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SAMIZDATA FROM THE GEO-GULAGS, Page 2



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A Guest Book Entry With a Samizdata Reply: 12 July 1999


Name: Slp3

Referred by: Just Surfed On In

Time: 1999-07-12 00:11:00

Comments: hi! nice site, was impressed with its content and the way u had the source of pics (not always an easy thing to get) but u r now trying to make money from it (which is illegal) so don't, did u originally make the site for money or because u were a fan? that's what I ask you. But good site, keep it up

Note From the Grand Panjandrum: Thanks for the kind words Slp3, we just wish you had left your e-mail address for us. "The Jaundiced Eye Productions Home Page" was not started as a fan page -- it was begun as a site to promote and review very low-budget films and videos (for example, The Hallway, which was recently shown at Toronto and is now headed for a film festival in Philadelphia) and student productions, which we still do once in a while -- productions which would ordinarily get no publicity at all, but which they can receive free from us and which hundreds, and sometimes thousands of people may see.

When GeoCities expanded its member sites from 2 megabytes to 11 megabaytes, we began adding fan pages and lots of photos, including pictures not available anywhere else on the Internet. But, as Robert Heinlein observed, "TNSTAFL" -- "There's No Such Thing As a Free Lunch" -- sooner or later, SOMEONE has to pay for it.

We have spent literally thousands of hours working on this site over the years, we have won a Five Star Award for Excellence, we're the #10 Class 1 EuroSeek™ Cool Site in the whole world, etc. All of that time and energy (and electricity and computer costs and printer ink and telephone bills, etc.) COULD have been used for our own film and video productions, but we chose to develop this site because it allowed some of us to showcase our talents to potential employers, and entertain ourselves and our friends. AND WE HAVE NEVER CHARGED ANYONE ANY MONEY TO VISIT OUR SITE -- EVER!

Over the past few months, however, one of our writers's copyrighted material was plagiarized by a magazine editor and a film publicist, which cost our guy A LOT of money and "goodwill," and we have crammed so much space onto this site that the question arose as to whether or not we should lease extra web space from GeoCities for about $5.00 a month: was it worth the cost and the grief?

This led to a very difficult decision on our part: after being ad-free for two years, we became GeoCities member "affiliates" in the spring, meaning that we would allow a few companies -- which WE selected -- to have ads on our actual pages. You have probably seen them: Go.to, Barnes and Noble, Reel.com, and Proflowers. WE selected which ads would appear and where they would appear, and placed them there ourselves. Our logic was simple: if the "affiliate" ads generated enough revenue for us to lease web space from GeoCities, we would expand the site and add even more features. For us to get money from our "affiliate" businesses, however, people have to at least "click through" to their pages by way of ads on our our web site, and, if anyone bought anything, we would get a small commission. Not only is this 100% legal, Slp3, it's how the Internet is able to keep running; that's why there are ads all over the 'net -- people are raking in the nickles and dimes to pay their phone bills, lease web space, etc.

UNFORTUNATELY, our visitors didn't follow through for us: until Yahoo illegally locked us out of our own home page (where we could check our "affiliate" financial records), since the Spring of 1999 we had not earned enough money to pay for even ONE MONTH's extra web space for our site -- that's less than US $5.00!!! If we sound grumpy when we talk about money, it's because we are -- it is VERY nice to receive heaps of praise in our Guest Book, but if we can't expand and improve the site . . . why should we bother with it at all? If our visitors don't care, if the actors whom we promote (FOR FREE) don't care, if their publicists (who are PAID to work with people like us) don't care, why in the world should we? That may sound harsh, but we live and/or work in Hollywood, and this is a very harsh town in which to work and live.

