Strict standards for protecting anonymous online commenters urged by Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Protecting the identity of someone posting an anonymous review on Yelp or any other website is crucial to protecting speakers’ First Amendment rights and the public good, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and several news organizations argued in a friend-of-the-court brief filed in the Virginia Court of Appeals.
The Reporters Committee brief in Hadeed v. Yelp calls for a heightened standard of judicial review before anonymous online commenters are identified, and urges the court to revisit a lower court’s order compelling the disclosure of an anonymous criticism of the services of Hadeed Carpet Cleaning posted on the online review site Yelp.
“By offering only a minimal discussion of First Amendment interests at state, the trial court failed to fully acknowledge the extent to which the First Amendment restricts compulsory identification of anonymous speakers on the Internet,” the brief to the Court of Appeals argued. “When faced with questions of compelled disclosure of anonymous online speakers, this Court must adopt a meaningful standard that requires a heightened showing of evidence of a valid claim and notice to the affected parties.
“This standard is essential to protect the interests in anonymous speech, which often serve the public good and contribute to a better understanding of public issues and controversies,” according to the brief, which was joined by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Gannett Co. Inc., and The Washington Post.
“Courts around the country have established certain benchmarks that must be satisfied before compelling the disclosure of an anonymous commenter,” said Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce D. Brown. “First, there ought to be tangible evidence that the comment was false and defamatory and, second, speakers should be notified that an action is pending. To do otherwise would be to inhibit robust debate.”
About the Reporters Committee:
Founded in 1970, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers free legal support to thousands of working journalists and media lawyers each year. It is a leader in the fight against persistent efforts by government officials to impede the release of public information, whether by withholding documents or threatening reporters with jail. In addition to its 24/7 Legal Defense Hotline, the Reporters Committee conducts cutting-edge legal research, publishes handbooks and guides on media law issues, files frequent friend-of-the-court legal briefs and offers challenging fellowships and internships for young lawyers and journalists. For more information, go to www.rcfp.org, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.
The Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee approved an anti-paparazzi bill that would allow people who are photographed on their private property or while taking part in “personal or family activities” to sue the photographer for invasion of privacy.
The bill — dubbed the “Steven Tyler Act” due to the Aerosmith lead singer’s role in initiating and drafting the initial legislation — was amended by Senate Committee Chairman Clayton Hee to limit the bill’s scope and clarify the wording. The bill is now expected to be voted on by the full state Senate.
Tyler and Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac testified before the Senate committee last week, urging members to approve the act. The stars argued that they should be able to enjoy time with their families on Hawaii’s beaches without being constantly stalked by paparazzi.
Hee amended much of the bill’s language, which was originally written by Tyler’s attorney, to mirror California’s anti-paparazzi law. The amendments include specifying what defines private property where a plaintiff would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, deleting language about civil fines and clarifying the definition of “personal or family activity.”
The bill would also outlaw the use of telephoto lenses and other advanced camera and recording equipment to view people on private property. Although the bill is supported primarily by celebrities and is aimed at paparazzi, it would apply to everyone.
Media organizations have criticized the bill for being too vague and infringing upon the First Amendment rights of photographers. The National Press Photographers Association, joined by 14 media organizations including the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, submitted a letter to the Legislature arguing against the measure.
“[The bill] imposes civil penalties of alarming breadth and burdens substantially more speech than is necessary to advance a compelling government interest,” the NPPA letter stated. “While we recognize the right of privacy, we oppose a broadening of these protections by abridging the clearly established tenents of First Amendment Jurisprudence.”
While most states have some sort of privacy laws that affect photography, California’s privacy laws have provisions taking aim at overzealous photographers seeking to snap celebrity photos. The state’s so-called “anti-paparazzi” law, which was first passed in 1999, prohibits trespassing with the intent of capturing photographic images or sound recordings of people in “personal or familial activity.”
The state’s vehicle code was also recently amended to include penalties for anyone who interferes with the driver of a vehicle, follows too closely or drives recklessly “with the intent to capture any type of visual image, sound recording or other physical impressions of another person for a commercial purpose.”
