I Blame the Dutch mpoetess
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Oh, LJ, no. (Part the godknowswhich)
LJ...just... dudes. (Link gacked from 47_trek_47)

I've seen previous references today and yesterday to LJ staff having said that even linking to objectionable content could result in suspension, but when I followed the quotes back to the source, the actual discussion was about using an LJ post to display an image hosted elsewhere. Like this.

The image itself is displaying on my LJ, though it's stored on my own webspace, not in LJ's scrapbook. I could see why LJ could reasonably consider that to fall under "hosting" - LJ is still displaying the picture - it's acting as a picture-frame.

That's embedding or "remote loading." It's not the same as a text link, and I sighed and wished the users who'd discussed it had read more carefully or had better understanding of html. Not because I don't think 6Apart are being idiots - but because people who are attempting to change things really really need to know what they're talking about, and give that impression to both 6A and the public.

But now they really have answered that even links to offsite material could be grounds for suspension. "Linking to specific offsite content which would violate LiveJournal's Terms of Service can still be considered a violation of LiveJournal's Terms of Service in most situations." {From the official response to a support request}

What does that mean in practical terms? That if I were to link to, for example, the picture that got one of the HP fanartists suspended -- even if I linked it in the context of a nonpartisan report on the situation -- my journal could be considered just as much in violation of the TOS as if I'd re-posted the picture on my front page.

LJ's Terms of Service give them legal carte blanche to delete anybody for anything; I'm not sure there's anybody out there even attempting to argue otherwise, anymore. But the public relations and customer service hole they are digging themselves into just gets deeper and deeper. Adding restriction of offsite hyperlinks to the list seriously damages any claims that their actions are about protecting the company legally.

LJ/6Apart is really, really reminding me of an argument-pattern (clearly paraphrased here) that's been noted with anti-fanfic folks:

    Anti: "It's illegal!"

    Pro: "That hasn't been well-tested in court yet. It might be fair use; it might not be."

    Anti: "It's not. Plus you're not a real writer/artist if you can't come up with your own characters and settings. You have no creativity."

    Pro: "So what about those licensed spinoff novels you write? Do those mean you're not a real writer?"

    Anti: "Those are legal!"

    Pro: "...and therefore more creative?"

etc. In other words, the constant track-jump to the unrelated argument whenever the other person in the discussion appears to have the logical upper hand.

    LJ: It's child porn!

    Users: Um, no. Child porn has to involve real children, in the US.

    LJ: Okay, you're right, but it's still obscene! Therefore illegal!

    Users: Um, no. The standards for obscenity are very hard to prove, and have to be decided in court. Which this is not.

    LJ: It might be obscene, though, and that gives us legal liability!

    Users: Really doubtful.

    LJ: We're not taking the chance. Plus, there's also stuff we just morally don't want to host.

    Users: Okay, fair enough. But you have to define what exactly that is, if you want to be seen as a good business.

    LJ: No illegal stuff!

    Users: .....Plz see above? But okay, okay, whatever, say you find the material objectionable for whatever reason - why can't you ask the user to remove it instead of permanently suspending them?

    LJ: Because then we'd be legally liable! Even hosting such content for as long as it takes for the user to respond would make us liable.

    Users: ..................... But we thought this was about morali-- Gah, ok whatever. Then why can't you delete the offending material, without suspending the user's entire account and every other account they have?

    LJ: *is silent, pretty much, as far as I can tell*

    Users: So okay, what about just hyperlinking to material hosted elsewhere? You're not hosting that.

    LJ: Nope, just as bad!

    Users: *use up all the ellipses in the world*


2007-08-09 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)

headdesk x 1,000,000.



2007-08-09 04:07 am (UTC) (Link)

The whole thing just makes me tiiiiiiiiired. Not like I'm above it all, just that even watching people try to reason with them wears me out. Having the arguments in my head tires me out so much that I've avoided actually saying much on the subject. Watching the loudest and most histrionic/rude folk get the wrong sort of attention activates the 'Plz stop being on my side' button, then LJ counters with something even dumber...

It's too fucking hot for this, internets.


2007-08-09 03:53 am (UTC) (Link)


just... precisely.


2007-08-09 04:09 am (UTC) (Link)


(no subject) - winterlive, 2007-08-09 04:13 am (UTC) (Expand)


2007-08-09 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Best summation of this insanity EVER!!!!!

You win the Internets for the month of August. Go you.


2007-08-09 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you! *looks at internets, wonders what to do with them and whether they match my outfit*


2007-08-09 05:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Wow, that was the most coherent summary I've seen yet. And it made me laugh, even though it hurts!


2007-08-09 02:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Laughter is in short supply around here; glad I could help. ;-)


2007-08-09 07:22 am (UTC) (Link)

I'm with you.


2007-08-09 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm not fleeing anyplace, as I've already got four active friendslists to keep track of, counting Journalfen, and Greatestjournal is blocked at work as a dating/personals site (WTF?) so it's effectively useless for me. So my interest tends to be centered on "LJ, fix this, dammit, so we don't have a fandom diaspora. I do not need the complication when I am so far out of the active loop already that just passively reading is a challenge."

