Words Not Mine: Autism

Words Not Mine: Autism 
by Susan Basko, Esq

I have been the victim of smear artists for quite some time.  I have mostly kept quiet about this, thinking that the malicious people doing this would be spurred on to further hateful behaviors against me if I spoke up.  Finally, I have decided that I do need to speak up to correct the public record.  The smear artists I will mention are all irresponsible and vicious; one cannot simply email their websites and ask them to remove their lies and defamation.  Complaining to them results in them posting more of their lies and hate.   But I have decided for myself and my clients, it is mandatory to me to try to correct the record in some way.  I hope you have found this online.

One of the worst smear artists I have run across is a persona named "Liz Ditz."  As far as I can tell, this is not a real person, but a persona who engages in years-long campaigns of highly destructive defamation against her victims.  I will refer to "Liz Ditz" as if she is a she and also a real person.  She might just as well be a man or a team of smear artists, or a company that hires freelancers to smear others.

 Liz Ditz posted her hate and strange ideas toward autistic people and attributed her own hateful ideas to me. I never spoke with Liz Ditz about anything, let along about autism.  She concocted her own ideas, which reflect her own thinking. These have absolutely nothing to do with me or my ideas.

Liz Ditz has never spoken with me.   She did not interview me for any article.  No such thing happened.  She has not removed her filth off the internet.  She is not interested in truth or reality.  She is a smear artist.  Lying and smearing are her goals.

Why Liz Ditz's hateful lies about autism must be challenged:  I do a lot of work with people with autism. I have given thousands of hours of my time to try to give effective legal assistance and practical support to people with autism who have found themselves in legal trouble. It has been extremely difficult to get people or organizations to assist.  Is it because they are unwilling, or is it becasue they have seen Liz Ditz's hate on the internet?  We will never know.  But, even the grandparents of a young autistic man I have spent hundreds of hours assisting, and for whom I put my life on the line, mentioned that they saw my name connected with Liz Ditz's twisted writings.   Years after Liz Ditz created her filth and put my name to it, her filth lives on, on the internet.  She is a success at what she does best: Create lies, create smears, harm others, stops the good work of others.  She is an extremely destructive person.

Liz Ditz is a serial professional smear artist.  Her smear campaigns are carefully orchestrated and spread with ferocity.  After Liz Ditz began posting her lies about me, I started googling. I found a man that said Liz Ditz had smeared his business for 6 years. I knew it was true, because I recalled seeing Liz Ditz's smear campaign of this man's heroic business where he rescued people.  I recalled seeing disgusting emails being spread about.  I remember getting several of the emails in my inbox and wondering why such targeted hate and misinformation was being spread. I wondered who was behind it and who was financing  the smear campaign against that man.    I knew what the man was saying was true because I had witnessed it:   Liz Ditz,  harmed this man's very important work with her irresponsible and hateful smear campaign. Liz Ditz destroyed that man's business, his income, and his life.  He was left totally bereft.  The whole world was also harmed by Liz Ditz because this man's good work was brought to a halt by her massive smear campaign against him.

When the man told me about the horrors he had experienced at the hands of Liz Ditz, I recalled receiving emails from Liz Ditz six years prior.  I did not know Liz Ditz, but she was engaging in a massive email campaign to spread her smear of this man and his work.  Liz Ditz's efforts were like spamming in how massively she spread her nonsense.  Who paid for all that?  Who funds the smear campaigns conducted by Liz Ditz?  I'd like to know since I have been a victim.

The man described to me how Liz Ditz spread her stories about him through a network of irresponsible repeaters - people who repeat things without checking the source.  People who spread lies, deception, misinformation and hate.   I had this same experience.  No one asked me; no one emailed or called me to verify.  Granted, most of the repeaters were also very troubled individuals; several seemed to be mentally ill or socially very sick people using blogs to spread hate.  My thought is that no one who is normal or healthy would retweet or pass along any blog or email written by Liz Ditz.  Her writings are so obviously deceptive and sick and twisted.  She is an obvious smear artist.

Having smear artists such as Liz Ditz allowed on the internet is part of the way the internet works.  She is not a journalist.  She is not a professional.    She is irresponsible, unethical, a liar, filled with hate and self-loathing with which she tries to harm others who do good work.  She is harmful to society.   She is a menace to her victims.

And most shockingly of all, Liz Ditz may not even exist.  I looked pretty hard to track her down.  Everything came up as a false front.  "Liz Ditz" appears to be a front for a paid, professional smear campaign artist.   "She" is so irresponsible, so reckless, so devoid of any decency, and yet she is an unknown.  There was an  online credit of her supposedly on the board of a school;  there was  no evidence that the school was real.  My conclusion is that Liz Ditz is a name for a front for a smear artist. In other words, "Liz Ditz" appears to be a sock puppet, an alias,  a mask behind which lies a person, or perhaps a company or network dedicated to harming others.    