NOW, Yahoo has locked us out of our web site because we refuse to let them use the text and pictures we have built up here over the last two and a half years (and which you and so many others enjoy so much) . . . for free, WITHOUT the permission of the people who own the copyrights to the material, and WITHOUT the permission of the people who appear in those pictures, and without OUR permission, either. Yahoo, Inc. wants to be able to do ANYTHING they want with the almost 11 megabytes of photos and text we have on our site, and they want US to give them permission to do it, even if they want to supply pictures of our favorite actors and actresses (some of whom we actually know) to Internet pornographers! (See the entry under this one for details on THAT scam!) We are decent, honorable people, and have no intention whatsoever of betraying the people who have trusted us with their words and pictures, and we plan to fight Yahoo tooth and nail in and out of court to protect the actors and actresses whom "we love, know, and admire" and the motion pictures and television shows in which they appear. This fight may cost us hundreds -- possibly thousands -- of dollars and could keep us tied up in court for years, preventing us from earning money working on other projects. How much money are these movie studios and television networks and these actors and actresses contributing to this fight? Not one cent. Everything is going to have to come out of our own pockets, just so that we can do the honorable thing and protect the material which other people have entrusted to us. To our way of thinking, that makes us among the most dedicated fans that ANY of the stars on our web site have.


One of the many inspirational messages in Late Bloomers.

So dedicated are we to our "faves" and to protecting the integrity of this site, that we have gone to the extreme of using our own Guest Book to keep our page updated since Yahoo will not let us update our web site unless we agree to betray all of the stars and studios and production companies who have trusted us through the years.

Regarding advertisements on our web site however, we want to issue this extremely important warning:

"POP-UP ADS" WHICH APPEAR ON OUR SITE ARE PLACED THERE BY YAHOO -- NOT BY US!

We have no control over what Yahoo makes "pop-up" in the corner of our page, but we want to warn ALL of our visitors of one fact: if you fill out ANY questionaire of ANY sort on ANY of those "pop-up ads," or even "click through" to them, Yahoo will record every bit of information you enter, INCLUDING what computer you are using, and they have publicly stated that they will sell or "share" this information with their un-named "partners!" (We again refer you to the entry below this one for information about the sorts of people who obtain information from Yahoo.) We urge all of our visitors to IMMEDIATELY close ANY pop-up windows which appear on our web site and to NEVER "click through" to them -- doing so forfeits your right to privacy and could place very important private information about you into the hands of some very sleazy businesses.

We hope this addresses some of your concerns and answers your questions, Slp3. If it doesn't, just go to the 11 July "Exile" entry and click on The Grand Panjandrum's title to send us an e-mail. We shall try to answer any questions you may have. "That's what Brian Boitano would do!!!"


CURRENT STAR SURVEY RESULTS

By the way, Slp3, in case you or any of our other visitors were interested, as of 10:40 PM PDST, 11 July 1999, the current results in the "My Favorite Jaundiced Eye Star" survey were as follows: Christopher Materson (19%), Ryan Phillippe and Ben Silverstone (tied with 18% each), Ben Affleck (15%), Danny Masterson (11%), Esteban Louis Powell (5%), and Jordan Brower (4%). We're not altogether surprised by these tallies, but we think that when Powell's and Brower's movies hit wide theatrical release, their numbers will go way up. At least, that's OUR opinion! ;)

Esteban Powell as "Jamie Hooper" in Late Bloomers.
© Information on Late Bloomers photographs is located at our Esteban Louis Powell fan page and is incorporated here by reference.
(If you haven't seen Late Bloomers, it's on video -- buy or rent it ASAP -- it's wonderful!)


THE JAUNDICED EYE IN EXILE: 12 JULY 1999


We will not let Yahoo, Inc. prevent us from covering your faves! So:

Happy 21st Birthday to Topher Grace of "That '70s Show"!


We would also really like to post some pictures of Topher here for his birthday, but, thanks to Yahoo, we can't. Instead, we will probably spend most of this week in and out of courts fighting to free our web site from Yahoo's hijacking of it. But, hey! "That's what Brian Boitano would do!!!"