The California laws permit the subjects of illegally obtained photos to file a civil suit, and anyone who publishes illegally obtained photos can also be subject to fines.
Source: By Lilly Chapa from Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
It’s 2012 and close to four years after the Lilly ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law. Surely, the gender wage gap has been closed, right? Wrong.
Even with moves toward equalizing pay between men and women, men still make almost 20% more than women in nearly all industries. This is despite the fact that women receive the same education, with the same tuition price tags and levels of debt upon graduation. The only major differences are that there are more ladies in college and they have better average GPAs to boot. The benefits of paying women their fair share include increasing the GDP while reducing the poverty rates for families.
Check out the infographic below to see what else the gender wage gap affects.
Source & Graphics credit to: LearnStuff.com
With the holiday season upon us it isn’t just retailers looking to turn a profit. Scammers exploit the spirit of the holidays to help separate victims from their money. Many of these scams are used throughout the year but are given a new twist for the holidays.
- Bait-and-Switch – Scammers frequently use cheap tablets, smart phones, MP3 players, jewelry and gift cards as part of bait-and-switch scams. They may approach potential victims in a mall, on the street or through the Internet offering a deal that is too good to be true. They may even allow the victim to check out the item, but rest assured, after the money is exchanged the victim will not get the item they are expecting. Only purchase big-ticket items from respected retailers and avoid this common holiday scam.
- Hard Luck Stories – Scammers often take advantage of the holiday spirit of giving. They may send victims an email requesting assistance or approach victims in public. Scammers will often have an elaborate hard luck story and sometimes even use children to elicit sympathy from victims. Some scammers may also pose as stranded holiday travelers in need of assistance to get home for the holidays. Be wary of these scams and never give out your address, bank information or large amounts of cash to strangers.
- Charity Scams – Fake charity scams also take advantage of the spirit of giving. Beware of scam charity emails. Research a charity before making a donation and make sure they are legitimate. You should never make large donations in cash and always ask for a receipt when making a large donation.
- Gift Card Swap – The rise in popularity of gift cards has led to a new type of scam. Scammers will use high tech scanners to read the numbers off of the gift cards sold in the aisles of major retailers. They will then return the cards to the store shelf and monitor them to see when they are activated. Once activated, they will use the card numbers to spend the funds before the intended recipient has a chance to use the card. Whenever possible purchase your card from behind the counter of a retailer.
- Email Greetings – Holiday emails can sometimes be a Trojan horse for hackers. Do not open attachments from senders you do not know and be wary of strangely worded emails. Make sure your computer’s antivirus software is up to date and use it to scan anything suspicious
Also read that the
BBB’s Top 5 Holiday Scams To Avoid
Scammers Capitalize On Distraction Of Busy Shoppers
Holidays can be hectic, and scammers are counting on harried consumers letting down their guard, whether shopping on line, juggling packages at the mall or simply reading their e-mail.
The BBB has identified five common scams that consumers should watch out for and avoid as they shop, whether online or in stores.
Online shopping scams: We’re all looking for a great deal online, but some sites offer electronics or luxury goods at prices that are too good to be true. Every holiday season, the BBB hears from holiday shoppers who paid for a “great deal” online, but received nothing in return.
Nabbing the season’s hottest toys and gadgets online: When stores sell out, you may find the items online at sites like Craigslist or eBay— but for a much steeper price. The problem is that some sellers will take your money and run.
BBB Advice: Shop locally on Craigslist and conduct transactions in person. Bring along a friend if you’re uncomfortable meeting the seller alone. Never wire money as payment. If you’re shopping on auctions like eBay, research sellers extensively and listen to your doubts if the deal sounds fishy or too good to be true.
Identity theft at the mall: While you’re struggling at the mall with bags of presents, identity thieves may see an opportunity to steal your wallet or your debit or credit card numbers,
Bogus charitable pleas: The holidays are a time of giving, and that creates an opportunity for scammers to solicit donations to line their own pockets. Beware of solicitations from charities that don’t necessarily deliver on their promises or are ill-equipped to carry through on their plans. Resist demands for on-the-spot donations.
