood that I'd resided in for 16 years. But it took a lot to get me to go...often it is just a steady build up of things. Which was the case with Live Journal, a steady build up of things over time, before I finally got fed up and said, fuck this, I'm gone.

Spoke briefly with a Russian co-worker about the LJ thing again today. Basically, I told him that I deleted it. He laughed at me, stating that Apple's user agreement was worse. He doesn't understand why I deleted it. Now, a couple things to keep in mind about my Russian co-worker, 1) he is an economics and finance major with no background in law, let alone copyright law. He basically knows about as much about law as I do about economics. 2) He has an account on lj that he got while in Russia, while it was owned by a Russian corporation, and knows nothing about what it was like prior to that. 3) He's Russian. 4) He doesn't use his account and has no content in it.

Regarding the legal bit and how he thinks Apple's agreement is worse...I saw the same comments by folks on lj who didn't understand what all the fuss was about and thought we were over-reacting. What a lot of people don't understand about user and shrink-wrap agreements is they are subject to the laws of the jurisdictions and countries upon which they've been written or their products reside. People think what is in a contract trumps the laws of the specific jurisdiction. (no pun intended). Not true. In other words, you can't write a user agreement that violates US and International Copyright Law, regarding content protected by those laws and expect it to stand up in court. It won't. But if you have written a contract for a product or service that resides in a country that does not fall under US and/or International Copyright Law, that is not an issue.

That's why the corporation that owns Live Journal moved their servers to Russia, so that their User Agreement would be governed by Russian Federation Copyright Laws and Statutes, not International (of which they are sort of a member, but not completely,) or US. US and Russia do not share the same views regarding information and freedom of speech, regardless of who our current President is. Trump doesn't get to decide what our laws are -- he doesn't have power over that. He's not a dictator. Our courts will strike him down, actually they've already done so. And no he's not reading our emails -- the US has laws in place that protect us to an extent. To read Hillary's private emails, they had to get a warrant. They couldn't do it willy-nilly. There are privacy laws in place. Recently Apple went to court and won -- when the federal government attempted to get them to help unlock information on a gunman's cell phone. They said that went against US law, etc.

I went to law school to learn the rules. I wanted to know what the laws were and how they functioned. And then I ended up working in international copyright and content licensing for about six years -- and for the last twenty, have worked on various contracts. I've done almost every user agreement and contract on the planet, including a few that I had to translate from a foreign language.

So...let's just say I know a little something about how copyright and contract laws work. And, I read the user agreements prior to joining a service. I used to laugh at people on fan discussion boards, who'd violate the rules governing the board and find themselves booted to the curb. Seriously, did they read the rules? They are at the top of the board. It's easy. I read Live Journal's user agreement prior to joining live journal. I didn't just up and join it. I thought about it for a year. I had more than one person give me an invite and try to talk me into it. I did the same thing with Dreamwidth, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Actually the reason I rarely post and aren't a contributor to Tumblr is I despise their user agreement -- which basically gives people to repost anything you post without thinking twice about it. Twitter and Facebook are similar. But it's easier to control FB, you just restrict the people who can view it. Also you can delete stuff from FB, and it goes away from everyone's feeds. Twitter -- no, and neither does Tumblr. Not crazy about FB either to be honest. Very careful about what I post on that. And I rarely Tweet, because of what I just stated - it can take a random comment, post out of context, and go viral in seconds.

What bugs me about the Live Journal is after it was sold to the Russian Corp, the rules kept changing. And often without warning or notice. So did the type-face and coding. They said they improved it, but not from my perspective. It got harder to access, the style kept changing and I'd have to keep changing it back, I'd get kicked out of it, it had error messages when I posted comments, and once I had to ask them how to fix the style on my Friend's page that they'd altered, making the page impossible to read. They were making the service more and more like Twitter and FB and Tumblr and Reddit, and not in good ways.

After a while, it ceased being the service that I'd agreed to join. User rankings were installed -- which promotes content competition and narcissism. Ads popped up. Russian language icons and comments. Often Russian spam. You could now repost/share someone's entire post without asking them with a click of a button. You could share posts on Twitter and FB and a Russian FB page.

It became increasingly complicated to use, with a lot of bells and whistles I did not need or like.

