Saturday, June 06, 2009

Disclaimer: June 2009

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — A sixteen-year-old amateur writer was injured this morning in what investigating politicians called "a brazen attack against a controversial Internet personality".

Internet writer Adaspera P. Astra emerged with a fractured wrist and a bruised superego after having been clubbed vehemently with confrontational comments and sharp rhetoric through her own weblog. The incident occurred at about 10:39am, after Astra had participated in an impromptu online debate the previous evening.

"I just turned on my blog and there were, like, three thousand comments there. Like, they wanted to crucify me!" the luckless writer declared.

Astra had previously been identified as the perpetrator of a number of plagiaristic attacks on the Internet, where she would obtain content from other weblogs and personal profiles and post it as her own original writing. The teenage blogger had raised ire for her derogatory responses to the accusations, particularly because the results were easily identified as incompatible with her personal speech patterns.

"It's, like, injust, you know?" Astra commented. "I just want to get, like, more readers kasi eh. How's Google Adsense supposed to, like, pay me money if people don't read my site, ha? It's not like information isn't free on the web."

Online behavioral analyst Sean Uy was among the first to respond to Astra's original statement. "What Astra does not realize," Uy said, "is that while information is often free to obtain on the Internet, this privilege does not exempt users from following standard copyright regulations. Every article has an author and originator regardless of where that article is published. While only some of those articles hold conditions as to how and when they can be used, it must be presumed that standard copyright law applies to all such articles."

The subject of at least three class-action suits, including one from the southwestern United States, Astra had no immediate response to the charges leveled against her. "I'm, like a celebrity!" she said in a UltraMegaPinoyChat forum twelve hours before the attack. "They don't know who I am! Why should they, like, care, ha?"

Uy, who runs a four-year-old blog, clarified the situation further. "Many authors don't like seeing their work used without permission. There is a real risk here — the risk that the author will not be recognized for a project in which he or she has invested some amount of effort, the risk that someone else will profit from the unwarranted theft of such effort, and the risk that the work will be twisted and interpreted out of context.

"I'm proud that I've written and originated all of the works on my blog," Uy said. "While I occasionally use the works of other authors, I try to leave them the correct acknowledgements so that their efforts are recognized. I even remain willing to open dialogues with other writers in case they feel that there's something wrong with my usage. Miss Astra, on the other hand, has originated no such works, has taken no measures to recognize others' efforts, and goes as far as to take offense against her infamy."

News of the incident was a matter of public record within government congressional hearings by late afternoon of the same day, during which Rep. Isagani Batongpuso denounced the incident as an addendum to his speech on Charter Change.

"It is vital to the safety and security of this country that the rights of even incredibly insignificant wrongdoers like Adaspera P. Astra are protected by the Constitution," Batongpuso noted. "It is with this consideration that we must move forward to establishing a constituent assembly before our opponents in the majority voting bloc decide to come back from their foreign junkets."

"Philippine Law holds allowance for copyright law as established even among digital publications," Uy mentioned, "although it is formative in the face of the Internet age. With that said, a lot of copyright disputes could be circumvented if people just asked for the use of articles. People can ask me for the use of my work, for example, and I'm usually willing to let them use it with little more than a byline or link to my site.

Uy also discussed the presence of several online organizations who had begun to help support and enforce authors' rights on the Internet. "I subscribe to a Creative Commons License myself," Uy said. "It's right on the lower area of the sidebar in my main web site."

On Astra's side, the controversial blogger is still unwilling to disclose exactly how she encountered her fractured wrist. "It could have come from, like, all the pangugulit that my enemies do," she said. "But we don't even have to be enemies. They can, like, just keep writing their stuff."

One responding doctor, who declined to be identifed, had a different opinion: "It looks like she just slammed her hand down on her keyboard in frustration," he said. "You can see the letters imprinted on her arm."

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