BBB Advice: Always research charities with the BBB before you give to see if the charity meets the BBB’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. Up-to-date reports on local and national charities are available at www.bbb.org/charity.
Phishing e-mails: Phishing e-mails are a common way for hackers to get at your personal information or break into your computer. Around the holidays, beware of e-cards and messages pretending to be from companies like UPS or Fedex with links to package tracking information.
1. The Kierrah Foundation - Suspended2. The Multicultural Motion Picture Association - Suspended3. Hope 4 Children Foundation – No record4. The Pain Foundation – No record
1. The Life Group LA2. NOH8 Campaign3. Exotifit For Humanity4. We Care For The World5. American Society of Young Musicians
IMPORTANT EDUCATION AND KEY INFORMATION:
The California Attorney General has primary responsibility for regulating, enforcing and supervising organizations and individuals that administer and/or solicit charitable funds or assets in California. The Attorney General has the duty to protect donors to charity, charities themselves and the beneficiaries of charities. In addition, the Attorney General has broad authority under State statutes to regulate charitable organizations and trusts and to commence law enforcement investigations and legal actions to protect the public interest.
A nonprofit organization, in a sense, is “owned” by the public. No private person can claim ownership or control of the organization. The assets of a nonprofit organization are irrevocably dedicated to charitable, educational, literary, scientific, or religious purposes. That means the nonprofit’s cash, equipment, and other property cannot be given to anyone or used for anyone’s private benefit without fair market compensation to the organization. Moreover, a nonprofit’s property is permanently to be used for exempt purposes. When and if the organization decides to dissolve, any assets remaining after the debts and liabilities are paid must go to another nonprofit organization—not to members of the former organization or other private individuals.
Some Basic Steps For Incorporation Of A Public Benefit Corporation:
Choose a corporate name, Draft and file articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State, File federal application for employer identification number (EIN) with the IRS, File a statement by domestic nonprofit corporation, Register with the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trust & File application for exemption from federal income taxes with the IRS and state income taxes with the California Franchise Tax Board.
What Is 501(c)(3) Status?
A section 501(c)(3) organization must be “organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientiﬁc, testing for public safety, literary or educational purposes.” To qualify, an organization must satisfy an organizational test and an operational test. The organizational test is met if the articles of incorporation include language limiting the purposes of the organization to one or more of the exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) and do not empower the organization to engage in any substantial activities which do not further one or more exempt purposes. In addition,the organizational documents (or applicable state law) must require the organization to expressly dedicate its assets to exempt purposes in the event of a dissolution.
Fundraising campaign in California?
Prior to soliciting any charitable donations, a commercial fundraiser must register with the Registry of Charitable Trusts on a form provided by the Attorney General, pay a fee of $350, and obtain a $25,000 bond. The commercial fundraiser must renew that registration and bond annually and pay a fee of $350. A commercial fundraiser must also ﬁle an annual ﬁnancial report with the Attorney General accounting for funds collected during the preceding year.Registration or licensing may also be required in various California cities and counties. There are more than 200 cities and counties that require charity fundraisers to comply with local licensing and disclosure requirements.
Solicitations Law: BUSINESS LICENSE COMMISSION
(Los Angeles County Code, Volume 3, Title 7, Chapter 7-24 requires that this Notice of Intention to be filed at least 30 days prior to beginning your solicitation or advertisement for your fund-raising activity. No advertisement or solicitation may begin until this office has issued an Information Card.
Solicitations Information Card:
An Information Card is issued by the Los Angeles Police Commission Charitable Services Section, Commission Investigation Division upon review of the Notice of Intention[PDF] to solicit charitable contributions by a requesting charitable organization. The Information Card provides important information to the donor so they may make an educated decision whether to support that organization.
For more information visit:
IRS (Federal tax exemption and reporting compliance)
California Franchise Tax Board (California tax exemption)
California Secretary of State (Filing articles of incorporation, Annual Statement of Ofﬁcers)
California Employment Development Department (California payroll taxes)
California Attorney General’s Charitable Trusts website:
Philanthropic Research, Inc. (Guidestar) - http://www.guidestar.org
Federal Trade Commission
WASHINGTON— August 15, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will begin accepting requests, effective immediately, for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals. On June 15, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines may request, on a case-by-case basis, consideration of deferred action.
