Court protects MySpace vulgarities

MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2007

A three-judge Indiana Court of Appeals panel last week reversed the sentence of a 16-year-old girl who was declared delinquent and put on probation for nine months for creating a MySpace page loaded with epithets directed at her middle-school principal’s rules against body piercings.

“While we have little regard for A.B.’s use of vulgar epithets, we conclude that her overall message constitutes political speech,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote in the 10-page opinion.

Meanwhile Eric W. Trosch, a high school principal in Pennsylvania, last week didn’t let that bother him. He sued four former students for creating a MySpace page that said he smoked pot, kept beer at school and liked having sex with students.

Moving cell users toward a dot-mobi world

As more cell phone users are buying service plans that let them access the Web, many companies are trying to decide if they need a specific Web address that’s best for that purpose. Logging on to traditional Web addresses usually produces problems as those sites aren’t designed to be viewed on the tinier screen of a phone.

Some advocates are trying to develop the dot-com alternative for mobile phones, and the leading contender to date is .mobi.

The dot-mobi group already has several thousand sites registered. Companies like Yahoo and Google have dot-mobi versions and others are lining up.

The dot-mobi option is not the only course a company can follow. Mobile Web sites can be developed by just adding to an existing address. For instance, gets a cell phone user directly to the mobile New York Times site.

Tampa paper cuts jobs, shifts resources online

The daily newspaper in Tampa, Fla., the Tribune, announced it is cutting or outsourcing about 70 jobs — about 5 percent of its newsroom staff.

At the same time it said, in a prepared release, that it will launch a number of “hyperlocal and community sites” as extensions of, its main news Web site.

“Our newspaper is experiencing the challenges of changing reader needs and fundamental shifts in spending by our traditional advertisers,” said Denise Palmer, president and publisher. “We are reducing resources in areas that are in decline and investing in areas of growth, including local news and the Internet,” she said.

The Tribune, its sister TV station WFLA, and have been a model of convergence — they share a newsroom — yet declining revenue on the newspaper side has taken a toll, said several people familiar with the Florida news business. The companies are owned by publicly traded Media General Inc., based in Richmond, Va.


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