Friday, March 1, 2013

Will you advocate for an Internet that respects creators?‏

From Creative America:

As you know, the problem of content theft involves a complex system of players that includes advertisers, advertising networks, payment processors, search engines, universities and others who, one way or another, are part of an online ecosystem that allows criminals to profit off others' creative works.

This week, in a positive development, the content community and internet service providers (ISPs) officially launched the Copyright Alerts System, a collaborative effort to educate consumers about the importance of copyright protection and help them find better ways to enjoy digital content.

Call on CEOs to stop supporting advertising on illegal content websites now!

In addition, in recent weeks, more and more voices -- the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, bloggers like Vox Indie, Music Tech Policy, and The Trichordist to name a few -- are shining a light on the ongoing problem of advertising networks funneling revenue to illegal, content-infringing websites.

The Copyright Alliance, an ally in protecting creators online, has launched a petition calling on CEOs of major corporations to stop tacitly supporting pirate sites by advertising on the networks that pay these websites.

Will you sign the Copyright Alliance's petition asking advertisers to stop advertising on pirate sites?

Together, we can advocate for an Internet that works for everyone, including creators and makers who deserve to be protected from online theft.



Copyright Advocates

Stop advertising on pirate sites

“The rise of ad-supported pirate networks is a relatively new phenomena stemming from the birth of large peer to peer (P2P) Internet sites in 2001. In the last five years a huge number of new ad networks have sprung up to service the seemingly infinite ad inventory of the broadband era. Much of that inventory sits on the more than 150,000 pirate entertainment sites.” USC Annenberg Ad Transparency Report, February 14, 2013. 

Sign this letter to the CEOs of brands that appear on multiple occasions on infringing sites. Ask them to take a pledge to keep their ads off of illegal sites. Keep in mind that this list is not a comprehensive list of brands that appear on pirate sites.

An Open Letter to the CEOs of Brands Advertising on Infringing Sites:

We, the undersigned, are just a few of the millions of artists and creators living, working, and creating across the United States. It has come to our attention that your companies are advertising on websites that illegally host or distribute creative content. We want to make you aware of the harm your companies do to independent artists and small businesses when you advertise on these sites.

Advertising on these sites encourages others to exploit our work for economic gain without a return to us. It deprives us of the opportunity to build communities with fans when they visit illegal sites to obtain our work, rather than our sites. It also gives consumers a false sense of security by lending an air of legitimacy to these sites. And, it rewards activities that are illegal.

Advertising on these sites also damages your own brands by association.

We understand that it can be difficult to know where your companies’ ads might end up because of the complexity of online advertising. However, difficult does not mean impossible. It appears that other companies make ad buys in ways that don’t result in their brands being tarnished and our work being exploited.

We ask you to encourage your companies to do the same.

You are in the best position to employ high-quality control standards and to demand the same from the ad networks you use. We encourage your companies to uphold high ethical standards for advertising placement, just as you do in other areas of business.

Please ask your online advertising purchasers to adopt practices like those detailed in the Statement of Best Practices to Address Online Piracy and Counterfeiting, released last year by the Association of National Advertisers, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The practices outlined here, if adopted by major companies like yours, would go a long way towards ensuring a free and fair online marketplace for artists and creators to thrive. A report released by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab on February 14, 2013, under the direction of Jonathan Taplin, has identified the top ten Ad Networks placing ads on infringing sites. And, according to research and documentation by artists working in tandem with this project, your companies have been identified as brands that repeatedly advertise on infringing websites.

Now that this issue has been brought to your attention, we hope that you will take affirmative steps to address this problem.

We ask you to start by signing the following pledge here, which is also written below:

"I support the rights of artists, creators and innovators to be compensated for the fruits of their labor. I run my business ethically, and value my brand.  I pledge not to advertise on sites which illegally exploit the work of creators without their permission."


Letter to be sent to CEOs and marketing directors of :
Adobe, ADT Security, Alaska Air, Amazon, American Express, AT&T, Audi, BMW, Boston Market, Boy Scouts, British Airways, Century 21, Charter, Citibank, Cox Communications, Crate & Barrel, DirectTV, Dish Network, ebay, Electronic Arts, Emirates Airline, Ferguson Showrooms, Ford Motor Company, GoPro, Google Chrome, Hertz, HP, Hilton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, Hyundai, Jet Blue, Kayak, Kohler, LegalZoom, LG Electronics, Macy’s, Marvel Avengers Alliance, Mazda, MiniCooper, Musicians Friend, My M&M’s, Nationwide Insurance, Neiman Marcus, Netflix, Nissan USA, Priceline, Princess Cruises,, Rejuvenation Inc., Sheraton Hotels, Skype, Sprint, State Farm Insurance, Sweetwater Sound, Target, TuneCore, United Airlines, Urban Outfitters, Virgin Atlantic, Visa, VW, W Hotels, Weight Watchers, Wendy’s, Westin, Williams Sonoma, Yahoo

Sign the Petition here!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

5x7 Folded Card

World'S Best Dad Father's Day Card
Shutterfly offers custom St. Patrick's Day cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

5x7 Folded Card

World'S Best Dad Father's Day Card
Shutterfly cards for Mother's Day, Valentines Day, Birthdays & more.
View the entire collection of cards.