Then it jumped from the US servers to Russia's servers, which meant US copyright law no longer applied to content posted on my journal. I'm a US citizen, who has studied US copyright law. Who has a US law degree. And knows that Russia is a different culture and, I'm sorry, not a friend of the US.
I remember the cold war. Add to that, they messed with our election, and did it through electronic means. They've been hacking in and setting up fake news sites, and using social media for the last five-six years to manipulate American news sources and politicians. There's evidence of it. The US government is actively investigating it, and has imposed sanctions. We could end up in a War. We're not allies. It's not like England taking control or France or Sweden or Australia..or Germany, it's frigging Russia. And, I'm sorry, your content resides where the servers reside. So if the servers reside in Russia, my content is residing in Russia and is subject to Russian laws, regardless of what I do. I have some protection over it, if I don't sign the agreement but not a lot, because honestly how will I fight that?

That's why I left. I didn't do it on a whim. I did it after months of thinking about it. I had already imported most, if not all my content to DW. And I may have stayed a while longer, cross-posting and only posting photos that I couldn't post here, if it weren't for the user agreement from hell and the fact that they blocked my access to my own content if I refused to sign it. I considered that blackmail and balked.
shadowkat: (River Song)
A good article on Buffy's 20th Anniversary.

Neverless She Persisted - a Look Back at Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Much is made of the show’s first scene, in which gender stereotypes are inverted, and a petite blonde (in this case the vampire Darla) reveals herself to be the powerful one against a world of male aggression and violence. But Buffy was also a show about surviving and about survivors (as, in the fullness of time, we would even learn about Darla herself – a woman who accepted vampirism as her revenge on a world’s puritanical scorn). The continuous visual incongruity of Buffy’s “waif-fu” of tiny women kicking ass has been often critiqued in the intervening years, but it in fact makes an important point about the tendency to overlook, minimize, and infantilize the suffering of young people and particularly young women. In “The Gift,” another of the show’s signature episodes, the teaser ends with the victim Buffy has saved (again male) sputtering: “but you’re just a girl!” Buffy, in the midst with another crippling choice, another taxing ordeal, responds with impossible weariness: ‘That’s what I keep saying.”

The world Buffy moves in, like ours, is one hostile by design to the marginal and minority. Buffy’s Sunnydale is a town built for demons to feed on; its world, its architecture and landscape, are zones of massacre and atrocity: dorms haunted by sexually repressed teens; ribbon-cuttings obscuring colonial genocides; the high school and its terrorized students perched upon the Mouth of Hell itself. Sunnydale is America writ small: a sparkling optimism sugarcoating a history of violence. “Silence is this town’s disease,” Joyce Summers insists, rejecting a somber (and cynical) “moment of silence” – a metaphor made literal (as so many metaphors on Buffy were) when the fairytale Gentleman descend on Sunnydale’s streets, stealing their victims’ voices. In a place presided over by grinningly polite patriarchal mayors and death-white leers in suits, Sunnydale is another Flint, another (as Mr Trick points out), Mayberry, a place where “You’re going to die screaming, but you won’t be heard.”

What I noticed is Buffy turned a lot of long established television and genre tropes on their ear or upside down.

Things have changed now, of course. But back then...I was constantly thinking, OMG, I can't believe they just did that, and it worked.

The show felt like it was a tight rope act, without a net. Taking risks no one else did, and below the radar. Scaring off the culture critics with its funky title and premise, yet the title was a joke - telling us right up front that this was a show that was going to break the rules, and flip genre perceptions and tropes on their proverbial heads, Created by a film major, and media studies student, who had a couple of bones to pick with the horror genre, it ended up in some respects flipping that genre on its head and being a really good commentary in the process of our frakked up culture. In some respects it foreshadowed what was to come politically...with it's villains, the egomanical Glorificus and the Mayor...both of which we see weird mirrors of now, in our political and cultural climate.

I miss Buffy. I miss the crazy-ass, smart as blazes, witty, fandom more. Buffy in many ways was an inspiration...at that time, and now, she jumped onto the screen when I needed her most -- having just moved to NYC, on my own, without many prospects. She comforted me during 9/11 and what came after.
And she popped off...just as I was beginning to figure stuff out...yet remaining in the background, with the inspirational echo...if there's a will there's a way, don't give up. And don't let your demons get the better of you. Slay the bastards, instead, one frigging demon at a time. Because life like it or not can feel at times like a town named Sunnydale sitting atop a Hellmouth, ready to collaspe into it at any moment. Just don't let it suck you in ss well.


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