When "Liz Ditz" was smearing me, she claimed to be some sort of expert about autism. When she was smearing her other long-term victim that I located, she put herself forth as expert in construction.  I have dug and have found Liz Ditz to have no verifiable credentials of any sort.   This is the mark of a smear artist.
I won't let "Liz Ditz" and "her monstrous behavior destroy or end my work with autistic people.  I have continued on.  But I want her name connected with what she does -- smear others.  I remember how happy I was to find the name of one of her other victims.  I contacted that man and he was so happy to hear from me.  We commiserated and compared notes of Liz Ditz's methodology in how she makes up lies and smears and spreads them.  That man begged me for help in righting the wrongs.     He wanted to sue Liz Ditz for her smears that destroyed his business,  his livelihood, his life.   I don't handle such things, and it was too far past the statute of limitations.    The man was dying and has likely since died, gone to his death without being able to publicly address the horrors foisted on him by Liz Ditz.  His wife told me how happy her husband was to speak with me, it meant so much for him to be able to commiserate. He believed Liz Ditz is a real person.   He was so deeply hurt by the horrors of what Liz Ditz did to him.  She harassed him for 6 long years.  Six years.  That is a hell of a long campaign of hate and destruction.   The man saw me as salvation, as the only other person he had spoken with who had experienced the unfathomably deep well of deception known as Liz Ditz.

I still think Liz Ditz is a name for a front of an organized hate-smear machine; I have seen no evidence that points otherwise.   Sure, I'd like to know who it is propping up the hate machine that uses the name Liz Ditz, but realize that professional smear campaigns are orchestrated very carefully and they do not reveal their true identity or who their client is.  

I have kept mostly silent about this. Since the internet is such that it keeps a smear campaign forever, I must speak out.

HOW MANY people have backed off or refused to assist someone with autism because of Liz Ditz and her followers?  Anyone taking one look at her horrifying attacks on me would likely refuse to help.  Liz Ditz is vicious and her "followers" are gullible and repeat her nonsense.  She has created such a terrifying environment for anyone who might want to help. She has done such a huge disservice to people with autism and to those who dare to assist them.    

Valentines - Free Cards

Valentines - Free Cards
by Sue Basko

I designed these cards you might like to send to your online friends. You can just pull them off the page or click and download.  Happy Valentines Day! 





30 Ideas on Raising Children

The apple does not fall far from the tree.
30 Ideas on Raising Children
by Sue Basko

As a little Christmas gift, I want to share my tips on raising children.  I raised children into happy adults.     Unlike most people, I sat down with a pen and notebook at the start of my child-raising career and made a list of how I wanted to do it.  And this, I share with you:

1. Think of raising your children as a career or job.  You are there to do a good job. To do that, you need to be in good shape physically and mentally.  You need to be ever-conscious of the goals, the process, and the success (or lack thereof) of your techniques.

2. Give your best to your family.  Use your best manners on your family.  Give your best efforts to your family.  Use your best furniture and dishes on your family.  Invest your money and time in your family.    Home should not be where you slack off and give your least; it is where you should be on your best and give your best.  Please, thank you, respecting privacy and property.

3. Don't tolerate a degradation of the family or home environment from anyone, including yourself.  "Sorry, we don't do that in our family" is legit.

4. Be sober and sane and healthy.  Drinking, using drugs, unchecked depression or mental problems, obesity --  all these are incompatible with parenting.  To be a good parent, you need to be in great shape physically and mentally.   Think of parenting like being a Marine or astronaut (or some such thing).  It takes all you've got to do the job right.

5. Every child is different.  They have different temperaments, different interests, different gifts. This is because God makes each person unique so we have a full society.  No child is made "wrong."  Your job is to watch and see what are your child's unique gifts, and then nurture those.   The things that a person is good at and that they enjoy are the things they are meant to do.


6. The more time and attention you put in while your child is a baby and preschool age, the easier your job is later.  Laying that solid foundation really pays off later. 


7. Think in terms of giving your children skills and experiences that will last a lifetime, rather than giving your child things.   Make a list of skills you want to help your child acquire: Play a musical instrument, sing, cook, hike, jumping rope, sew, draw, swim, doing math.   And so forth. Your child should leave home with a set of skills sufficiently developed that she or he could teach those skills to someone else.