THE JAUNDICED EYE IN EXILE: 13 July 1999


URGENT WARNING TO PARENTS AND GUARDIANS OF CHILDREN

WITH YAHOO!GEOCITIES MAIL ACCOUNTS:


I'm certain that I have amused many of our visitors with my seemingly paranoid warnings about Yahoo, Inc.'s take-over of GeoCities and the uses which they can make "on the Internet" of the "content" of GeoCities web sites, but if you are the parent or adult guardian of a minor who has a geocities.com mail account (which is now under the complete control of Yahoo, Inc.) you had better stop laughing.

Two days ago we were forwarded -- by Yahoo -- an e-mail from "Casey.Stien@worldnet.att.net" which was addressed to "Undisclosed Recipients@geocities.com." The e-mail concludes with the following admonition:

"For details (CLICK REPLY) and E-mail your name, address, area code with phone number, and the best time to contact you!"

Microsoft's Hotmail Abuse division is currently investigating whether or not this e-mail was sent to all users of geocities.com mail, but, parents and guardians should be cautioned that if their minor children have geocities.com mail, or if you do and your minor children have access to the e-mail file on your computer, your children may send a complete stranger their name, e-mail address, HOME address and phone number! This despite all of Yahoo's reassurances of keeping information about children strictly confidential. REMEMBER: if you or your child has agreed to the Yahoo!GeoCities "terms of service" adhesion contract, Yahoo, Inc. is bound only by those "terms of service," and not by any other statement which they have made anywhere else. If you or your child has an old Geo mail account address on their web site, and you or your child has agreed to the Yahoo!GeoCities "terms of service," you have given Yahoo, Inc. permission to supply that e-mail address to people who may ask your child to SUPPLY THE CHILD'S NAME, HOME ADDRESS, and HOME TELEPHONE NUMBER!

We do not know what relationship "Casey.Stien" has with Yahoo, Inc.; we do not know if he is one of the un-named "partners" which Yahoo, Inc. told the US S.E.C. which they had in seventeen countries outside the USA, but we do draw your attention to the fact that this person or business has an e-mail account with worldnet.att.net, and that in their 25 June 1999 S.E.C. filing, Yahoo, Inc.'s directors informed the US governemnet that:


"We recently announced a co-branding and distribution arrangement with AT&T under which we will provide a Web-based online service in conjunction with dial-up Internet access provided by AT&T WorldNet Service."


We do not know if "Casey.Stien" has any sort of legal or business relationship with AT&T Worldnet, either, but we do know that it is extremely unsafe for anyone, especially children, to transmit their names, home adresses, telephone numbers, or personal e-mail addresses to ANY stranger over the Internet.

Despite our occasional "PG-13" content, we like to pride ourselves on being "KIDSAFE," and we strongly urge ALL parents and guardians of children to warn them to NEVER give personal information to ANY stranger, especially over the Internet!!!

Still think we here are paranoid? Today's mail brought e-mail forwarded to us by Yahoo, Inc. for a book which (among many other things) tells whoever reads it (including minors) about "Foreign Prescription Drugs" and "Real Fake IDs." This was addressed to "Citizens@geocities.com," which means that it could be sitting in your child's e-mail box right now if your child has a Yahoo!GeoCities e-mail account.

Well, we have almost exhausted our daily quota of italics, but we felt it absolutely imperative to warn any of our visitors who may be the parents or guardians of minors to caution their children not to release personal information to strangers, especially in light of the e-mail which Yahoo forwarded to us from the Internet pornography operation which boasts that its content is "banned in 39 countries" and which offers its customers their choice of "older" or "younger" women and girls engaging in sex on the Internet.

Internet pornographers, foreign gambling interests, suppliers of information on drugs and fake identification, and some unknown person or organization which is trying to obtain personal names, and home adresses, home phone numbers, and private e-mail account information from GeoCities members . . . life has certainly gotten spicier around here since Yahoo, Inc. bought out GeoCities a few weeks ago!

By the way, after we posted our message here on "the samizdat from the Geo-Gulags" a couple of days ago about the scrambling of the banner ad on our home page from The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the strange scrambling cleared up within a day. Maybe somebody at Yahoo, Inc. is actually reading these samizdats and fixed the problem rather than have anyone think that Yahoo, Inc. was even "accidentally" responsible for trying to interfere with our visitors's access to the NCMEC. Or maybe not. Who knows? We don't, even though we should, but Yahoo, Inc. refused to grant us any access at all to our site to see what the trouble might have been.

