Letters to the Editor

Microsoft's not the only Web host that wants your content; George W. is a puppet and a paper tiger.

By Letters to the Editor
July 9, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)
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Microsoft wants you, too

BY ANDREW LEONARD

(07/02/99)

It's not just Yahoo/Geocities and
Microsoft doing this; apparently this is becoming a familiar clause in the
terms of service contracts. I did not realize this until I informed a friend of
the Geocities scandal and she said, "Read your Xoom TOS." Sure
enough, there it was! Tripod also assumes this same claim. There may be
others too.

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I find this trend deeply disturbing. And I, for one, am looking for a new
site for my Web page.

-- Jacqueline Allgood

Indianapolis

I wonder why both
Yahoo and Microsoft do not simply rewrite their terms of service in plain
English, expressing specifically what they claim they are requesting the
rights for. For example, "The user grants the provider the right to copy
and move content between servers that are part of the provider's system,
including mirror sites."

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I doubt that any provider has been successfully sued for moving files
from one server to another. I know from personal experience with
Geocities that moving or copying
files to other servers has been standard procedure and invisible to the
member for the most part. Members do not care about that.

What I see in the legal double speak is Yahoo or Microsoft wanting to
use their members' work for free in advertisements for their service as
they see fit. No way. Free web space boils down to this simple equation:
server space provided in return for content, which is necessary to
attract advertisers. Both Yahoo
and Microsoft missed the boat by assuming their members (or potential
members) were as greedy as they are. They also gambled that their
members would ignore the fine print. Live and learn.

All any provider has to do in order to use someone's work in an
advertisement is to ask. Most users would be flattered to be recognized
by their provider and would be happy to allow a provider to use their
work to promote the provider's service (and the member's
site as well). No matter how many disclaimers either organization places on top of the verbiage, anyone with a bit of
common sense is going to see that those words could be
interpreted in another way to the member's loss.

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-- Anthony Dauer


Slashdot sells out

BY JANELLE BROWN
(06/30/99)

The SlashDot site works because it has
the intimacy and irreverence of an insular college bulletin-board system
(which indeed is how it started). That its now on the Internet hasn't slowed it down, partly because participants are allowed
to remain anonymous. It's a bridge from college to
real life for a lot of 20-something technogeeks. When I was that age,
there weren't many of us, certainly not enough of us for anything like a
community; we were all distracted by working on a variety of very
different proprietary systems, and the Internet was just being
conceived.

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That it's not a moderated site works to its advantage, I think. I mean,
you're reading stuff on the Net, so you accept that
you'll run across some people who use bad words and/or forgot to take
their medication. The forum is obviously not censored,
and that's good -- it's real lively, and one can
only hope that the site will mature.

-- Robert Munro

George W.'s California swing
BY ANTHONY YORK

(06/29/99)


and


All things to all checkbooks

BY ANTHONY YORK
(07/01/99)

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It appears that with all the talk of maintaining momentum and keeping the candidate away
from hard press interviews, there is a real weakness just under the
surface. Let's face it, Bush is not the sharpest knife
in the drawer. No matter how scripted and glossy the candidate becomes,
eventually he will have to prove to the public that he has the political
acumen and intelligence to be their commander in chief. While Gore may
lack the charisma and media-savvy necessary to win an election, he can
run circles around Bush in any sort of intellectual debate. It seems
that everyone from the Silicon Valley to GOP headquarters in
Washington sees a puppet candidate they can trot out like a movie star; but in actuality, he is nothing but a paper tiger.

-- Jesse Reiner

Being a staunchly independent Texan, and having voted for Ann Richards and
George W., I truly can see why the Republican Party is so enamored with
George W. Bush. He is charismatic and reminds me of his father, pre-Reagan
administration -- meaning that he is fairly centrist in his views; in
a lot of ways he is like Bill Clinton, minus the sexual baggage. His
biggest asset (and biggest problem) is that he leaves well enough alone.
He is not a great idea politician.

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Your analogy of his hype with that of "Star Wars" was an interesting choice.
I must disagree with your conclusion, though: If he suffers an analogous fate to "Star Wars," making $350 million in six weeks, he'll be the next president!