8. Prepare your children to be independent.  When my children were young, I made a list of skills I wanted to teach them so they would be able to leave the nest and be independent.   With each skill, I showed the children and then made them do it at least once.  That is enough for a skill set that lasts a lifetime.  I made a list and checked off each item as the lesson was completed.  The list included such skills as:

  • Making basic meals with simple foods, such as grilled cheese sandwich, an omelet, a casserole, bake a cake, bake a loaf of bread.
  • Sew by hand with a needle and thread.
  • Sew on a button.
  • Iron a shirt.
  • Clean a bathroom.
  • Wash a window.
  • Use basic handtools: screwdrivers, drill, hammer, saw, sandpaper.
  • How to shop for food: how to shop the perimeter, how to choose produce, how to pay.
  • How to do laundry at a laundromat.
  • How to write a thank you note.
  • How to use public transportation: reading maps and schedules, planning times and routes, paying, being alert.
  • How to fix a bike tire.   

I got some good laughs when my son called me from his first college apartment to say, "Apparently, I am the only person my age in all of New York who knows how to clean a bathroom."

9. Think of toys in terms of their play potential.  Spend more of your money on things with a lot of play potential.  How many hours of play will come from this?  Things with a lot of play potential include Legos, art supplies, a computer, a camera, a bike, a skateboard.  Things with little play potential include action figures, gag gifts, single-purpose toys.  Of course, if a child has a dream toy and it is affordable and reasonable, you want to try to fulfill that dream.

Children do not need new toys every week.  It is perfectly reasonable to have gift-giving limited to birthdays and holidays.  Children who are given toys with a lot of play potential can always do something new with those toys. Children who are given toys with little or no play potential will always want new toys, since there is nothing to do with their toys other than possess them.  Such a pattern of toy ownership sets kids up for a lifetime of dissatisfaction with what they own.

10. What goes into our heads manifests itself in attitudes and actions.  Thus, we did not watch any violent or horror movies or television shows.  Actually, we did not watch any TV until the children were about 10 years old, and then only 2 hours one evening a week.  Teach your kids that they control what they put into their heads and that what goes in is important.  What manifests from a brain filled with violence and horror?  There are now many families that avoid TV and carefully choose movies and video games.  It feels joyful to consciously pick good entertainment.

11. Eat healthily.  Plan and make good meals with high nutritional content.  That means you are not buying junk food.  Just don't have it in your home.  If you don't buy it, you can't eat it.  Skip the soda, sugared "fruit" drinks, candy, chips, cheetos, white bread, fried foods.  Almost anything that comes in a package or can is not going to be as healthy as something from the fresh aisles of a grocery.  Childhood obesity is rampant and those foods cause it.  Raise healthy kids.

12. Eat meals together.  Set the table nicely every day, with napkins, flowers, candles.  TV, radio, or phones should not be at your meal.  It is time for you to be together.

13. Communicate.  Talk with your kids. Listen.  Listen. Listen. Be trustworthy.  Don't repeat to others what your children say.  Respect the communications.  If your kids are not sharing with you, it may be that you have not respected or valued their communications in the past.

14.  Don't snoop.  Period.  Of course, be aware and take action if your child seems to be acquiring weapons, drugs, stolen goods, etc.  But other than the obvious, don't snoop.  Respect your child's privacy and rely on communication with them.

15. Don't be afraid to tell your children that you have expectations.   Tell them you expect them to do well in school, keep out of trouble, go to college.  Or whatever you expect.  Tell them why you don't want them to do certain things or hang around with certain people.  Tell your children fact-specific things to do to handle certain situations.  For example, one of my children had some friends who were into shoplifting.  I told my child I would prefer he not hang around with those people, but that if he was going to be with them anyway, if they started to shoplift when he was with them, to immediately walk out of the store and leave them behind.  Do not discuss with them, just leave.  Not long after I explained this to him, he had the occasion to leave a store when his friends started shoplifting, and then to watch his friends taken out in handcuffs and put in a police car.  Whew, what a sad lesson.

16.  Share your faith and beliefs.  Wherever it is you draw your strength, share that with your children. I have a prayer-based faith, so I prayed with my children every day.   I also take a lot of joy and strength in nature and wanted to share that, too.  We often visited the beach, listening to the surf as the sun set.  We went hiking in the woods, pretending to be little Native children, trying to be silent in our footsteps.  Whatever is your source of strength, share it with your children.

17. Value education.  Spend your time and efforts helping your children learn.  Get them to bed on time so they have enough rest.  Give them a good breakfast and send them to school ready to learn.  Participate in the parent groups.  Get your kids plenty of books from the library or book store or yard sales.  Keep your home clean, non-chaotic, and quiet, so your kids have time and place to learn.  Bring your kids to museums, galleries, parks, plays, concerts, and other cultural activities.

18. Sing together.  Sing together as a family.  Make holiday videos or perform a family show where you sing together.  Nicer still if your family plays musical instruments.  Dance together.

19. Tell your children, "I love you," every day. Or several times each day.

20. Praise your children every day.  Tell your children they are good, smart, pretty, handsome, good artists, clever, good cooks, handy.  Laugh at their jokes, listen to their stories, tell them thank you.