End of today's "samizdat from the Geo-Gulags".



THE JAUNDICED EYE IN EXILE: 15 JULY 1999

(Part One)


SECOND Urgent Warning to Parents!


(Those who are unfamiliar with the the reason for our posting these warnings in our Guest Book, of all places, should go back to our inital 9 July 1999 "Jaundiced Eye in Exile" posting and read forward in time the postings from there to fully appreciate the urgency of our warnings.)

After our last "Urgent Warning" about e-mail being forwarded from Yahoo, Inc. to all GeoCities mail customers, we have to issue a new warning to parents and guardians of children!

Today a new "pop-up advertisement" appeared on one of our sub-pages. This is from what appears to be a French-based occultist, which is okay if you like that sort of thing (and some, but not all of you, do), but the ad for this so-called "clairvoyant" and "fortune-teller" AGAIN asks whoever clicks on it to send in their name, personal e-mail address, home town, AND -- what is far worse -- solicits deeply personal information from whoever responds, including children.

We again warn EVERYONE to avoid clicking on ANY "pop-up advertisement" which appears ANYWHERE on Yahoo or Yahoo-owned GeoCities. The very act of clicking on the ad sends information about your computer to Yahoo, Inc., information which they have publicly declared that they will share with their un-named "partners" in seventeen foreign countries. This "pop-up ad" is particularly insidious because there is NO WAY for any minor to realize that clicking on it will send personal information about them to Yahoo, Inc. and/or its un-named "partners." Filling in the questionaire on the "fortune-teller's" form will make available to Yahoo, Inc. and their un-named "partners" information which even your local police department will tell you that NO CHILD should EVER give out to any stranger.

If you still doubt us, we suggest that you go to a computer at some public place (e.g., a library, a "cyber cafe," etc.) and click on www.)sara-freder(.com/indexb.html or www.)sara-freder(.com/indexg.html , print out the forms there and take them to your local police department's detective bureau to see if they consider it safe for your child to answer these questions over the Internet. Please note that you have to remove the reversed paranetheses to make the links actually work -- we do NOT want to create any links to that site here -- we not only do not endorse it, but we strongly warn anyone from answering ANY of the questions asked at that site.

AGAIN: The Jaundiced Eye Productions Home Page and all of its agents and employees do NOT agree or concur with the current "terms of service" being imposed by Yahoo, Inc. on GeoCities members, and we DO NOT endorse any "pop-up advertisements" which may appear when you are browsing our web site. The only advertisements which are authorized to appear on our web site are those of our "affiliates" which appear in the actual text of our page and its sub-pages, and even then, be aware that no minors should send even those advertisers any personal information over the Internet without the express permission of an adult parent or legal guardian. This "prime directive" should be considered to apply to ALL advertising on the Internet!


On a much cheerier note:

We are in the midst of the slow and laborious process of "mirroring" our GeoCities web site onto Tripod.com (which also has "pop-up ads," by the way, but at least they don't forward us mail from international pornographers, gambling syndicates, etc.!). This will take one to two weeks (at least!) but when it is completed we will once again be able to freely update our web site without fear that Yahoo, Inc. will distribute our material to their un-named international "partners."

End of Part One of the 15 July 1999 "samizdat from Geo-Gulags."



The Jaundiced Eye in Exile:

15 July 1999: Part Two:

Devon Sawa Nude? --or -- Why We Are Fighting Yahoo, Inc.