“USCIS has developed a rigorous review process for deferred action requests under guidelines issued by Secretary Napolitano,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “Childhood arrivals who meet the guidelines and whose cases are deferred will now be able to live without fear of removal, and be able to more fully contribute their talents to our great nation.”
Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. USCIS will review requests and make decisions on a case-by-case basis. While it does not provide lawful status or a pathway to permanent residence or citizenship, individuals whose cases are deferred as part of this process will not be removed from the United States for a two-year period, subject to renewal, and may also apply for employment authorization.
USCIS is committed to ensuring that this new process works within the agency’s mission to administer our nation’s immigration benefits, provide high quality service to the public, and safeguard the integrity of the immigration system.
To learn more about the deferred action for childhood arrivals process, please visitwww.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.
USCIS Publishes Forms for Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Individuals may begin filing tomorrow
Released Aug. 14, 2012
WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) submitted a Federal Register notice announcing new forms and instructions to allow individuals to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS. USCIS will begin accepting completed forms tomorrow , August 15, 2012. On June 15, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines may request, on a case-by-case basis, consideration of deferred action.
“The release of the new form and instructions to allow individuals to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS marks an important step in our implementation of this new process,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “While requests should not be submitted until August 15th, it is important that individuals wishing to be considered for deferred action understand the requirements necessary to demonstrate eligibility to be considered.”
Individuals requesting consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals must submit Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (with accompanying fees); and an I-765WS, Worksheet. USCIS recently developed a series of resources to inform the on how the process will work. The website,www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals, includes a flier, a How do I brochure, frequently asked questions, and a number of other resources. USCIS encourages individuals with questions to visit this website or call the USCIS National Customer Service line at 1-800-375-5283.
USCIS is aware of immigration scams surrounding the deferred action for childhood arrivals process. Often, unauthorized practitioners of immigration law may try to take advantage of individuals by charging a fee to submit forms to USCIS, or provide other services. The USCIS website www.uscis.gov/avoidscams includes tips on filing forms, reporting scams and finding accredited legal services.
DHS Outlines Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process
USCIS to begin accepting requests for consideration of deferred action on August 15, 2012
released Aug. 3, 2012
WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security today provided additional information on the deferred action for childhood arrivals process during a national media call in preparation for the August 15 implementation date.
On June 15, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that certain young people who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines may be eligible, on a case-by-case basis, to receive deferred action. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is finalizing a process by which potentially eligible individuals may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals.
USCIS expects to make all forms, instructions, and additional information relevant to the deferred action for childhood arrivals process available on August 15, 2012. USCIS will then immediately begin accepting requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals.
Information shared during today’s call includes the following highlights:
- Requestors – those in removal proceedings, those with final orders, and those who have never been in removal proceedings – will be able to affirmatively request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals with USCIS.
- Requestors will use a form developed for this specific purpose.
- Requestors will mail their deferred action request together with an application for an employment authorization document and all applicable fees to the USCIS lockbox.
- All requestors must provide biometrics and undergo background checks.
- Fee waivers cannot be requested for the application for employment authorization and biometric collection. However, fee exemptions will be available in limited circumstances.
- The four USCIS Service Centers will review requests.
Additional information regarding the Secretary’s June 15 announcement will be made available onwww.uscis.gov on August 15, 2012. It is important to note that this process is not yet in effect and individuals who believe they meet the guidelines of this new process should not request consideration of deferred action before August 15, 2012. Requests submitted before August 15, 2012 will be rejected. Individuals who believe they are eligible should be aware of immigration scams. Unauthorized practitioners of immigration law may try to take advantage of you by charging a fee to submit forms to USCIS on your behalf. Visit www.uscis.gov/avoidscams for tips on filing forms, reporting scams and finding accredited legal services. Remember, the Wrong Help Can Hurt! An informational brochure and flyer are also available on www.uscis.gov.
Guidelines for Requesting Consideration of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals
What guidelines must I meet to be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals?