21.  Be grateful and teach your children to be grateful.  Talk about how you are lucky to have each other, to have a home, food to eat, health.  Thank people. Teach your children to say "Thank you."  Thank your children.

22. If you are ever feeling bossy or on a power trip, stop and calculate the time until your child turns 18 and can be on her own and do whatever she pleases. The purpose of raising children is to let them learn how to make decisions for themselves.  A 16 or 17 year old should be making all their decisions on their own, with you there as guidance.  If not, how will they be ready to be 18?  A child should be allowed to make some of their own decisions, from a very early age.  Give children choices, where each choice is acceptable.  A 14 year old should be able to pick their own classes and activities, choose their own meals, choose their own friends, do their own schoolwork, choose their own clothes and hair style, set their own schedule.  If you want to control those things for your child, then don't be surprised if your child is not "ready to launch" when it is time.  Learning comes from making some mistakes.

23. Teach your children compassion. Teach them not to bully, to be kind to the underdog, to respect people of all races and religions. Take them on cultural excursions to meet different kinds of people and share in different cultures.

24. Teach your kids to be part of a community.  Take them with you as you volunteer.  Bring them with you while you give food to the homeless, go to protests, work on a community garden.  Teach your kids how to pass a petition, form an organization, stand up for what is right.

25. Let kids play outside.  Every day.

26. Teach your kids how to choose friends and how to be a friend.  When one of my children started at a big high school in seventh grade, he was concerned about having friends.  He had the lead role in the school play, so he was popular, but needed close friends at this new school.  I told him to look for people who shared his same interests and values and to make best friends with those people. I told him that anyone that has one or two best friends is automatically popular because they feel happy and secure.  Others will gather around that core of two or three close friends.

27. Laugh a lot.  Joyful laughter, not mean laughter.  Don't mock, tease, or taunt.  Have a lot of fun laughing with your kids.  Have family in-jokes.   We had a joke that ran for many years, where whenever we just missed a bus or train, we would say we did not miss "our bus," that the next one was "our bus." This extended to anything we missed: it was not ours, ours was the next one.

28. Teach your kids about sex. Teach them that their bodies are sacred. Teach them to respect others. Don't sexualize your children.  Dress your kids as kids, not as sexy little adults.  Give your kids a simple rule: Don't have sex till they are in college.  In California, it is illegal for anyone under age 18 to have sex.  That makes this an easy rule to explain and insist upon.  The legal age is lower in some states, but it is rarely conducive to getting an education and good start in life to have sex younger than age 18.

29. Have open communication with your children about the internet.  Talk to them about sexting, revenge porn, bullying.  Let them know the internet is wonderful, but is also a playground for predators.  Teach them that not everything is as it seems.  Teach your children to respect others on the internet, and not to engage in hacking, bullying, or posting sex photos.  Teach them to keep their computer cameras covered, except when in use. Teach them never to agree to meet anyone from the internet unless they run it by you.  Tell them that many sex predators meet victims this way.  Yes, this means you need to explain to your kids about sex predators.

30. Take pictures often.  Children grow up quickly.

♥♥♥♥


Selling Beats


Selling Beats

by Sue Basko

 Imagine: You create a beat that sounds like a leaf blower with something stuck in it.   The beat is used to make a bouncy K-Pop song, along with a silly video.  The video and song go viral. Someone is making a lot of money.  Is it you, the beatmaker?  That depends on the underlying contract when you sold the beat.   When you license or sell any beat, the deal should include that you make a small amount more for each copy that is sold or each time it is streamed.  Without such a deal, you might have sold your beat for $10 while someone else gets rich selling the song made from it.

A beat is a short bit of music or sound that is meant to be the hook of a song.  Or it can be the underlying bed over which a rapper or singer or producer creates a song.  Beats differ from loops in that beats are meant to provide a unique focus for a song, while loops are meant to be staples that might be put into many songs.  Loops are noodles; a beat is that fabulous mushroom perched on top of the pile of noodles.  It makes a song what it is.

Many beatmakers like to sell their beats.  Some sell downloads off their own websites, and some sell on websites designed for beat sellers.  On your own site, you will take a higher percentage, but your beat may get more exposure on a group site.   Then again, on group sites, your beats may be buried.

Before you sign up for any beat selling website, have a lawyer read the contract.  Many of these sites have contracts that are contradictory, even senseless.  I just saw one site that says it gives the full beat sales price to the beatmaker, with the buyer paying a small transaction fee. Then it goes on to say that some categories of sellers will be docked with a 40% commission fee paid to the site and others will be docked with an 80% commission fee.  These categories are made to sound special, as if it would be a privilege to be included.  The same site has very confusing and contradictory rules of what the buyer is allowed to do with the beat once purchased.  