(no subject) - kuzibah, 2007-08-09 04:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - trepkos, 2007-08-09 05:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)


2007-08-09 08:49 am (UTC) (Link)

I've known for years that we aren't allowed to link objectionable content in our journals. This isn't actually new. It's why one can't link ASSTR, per example.


2007-08-09 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

For reals? (Ob. disclaimer that I've been aware since I got an LJ that the LJ TOS said they could delete for anything they didn't like.) Just, they've really already interpreted it that specifically before?

That's a surprised 'for reals,' not a disbelieving one. I've never come across anyone mentioning not being allowed to link to ASSTR. Then again I can't recall being in a situation where the discussion would have come up, since I don't actually read there myself, or read a lot of comms or folks who'd be likely to be linking to it. Was there a specific incident involving somebody being told they couldn't? *curiouses*

(no subject) - thawrecka, 2007-08-09 02:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)


2007-08-09 10:41 am (UTC) (Link)

Users: *use up all the ellipses in the world*

Yeah, that's exatly where I'm at with this. LJ needs one single person making logical decisions here. They make no sense!


2007-08-09 02:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Or at least one single person speaking for the group, a person who is articulate, has the authority to speak for LJ, understands the laws they're purporting to be affected by, and can comprehend and respond to user concerns.


2007-08-09 11:13 am (UTC) (Link)

So now what people need is a stepping-stone page on their websites:

"I have a new fic up on my website! You might like it! To read a summary, go *here to the stepping stone page,* where you will learn more about the new story."

And then THAT page has a link to the possibly-unacceptable-to-LJ story.


2007-08-09 01:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

... is what part 0 is for, yesno?

(no subject) - mpoetess, 2007-08-09 01:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)


2007-08-09 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

My cynical nature leaves my unsurprised by any of this. But how glad am I not to have purchased a permanent account? In fact, I let my paid account run out. Now I'm down to seven icons, and I just don't care.


2007-08-09 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

I have a perm account (this one) that I rarely post to anymore, though I still read my friendslist every day. But my biggest fannish activity for the last two years has been an LJ-based RPG, and that won't migrate. (Or, it could, and if there's a huge problem the administration has a contingency plan, but it wouldn't migrate easily.)

(no subject) - chicken_cem, 2007-08-09 04:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)


2007-08-09 02:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

No wonder my head's been hurting all week.


2007-08-09 07:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

*pets it*

*refrains from editing i about three more tangents I thought of that 6A is using to avoid logic*


2007-08-09 04:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

*Headdesk* The only answer I can come up with is that LJ staff/owners/etc. has been infected with Crazy-Stupid-Insane virus.

Added to memories.

(Deleted comment)


2007-08-09 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

FWIW, the policy-answer there was "specific offsite content that would violate" - so I think they mean exactly that - a link straight to something that couldn't be posted in one's LJ.

It's still incredibly fuzzy, though, because of how ambiguous (and open to change and differing interpretations by different staff) the policy is on what you can't post in the first place.

For example, say I link to a page that talks about how the owner finds stories/art about questionable consent with teen characters to be thought-provoking and turn her on, and she links directly to an illustration that definitely could not be posted on LJ.

That means I'm safe, right, because I didn't link directly to the picture? Probably. Today.

Except maybe tomorrow someone at LJ decides to interpret the existing TOS in such a way that even discussion of one's psychological reactions to such art counts as 'promoting' child abuse. Then my offsite suddenly becomes a violation.

Which of course is the whole problem. What LJ is doing is refusing to clarify in the TOS itself how the vague terms in their TOS will be applied. They're baldly stating that this is the case.

My IANAL theory: They won't edit the TOS because they don't want their standards out there in writing and able to be contested, and they're even more stubborn about it now because changing the actual terms without notifying the users is now illegal. But if they only change their own internal policy documents about how the TOS is to be applied to individual cases? They can change policy as much as they want without having to inform anybody of anything. Or at least that's their strategy, which they think will protect them from civil penalties.


2007-08-09 06:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

The non-linky annoyance seems to reflect Outpost Gallifrey where we're not allowed to link to anything that breaks copyright (their particular bugbear) such as Youtube clips etc.

Not that this has anything much to do with anything. It just annoys me there too.


2007-08-09 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

It would annoy me as well, though I can see the logic at OG if I squint. (Production-connected folk do read and talk there occasionally, and it's a searchable forum, not a de-centralized personal blogging service like LJ.)

(no subject) - omphalos, 2007-08-09 08:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mpoetess, 2007-08-09 08:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)


2007-08-09 08:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Great summing up! I'd missed that part about text links to off-site material.


2007-08-14 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)

I'm surprised more people aren't pointing out how homophobic it is that LJ's immediate response to a homosexual, erotic picture was to leap to the conclusion that it must be child porn. ??? What the hell, Six Apart. What the hell. I'm so offended at this point, nothing they do next will shock me.


2007-08-14 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)

I've seen a number of people point that out, actually, both in comments to lj_biz posts and in their own individual posts.

I'm leery of assuming homophobia on LJ's part based on a statistical sampling of two pictures that were reported by someone(s) who don't work for LJ. On the part of whoever reported them, possibly.

On LJ's part, we don't have examples of het pictures that were also reported (because there either haven't been any, or no one's complained about suspensions regarding them) to compare LJ's reactions regarding het and slash erotica.