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I'm going to do something novel and strange here: I'm going to agree with Ed Ropple.

See, Ed is a STRICT Libertarian, whereas I still waffle on some issues, mainly about business (I think NAFTA needs to die), to the point where I might as well say "fuck it" and adopt Socialist Democracy. Ed and I disagree on a lot of things having to do with business, and one of his favourite things to say is "vote with your feet".

That's what I'm saying about thew New Strikethrough. But with a twist.

The new issue seems to be that after their horribly flawed Strikethrough campaign - where they got rid of just about anyone that mentioned any kind of child love (be it fictional stories, something in interests, etc.; they got a LOT of false positives, because they're trusting stupid amateurs at LJ Abuse) - they're doing it again, but this time, to anyone that posts what appears to be child pornography, even if it's a drawn image.

Now, we can question the legality of what might or might not be a US Law if we want - I think making drawn depictions of fictional characters of any age illegal is fucking retarded, and only brings us closer to a fascist state, and I'd rather them only try to punish people that actually, you know, try to hurt a kid - but the fact of the matter is that whether it's legal or not, Livejournal said it was a no-no on their ToS long before Six Apart bought them. Six Apart - who is constantly under pressure from groups with nothing better to do than pressure people to get things their way - is going to adhere to the laws of America, whether they agree with them or not. The fact of the matter is that they don't want images of child sex - fake or otherwise - or shota, or whatever the fuck you want to call it, on their servers. Period, end of story. Chances are good that anyone that got suspended or shut down deserved it.

Now, people can say it's "wrong" of Livejournal all they want, but what I'm seeing is a talked about mass exodus towards Greatest Journal, or towards a hosted Wordpress blog. As if these are safe havens against the tyranny of United States law, or the "Draconian" Six Apart. First off, this is bullshit; no one's going anywhere unless they're forced to. A lot of these people I see complaining are idiotic teenagers that don't have the balls to do anything in life, much less rail against corporate entities. Writing a story or drawing a picture where Snape fucks Harry Potter in the ass while Hermoine looks on and fingers herself does not make you a rebel, it makes you yet another anonymous pansy on the internet who has some repressed sexual frustrations that you have to take care of, preferably with professional help. And 9/10 of the people complaining today, if someone from SA/LJ came out and said "we're giving away *insert shiny thing here*", they'd go "Yay! They love us so!" Everyone would drop like Wile E. Coyote over a cliff.

But this assumption that things are that much better on Wordpress, or Greatest Journal or Deadjournal or MySpace or Facebook or Teen Happening Internet Place To Meed Paedophiles is misguided. You don't think Wordpress or GJ will do the same thing? Under the letter of the law (again, stupid law, beside the point), they have to; they both delete journals that violate these laws. The difference seems to be power of enforcement. So anyone that decides to put their stupid, idiotic HP porn, or what have you, on GJ or WP, chances are good, sooner than later, it's going to get noticed, flagged and deleted.

"But they don't have the right! I'm a paid account holder!". Hold on:

You agree that LiveJournal, in its sole discretion, may terminate your password, journal, or account, and remove and discard any content within the Service, for any reason, including and without limitation, the lack of use, or if LiveJournal believes that you have violated or acted inconsistently with the letter or spirit of the TOS. Any contracts, verbal or written or assumed, in conjunction with your deleted journal and all its parts, at LiveJournal's discretion, will be terminated as well. LiveJournal may also, in its sole discretion and at any time, discontinue providing the Service, or any part thereof, with or without notice. You agree that any termination of your access to the Service under any provision of this TOS may be effected without prior notice, and acknowledge and agree that LiveJournal may immediately deactivate or delete your LiveJournal journal and all related information and files. LiveJournal reserves the right to bar any further access to such files or the Service. You agree that LiveJournal shall not be liable to you or any third-party for any termination of your access to the Service. Paid accounts that are terminated will not be refunded.

Now, take the above, remove "Livejournal" and replace with "GreatestJournal.com", and you have THEIR TOS, because all they are is a cheap knock-off of Livejournal to begin with. Wordpress.com doesn't have QUITE as good a TOS, but it's there:

Without limiting any of those representations or warranties, Automattic has the right (though not the obligation) to, in Automattic’s sole discretion (i) refuse or remove any content that, in Automattic’s reasonable opinion, violates any Automattic policy or is in any way harmful or objectionable, or (ii) terminate or deny access to and use of the Website to any individual or entity for any reason, in Automattic’s sole discretion. Automattic will have no obligation to provide a refund of any amounts previously paid.

Fact of the matter is, reasonable is the key term. And VIOLATION OF US LAW is definitely reasonable.

The best recourse you would have is to create your own website (like I have), and go from there. Again, is the site hosted in the United States (like mine)? Yes? Guess what? Same laws. Same ToS. Your ONLY recourse would be to run your own webserver, as your own registrar, your own DNS, etc. But even then, you're under your Telco's ToS.

