Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More on Frenkel, Niro business

In a post titled Is the Patent Troll Tracker a reporter?, Joe Mullin discussed some of the recent back and forth between [former?] troll tracker Rick Frenkel and Ray Niro.

Mike Masnick at TechDirt picked up on some of this in a post Blogging vs. Journalism Question A Key Point In Compelling The Troll Tracker To Testify which included a comment

This debate is moot. As Joe Mullin reported in part 1 of his recent series, the lawyers at Niro Scavone Haller & Niro have dropped their demand to depose Frenkel. So, for now, any question about whether Frenkel was as bona fide journalist is moot.
It might be reasonable to take the position that Frenkel was a paided corporate shill dishonestly pretending to be a disinterested journalist....
That position still wouldn't justify Niro's bounty.
If you subpoena a witness and then put a price on their head, then that should be go-directly-to-jail witness intimidation.
And when you put a bounty on someone before you subpoena them as a witness, well, the only reason for not seeing that as go-directly-to-jail witness intimidation is that it was a frivolous subpoena and Niro never actually meant to conduct the deposition. He was just abusing the court's process to harass Frenkel.
Anyhow, the Honorable Magistrate Judge Howard Lloyd should have acted to stop Niro's abuse of the court's process. But don't hold your breath on any sanctions with teeth.
Lawyers like Niro are above the law these days.
I hope Niro puts his next bounty on someone who's not afraid to pull the trigger.

Returning to Mullin, there was text:

But of course, nobody needs a license or a degree to be a journalist (good thing, too.) Even before the age of 'participatory media' that's now blurring all the lines, the practice of finding and verifying facts is just that—a practice, one that's open to anyone in a free country.

IPBiz remembers a post on californiastemcellreport (authored by a person who was a professional journalist) stating that a certain scientist got a grant from CIRM, when said scientist did NOT get a grant from CIRM. There was later an interesting thread about whether bloggers verified facts, or indeed whether journalists were obligated to verify the truth of a single published (non-anonymous) source. If verification were not needed, as the journalist seemed to contend, then writers of all stripes will have a field day perusing law review articles. Gary Boone as inventor of the integrated circuit is only the beginning.

Mullin also had a link to USC guidelines on journalism, which started off with the text:

No plagiarism

By now, you've likely discovered that writing is hard work. You certainly don't want someone else swiping your effort and presenting it as his or her own.

So don't steal others' work.

Such theft is plagiarism. It includes not just cutting and pasting whole articles, but copying photos, graphics, video and even large text excerpts from others and putting them on your web page as well.

If you want to reference something on another website, link it instead.

If you are concerned that the page you're linking to will disappear, give your readers the name of the publication that published the page, its date of publication and a short summary of its content. Just like news reporters used to reference other content before the Web. (“In a Sept. 20 report, the Wall Street Journal reported....").

When in doubt, do both. There's no such thing as too much supporting information.

If the folks at USC think this practice is being followed by many, they are simply in dreamland.

IPBiz enjoyed the reference to the Sikahema effect (If you are concerned that the page you're linking to will disappear... ).
In fact, Vai Sikahema made a reference this week to the value of YouTube in preserving old material, and how one might be surprised at what's on YouTube. IPBiz bets that Vai has not placed "Rutgers is Wrong" on YouTube.


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