Pursuant to the Secretary of Homeland Security’s June 15, 2012 memorandum, in order to be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals, you must submit evidence, including support documents, showing that you:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and;
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
These guidelines must be met for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals. USCIS retains the ultimate discretion on whether deferred action is appropriate in any given case.
Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Logo credit to: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
On Saturday, February 11, 2012, During the high-profile Grammy Awards weekend, and just 2 hours before Whitney Houston was found dead at age 48 at the Beverly Hills Hilton less than 2 miles away, a large mass of 150+ anti-fur protestors dressed in funeral clothing surrounded the trendy Maxfield boutique located at 8825 Melrose Avenue in the city of West Hollywood, CA 90069.
Organized by Fur Free West Hollywood, which is spear-headed by Animal Alliance’s Ellen Lavinthal, the protest was publicized all over popular social websites including Facebook and Twitter. Lavinthal explained that she was given a personal promise from Maxfield owner Tommy Perse that the fur in his store would be removed early, however shortly after she left, the fur magically re-appeared. Lavinthal stated, “There were five fur coats in there yesterday. They broke their word, so we are here today to show them that we are watching.”
Hit recording artist Fawn commented, “If you’re going to continue to display and sell fur, after you’ve agreed to take it down, don’t lie about it! That shows a lack of integrity and if you lack integrity in your word, then what do the products you sell lack?”
Fawn said, “In this day and age, there are plenty of faux fur alternatives. Wearing real fur is cruel, pure vanity and ethically wrong.”
Agreeing with her, Lavinthal concluded, “We will be back for the Oscars, and every other major entertainment event thereafter until they keep their word.”
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Last Chance For Animals undercover investigator Bryan Monell pointed out, “While Maxfield lied, more animals died,” a sentiment several protestors began to shout “While Maxfield Lies, They Die,” and “Maxfield Lied, They Died.” Other activists bellowed “Boycott Maxfield” and one participant yelled about dogs and cats being skinned alive in China for fur, as people walked by. One of those people happened to be virtuoso guitarist Nils Lofgren, best known for playing with Bruce Springsteen in the E Street Band, Crazy Horse and Grin.
All in all, it was a calm, civil and somber protest with participants wearing long faces, black veils and carrying gruesome signs with photos of animals skinned alive – an unfortunate reminder of what goes on in the fur industry. Animal rights activist Patty Shenker said, “It’s deplorable what is done to these sentient beings, and all for vanity! Only frigid women wear fur!”
A ‘funeral procession’ with protestors completely cloaked in black, holding black signs and wearing black veils traveled up and down the streets frequented by many celebrity clientele such as Mary Kate and Ashley Olson, Madonna, Johnny Depp, Prince, Adam Lambert and Faux-fur friendly Pamela Anderson.
West Hollywood is known for being a “city of compassion” with several historic laws passed, such as the recent decision of West Hollywood becoming the first Fur Free city in the United States (taking effect September 2013), the ban on the declawing of cats, the sale of animals in pet stores, and the distinct classification of pets no longer being “property” but being referred to as “companion animals.”
Among the protestors were Religious leaders Rabbi Jonathan Klein and Michael Mata, a minister with the National Evangelical Latino Organization. Klein and Mata are part of the ‘Faith Action for Animals’ and hope to bring faith and animal rights together for ethical reasons. Klein explained that up until the days of Noah, people were eating a “plant based” diet, quoting one of the 10 commandments, “though shalt not kill.” He continued, “All creation, all life is precious and valuable.”
According to protest co-organizer Ed Buck, when the Fur Free West Hollywood campaign began last year, Maxfield which is known for it’s unusual, eclectic and extravagant merchandise, agreed to remove all fur items from their store, joining other West Hollywood stores that also volunteered to ‘take down early’ such as H, Lorenzo, The Pleasure Chest, and Zadig & Voltaire on Sunset Plaza.
Eleven years old Stella Lavinthal said, “Out of all the stores that agreed to remove their fur early, Maxfield was the only one that said they would and didn’t. What’s up with that? They lied, so we’re here today to let them know that it’s not okay to lie.”