My usual thought is that if a website cannot convey in clear simple language what the deal is, then the website owners are probably unclear what the deal is.  And surely, if there were ever a dispute and the contract ended out in a court of law being interpreted by a judge, if the judge cannot figure out the intentions of the website from what is written in the contract, then anything can happen.  Therefore, have a lawyer read over the contract before you join. If the contract is not crystal clear, don't  join.  Go to a website that knows what it is doing and that considers its agreements important enough to hire a lawyer who can write well to craft its contracts.

If you want to create your own beat selling site, there are site layouts you can buy, all set to be placed onto your own website.  You will need site hosting, a domain, and to purchase the layout.  One such pre-made layout is MusicMakerTheme.   http://musicmakertheme.com  This is sold for $37 or $57 via paypal, depending on the features.  

There are 2 basic ways to sell beats: Licensing and Sales.  A license means that you retain the copyright, but you license the buyer to have certain rights.  A sale means the buyer is being assigned the copyright on the beat, and can use it for whatever purposes.  If you sell a beat, you lose all control over it.  If you are selling a beat, you need to be sure you are getting a price for it that will satisfy you, even if the songs created from it go on to earn a good deal of money.  That's why licensing with a good well-written contract is usually best for the beatmaker.  If however, someone famous is offering you a nice chunk of change for a beat, it might be a good bargain. But that is a rarity.

Most beats are licensed. If you are opening up your own beat shop, you should have a music lawyer write up your licenses.  Do not try to do this yourself.  And do not copy licenses off another site, unless you have them checked out first by a lawyer.  Lots of bad licenses get copied and passed around this way.  This can lead to genuine disaster.

The main categories in licensing are nonexclusive and exclusive.  Many beat selling websites have this all mixed up. They will sell a beat as nonexclusive and also exclusive. This truly makes no sense. Either the beat is nonexclusive, and multiple people can license it , or it is exclusive, and only one person can license it.  Some use the term "semi-exclusive," by which they mean they will sell the license for the low nonexclusive price to as many takers as come along, and if someone wants to buy it as a "semi-exclusive" license,  the beatseller will stop licensing it to others from then on.  However, the licenser paying the higher semi-exclusive price may find that those who earlier bought the less expensive nonexclusive beat license have the same rights as they do.  It is hard to create and sell an original hit song if there are already 35 other people making songs with the same beat.

On the other hand, it is hard to refrain from licensing a beat for $10 or $20 many times, hoping someone will come along with more money.

The dream of beatmakers is to be commissioned by someone famous to create exclusive beats for nice high prices.  Such a dream is as much about connections and friendships as it is about beatmaking creativity.  If such an opportunity ever presents itself, make sure you bring in a music lawyer to write or read the contract.  The important thing is you want to make some small royalty on each copy sold or streamed, as well as a small piece of performance royalties.  You don't want to be the beatmaker whose beat is in a song being played on the radio hundreds of times per day, and you're not making a penny from it.  And that is what will happen if you don't have a music lawyer in on the deal.

One of the most important legalities of beats is that they must not contain any loops or samples, unless you have a signed clearance agreement to use the loop or sample.  On this, too, you must have a music lawyer.  The beats you sell must be 100% your own work, or with legal clearance. This means you cannot take any part of any other loop, other beat, and cannot sample any song, any movie, any TV show, etc., even if you remix it, remove parts, change it around, etc.  If you are using any such bit of sound created by anyone else, you must have a contract with them that spells out very clearly what they are giving you the rights to use, how you may you it, and how they will be paid for it. 

If you use a bit of sound belonging to someone else in your beat, without clearance, your beat is poison and so is every song made from it.  The people who licensed your beat with the good faith belief that it was your original work can be sued for copyright infringement by the owner of the sample or sound that you used without permission.  The financial responsibility will come back to you.

Buying a copy of an old record or movie does not give you rights to take samples of the sound and use them in  your beats.  Owning a physical copy is different from owning the underlying intellectual property rights.  If you want to use a snippet of sound from a movie or TV show or old record, you must get clearance.  Sometimes getting clearance is expensive and sometimes the owners refuse to give clearance.  That is their right.  If you have been denied clearance, and you go ahead and use the sample anyway, expect to be sued.

 If you want a type of sound, usually such samples are easy to create on a program like GarageBand or ProTools.  For example, say you want the sound of a 1940s radio commercial.  Rather than get clearance on such a commercial, you can create your own fictional product and write your own commercial or part of one, record it simply, and add filters to give it that 1940s sound.  A can filter, a limiter, a bit of a crackle or scratch sound, and a small amount of bounce and you'll have a 1940s sound.  With the variety of filters and effects on GarageBand, you can make almost any kind of sound.