As we have mentioned in previous updates abour our struggle against Yahoo, Inc. and their five-page "terms of service" adhesion contract, one of our main concerns has been the clause which gives Yahoo, Inc. "the world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, and adapt the Content" of the Jaundiced Eye Productions Home Page and all other GeoCities web sites. Why are we so concerned about that particular phrase? Here is why:

What alarms us is the terminology itself: "world-wide" means, in practice, the USA and any of the seventeen countries in which Yahoo, Inc. does business (including countries with lax anti-child pornography laws); "royalty-free" means that they are claiming the right to use material without any compensation OR WARNING to the copyright holders of the materials (which, in the case of our page, includes photographs of children as young as seven or so from feature films such as Deep End of the Ocean and Simon Birch); "non-exclusive" means that they can share, trade, barter, or exchange ANY of the content that appears ANYWHERE on GeoCities pages with ANYONE, regardless of the use those people intend to make of the content; "reproduce, modify, and adapt and publish" means that they -- or anyone to whom they supply the content -- can change the content in any way they choose, including turning it into pornography by taking the heads off of television or movie stars, or the children of GeoCities members who have posted their family pictures and slapping those faces onto the bodies of models in countries in which "anything goes" in adult entertainment, including bestiality or child pornography!

This DOES happen on the Internet: just a few weeks ago we saw what was supposedly a full-frontal nude shot of Canadian-American teen idol Devon Sawa (from Lifetime's "Night of the Twisters," etc.), but we knew that it was a fake because Sawa has tattoos which this nude model didn't have, and the nude body had moles which Devon Sawa doesn't have: someone had taken a photograph of Sawa as a teenaged boy, pasted his face on a nude model with approximately the same build as Sawa, and is currently circulating it on the Internet as a nude photo of the teen actor. Yahoo, Inc.'s "terms of service" would, as we understand it, give Yahoo the right to distribute ANY content on GeoCities (including pictures of children and teenagers) to ANYONE, including pornographers, who could "modify and adapt" that content, including turning it into nude photographs or pornography! (To add insult to injury, in almost every one of the numerous LEGITIMATE shots of Devon Sawa shirtless which are floating around the Internet -- apparently taken at a carnival or some such event -- young Devon is PLAINLY wearing a cross around his neck; the nude model who is supposed to be Devon Sawa is also wearing a necklace, but it certainly isn't a cross!)

Mind you, Yahoo, Inc. almost certainly had nothing to do with this scurrilous picture, but, for the umpteenth time, we remind our readers that Yahoo, Inc. has advised the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in a sworn statement that they have un-named "partners" whose actions they cannot control, and that since Yahoo, Inc. tried to impose their "terms of service" upon us, we have been bombarded with e-mail forwarded to us by Internet pornographers, an international gambling operation, and other businesses with whom we would prefer to have no dealings, but which Yahoo, Inc. seems determined to impose upon us against our will.

We have no intention of permitting any of the photographs of the actors and actresses whom we feature on our web site to be used in Internet pornography. Nevertheless, Yahoo, Inc.'s "terms of service" (TOS) adhesion contract, specifically states in paragraph 22:

"The TOS constitute the entire agreement {our emphasis} between you and Yahoo and govern your use of the Service, superceding any prior agreements between you and Yahoo or GeoCities (including, but not limited to, any prior versions of the TOS). You also may be subject to additional terms and conditions that may apply when you use affiliate or other Yahoo services, third-party content or third party software. . . ."

If you think that Yahoo, Inc.'s so-called "Privacy Policy" protects the content of your GeoCities site (if you have one) from abuses similar to the pasting of the teenaged Devon Sawa's head onto the body of a nude model -- you are wrong! Yahoo, Inc.'s so-called "Privacy Policy" contains this statement: "Please be aware that Yahoo! advertisers or web sites that have links on our site may collect personally identifiable information about you. The information practices of those web sites linked to Yahoo! are not covered by this privacy statement." {Again, our emphasis.} Do you think that the mere presence of "Yahooligans!, a web guide designed especially for users between the ages of 7 and 12 . . . {which} . . . does not collect personally identifiable information from children" protects the privacy of your child from Yahoo, Inc.'s un-named "partners"? No! All a child needs to do is click onto any Yahoo!GeoCities web site outside of Yahooligans! to be subject to the same information-gathering process as every other user.