On Wednesday, January 18, 2012 Diversity News Magazine, an online and print consumer news magazine published by Diversity News Publications & Executive Editor-In-Chief Esteban “Steven” Escobar announced that they are on strike today to fight SOPA and PIPA.
They join Millions of Americans to oppose SOPA and PIPA bills. Also Diversity News Publications website on strike today to fight SOPA and PIPA.
More about SOPA and PIPA
Members of Congress are trying to do the right thing by going after pirates and counterfeiters but SOPA and PIPA are the wrong way to do it.
1. SOPA and PIPA would censor the Web
The U.S. government could order the blocking of sites using methods similar to those employed by China. Among other things, search engines could be forced to delete entire websites from their search results. That’s why 41 human rights organizations and 110 prominent law professors have expressed grave concerns about the bills.
2. SOPA and PIPA would be job-killers because they would create a new era of uncertainty for American business
Law-abiding U.S. internet companies would have to monitor everything users link to or upload or face the risk of time-consuming litigation. That’s why AOL, EBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo and Zynga wrote a letter to Congress saying these bills “pose a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job-creation.” It’s also why 55 of America’s most successful venture capitalists expressed concern that PIPA “would stifle investment in Internet services, throttle innovation, and hurt American competitiveness”. More than 204 entrepreneurs told Congress that PIPA and SOPA would “hurt economic growth and chill innovation”.
3. SOPA and PIPA wouldn’t stop piracy
To make matters worse, SOPA and PIPA won’t even work. The censorship regulations written into these bills won’t shut down pirate sites. These sites will just change their addresses and continue their criminal activities, while law-abiding companies will suffer high penalties for breaches they can’t possibly control.
There are effective ways to combat foreign “rogue” websites dedicated to copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting, while preserving the innovation and dynamism that have made the Internet such an important driver of American economic growth and job creation. Congress should consider alternatives like the OPEN Act, which takes targeted and focused steps to cut off the money supply from foreign pirate sites without making US companies censor the Web.
If these bills pass, one infringement would be enough for a copyright holder to file to take down an entire website. YouTube could disappear overnight. Same with Vimeo, Flickr, Twitter, or even WonderHowTo. Enacting such a draconian law would stifle innovation from new web startups. It would be too risky to create a website where people could submit their own whatever. Even the White House has spoken out about its concerns, emphasizing that they “will not support” any bill “that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”
Sources: Google, http://www.businessinsider.com
Video courtesy of YouTube.com/EngineAdvocacy
David Harrison Levi is upset at Steven Escobar because he wrote an article of an event he attended and saw the security at Cafe Entourage kicking David Harrison Levi and his Followers. You can read the article titled ”
Self-promoter David Harrison Levi and Followers Apparently Escorted Out by Security in Hollywood”
Also as we promess and by request from our Diversity News Radio listeners, you can see the copy of the letter mail to Mr. Levi by Steven Escobar law office. David Harrison Levi needs to leave Mr. Esteban “Steven” Escobar alone.
“Last night, we witnessed perhaps one of the finest moments in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department.
After 58 days of the Occupy LA protest, 1,400 officers enforced the closure of City Hall Park. The closure, conducted in a professional and restrained manner, was meticulously planned and involved coordination with multiple city departments. Over 200 people were arrested with a minimal use of force and with no major injuries to the police or to protesters. The activists’ fundamental rights were respected. This was a peaceful and orderly conclusion of the encampment at City Hall.
Today, the LAPD stands as a shining example of constitutional policing.
I commend the officers who took part in the operation. They are an honor to their profession. Their restraint – in the face of a potentially dynamic situation – is a key reason why City Hall Park was closed in an orderly manner. I also want to commend Chief Beck and his command staff for their leadership over the last eight weeks. At every turn, Chief Beck displayed a steady hand and excellent judgment in developing his department’s response to Occupy LA. The General Services Police Officers, social workers and other City personnel also made key contributions to the successful closure of the park.
From the start, we pledged to do things differently in Los Angeles. We took a measured approach, respected protesters’ first amendment rights, sought to de-escalate conflict and supported open communication.
