Cool or Not Cool? October 15, 2008 8:39 PM   Subscribe

Do we really want to post links to known IP thieves?

I'd sort of like to get a consensus over whether posting links to certain sites is considered OK, of whether doing so (driving traffic to their sites) implies condoning their ethics.

Certainly it would be simple enough to add a filter for certain sites, to pre-call them out and let posters look for more legitimate sources for their links.
posted by pjern to Etiquette/Policy at 8:39 PM (75 comments total)

All I know about ebaumsworld is that my dad sends me links to them from time to time and I don't want to play all "what's the big deal?" but their reputation as IP theives does not precede them to my house, and I'm an IP thief too. So can you maybe spell it out a little more?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:43 PM on October 15, 2008


Jessamyn, unlike most Encyclopedia Dramatica articles, this one's mostly true.
posted by klangklangston at 8:51 PM on October 15, 2008


Or, less stupidly, Ebaum strips out actual sourcing info and replaces it with notices of his copyright. Which is illegal, bad, and evil.
posted by klangklangston at 8:53 PM on October 15, 2008


Also, he smells his own farts.
posted by Science! at 8:54 PM on October 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


So what? I think the denizens of Metafilter have argued pretty vociferously against copyright enforcement when it comes to the music industry, and it's hard to see how any other type of IP should be exempt from the very same arguments.
posted by malocchio at 8:56 PM on October 15, 2008


Music torrent sites I know about aren't profit centers, nor do they pretend to create the music themselves, nor do they claim copyright to it.
posted by exogenous at 9:04 PM on October 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is a totally different ballgame malocchio.

If you distribute the mp3s of my music, that's great by me. In fact, please do. However if you distribute them but you take out the attribution to me and replace it with an attribution to yourself, that's substantially less great and it's lawyer time.

My understanding is that here we are looking at a serial uploader of content rebadged purely to make it look like the creator and copyright holder is someone other than whoever actually was.
posted by motty at 9:06 PM on October 15, 2008


Eric Bauman is, it must be said, a total choad. I wouldn't link to ebaum myself ever, if I could help it—and the fact is that with some diligent searching, you probably can help it for reasons inherent in the sleazy re-appropriation that underlies the aforementioned choadiness—but, again, it's hard to treat this as a "we" thing when we're talking about something relatively opaque to probably the large majority of the userbase.

A lot of this came up as recently as yesterday and today, in this metatalk thread, though the culprits are a bit different here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:24 PM on October 15, 2008


and I'm an IP thief too

Uh, what?
posted by puke & cry at 9:45 PM on October 15, 2008


Instead of posting links to ebaumsworld, what if we just mirrored his content, but in MeFi branding?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:57 PM on October 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


I think the denizens of Metafilter have argued pretty vociferously against copyright enforcement when it comes to the music industry

Some of the denizens, malocchio. Probably those who don't have any actual musician friends - the kinds of social parasites who seem to think that just because you can get stuff for free somehow means that you should get it for free, not only in practice, but also in law.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:04 PM on October 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Only if you were doing it ironically.
posted by puke & cry at 10:04 PM on October 15, 2008


Also, he smells his own farts.

Actually, he smells other people's farts, and claims them as his own. Very handy to have him around after a big meal.

and I'm an IP thief too

At first I thought we were talking about IP addresses. "Don't go to that site, they're steal your IP address!"
posted by davejay at 10:05 PM on October 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know what else ebaumsworld burgles?
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:07 PM on October 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think the denizens of Metafilter have argued pretty vociferously against copyright enforcement when it comes to the music industry

I thought it was DRM that got all the bad press around here, not copyright infringement per se; like, as in I buy my music, but not from iTunes or whatnot, because then I can't play it on the non-DRM-supporting equipment I own.
posted by davejay at 10:07 PM on October 15, 2008


Ebaumsworld is much worse than your garden-variety spamblog. They're rehosting content without credit. He's rehosting it and changing the credit.
posted by grouse at 10:11 PM on October 15, 2008


It's one link out of a twelve.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:20 PM on October 15, 2008


A twelve?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:21 PM on October 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


turgid dahlia: You know what else ebaumsworld burgles?

Hitler.

The answer to any rhetorical question is always "Hitler," right?
posted by Kattullus at 10:27 PM on October 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


"So what? I think the denizens of Metafilter have argued pretty vociferously against copyright enforcement when it comes to the music industry, and it's hard to see how any other type of IP should be exempt from the very same arguments."

Um… That kind of drastically and wrongly oversimplifies arguments against current copyright regimes and the underlying principles.
posted by klangklangston at 10:30 PM on October 15, 2008


The answer to any rhetorical question is always "Hitler," right?

