Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Late Night, with your host Sam

It's insomnia season at the Wilson household, and with it come the predictable eddies of madness. It occurred to me after reading a modest proposal by a fellow better known these days for Twitter altercations than for his short turn on a network game show that Internet celebrity provides very different institutional support than traditional celebrity.

The gist of the proposal: eliminate legislation that protects domain holders from liability for content posted by third parties. In other words, Blogger would be liable for what Mungo and I post here at EE. Think for a moment what the equilibrium would be in this game. Buzz in when you have the answer.

Now consider the organizations that support screen acting. Between the acting guilds, the agents, the publicists, the studios, and the ad hoc support networks that many top-tier celebrities have, famous actors have as much in common with regular people as Count Chocula has with Nosferatu. They enjoy, should they elect to avail themselves of it (ahem James Woods) a great deal of protection from the frothy purulence of hamfisted critics. Petty Internet celebrities, contrarily, enjoy no such organizational support. Constituents are too diffuse and too fleeting to effectively organize to provide reliable content filters. It is natural that otherwise gentle, sensitive people be spared harsh, direct criticism from semi-literates. In the absence of such a mechanism, it follows that these gentle, sensitive souls might neglect the difficult (?) task of following the implications of their proposals to their conclusions and instead petition the sovereign for redress.

Scurrilous blather is vexing. Perhaps the next generation of autoblocking technology will allow for a more comfortable browsing experience without resorting to scorched-earth changes to Internet jurisprudence. Perhaps.

For legal analysis:
Ken White comments here
Scott Greenfield here

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?