posted Jun 17, 2001

Smart Tags and the Microsoft Problem Revisited Free Speech6/17/2001; 11:12:24 PM 'Here’s the bad news for Microsoft: their SmartTags technology, applied to the web would likely be illegal in most countries outside of the United States.'Here’s the bad news for us: Microsoft’s SmartTags would likely be completely legal inside the United States, when applied to content that originates within the country’s borders.'Why? Something called moral rights. Most civilized countries recognize them; but the United States doesn’t.'One of the moral rights mentioned is the right to integrity. I think this right is the single most important right that we lack in this country. Without the right to integrity, our communication, both on and off the 'net, will increasingly be subjected to the whims of those with power. Microsoft's Smart Tags and other annotation technologies are frankly only the beginning of the inevitable deluge. We must fight for this right of integrity and not give it up because it appears convenient at the moment. Integrity must take precedence over whatever so-called "rights" get in its way, or none of our rights relating to communication (''free speech'') will have any meaning.What good is annotation if annotation authors have no integrity rights either? What good is any communication if there is no integrity? Even if there is a "right" to annotate or change content as Smart Tags do, it's insignificant next to the importance of integrity. Annotation is not worth the price.


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