We did not rush. We respected the dignity of the protesters and gave them time to gather their belongings and arrange their departure. When we made the decision to close the park, we made sure that ample human services, such as shelter beds, were available to those who needed them. As a result, the LAPD was able to avoid the violent confrontations that have marred similar operations in other cities.
The Occupy movement should not be about defending a particular patch of parkland, but rather about spreading the message of economic equality and pushing for social justice. I thank participants who heeded our call and left City Hall Park before the operation, those who stayed, but departed peacefully or were arrested without incident. These Angeleno activists have also demonstrated to the rest of the country that social change is best achieved through peaceful means.
Instead of grinding to a halt amid confrontation, the Occupy LA movement can now amplify their calls for social justice and economic opportunity. In the days ahead, we must build on the foundation of cooperation that we have established over these last two months.
Although we expect further protests as Occupy LA works to broaden its movement, we will work hard to ensure that the City handles these actions with the appropriate restraint. I hope that the Occupy LA activists will do the same.
The movement’s message of restoring the balance to American society is too important to be lost amid clashes and conflict.”
Source: LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Facebook.
Photo credit to: LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Facebook.
Entertainment Industry Organizations Stand United in Support for the Rights of Imprisoned Iranian Filmmakers
In September 2011, the Iranian government arrested six independent filmmakers for allegedly working with the BBC, on charges including espionage and treason. Along with the ongoing house arrest of director Jafar Panahi and the prior arrest of actress Marzieh Vafamehr, who was later sentenced to one year in prison and 90 lashes, the arrests sparked outrage from filmmaking communities within Iran and around the world.
Prior to the release of two of the filmmakers, all six were denied access to their lawyers and families, who were forced to remain silent.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Screen Actors Guild issued a press release on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 with the following entertainment industry organizations standing united in their support for the rights of Imprisoned Iranian Filmmakers and call for their immediate release.
Statement from the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
As an international organization representing over 6000 artists in 35 countries, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is deeply concerned whenever and wherever the rights of filmmakers are threatened. The recent arrest of six Iranian filmmakers, the sentence of “one year in jail and 90 lashes” to an actress just for playing a role in an acclaimed film, and the continued house arrest of Jafar Panahi, among others, is a situation that demands our serious attention. These filmmakers – and others – are artists, not political combatants. We join our colleagues around the world in calling unequivocally for these filmmakers’ safety, release, and return to filmmaking. They deserve the same, full freedom of expression that the overwhelming majority of our members enjoy every day, no matter where they are from, no matter where they work, no matter what their beliefs.
Statement from the Board of Directors of American Cinema Editors
The American Cinema Editors is an organization of more than 500 professional film editors in the United States and around the globe. We join with the other members of the filmmaking community in expressing our deep concern whenever and wherever the basic human rights of free expression are threatened.
As storytellers, we feel that the arrest of fellow artists for expressing their beliefs, revealing truths and pursuing creative freedom, no matter how controversial, is a story that should no longer have to be told in the 21st century.
Statement from the Board of Governors of the American Society of Cinematographers
The American Society of Cinematographers is an organization of more than 300 professional directors of photography in the United States and throughout the world. We foster the collaboration of cinematographers and the creative exchange of ideas and issues of mutual concern to our members and to the global filmmaking community. We are deeply concerned whenever and wherever the rights of filmmakers are threatened. We share these concerns with our fellow guilds and film organizations: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), The Directors Guild of America (DGA), The Producers Guild of America (PGA), The Screen Actors Guild (SAG), The Writers Guilds of America East and West (WGA), the American Cinema Editors (ACE) and the International Documentary Association (IDA).
We are deeply concerned regarding the recent arrest of six Iranian filmmakers. The sentence of “one year in jail and 90 lashes” to an actress just for playing a role in an acclaimed film, and the continued house arrest of Jafar Panahi, among others, is a situation that demands our serious attention. These filmmakers – and others – are artists, not political combatants. We join our colleagues and cinematographers around the world in calling unequivocally for these Iranian filmmakers’ safety, release, and return to filmmaking. They deserve the same, full freedom of expression that the overwhelming majority of our members enjoy every day, no matter where they are from, no matter where they work, no matter what their beliefs.