Hitler.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:33 PM on October 15, 2008 [11 favorites]


You know who else is the answer to any rhetorical question?
posted by grouse at 10:40 PM on October 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


IP Freely.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:51 PM on October 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


I fully agree that ebaumsworld should not be linked to or advocated by MetaFilter.
posted by clearly at 10:52 PM on October 15, 2008


who's ya daddy?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:58 PM on October 15, 2008


Well, consider my second link to be modified to read "To a known thief" if it parses better. I just think the guy is not someone I'd choose to associate with, even indirectly.
posted by pjern at 11:02 PM on October 15, 2008


I think ebaumsworld's douchebaggery has come up in metatalk before, and in the past we've found an alternate (usually original) source for the same movies and linked that.

pjern, if you find the content of the ebaum link on youtube or something, post it here and we can replace the one on the post.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:35 PM on October 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is essentially the same clip (in better quality, at that) for the 'cannon' link in the OP. It is (as are many of the clips) from the excellent documentary "Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie"

I'd posit that *everything* on ebaum's site is available somewhere else on the internet. Hence there is no point in allowing links to there, citing a sort of "best evidence" rule, of sorts, for the internets.
posted by pjern at 11:50 PM on October 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


While you lil punk whiners were crying, I went out and DID SOMETHING.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:51 PM on October 15, 2008


Okay, on non-preview, you guys did do something, but you're still lil punk whiners.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:52 PM on October 15, 2008


Ok, link changed. Thanks pjern.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:00 AM on October 16, 2008


I personally advocate a MeFi policy towards ebaum similar to that of 4Chan towards CoS. In that spirit, yeah, if there's any way to mirror his site with the banner "Mebaum's world" for any linkage which must possibly be done, and give MeFi all copyright and credit for it, then this should be done immediately.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:19 AM on October 16, 2008


You know who else is the answer to any rhetorical question?

Amanda Huhgenkizz?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:21 AM on October 16, 2008


I personally advocate a MeFi policy towards ebaum similar to that of 4Chan towards CoS.

You want us to gather publicly making asses of ourselves, giving the target of our "attack" more attention than they could have dreamed of and plenty of fodder for potentially lucractive lawsuits?

But yeah - Eric's reputation as a content thief who stamps his own name on other peoples' work should make linking to him a definite no.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:54 AM on October 16, 2008


We just talked about this problem, it's even still on the front page of MetaTalk!

I don't think linking to ebaumsworld in a post would ever be acceptable, even in a post about them specifically and their scummy practices — it would be like linking to LGF (though for different reasons, ebaumsworld wouldn't attack us after finding us in their referrers).
posted by blasdelf at 3:10 AM on October 16, 2008


ebaum sucks.
pretty much all the content is stolen and, as others have pointed out, disguised so that a casual observer might think it was his. that's a crucial difference to music sharing. few people distribute an oasis song pretending it was their own creation.

the ebaum site serves only one purpose: to make its proprietor as much money as possible. this is achieved through pop-under ads, misleading links and pretty much any other nefarious means possible. spam is considered a legitimate business endeavor by him.

I am against banning any site based on content. it is however ebaums policies that are potential harmful to visitors and we should not endorse those, just as we wouldn't let a link to a spyware app stand.

only this isn't where the argument is over: I'd be for banning outgoing links to ebaumsworld from the blue were it not for the can of worms this might open. there are a plethora of political sites out there who post articles with the stated intent of pushing a specific agenda. tons of questionable positions have been linked to on the blue. would these sites be off-limits for links then, too? where does this end? drudge? rotten? lgf? cnn? is disseminating wrongful information just as bad as harvesting email addresses for later porn-list distribution? this quickly becomes a question of whether links highlighting a obama-as-osama billboard are to be banned as well because of what someone might take away from casually glancing at this image. the potential end result is that we'd protect ourselves to death, which in this case may be substituted with boredom.

if you want to start banning certain links outright, it's policy-making time.
posted by krautland at 3:36 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


it would be like linking to LGF (though for different reasons, ebaumsworld wouldn't attack us after finding us in their referrers).

some posts to LGF have stood in the past.
inconsistency is the worst possible outcome.
posted by krautland at 3:38 AM on October 16, 2008


Obligatory link to the Something Awful vs. Ebaumsworld ditty.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 4:25 AM on October 16, 2008


I'm not sure I quite see the need for urgent policy-changing, krautland, since we're discussing the host of the content, not the content itself. Obama-as-osama billboards are exactly that, whether they're hosted on ebaum, or other (less objectionable) sites. As long as we're simply replacing links to ebaum with a link to the exact same content, is it that big of an issue?
posted by Phire at 4:26 AM on October 16, 2008


Though unlike ebaumsworld, LGF actually has content (however reprehensible).