Now, the best way to go about going against this is to either have the laws changed, or be a conscientious objector. That means that you know it's against the law/rules, but you break them anyway. That's all well and good, and an ideal that I subscribe to, however, there's something that most people don't understand about that ideal: you have to be ready, able and willing to suffer the consequences. People seem to think that the law doesn't apply to them if they say so, and that only people that live under the rules apply. No, if you willingly break a rule, you have to expect some sort of consequence to occur because of this; what you're aiming for is rebellion via martyrdom.

For instance, back in December, in response to Six Apart denying service to Alex Lucard, I posted a scathing attack against LJ Abuse, even mentioning names, and mentioning the name - repeatedly - of the person that got Alex in trouble in the first place. Recently, as most of you are aware, I was ordered by this same LJ Abuse team to remove the name or suffer consequences. I informed them that I would not censor my entry due to Sean Manchester being a public figure, and showed them proof of him being so. I ended up winning the argument; they acknowledged that he is a public figure and retracted the complaint. But what if they didn't? What if they played the same game they played with Alex? I'd have had my permanent journal - me, a person that's paid over $1,000 in three years to Livejournal/Six Apart for my own and other peoples' journals - permanently suspended. I was ready and willing to pay that price for my ideals, to the point where I was exporting all of my posts in the case I needed to turn superbusnet.com imto my own personal blog (which it's not). I'd have been up Shit's Creek. But I was ready for it. 99% of the people complaining now don't have that kind of integrity, foresight, or fortitude to go through with that, just like Alex did. I realized the possibility of it when I initially made the entry in December.

And that's another thing: Six Apart/Livejournal don't really care what you have to say about them. Make all the stupid, cutsy memes and icons you want; they know it's coming, they don't care. You think you're so bad-ass because you have an "I SURVIVED STRIKETHROUGH '07 LOL!!!!" icon on their own site? Oh, you're real bad now! All your little anonymous buddies huddled behing computer screens with their slash fiction and D+D books will think you're cool! If you're going to be a dissenter, then fucking dissent; name names, shame people, and prepare to suffer the consequences. An icon or something similar like that is ridiculously stupid; you're trying to be cute, but you don't realize how foolish you look. Shit, even in my own entry, they didn't care that I directly called their supervisor, Denise Paolucci, "incompetent and lazy", and gave them what was, hypothetically, a no-win situation; I proved that their intention wasn't total censorship, they didn't care what I said as long as it didn't get them into trouble down the road.

The gist of this somewhat rambly entry is this: if you're that pissed off that Livejournal's admins are following their own rules and deleting/suspending people that knowingly broke not only LJ's rules, but US Law as well, then leave. And don't come back. Seriously. All the cries of censorship are falling on ultimately deaf ears, and it won't get any easier at any other website out there. And you lose all your emo friends to boot. But know that, unlike last time (where it was very scattershot and poorly done), LJ/SA/LJA have done nothing wrong.

I have a better idea: if you want to be such a high-and-mighty person... stop longing for underage boys to fuck underage boys. That shit's fucking sick.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 5th, 2007 01:52 am (UTC)
I swear, everytime that you, Ed, and I agree on something a little piece of me dies.
Aug. 5th, 2007 05:12 am (UTC)
Amusingly, as I recall, the federal government rarely (if ever) acts on possession or creation of loli or shota, save when the person possesses REAL child porn or is a convicted sex offender.

Dunno how true that is, but it's interesting to see a company do something the lawmakers won't.
Aug. 5th, 2007 05:29 am (UTC)
Either way, it's their right, and if they're going to enforce the rules... Not to mention all the pressure groups that are going to make their lives hell.

Personally, I'm getting a little tired of everyone coming down with these draconian sentances for anything even relating to children. "Protect the children!" and "If it saves ONE child...", forgetting the fact that it could hurt 10 adults. Who cares if they're innocent or not? It saved ONE CHILD!

That's why I'm pleased to see that some bitch got busted for trying to sneak into DEFCON (hacker convention); she was going to try to out an undercover fed for NBC, the same people that do "To Catch A Predator", which led to some guy killing himself. Look, I hate paedos as much as anyone - if anyone would, it's me - but I'm not about to live in a fascist state because one child could be harmed. That female reporter was going to ruin lives for the sake of ratings, and for that, I want her life to be ruined. Fuck Michelle Madigan. And fuck these other fascist fucks.

That's a very obtuse rant that has little to do with my original post, but it had to be said. Somehow, I'll find a way to tie that to my original point of "if you don't like LJ's toys, get out of the sandbox", but just not now. :(
Aug. 5th, 2007 06:13 am (UTC)
These days, "save the children" seems more an excuse than anything else. I want to gag every time it's used; it's poured on so thick as to be sickening.
Aug. 5th, 2007 06:13 am (UTC)
As weirdos losing their shota and loli nonsense on LJ? Hey, it was in the rules. A big BAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW to 'em all.
Aug. 5th, 2007 07:05 am (UTC)
LJ hasn't made it particularly clear in their rules what does and doesn't constitute suspension. If they had actually come out and very clearly stated where the line is to be drawn on porn, this would be a non-issue.