How long should your beat be?  Most beats are made in a set of lengths.  If a beat is supposed to be a hook, it will probably be about 3 seconds to 5 seconds long.   A hook beat can be sold in a longer version and cut down, or it can be sold as a set of various lengths.  

A kit of complementary beats that could work together in a song can be sold.  This might also be considered a remix kit.  Such a kit might contain original loops or might contain stem tracks from an existing song being licensed out for remixing.  A remix kit might contain as many as 20 beats and loops ready to be remixed into new creations.  Most contracts that go with a remix kit will state that the elements themselves cannot be changed, other than being shortened.  Other contracts allow for more manipulation of the beats or loops, and this can make for some highly original, exciting sounds.    Most such contracts will also include a provision that a new element must be added, such as unique original vocals.  This provision assures that the end product will not sound too much like the original.  

To sum up, the two main rules in selling beats is to own what you are selling and to have well-written,  contracts that clearly spell out the deal. 



BitVote Intro


BitVote Intro
by Susan Basko, Esq. 

BitVote is a new voting method and program invented by Aaron Bale and in development by some of the finest minds today.  BitVote is an online voting system that promotes Distributed Democracy.   Distributed Democracy harkens back to the days of direct democracy, which is decision making done by the people without representatives.  In smaller organizations, this works.  As a political unit becomes bigger, direct democracy has often been replaced by having elected representatives who then make it their daily work to know about the issues, attend meetings, and vote on the issues and laws.  In the U.S., many people have found that representative democracy results in government that pleases no one and that spends too much money and confers little or no societal benefit on the average person.  The widespread availability of the internet may make direct democracy possible once again. The townhall meetings of yore can take place on the internet, with those interested in a particular topic in attendance, though separated by thousands of miles.

BitVote works by giving a voter one voting unit per each minute of life the person lives after registering as a voter.  That means each voter gets 1,440 votes per day.  The votes are like currency, to be spent on whatever amounts on whichever topics are of interest to that voter.  A voter may save up votes to make a big impact on an issue of great interest to that voter. BitVote is a way of giving value to a person's time and enthusiasm, rather than to one's money.   BitVote makes issues less dichotomal by allowing voters, for example, to allocate 100 votes to one solution and 200 votes to another solution.

The BitVote system is envisaged to be fluid in function.  If the people vote for the system to work in a certain way, and allocate money for this, then the system can be designed to reflect that functionality.  The votes have the meaning assigned by the voters.  For example, voters decide the process on how a certain solution or initiative will be funded or staffed.

BitVote is built on Ethereum, an open platform that works in units called contracts.  The contracts can speak to each other.  Vitalik Buterin  is the founder, owner and lead developer of Ethereum. He is a winner of Theil Award that encourages computer program development.  Ethereum recently issued its own currency or esoteric collateral, called Ether.  Ether and BitVote are but two applications suited to the Ethereum platform.  Over time, Ethereum and its uses will develop.

Aaron Bale came up with the idea for BitVote based on his own life experiences.  Leah Pearl, who is a nursing school graduate, is the BitVote Communications Director.

I personally have been a sounding board for Aaron's ideas and a legal assist. I went from thinking that a voting system where each person gets 525,600 votes per year as a preposterous mess, to thinking of these votes as neat currency in a voting wallet, to be spent to create a better world.  I like the idea that life is valued, and that each person's contribution is valued.

BitVote.GitHub.com - Vote with your Life.

What is BitVote?

BitVote is a universal voting ecosystem for the Internet era. For every minute of your lifetime, you'll automatically earn a "voting minute" that can be cast on any cause of your choice. Voting results are globally available in a transparent and decentralized legend, robustly resistant to manipulation or censorship and fully compatible with any preexisting social network or political system.

Why BitVote?

Remember how you felt when you first discovered the Internet? Remember how empowering and hope inspiring it used to be when we were growing up? How sharply does that contrast with the concerns people have now? Where's the Internet is going to be in five or ten years? Neutrality. Surveillance. Censorship. What if future generations don't have that same type of feeling we have? What if instead of inspiring and empowering them, the internet terrifies and debilitates them? I created BitVote on the hopes hope that we will be able to tip the scales back in our favor and give us a chance to systematically fix whatever it is that is causing this change.

Who is BitVote?

Aaron Bale (@arkbg1) founded BitVote in 2012 during the SOPA Blackout, with support and inspiration from Aaron Swartz (@aaronsw),  Sven Swootleg (@joepie91) and Leah Chase (@leahxpearl). In 2014, BitVote began collaborating with Jasper den Ouden (@o-jasper), Stephan Tual (@stephantual), Joris (@mids106), Ethan Buchman (@ebuchman) and Vlad Zamfir (@vladzamfir) of Ethereum. The project has been developing for over two years through the teamwork of a network of programers, activists, lawyers, advocates, politicians, artists and normal citizens around the world. All the developers have one thing in common: a desire to have the voice of the people heard and heeded.

