Technology

Franks on engaging social media

Stephen Franks has written a LONG (but very considered) piece on why not only should lawyers not be afraid from engaging with social media, but arguably they are ethically obliged to, where using effective channels to get a message out there is in the interest of a client.
It’s a bit of a read, but for anyone interested in the media, politics and the law, it is an essential read.

A public voice for clients, and for views of what the law should be, does not shun effective platforms.

We have in the past, do now, and will in the future, write, publish, talk about and promote causes and interests in any medium that seems to us likely to be effective. Of course that includes social media. I have my own blog. I comment on the blog posts of others. Frequently the participation is on issues where I or the firm have a view, and our participation is a pro bono attempt to add expert correction or advice to the public discussion. Sometimes participation promotes the firm. Sometimes it is expressly to advance a client’s cause.

Like most people, we are probably more effective and more energetic on issues where our views coincide with those of the client. With their approval we’ll use as many channels as is practicable to ensure that the client position is communicated to the people who should have the information. We are public advocates. We do not eschew any lawful form of communication.

He then turns to the irony of the NBR reporting asking about using a media resource that calls on accountability and causes some offence.     Read more »

Interesting ODT article

There was an interesting ODT article yesterday that quoted Julian Miles QC.

Ironically he represented Fairfax, I think, in opposition to my application for an injunction. He is one of the most qualified barristers in the land, especially in areas of defamation and also media law.

When he speaks people should listen.

A lawyer who prevented Cameron Slater from gagging traditional media says he expects the controversial Whale Oil blogger will soon enjoy the same legal protection as journalists.

Julian Miles QC represented three media organisations at a hearing in the High Court at Auckland on Friday and less than 24 hours later spoke at the World Bar Conference in Queenstown.

Mr Slater had sought an injunction stopping further publication of private emails hacked from his computer.

The emails have caused a storm of controversy during the past three weeks, leading to the resignation of Minister of Justice Judith Collins.

On Friday, Mr Slater won an interim injunction against ”unknown defendants” publishing his private emails – referring to the hacker known as Whaledump, or Rawshark, who obtained the information used as the basis for Nicky Hager’s controversial book, Dirty Politics.    Read more »

What is NEW Media?

What is New Media?

What is New Media?

We talk about the MSM ( Main Stream Media ) and the emergence of New Media quite often on this Blog but what exactly is this NEW Media?

What I think it is may be very different to what you think it is. When you hear about a New, exclusively online News organisation what image does that evoke for you?

Read more »

Death by E-mail

We have all experienced it. That moment when you read an e-mail and react emotionally to it. Some of us immediately send off a reply while still in the throes of anger. Others sit on it a while and carefully craft a reply. Very few of us pick up the phone or go to the person directly and ask them if our interpretation of what they were implying in the e-mail was correct.

Upsetting e-mail

Upsetting e-mail

The problem is tone, as we have no way of telling what it actually is from the words on the screen. It is left to us to add the tone and depending on our mood at the time and many other factors we can easily get it wrong. In my personal experience when that happens it is all down hill from there. People feel free to say things in an e-mail when they are angry that they would never ever have the balls to say to your face.

In the past I had a relationship seriously damaged because the only way the person would communicate with me was by e-mail. Once the flame war started there seemed to be no way to put it out. No matter how carefully I crafted my replies I was perceived as being hostile and to be fair I felt that the replies to me were incredibly hostile and nasty as well. Eventually I decided that I would only make matters worse by continuing so I just stopped.

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Is this the sort of thing the Greens meant when they promoted 3D printing?

Last week the Green party pushed a policy that will utilise petroleum products but because it is cool tech they ignored that.

3D printing has huge possibilities to transform our economy they told us. Gareth Hughes was ecstatic:

But could it be that this is what they were talking about when they launched the policy?   Read more »

Something else for the Greens to ban

deep-space-mining

The Greens love baning things…anything that means progress, including fossil fuels, mining, and…well..more than 100 things.

Now there is something else they will want to ban…space mining.