What exactly constitutes "personally identifiable information"? How about a family photograph which someone may have posted onto a GeoCities web site before Yahoo, Inc. seized control of GeoCities, and before they imposed their "terms of service" which apparently must be agreed to before a GeoCities member can delete a family photo from his or her web site? In the few minutes between clicking on that "I Agree" button and the act of deleting the photograph, Yahoo has the absolute right to "share" that picture with ANY third-parties of its choice, WITHOUT telling the GeoCities member anything about it; a GeoCities member may rescue a family photo from Yahoo, Inc., only to discover that Yahoo, Inc. has already "shared" that picture with their un-named "partners" around the world -- it's a safe bet that Yahoo, Inc.'s computers and modems can make such exchanges MUCH faster than anyone can type a "delete file" command.

Do you think that Yahoo, Inc.'s statement that Yahoo does "not sell or rent personal information about any of our users, regardless of age," protects your privacy? It absolutely does not! In the sworn statement which Yahoo, Inc.'s Board of Directors made to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, they stated that they could, would, and intended to "share" information about their users with their un-named "partners" and other third parties. Their so-called "Privacy Policy" is cleverly worded in this regard: it states explicitly that "Yahoo! does not share {again, our emphasis} personal information about users under the age of 13 with third parties," but that little rule only applies if Yahoo, Inc. knows that the user is under 13. Considering that Yahoo forwarded us e-mail about how to obtain "Real {sic} Fake IDs" just a few days ago, and that once a person under 13 leaves the Yahooligans! area they are subject to the same "terms of service" as every other user, the whole so-called "Privacy Policy" circles back to its one keystone statement: "Please be aware that Yahoo! advertisers or web sites that have links on our site may collect personally identifiable information about you. The information practices of those web sites linked to Yahoo! are not covered by this privacy statement." And remember:

"The TOS constitute the entire agreement {our emphasis} between you and Yahoo and govern your use of the Service, superceding any prior agreements between you and Yahoo or GeoCities (including, but not limited to, any prior versions of the TOS). You also may be subject to additional terms and conditions that may apply when you use affiliate or other Yahoo services, third-party content or third party software. . . ." Yahoo, Inc.'s so-called "Privacy Policy" is NOT part of the "terms of service," nor is it "incorporated by reference," so all that the so-called "Privacy Policy" really says is: once you use Yahoo! you surrender your right to privacy, regardless of whether you are an adult or a young child.

The Jaundiced Eye Productions Home Page has pictures of celebrities (including young children and teenagers) entrusted to us by motion picture and television production companies, by the representatives of these celebrities, and -- sometimes -- by the celebrities themselves. We absolutely will not violate the trust placed in us by those people by agreeing to Yahoo, Inc.'s "terms of service" adhesion contract, which we regard as illegal and immoral and categorically reject and with which we absolutely do NOT concur. Why are fighting this lopsided war against Yahoo, Inc.? Because we have integrity and Yahoo does not. Among the stars for whom we maintain fan pages are Christopher and Danny Masterson, Esteban Louis Powell, Ben Affleck, Erik MacArthur, Tobey Maguire, and Christian Bale. Each one of those pages contains at least one photograph of the star as a teenager under the age of 18, and we absolutely will not authorize ANYONE to use those images -- which we regard as a sacred trust -- to make "kiddie porn" by slapping their faces onto the bodies of skinny twinks posing nude or engaging in sex acts (not that we are suggesting that Yahoo, Inc. or any of its agents or employees would THEMSELVES do such a thing, but, as their own directors have sworn, and as their "terms of service" and so-called "Privacy Policy" make clear, they either cannot, do not, or will not control the uses made of GeoCities "member-supplied content" by "third parties" (including their own un-named international "partners").

We are fighting Yahoo, Inc. because we have a reputation for integrity which we intend to uphold. Besides, "that's what Brian Boitano would do!!!"


End of samizdat from the Geo-Gulags for 15 July 1999.



Click HERE for page 3, with more current samizdata from the Geo-Gulags.