Real Life Stories

Lettuce entertain you. 
Real Life Stories 
by Susan Basko, Esq.

Real life stories are popular for movies and books.  This article is about real life stories based on living people.  For such a story to be marketable, the person usually has to have some newsworthy thing happening in their life and some name presence in the media.  The catch to this is that if a person is appearing in the news for a certain topic, then anyone can write a book or screenplay based on what is in the news.  Many real life movies are based on long magazine style news articles.  One cannot base a book or movie on someone else's magazine article without their permission, because that violates their copyright.  The same goes with a book: to make a movie of it, you need permission from the author.

When a book or movie is made based on one person's life story, that person's permission may not be needed if the person is in the news. However, such a story cannot delve into topics that are not in the news, as that is a violation of privacy rights.  Therefore, many movie and book stories are written with the participation of the subject.  And they are often based on a lengthy, well-researched article.  Such articles are copyright protected and if someone other than the authors were to create a screenplay based on a magazine style article, they would be sued for copyright infringement for creating a derivative work.

How does the subject of the book or movie make money?  There are several ways.  On a book the subject can be a co-author or advisor.  On a movie based on an article, the subject can act as a consultant on the movie. However, to get such a contract, the subject has to really exert effort.  Since no movie wants bad publicity, and since making a move for millions of dollars while the subject is not being paid, is bad publicity.   If the subject of the movie has special knowledge that will make the movie more realistic, it is easier to get a consulting position.  However, a film director usually does not want the subject present on the film set and does not want to give the subject any creative control.

A big consideration in real life stories are the other people in the story.  Most times, those people are fictionalized, with their names and details changed.  Often several real life characters will be combined into one.  However, if there is a real life person who is identifiable as a character in the movie or book, it is usually best to get their permission and approval of the way they are portrayed.  Failure to do so on a private person (not a public figure) will almost surely result in a lawsuit.

Companies often want to acquire optional rights to create any form of media, in case the story has legs. That might include the optional right to create a book, a movie, a TV show, and to license merchandise of any form.

Other times, only movie rights will be acquired.  This often happens by taking an option on a well-researched, lengthy news magazine article.  An option is the right to purchase the story for a set amount of time for set amount of money.  For example, an option might cost $5000 and give the right to buy the story for $100,000 any time in the next six months. That is just an example.

Film companies option far more stories than they will ever make into movies. Some companies might buy an option to keep that story away from the competition, with no intention of making a movie. This is why it is a good idea to bargain for a high option price for a short period of time. This separates those who are seriously interested in making a movie versus those who are looking to stockpile options.

When getting an initial option, the writer(s) and subject should be represented by their own lawyers There are so many considerations, including price on option, price on story, obligations, creative control, ability to approve or disapprove of a character portrayal, consulting, credits, perks.  And so much more.   If the subject is involved in creating the story or getting the option, they should look to protect not only their own image, but those of their family and friends. Respecting the dignity and privacy rights of other real life people named in the story is of utmost importance. Generally, a waiver and permission should be signed by each such person, if they will give it.  This usually must be purchased from each person.  Either that, or the characters must be deeply fictionalized so they are not recognizable, and their names changed.  That does not work with characters who are family members of the main real life character.  For those, portrayals must be done carefully and with great respect and a waiver must be gotten.  Otherwise, the story must be adjusted.

 People love real life stories.  The object is to tell a good story without harming anyone.  All sorts of considerations belong in the option. Those considerations will transfer over to the purchase contract.  If you are the writer or the subject, you cannot option and then wait till the contract or till the movie is in production to start making demands for creative control.  What you need must be spelled out from the get go.  Do  not try to do this without a knowledgeable lawyer.

Some people ask if a writer or subject will be given a percentage of "piece of the picture."  A writer who is sought after may have leverage to bargain for this. Most other writers do not.  The subject of a movie is rarely in a position to ask for a percentage.  In most cases, if the story has been in the news, anyone can make a movie about it.  The subject will be bargaining hard to be paid to consult and for other protections and perks.

Predatory Websites

The Infamatorious Nachash of Doxbin
 Predatory Websites
by Susan Basko, Esq.

see also: Encyclopedia Dramatica and Doxbin: what are they?
see also: Racketeering and Websites

Most predatory websites take advantage of  47 U.S. Code § 230, which immunizes an ISP from tort liability for statements of its users.  What the makers of this law obviously did not foresee was that predatory entrepreneurs would set up websites that invited and encouraged users to post horrific defamation of others, and also would shield the identities of those users.  This glitch in the law does not apply to federal criminal law or to intellectual property laws, such as copyright or trademark.  Therefore, the owners or admins of a  predatory website might still be held criminally liable for running a site that contains child pornography, obscenity, cyberstalking, cyber harassment, doxing, and other illegal cyber stuff.   Note: The people posting such materials can always be held responsible for tort or criminal liability, if (and it's a big if) they can be located.