5x7 Folded Card

World'S Best Dad Father's Day Card
Cheerful Christmas invitations for your friends and family.
View the entire collection of cards.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Amazing Race's Amazing Moment

This past Sunday, December 9th, the conclusion of the twenty-first season of the CBS television show 'The Amazing Race' was broadcast.

For those of you who do not know, 'The Amazing Race' is a multiple Emmy Award winning competitive reality show that takes eleven or twelve teams of two contestants each to various locations around the world. (One season the teams consisted of family units of four contestants each.) The prize for the winner of the finale is one million dollars in cash, and there are prizes for winning each particular leg along the way.  For example, second place finishers Jaymes and James each won a new Ford Escape for winning the next to last leg of the race.  The show's exotic locales are often visually stunning as well as eye opening to both the contestants and the show's fans. 

Another good thing about the show is that, unlike some shows like 'Survivor', it is not necessary to be devious or to trick other contestants to win. It does happen once in a while on 'The Amazing Race' (There was an incident on this season of the show involving contestants James and Abba's money that upset some fans.); however, sneakiness is not generally a part of this show.  

At each location the teams must perform some task that is usually related to the local culture. There is often a choice of two tasks, and if the tasks can not be completed there is a four hour penalty. Most weeks one team is eliminated, but some weeks it is a non elimination, and the team that finishes last that particular week has to perform an extra task to stay in the race. The final task of the race is always something related to the places the teams have traveled to during the race, and this season was no different. In the shadow of the United Nations building in New York City, the final three teams had to match the words for 'hello' and 'goodbye' with the flags from various countries the teams had been to during the course of the race.

So, what was the amazing moment for 'The Amazing Race' this season? It was the winning team of Josh and Brent. Josh and Brent are a gay couple with a fifteen year relationship.  For the past three years Josh has been living in the city during the week to work while Brent remained on their farm.  They wanted to win the money so they could pay off their bills and live in the same place together again. (Other contestants have interesting stories as well; for example, James wanted to win to help out his father who is battling cancer.) 

The fact Josh and Brent are a gay couple is not what is amazing; there have been gay contestants on the show before, and there are certain to be more on the show in the future.  Underdogs and discounted nearly the entire race, Josh and Brent slipped under the radar and won the race.  Even as the final three teams raced, third place finisher Lexi Beerman was still discounting them as competition.  Moments after host Phil Keoghan pronounced them the official winners of the race, Josh kissed Brent. 

What is so amazing about that kiss?  The fact that a loving couple of so many years was able to show that love on a highly rated television show like 'The Amazing Race' is amazing.  It shows that we have actually made some progress in the United States in recognizing LGBT couples as equals.  I am virtually certain that there are those out there who do not see things the way I do, and didn't like Josh and Brent kissing each other on the show.  These are probably the same people who are against the gay marriage initiatives in various parts of the United States.  I, however, thought it was wonderful.  I give Josh and Brent kudos for persevering, having a loving relationship, and for not being afraid to show it.  I also compliment Phil and the other contestants for being happy for them.   

Cast member Rob French, a monster truck driver who practically defines the term redneck, stated at the end of the show Josh and Brent had really opened his eyes and that it was not for him to judge other people's lifestyle.  There's that word 'lifestyle' again, as if it were a choice, but at least Rob is making progress.  If even one person can learn something from people like Josh and Brent, then we are indeed making some progress! 

Click here to watch the full broadcast of the final episode of 'The Amazing Race'.

Click here to watch full episodes of each week of 'The Amazing Race'.

Click here to watch a video clip of the winning moment.

Click on this link to meet the teams from this season of 'The Amazing Race'.

Click here to meet the show's adventurous host Phil Keoghan.

Watch this exclusive secret scene-Josh and Brent 'Underdogs On Top'.

Click here to view photos from this season of 'The Amazing Race'.

Visit the Human Rights Campaign website for more information on how you can help support the campaign for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equal Rights.

Click here for more information on the state of marriage equality in the United States.

The Amazing Race's amazing moment captured.

One CBS official photo of Josh and Brent.

Join Josh and Brent on Facebook, and subscribe to their newsletter.  Also, click here to follow them on Twitter, and here to visit their official website!  Josh and Brent also have a show on The Cooking Channel known as The Fabulous Beekman Boys that chronicles their life on Beekman Farm in upstate New York.