Statement from the Directors Guild of America
The Directors Guild of America joins our colleagues and fellow artists around the world in condemning the baseless and cruel imprisonment or detainment of filmmakers by the Iranian government.
We first raised this issue last year immediately after the sentencing of prominent Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi. We are extremely concerned that not only does Panahi remain under arrest, but the Iranian government continues to detain filmmakers and other artists without cause.
As an organization representing 14,500 directors and members of the directorial team who live and work all over the world, it is our belief that for a society to flourish, artists must have the freedom to live and work without fear of imprisonment, retribution or censorship. Creative freedom is an essential building block of liberty, culture, civil and human rights, and we join the world community in opposing any attempt to suppress the rights of artists to engage in creative expression. We hope the Iranian government will release these filmmakers and recognize that their creative works can only strengthen and enrich Iranian society.
Statement from the International Documentary Association
The International Documentary Association believes that the power and artistry of film is vital to cultures and societies globally, and we fiercely defend the rights of filmmakers and artists everywhere to practice their art and to seek and reveal truth in their work, however provocative that truth may be. We strenuously uphold the principles of free speech and freedom from censorship. The expression of truth should never be silenced by the exercise of power by a State or system of authority that may feel threatened by the content of the artistic or journalistic work–both essential elements of democracy.
Together with our entire international community of documentary filmmakers, The International Documentary Association calls for the release and fair treatment of Iranian filmmakers, artists, and actors. These artists, and other filmmakers, actors and journalists like them, must be immediately released and allowed to continue their artistic and journalistic work without restriction or penalty. We stand united with them, as do artists across the globe. And we will continue to fight for their fundamental human right of self-expression.
Statement from the Producers Guild of America
As supporters of creative freedom, the Producers Guild of America, on behalf of its more than 4,800 members, wishes to express its profound dismay over the treatment of producer Katayoun Shahabi, directors Jafar Panahi, Naser Saffarian, Hadi Afarideh, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and Shahnam Bazdar, and journalist and documentarian Mohsen Shahrnazdar at the hands of their Iranian government. The silencing of these voices and others via arrest, coercion and political pressure is unacceptable, and we stand steadfast with our colleagues within the industry and around the world in calling for their release. We look forward to the day when these storytellers are permitted to resume their callings, and hope that even in their captivity, these artists know that they have the sympathy, respect and support of our creative community.
Statement from Screen Actors Guild
Iran has a strong tradition of artistic expression reaching back thousands of years. That tradition is under attack in a contemporary Iran that has seemingly turned against its own artists. Screen Actors Guild deeply deplores the persecution of actor Marzieh Vafamehr and the filmmakers and other entertainment and media industry representatives now under attack in Iran. We add our voices to the thousands of artists worldwide calling on the Iranian government to immediately free Marzieh and the other artists and filmmakers imprisoned because of their artistic and cultural endeavors. We urge Iran to refrain from stifling the artistic expression of its citizens and to let their unique and valuable voices be heard once again.
Statement from the Writers Guilds of America, West and East
The Writers Guilds of America West and East add their voices to the calls for the release of writer/director Jafar Panahi, now under house arrest, and all other members of Iran’s creative community unjustly imprisoned or detained.
The art of Iran is one of the great treasures of humankind. Its cinema has a long and vibrant history–and in recent years, the Iranian cinema has been one of the very brightest lights illuminating the art form for the rest of the world. Its filmmakers represent the richness of Iranian culture and the extraordinary imagination of the Iranian people. All of us are poorer when their voices are stilled.
We urge the government of Iran to remember that these are artists, not political enemies, that they have, as all free people do, the right to hold and express opinions. And we urge the government of Iran to remember that their work is the most powerful ambassador of understanding between the people of Iran and the people of the world.
Nothing is more dangerous to a society than the silencing of art. Therefore, we ask the government of Iran to release its filmmakers and to allow them to live and to work freely, as they have previously done in their country and as most of their fellow artists do in the rest of the world.
Sources: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Screen Actors Guild
Picture credit to: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences