January 17, 2005

Seth and Ernest in the Spotlight [8:04 pm]

Interesting to see that one of the few new items that I’ve had the chance to take a look into made today’s New York Times: CBS News Draws Ire of Bloggers [pdf]

“I’d written a couple of pieces on the document earlier in the week,” said Ernest Miller, a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School who writes a popular blog on Internet law (www.corante.com/importance). “Then I noticed that I couldn’t copy and paste from the report as I did in days past.”

With the help of Seth Finkelstein, a programmer and fellow blogger (sethf.com/infothought/blog/), Mr. Miller found that the document’s encryption settings had been changed and, as a result, the text could not be copied. Anyone who downloaded the panel’s report from either the CBS News servers or those of the law firm would have to retype any passages they wished to include in, say, an e-mail message or a blog post.

In the lightning-fast realm of online commentary, the change was akin to dumping molasses on a blogger’s keyboard. “Now why would CBS News do that?” Mr. Miller asked on his Web site. “What happened to the transparency?”

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