...or at the very least, much less of an issue. I imagine some entitlement whores would still be getting into the act, but there are currently also a lot of very level-headed folks who feel that LJ isn't doing a clear enough job of defining what can and can't be posted, especially as LJ employees actually made some reassurances during the last outbreak of this that they were not trying to go after fandom and that they were going for cases of actual promotion of committing illegal acts, which doesn't have much to do with fanworks.
Aug. 5th, 2007 06:18 am (UTC)
really, have SixApart done anything the orginal livejournal owners wouldn't have done?

Bottom line is that they're a company employing lots of people (how many people do they employ anyway?) handling 13 million journals or some shit like that. That's just an accident waiting to happen.

How many journals did they ban during the strikethrough anyway?
Aug. 5th, 2007 07:02 am (UTC)
What bothers me about it isn't that they want to remove users for posting fanworks that contain porn because as you've pointed out, their servers, their rules.

What does bother me is that they've been very unclear about what will and won't get you suspended. LJ employees have previously made statements saying that fandom stuff should be fine and they were going for more extreme cases, things actively promoting actual molestation, et cetera -- and then this, and then they've tried to justify it by bringing the question of artistic merit up, which is in my opinion extremely subjective, and rather than fucking with artistic merit, I would much rather see them just issue a blanket statement of either YES PORN IS OKAY or NO PORN IS NOT OKAY so people aren't left in the middle scratching their heads going "does this cross the line or not?"

Mind, I also think that after how the last flare-up of this business went, the folks at pornish_pixies and similar communities really should've started locking this stuff, but regardless of their failure to take what I consider a common sense measure, LJ has been very nebulous about what, exactly, they do and don't allow.

also, lol "To Catch a Predator," am I the only one who thinks that putting that kind of effort and spotlight on catching internet perverts is taking focus away from the fact that most child molestation comes from friends, relatives, and people known to the victim? For fuck's sake, people.
Aug. 5th, 2007 08:46 am (UTC)
I agree with you. Livejournal is basically saying "what we think is bad is bad", and when those people are LJ Abuse... they're incompetent idiots. I wouldn't trust them to be Cap'n Crunch, let alone Captains of Morality. And this DOES seem like an attack on fandom, when they don't have the common sense to see that someone's intentionally trying to get someone else TOSed by posting names and numbers anonymously (see: hate meme). "Well, that's a violation!" "It's completely irrational! They did that intentionally to win an argument they couldn't win otherwise!" "DO NOT MESS WITH ME! I AM 23 AND DO NOT HAVE A JOB! I AM AN LJ GOD!!!

I just think a lot of people are going about this totally wrong. There are ways to dissent without looking like a total tool. Naturally, most of these people are incapable of that.

As for TCAP... yeah, that shit's only for ratings, and to take advantage of a completely bonkers culture that's insane to the point where we're letting convicted sex offenders live underneath bridges in Miami because they can't get within 500 feet of anywhere a child "might" converge. It's like we're asking them "um, we want you to die, but don't want the blood on our hands... could you kindly do it for us? OK, great, thanks...". Complete vigilante justice, and didn't we learn from the last show that tried something like this that it interferes with real police efforts?

These aren't the people we should be going after. To Catch a Predator wouldn't have done jack diddly shit for me, I can assure you of that.
Aug. 6th, 2007 02:48 am (UTC)
I do agree that a lot of the people speaking up against this are being douchebags about it. The douchebaggery is flying hard and fast from both sides, really.

I did find someone's very thorough, sane explanation of 6A/LJ's problem here, and I'm nodding in agreement with pretty much everything they said. This isn't really about free speech, it's about shitty customer service and clearly defining the terms of the agreement between both parties -- LJ and the userbase.
Aug. 5th, 2007 11:35 am (UTC)
This is one of those times when I find it rather depressing to be a part of fandom due to all of these ... people overreacting and making the rest of us -- the 'rest of us' being a very small number, nowadays -- look like idiots. I support neither loli nor shouta (at all), but I have to recognize both as branches of the same tree I occupy, and what befalls them may one day befall the rest of us (again with 'rest of us'). That only happens to those who are foolish and stupid, though. As several -- yourself included -- have observed, these things only get nailed to the wall if the people posting them are careless enough to do so publicly, and carelessness is one thing that deserves to be punished. Fandom may be increasingly mainstream, but we always had that culture of secrecy in the past for a reason. There are things we used to prefer to keep from the rest of the world.

And I agree that the law is moronic, but there is little that can be done about it now. The burden is on fandom to either behave itself or wander into the crosshairs and get shot down, but one has no right to complain if one purposely strays into the firing range.
Aug. 6th, 2007 04:59 pm (UTC)
Actually, if my Law class is correct, digital depictions of underage nudity/sexual conduct are considered legal.

Sometime in the past ten years, the US Supreme Court said that holding it to be illegal is unconstitutional SO LONG AS it's drawn, not "real". Bush then passed a law that said it WAS illegal, and the SC again said "no, that's unconstitutional". The rationale is that "no one is hurt" in the production/distribution of digital representations of child pornography. Make your own joke here.

So that HP slash shit MIGHT be legal... I say might because I don't know what the present status of the whole thing is (I took the class last year, so lord knows what has been decided since then).
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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