The goodness of porn


The staff of the Stanford Law Library must abide by two simple rules:  1. Be nice; 2. no porn.

I start my day in the office by reading four newspapers:  The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Financial Times (have I got a great job or what?! – I get paid to read the newspaper).

So imagine my surprise when I turned to page 5 of yesterday’s Financial Times and found a full-page ad placed by the adult entertainment industry in support of the new .xxx internet extension, “WHY THE ADULT ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY IS ADOPTING A NEW POSITION.”

According to the ad (and, rhetorical question here:  what will replace the impact of a “full-page ad” when newspapers give up their print editions?), there are many benefits of the .xxx address.

For one thing, all sites ending in .xxx with be scanned daily for malware and spyware.

And $10 for every .xxx domain will go to the International Foundation for Online Responsibility, which develops tools to protect children online.

“.XXX is the most desirable thing to happen to online adult entertainment in a long time,” the ad concludes.

And this ad comes about a week after a news story suggesting that colleges might want to “snatch up .xxx domains.”

But you won’t be seeing, and my two rules still apply at the library:

1. Be nice.  2. No porn.

If anyone wants more information, the ad points to and I’d be happy to send along a copy of the full-page ad upon request.

Tahrir Documents Project (Egypt)

Tahrir Documents

The Project as described by the editors and staff of Tahrir Documents:

We are pleased to announce the launch of Tahrir Documents, an ongoing project to archive and translate printed discourse from the 2011Egyptian revolution and its aftermath. The website presents a diverse collection of materials — among them activist newspapers, personal essays, advertisements, missives, and party communications —- incomplete English translation alongside reproductions of the Arabic-language originals. The site will be updated regularly, frequently, and indefinitely as new writings appear in response to post-revolution developments, and as we locate earlier materials. The assembled documents address a variety of contemporary concerns including Muslim-Christian relations, constitutional amendments, moral conduct, revolutionary strategy, and the women’s rights movement. Some of the highlights of the collection:


* A defense of protestors’ continued sit-in at Tahrir Squarereleased on March 9th, the same day on which their encampment wasdestroyed by thugs

* Guidelines for personal behavior after the revolution

* Numerous denunciations of sectarian violence

* The announcement of new political parties and presidential candidates.

* Numerous articles debating the constitutional amendments passedlast week

* Selections from Gurnal and Revolutionary Egypt, activistnewspapers founded after the revolution


We invite you to examine the website, and to return regularly as we post communications and commentaries from the post-Mubarak era. We believe the archive indicative of the diversity of political thought and action in contemporary Egypt, and hope that this diversity is ofinterest to anyone following the country’s transforming situation. The archive is searchable. Tahrir Documents is the work of volunteer translators in Egypt and abroad. It is not affiliated with any of those authors or groups whose works appear in translation on the website, nor with any organization foreign or domestic.


For more information please write to the editorial board at


We invite the submission of materials for translation and publication on the website.



The Wikipedia Zeitgeist

One of the many joys of my job — and a reason why I’ll never retire — is the steady stream of interesting publications that pass my desk.  Today brought the August 2008 issue Super Lawyers, Corporate Counsel Edition, and it includes a profile of Wikimedia’s in-house counsel, Mike Godwin.

Godwin was the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s first lawyer, after catching its founders attention with a computer crime true story involving the Secret Service’s raid on Steven Jackson Games (which is documented in Bruce Sterling’s The hacker crackdown : law and disorder on the electronic frontier)

According to the Super Lawyers story, “The Wikipedia Zeitgeist: Why Mike Godwin disowns his own content,” by Larry Rosen, Godwin joined Wikipedia in July 2007 because he was “intrigued by Wikipedia’s impact on copyright liability and free speech.”

“We expressly disown our content,” he says.  “The legal framework set up in the ’90s protects publishers from liability for content they did not produce. . . . The thing we set out to do philosophically — provide free content and not own it — actually provides us with a lot of legal protection.”

Since Wikipedia includes articles about people who are still living, the protection is tested often.  “I do a lot of explaining,” Godwin says.

The explanation includes an invitation to join the Wikipedia community.  “Add your voice to it; correct the record,” he tells critics.  “We’ll show you how.”

The power of Wikepedia, and the entire Internet, is that “everyone now has a chance to correct the record.  But,” he cautions, “this is such a fundamental social change that it’ll take at least a generation to get accustomed to it.”

. . .