47 U.S. Code § 230 was written in the early days of the internet, with the idea of ISPs and website owners being basically good people who might be set upon by wrongdoers posting inappropriate things on their sites.  In fact, this loophole in the law was noted by the most malicious of the entrepreneurial  predators, who created websites that earn a steady living in advertising revenue and "reverse extortion" payments by encouraging deranged members of the public to post horrifying defamation, invasions or privacy, pornography and obscenity, and other such attacks on innocent third parties. 47 U.S. Code § 230 was dubbed the Good Samaritan clause.  Now it can rightly be called the Predators Loophole.  There are many predatory websites. Below are a few examples.

EXAMPLES OF PREDATORY WEBSITES AND HOW THEY WORK:

 Encyclopedia Dramatica: This is a predatory website run by people in their 40s and 50s who imagine themselves to be above the law. They lack in human decency and common respect. They are known to be racist and misogynistic. The owners of the site have it set up to draw in the most mentally deranged, deeply socially sick internet users that crop up with each new generation.  Those sick people are encouraged to use the site to post pages about innocent victims, with the aim being to harm the victims' reputations, their businesses or job, and their families or relationships.  See: Encyclopedia Dramatica: 5 Victims

The Encyclopedia Dramatica owners, admins, and users victimize these innocent people with outlandish lies and defamation which is made to look real.  The site does not contact the victims or fact check, and is simply a collection of the most injurious lies imaginable.  Photos of the innocent people are photoshopped to create obscenity.  See: Encyclopedia Dramatica: 5 Victims

These defamation tactics are used against the victims to harm them in many ways, including coercing some into internet crime, punishing others for refusing to participate in internet crime, forcing the victims into doing things they would not otherwise do, silencing the victims about crimes they have witnessed, shaming, humiliating, destroying their reputations and businesses, and harming their families and relationships. 

Encyclopedia Dramatica is the henchman, the enforcer used by many internet predators to coerce, force, harm, and damage those who might stand in their way.  The site is like the gang members on the street corner, there to stomp on the rights of the law-abiding and those who just want to be left alone.

Encyclopedia Dramatica is a crime website of major proportions that masquerades as "parody," except that parody does not include obscenity, cyberstalking, defamation, invasions of privacy, and other crimes and torts.  People known to be involved with Encyclopedia Dramatica include Brian Zaiger of Boston, Chris Jones, Jaime Cochran of Chicago, @Gwennyrah, and Tawnie Knight aka @Anoccam, of Arizona.  I have been told by an ED admin that the site admins run a meth ring that they use to support their activities.  The whole victimizing operation of Encyclopedia Dramatica seems criminal, and you can read about that HERE and read about 5 of its victims HERE

Cheaterville: This website is owned by Via View, a Nevada LLC owned by James McGibney. Via View is also registered as a Delaware corporation.  Cheaterville is what is known as a "revenge porn" site.  The site encourages people in the public to get revenge, mostly against young women, by posting compromising photos of them and posting horrific sexual statements about them.  The purpose, obviously, is to destroy the lives of these girls and women.  Cheaterville works hand in hand with a company called Truth in Posting, or TIP, of Henderson, Nevada.  The website's victims are supposed to pay hundreds of dollars to TIP to get the revenge porn removed.  I have coined a term for this: "reverse extortion."  Feel free to use that term: reverse extortion.  At this time, McGibney and Cheaterville are engaged in filing lawsuits, restraining orders, and subpoenas against a hodgepodge of individuals who have objected online to the Via View revenge porn business.   The Via View twitter handle is @Bullyville, which is apt, since bullying is what it  does.   You can read a legal analysis HERE.

RipOffReports: This site works just like Cheaterville, but instead of posting revenge porn, this site allows anyone to post any lies about any business or professional. It works on the same economic model as the revenge porn sites.  After a posting is made, the victim is sent numerous reverse extortion letters, offering to lessen the harm for hundreds of dollars.  A legal analysis is HERE.

Doxbin:  Doxbin is the king of predatory websites. It is above ground and also on tor.  Doxbin is used by the same psychos that post on Encyclopedia Dramatica, as well as by others. The site works by allowing anyone to post invasive information or materials on others, such as name, address, social security number, bank info, accounts, and on and on.  The object is to make the victims vulnerable to crime, as well as to "aid and abet" the commission of such crimes as identity theft, robbery, rape, home invasion, and assassination.  And - the whole thing is criminal, top to bottom.  You can read about that in a legal analysis HERE , in a closer look HERE.