It’s become clear that there’s just not enough stuff on Earth to go around. We’re constantly fighting over land and water, jockeying for access to our home planet’s diamonds or oil or sugarcane or schools of fish. In the last few years a chorus of voices has arisen to suggest that we could solve these petty human squabbles by looking to space. “Everything we hold of value on this planet, metals, minerals, real estate, energy sources, fuel—the things we fight wars over—are literally in near infinite quantities in the solar system,” says Peter Diamandis, one of the founders of the asteroid-mining company Planetary Resources. He claims we have a “moral obligation to become an interplanetary species,” and that if we harness the resources in space, “the entire human race will be the beneficiary.” Naveen Jain, founder of Moon Express, wants to do on the moon what Diamandis wants to do with asteroids. A recent CNBC profile quotes him as saying, “Once you take a mind-set of scarcity and replace it with a mind-set of abundance, amazing things can happen here on Earth.”   Read more »

Another court declares that bloggers are indeed media

While my own case winds slowly through the judicial process, being opposed now by two recently appointed barristers, we can now see that other jurisdictions are catching up with developments in the media world.

In a court in Florida, in a similar case to my own, the court has found that a blogger and their blog can be and are considered to be media, and as a result can be considered a legitimate media property.

A few years ago, we wrote about the bizarre and quixotic effort by Florida businessman Christopher Comins to find any possible way to sue University of Florida student and blogger Matthew Frederick VanVoorhis for his blog post concerning a widely publicized event in which Comins shot two dogs in a field (video link). The story made lots of news at the time, but Comins didn’t go after any of the major media — instead targeting VanVoorhis for a defamation suit. The original blog post is “novelistic” but it’s difficult to see how it’s defamatory. Either way, Comins’ case was shot down on fairly specific procedural grounds: namely that Florida defamation law requires specific notice be given to media properties at least 5 days before a lawsuit is launched. Specifically, the law says:

Before any civil action is brought for publication or broadcast, in a newspaper, periodical, or other medium, of a libel or slander, the plaintiff shall, at least 5 days before instituting such action, serve notice in writing on the defendant, specifying the article or broadcast and the statements therein which he or she alleges to be false and defamatory.

Comins’ lawsuit was dumped because he failed to give such notice. Comins argues that he did give such a notice (though the letter he sent did not meet the requirements of such notice under the law) and (more importantly for this discussion) that VanVoorhis’ blog did not count as a media publication, and thus the law did not apply. The original court ruling rejected that pretty quickly, and now on appeal, a state appeals court has not just rejected Comins’ anti-blog claim more thoroughly, but also highlighted the importance of blogs to our media landscape.   Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Retronaut

Retronaut

 

The Mobile Office

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The Special Ops wish list, laser rifles, pain rays and other cool stuff

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Who wouldn’t want a laser rifle, or a “pain ray”…these are just some of the wish list for US special operations forces.

Laser rifles. Canine air conditioners. There are lots of gadgets that U.S. commandos would love to have, except for the fact that these items don’t even exist.

That’s why the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), which includes the Army’s Special Forces and Rangers, has published a long list of equipment that it wants private industry to develop and build.

What is fascinating about this list isn’t just that it tells us what capabilities U.S. special operations forces want. It also tells us what capabilities they don’t have.

But just as important, it’s a forecast of the kind of warfare that American commandos anticipate they will be fighting. Special operations forces, along with drones, have now become America’s preferred method of waging war. If commandos get a new weapon or sensor, it probably will be used on a real mission or battlefield. And when the special operators get new technology, then it sometimes trickles down to the rest of the military, and from there to the civilian world.  Read more »

The gobby German needs to gag himself

Kim Dotcom took to twitter yesterday to goad and gloat over ripping off his former staff.

Meanwhile in the High Court he was under attack on two fronts, in one case by Crown lawyers over his gobbing off on Twitter about details of the case and the other by Wayne Tempero’s lawyer seeking to overturn the gagging order.

Kim Dotcom’s use of social media to discuss his long-running legal battle is interfering with court processes, a Crown lawyer says.

Dotcom’s legal team returned to court today in a bid to access government documents to help the internet mogul’s case.

This latest request for documents came a week after the Supreme Court refused Dotcom’s request to access evidence the US Government has against him in his extradition case.

Crown lawyers raised Dotcom’s prolific use of Twitter as an issue during today’s legal proceedings in the High Court in Auckland.

This included concerns over Dotcom posting details of a confidential email between lawyers to more than 350,000 Twitter followers.

Crown lawyer Kristy McDonald, QC, said Dotcom’s use of Twitter has “demonstrated considerable disregard” for court processes.

“Is this about obtaining documents so they can be put out in the public arena?”  Read more »