Basically like I said in yesterday's MetaTalk thread, Commercial Plagarism is leagues beyond Communal Piracy.
posted by blasdelf at 4:28 AM on October 16, 2008


Phire: I am discussing the host and the intent as well. drudge posts stories intending to harm democrats. LGF does the same and huffingtonpost is hellbent on getting republicans back to kansas. ebaum (re-)posts content to make a buck on your back.

my point is that if we want to exclude sites based on who runs them why, we'd have to ask ourselves where that should end.
posted by krautland at 4:35 AM on October 16, 2008


They don't merely repost content to make a buck off our back, in this sense. We are the viewer, and arguably the main detriment ebaum poses to us is the spam and the pop-unders. Content is content is content. What this thread is contending is rather the fact that ebaum is depriving original authors of their credit and making money from something they had no hand in creating by misrepresenting authorship.

This is why I'm more inclined to say, if there is another link with the exact same content, why not use that link instead? My point is that we're not arguing against the intent of the content (harmign democrats, getting republicans back in kansas), but rather we're trying to do a small bit in protecting the creators of that content, which is a significantly different issue and one that - I would argue - is fairly unique in terms of 'taboo sites'. We're not too fond of spamblogs for much the same reason; it's just that in this case, ebaum is a known 'spamblog' that we also would like to filter.

Though I confess I only skimmed the spamblog thread so I'm not sure if the admins came out and said something different....
posted by Phire at 4:42 AM on October 16, 2008


my point is that if we want to exclude sites based on who runs them why

No one wants to exclude ebaumsworld because of who runs it, necessarily. The fact that the site's owner is a douchenozzle is unfortunate but not quite germane.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:49 AM on October 16, 2008


No one wants to exclude ebaumsworld because of who runs it, necessarily.

I do. It's not an ad hominem when the hominem in question repeatedly steals the work of others and passes it off as his own. Linking to his site supports this practice.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:01 AM on October 16, 2008


It is (as are many of the clips) from the excellent documentary "Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie"

Which makes you wonder whether there is any "legit" internet link for this footage. Just because it's posted on youTube with the source doesn't make it ok.
posted by smackfu at 5:55 AM on October 16, 2008


Ahem. Repeat after me: Copyright infringement is not theft.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:16 AM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


The fact that the site's owner is a douchenozzle is unfortunate but not quite germane.

Actually, it's exactly because he is a douchenozzle that he carries out certain practices.
posted by jmd82 at 6:19 AM on October 16, 2008


German Douchnozzles really are built to a higher standard of durability.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:26 AM on October 16, 2008


some posts to LGF have stood in the past.

It's actually pretty much directly a result of the LGF-driven bullshit we've had to deal with from those LGF posts that have stood in the past that we really, really don't let them stand any more. We let one go by as an exception months ago and, sure enough: a bunch of bullshit occurred. That was a pretty good reminder that we just shouldn't do it, period. I've unlinked a couple of in-thread HA HA LGF = CRAZY LOOK link from more recent threads because, seriously, fuck that noise. Charles & co are a uniquely reactive bunch of kooks and assholes and are not worth the effort.

Point being, we have close to zero sites on even our unofficial Just Don't Link There list, because it takes sort of exceptional fuckerness to justify the treatment. Ebaum is slime, but it's not crazy unhinged nutter slime and so while (as happened here) we're happy to link around it where possible, it's not really across that threshold of being generally prohibited.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:30 AM on October 16, 2008


I only condone material theft if it leads to even better material.
posted by brandman at 6:38 AM on October 16, 2008


If you're gonna ban links to assholes, Encyclopedia Dramatica is right up there.
posted by waraw at 7:05 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


well, i'm all for avoiding ebaum's links, but as far as practical application... what if we have a sort of casual, but written, policy that if someone notices an ebaums link and finds the original source, they can just mefimail a mod with it and they'll see about getting around to it if they can? that way it doesn't necessarily need to be a whole metatalk thread.
posted by shmegegge at 8:06 AM on October 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Wow, you guys are like superheroes! Another villain foiled! The web is safe again for crappy dime store flash videos everywhere.........for now.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:35 AM on October 16, 2008


Tubgirl. Goatse. Those were the days.
posted by bardic at 8:52 AM on October 16, 2008


The only thing I know about ebaumsworld is that it is famous for spawning the phrase "You have lost possession of your Yiddish cup" amongst a circle of people I know online. I don't even entirely remember how.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:54 AM on October 16, 2008


Also, he smells his own farts.

Actually, he smells other people's farts, and claims them as his own. Very handy to have him around after a big meal.


This reminds me of this.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:24 AM on October 16, 2008


eBaum stole my Immense Penis.
posted by chlorus at 9:34 AM on October 16, 2008


what if we have a sort of casual, but written, policy that if someone notices an ebaums link and finds the original source, they can just mefimail a mod with it and they'll see about getting around to it if they can?