-- Jeff Holsinger


I'm not Hillary

BY JAKE TAPPER

(07/02/99)

There is a slight historical inaccuracy in the statement
that "Tipper Gore held fast to the PMRC's hope that the music industry would
voluntarily tag their records with warning labels."

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I recall those days very well, indeed, and the way I remember it is that the
PMRC initially pursued a censorious agenda aimed at eliminating offensive
(to them) song lyrics altogether. Their "hope" at that time was to obtain
legislation outlawing the production of such material. After the inevitable
outcry and Senate hearings -- of which Frank Zappa's wonderfully eloquent
testimony was the highlight -- the PMRC successively modified their stance to
asking for legislation requiring the labeling of musical media products as
offensive; when that didn't work either, they settled for voluntary
labeling.

Make no mistake about it: The PMRC, led by Tipper Gore, proposed to mandate
for the rest of us what our musical tastes should be. Only the intervention
of reasonable minds prevented this travesty upon the First Amendment.

-- David E. Sallis

Bay St. Louis, Miss.


Follow the leader

BY LAURA ROZEN

(07/02/99)

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The Albanians in Kosovo decided on their own to boycott Yugoslav
institutions -- like education, health, etc. -- after 1990. In the field of education, for example, this led to high levels of
illiteracy among Albanian children in the 1990s and a dramatic decline in
literacy from the period when Albanians participated in Yugoslavia's rather
good state education system.

The opportunities to participate in the system were never denied to
Albanians by the Yugoslav authorities. The Albanians stayed away for
reasons of ethnic nationalism. Rozen's article leaves a completely
wrong impression about these matters.

-- John Xiros Cooper

Coquitlam, British Columbia

Why doesn't anyone have dropsy anymore?
BY MARY ROACH
(07/02/9)

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Dr. Robert Berkow's sniffing dismissal of herbs as
medicine serves is a wonderful example of why
alternative treatments (and practitioners) continue to
gain in popularity.

In his arrogance, he seems to have forgotten that the
majority of medicines are derived from plants, not
from test tubes. Of course, the patient who goes to the garden for
healing bypasses both the medical establishment and
the drug companies, depriving them of profits.

Sad, isn't it?

-- Beverley Muldoon

Alternative juju
BY JENN SHREVE

(07/02/99)

I frequently pick up a hostile attitude toward emerging topics in
holistic health. Your tendency to
ridicule and to present the most extremely dysfunctional cases (people
shopping with gloves on, rearranging shelves etc.) as examples speak to me
of your lack of understanding, and fear of what you don't understand.

I have had excellent results managing my health through an informed
program of alternatives for the past 30 years. My friends who follow
the conventional program of medical testing, drugs and surgeries suffer
more with various health disorders, many of which I suspect are caused by
medical interventions itself.

The medical establishment is of course a powerful and wealthy interest,
and welcomes efforts such as yours, to discredit any alternatives that
direct dollars away from it's coffers.

-- Lisa Solaris

Courtroom cage match!
BY ERIC BOEHLERT

(06/29/99)

Vince McMahon Jr. is as slick as his overly gelled hair! His
programming is basically an extended Jerry Springer show, complete with
chair tossing and an audience of people who probably haven't voted,
don't own a library card and see spousal abuse as a friendly game of
bitch slapping.

McMahon seems to be at his best when he is screwing over the Hart
family. I watched a well-done documentary on Bret Hart, Owen's
brother, and his struggles with McMahon, and couldn't believe the
frankness. The camera captured Bret's negotiations with McMahon; the
viewer could see the lying and double-crossing that led up to McMahon's
decision to have the ref count Hart out in his final WWF bout. You could
see the pain and anger that drove Hart to punch the promoter
after the show. How a wrestler could walk into a negotiation with that
snake and think he or she is getting a fair shake is incredible!

I wish the Hart family the best and hope they are able to take McMahon
to the cleaners of this deal. I also hope that within five years, we
will be asking ourselves "Vince Who?" and that the cable market will
progress to a higher form of entertainment.

-- Linda Gilchriest

Houston


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