Today’s Links: November 30, 2011


NATE ANDERSON: “Complaint: Medical ‘Copyright Over Your Comments’ Contracts Are Illegal
“When our own Timothy B. Lee stepped into a Philadelphia dentist’s office earlier this year, he had an unpleasant experience: the dentist required him to sign over control of all copyright in future online commentary related to that dentist. […] bThe contract in question came from Medical Justice, which claims to be ‘relentlessly protecting physicians from frivolous lawsuits.’ Over the last few years, the company has pioneered a strange niche in the medical business: providing contractual templates that first barred patients from commenting about their doctors online and later gave doctors the power to veto negative reviews. Is this legal? The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) filed a complaint today with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) arguing that Medical Justice was itself engaging in ‘deceptive and unfair business practices’ through the sale of these contracts.”

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: “Grasshoppers in Winter: Quitting Time Postponed For Spendthrift Boomers
“I don’t favor physical labor for nonagenarians, but having more people work longer in life is not a bad thing — for the country or for the people themselves.  Many of our nation’s economic problems could be solved by getting more people to work later in life. This is no terrible injustice; many people now remain in school well into their twenties — two generations ago many entered the workforce at sixteen. Paying for ten extra years of school when young with ten extra years of work at the end of life seems like a fair bargain. Changes in the American economy and the shift away from manual labor have made this bargain more attractive still. While it would be wrong to expect workers to continue to perform backbreaking labor in their late seventies, America’s economy is becoming increasingly service-based and much of our work can be done part time and from home.”

JACOB SULLUM: “Remind Me: Why Aren’t Supreme Court Oral Arguments Televised?
“C-Span Chairman Brian Lamb has renewed his request that the Supreme Court allow the channel to cover oral arguments, this time in connection with the momentous constitutional challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. […] As New York Times Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak notes, Roberts is almost certain to say no once again, for reasons that remain mysterious.”



NANNY STATE – Photoshopped Images Could Soon Come With a Warning Label
“Dartmouth College computer science professor and digital image forensics researcher Hany Farid has proposed a five-step scale which would allow advertisers to differentiate between minor cosmetic tweaks like adjusting the white balance or softening a few wrinkles and radical alterations that change the very nature of the subject.”

LEGAL – Rutherford Wants Synthetic Drug Abuse to Be a Felony
” Tennessee ought to make it a felony for people to abuse synthetic drugs, Rutherford County Drug Court Director Mary Schneider said Monday.”