I think that's sort of what we do. In fact if people include it in the thread and then flag it, we'll see it more quickly and I'd suggest that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:38 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd be for banning outgoing links to ebaumsworld from the blue were it not for the can of worms this might open. there are a plethora of political sites out there who post articles with the stated intent of pushing a specific agenda. tons of questionable positions have been linked to on the blue. would these sites be off-limits for links then, too? where does this end? drudge? rotten? lgf? cnn? ... this quickly becomes a question of whether links highlighting a obama-as-osama billboard are to be banned as well because of what someone might take away from casually glancing at this image. the potential end result is that we'd protect ourselves to death, which in this case may be substituted with boredom.

r.f.o. (right fucking on)
clearly, some folks out there have strong feelings about Ebaumsworld, some of them very well articulated here, but I fear boredom more than I fear Ebaum.

And please, could someone please tell me what LGF is before I link to it and set off some mini-META-apocalypse. I'm assuming it's Little Green Footballs but it could also be the Lesbian + Gay Foundation.

And finally, we all smell our own farts ... unless there's a strong wind blowing or we're moving very quickly.
posted by philip-random at 9:43 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's actually the Laramie Gobots Foundation. People in Wyoming are nuts about their Transfauxmers.

You were right the first time.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:54 AM on October 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


transfauxmers... mind blown... entire lexicography useless before this moment... should have sent... a poet.
posted by shmegegge at 10:28 AM on October 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


Eric Bauman is, it must be said, a total choad.

I used to live down the road from Eric Bauman. Really. Then I moved to a different suburb, but I still drive by his house at least two or three times a week. I haven't met him, so I don't personally know whether he is actually a choad in person, or just on the Internet, but an ex-coworker went to high school with him.

I keep meaning to leave a burning bag of dog poop on his doorstep, but I always forget until it's too late.
posted by Cassilda at 11:09 AM on October 16, 2008


Cassilda, he was mentioned in the D&C a while ago, I can't recall if they mentioned any of the controversy over his content policy or not. I'd link to it, but it's behind their paywall.
posted by tommasz at 11:18 AM on October 16, 2008


He'd just put his own watermark on the poop and post it on the internet, Cassilda.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:19 AM on October 16, 2008


Which makes you wonder whether there is any "legit" internet link for this footage.
I have the movie, which I bought on dvd from the website of the film. they had a pretty vast video archive on there. not sure if it still exists.

our unofficial Just Don't Link There list
what is this, the itunes app store? I hope there isn't a draconian NDA as well?

If you're gonna ban links to assholes, Encyclopedia Dramatica is right up there.
as is Jimmy Wales actually.
posted by krautland at 11:25 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


At first I thought we were talking about IP addresses. "Don't go to that site, they're steal your IP address!"

Same, and I was all "you can have my 192.168.1.1 why you pry it from my cold dead hands!"
posted by Challahtronix at 11:25 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Came for the eBaum's hate, stayed for the Go-Bots reference.
posted by Mikey-San at 10:55 PM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Encyclopedia Dramatica people may be assholes, but they're our kind of assholes — curating web weirdness
posted by blasdelf at 1:59 AM on October 17, 2008


You need relatively explicit criteria for link bans, even if ban means the post better be otherwise awesome. Three criteria immediately spring to mind are "illegal" (kitty porn, etc.), "hate group", and "plagiarism".

eBaum is quite obviously "plagiarism". Indeed, you're mostly all pissed at eBaum's plagiarism, not their IP crimes. Your favorite torrent site is not plagiarism because they label the content correctly.

Plagiarism has been given considerable width by academics because (a) they're pissed that numerous small liberal arts colleges will happily hire & promote known plagiarists and (b) their students won't learn to write otherwise. I'm sure all community blogs & wikipedia massively violate those strict guidelines, but "internet plagiarism" apparently still has an objective meaning, which includes eBaum's world.

So why not simply ban Ebaum under "plagiarist"? If you delete an eBaum post, tell the poster that they may repost if they find the original content. Seems simple enough.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:24 AM on October 17, 2008


kitty porn, etc.

Meow?
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:50 AM on October 17, 2008


I'm an IP thief, too, but only because my neighbor doesn't know how to turn on WiFi encryption.
posted by rokusan at 7:38 AM on October 17, 2008


So why not simply ban Ebaum under "plagiarist"? If you delete an eBaum post, tell the poster that they may repost if they find the original content. Seems simple enough.


What I intended to say, but better.
posted by pjern at 4:07 PM on October 17, 2008


Calling them 'plagiarists' would have gotten this thread off on a much better footing.

Oh well.
posted by delmoi at 8:37 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Encyclopedia Dramatica people may be assholes, but they're our kind of assholes — curating web weirdness

still, shitty.
posted by waraw at 6:07 PM on October 27, 2008


kitty porn.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:43 AM on October 28, 2008


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