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.

New collaboration tools

I’ve written before about’s Active Workspace collaboration tool.

Now the Wall Street Journal just announced its feature called My Journal which “introduces a new level of versatility with new ways to organize, manage and share breaking news, articles, videos and more.”

In My Journal users can set up folders to email content to friends and colleagues.  Users can set up “Collections” and whenever new content is added to the collection, it’s automatically e-mailed to the addresses the user has identified to receive such updates.  I’ll try this with our advanced legal research class this fall.

Google News May Add Wikipedia as a Source


According to ReadWriteWeb:

“Some users are being shown links to Wikipedia articles about current events clustered in the lists of sources on Google News, Google confirmed today. Those collaboratively written and edited pages will now sit side by side with professional news reporting.”

Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb definitely takes an optimistic spin on the development:

“People used to say you couldn’t trust anything written on Wikipedia, but they used to say that about the whole Internet. While professional news organizations have professional editors and fact checkers, Wikipedia has far more eyes to mobilize in fact checking.”

The five W’s of journalism will now be six? (Who, what, where, when, why and Wikipedia)

Irish student’s Jarre wiki hoax dupes journalists

Irish student’s Jarre wiki hoax dupes journalists

Thursday, May 7, 2009; 5:18 AM

“When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head,” Oscar-winning French composer Maurice Jarre once said, according to several newspapers reporting his death in March. However, the quotation was invented by an Irish student who posted it on the Wikipedia Web site in a hoax designed to show the dangers of relying too heavily on the Internet for information. The 22-year-old sociology and economics student at University College Dublin said he had expected blogs and perhaps small newspapers to use the quotes but did not believe major publications would rely on Wikipedia without further checks.


Source: BNA’s Internet Law News – 5/8/09

News Publishers and the iPhone

I was speaking at a law school panel discussion a couple of months ago.  The session was being recorded, and the technician was using wireless microphones.  He was picking up interference during sound checks and asked the six or seven law students who were on the panel if they had iPhones, and if they could turn them off if so.  It seemed to me  that  just about every student, and certainly a majority, reached into his or her pocket and pulled out an iPhone.

What made me think of this incident is a Technology story in tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal, “Publishers Nurture Rivals to Kindle,” by Shira Ovide and Geoffrey A. Fowler.  The article talks about a number of efforts by different publishers teaming up with companies such as FirstPaper LLC ., Plastic Logic Ltd., and E Ink Corp.

What especially caught my eye was this paragraph:

Some publishers also are focusing their portable-reading efforts on devices people already use. The new iPhone applications store rolling out this summer will support subscription prices, spurring the Financial Times, Time Inc. and other publishers to tinker with ways to offer subscriptions on the iPhone. Last week, Amazon bought a small startup that makes free e-book reading application Stanza for the iPhone.

I think that they might really be on to something.


Every morning I have copies of the Financial Times, New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal delivered to my office.  These are all fine newspapers — and perhaps the last in the dying breed.  But it was with real lament that I read in a front-page, below-the-fold story in today’s Times, about the demise of the print Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “Seattle Paper Shifts Entirely to the Web,” by WILLIAM YARDLEY and RICHARD PEREZ-PENA.

It was the P-I that made me a newspaper reader.  It was 1978.  I was studying for the bar examination, and I made reading the P-I part of my daily routine.  I’d buy the paper in the morning, and start studying as soon as I finished reading the paper.  It’s amazing how fascinating every page became, when I knew that what awaited me after I was done was memorizing the Rule Against Perpetuities.  The front-page, the op-ed page, the sports pages, the columnists, the obituaries — all fascinating reading.  No more. 

Times Machine

From an e-mail I received today from The New York Times:


As a home delivery subscriber you receive free access to Times Machine, our online archive of The Times from 1851 to 1922 — reproduced exactly as it originally appeared.

With Times Machine, see history come back to life:
        Just choose a date and see every headline, article and photo
        Flip electronically through page after page of history as it was happening
        Read about the Civil War or the sinking of the Titanic, or look through the first 70 years of advertising in The Times

Times Machine is only available for home delivery subscribers. . . .

No Tears for the Newspaper?

A new Pew Center Research report on the end of local newspapers is very telling.

“Fewer than half of Americans (43%) say that losing their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community “a lot.” Even fewer (33%) say they would personally miss reading the local newspaper a lot if it were no longer available.”


“About half of Democrats (49%) and 47% of independents say civic life would be hurt “a lot” if the newspaper shut down, compared with 33% of Republicans.”

The 10 major newspapers that will either fold or go digital next

This happy headline from a recent Yahoo News story, ” The 10 Major Newspapers that will Either Fold or Go Digital Next.”  Here is the list:

1. The Philadelphia Daily News. 

2. The Minneapolis Star Tribune 

3. The Miami Herald 

4. The Detroit News 

5. The Boston Globe 

6. The San Francisco Chronicle. 

7. The Chicago Sun Times 

8. NY Daily News


9. The Fort Worth Star Telegram 

10. The Cleveland Plain Dealer

[Hat tip to Ross Runkel]

Google’s newspaper ads

From The Arts section of today’s New York Times

A Google Search of a Distinctly Retro Kind

To Satisfy a Lawsuit, Internet Powerhouse Must Turn to Print Ads

By Noam Cohen

To comply with a class-action suit by copyright holders affected by Google’s plan to offer all of literature online, old-fashioned legal notices in 70 languages are being placed in newspapers worldwide.

. . .

Old-fashioned legal notices prove best in tracking down far-flung authors