Thursday, May 31, 2007

The infamous fake ID page is back up.

The fake ID page which was DMCA'd is back up.

Click here to see it.

Other amusing or well-written links to this issue lately have included

Talking Law School Blues

John Sterni

This one

Ian's Blog

if you've linked me to your site, let me know. Thanks!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Columns

There's a series of essays by Roland Barthes, published in English translation in the Hopkins' Press book On Signs. Having read these daily writings from Barthes when I was in school, I've always dreamed of writing similar columns in my own life. I guess I think about blogs as being less public sorts of that type of work.

Barthes wrote, "But suppose there were also minor events whose tenuity none the less does not fail to invovle meaning, to deesignate what is not well with the world? In short, suppose one were gradually and patiently to be concerned with transforming the grid of intensities?"

I too will write of the small world, and it's immensities. But not exclusively on my blog anymore, as I am writing an advice column for the Statesboro Herald in Georia, and have been asked to submit some works for a few other websites (which I will name only after they've accepted my works. hopefully)

But how exciting! I will, of course, continue to write here as well.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Long long weekend.

All weekend I kept waiting for the next awesome fake ID to arrive, but sadly, with school out for summer, no little creeps came into the bar. For everyone who is holding their breath to see if I'm going to post another, take a halftime breathing break ok? Or go read this funniest-since-dinosaur-comic comic.


Meanwhile, I got an air conditioner for the other room. I decided that I hate losing all the light to those awful, gray, never-clean window "wings" that the a/c unit comes with. So I did what all heliotropic fix-it nerds would do, I didn't install them. Instead I made the obvious choice of buying a piece of plexi-glass to fit the missing space's dimensions. I put the weather stripping in the window jamb, between the parting bead and the inside stop, then nestled the plexi into that cushion and closed the window to the height of the a/c and the plexi. To finish it off, I taped the edge of the plexi to the a/c and to the bottom of the sash, with white and black tape respectively.


Now we get air conditioning with the great bonus feature of light. Hurrah!

I know, the window is dirty. One thing at a time, people.

Also, I'm still looking for folks to email me questions to respond to in my sample advice column for a fabulous alt-weekly in georgia. So if you have any need for advice that doesn't define you as a new yorker, please comment them to me or email me as soon as possible. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

While I'm waiting...

So the original post #5 has another week and a half until it can return. When it does I'm going to blur out the pertinent information, via an agreement I made with the girl who filed the DMCA.
I'm not obfuscating the info because I think she has rights to the image, info, or signature, but because I hope she wouldn't get the same kind of crazy responses from strangers that I've been dealing with for a week.

I'm still sorting through a few pages of emails that I've received in the last week about this whole ordeal. Many people have written to me with interesting stories about their troubles in the service industry, their support for my blog and its humor - I think these people are amazing and funny. The bar was flooded this weekend with people eager to show their IDs and talk about the misuse of the DMCA and local community politics. Commendable that you would all show up in the real world to talk about something you care about on the internet.

Also, I have received some terribly threatening emails, citing how vindictive they think I am for my posting of fake ID's online. And true, maybe I've inadvertently enabled the theft of fake personalities - if the underage drinkers cared about themselves, they wouldn't have their real information on these fake ID's.

Maybe the readers who wrote to me so venomously should direct the same fury at every bar that posts their confiscated fakes on the front door glass or over the bar, perhaps they should lobby for the drinking age to change. Or maybe the consequences of making fraudulent government documents should be taken more seriously. I find it intriguing that they were more concerned about the misuse of false information than the production of rather convincing fake documents.

Also, I found that as a whole, the people who were in support of my blog and its contents were much better spellers than those who declared their hatred for me.

Would this whole discussion be different if the girl in question wasn't a white girl from Iowa but perhaps someone who looked more like the image below? What if the ID holder wasn't going to use the ID to buy alcohol but maybe ... guns? or go to flight school?

Either way, the DMCA shouldn't protect criminals, of any rank, race, age, or intention. And yes, I will continue to post on this blog any fake ID's I confiscate. Not because I want to publicly shame "innocent" criminal underage drinkers, but because I like writing up the accounts that go with them. And there are a few hundred people who seem to enjoy reading them and hearing about my sometimes zany life and opinions.

For those of you who are interested, I've also been given the opportunity to write an advice column for a newspaper. Please feel free to comment or email me your (non-fake ID and non-DMCA) questions, in dear Abby style format.

Thanks.
Rachel

Thursday, May 10, 2007

counter notification received.. waiting..

To whomever is concerned,
Google sent me this today, so when it goes through, my original post can return.



Hello Rachel,

We have received your DMCA counter notification dated 5/9/07 regarding rachelhyman.blogspot.com/2007/04/fake-id-confiscation-5.html. As described in 17 U.S.C. 512(g), we will forward the counter notification to the complainant. If we do not receive notice from the complainant that he has brought an action in the district court within 14 days, we will reinstate the material in question on Blogger. We appreciate your patience in this process.

Sincerely,
The Blogger Team

Also, for those of you who are wondering about any other press this is getting, check out this article in plagiarism today. I don't agree with all of it, but it brings up some interesting questions about the DMCA and copyright restrictions.

I'd like to wish a warm thank you to the folks from Fark.com that came out to the bar tonight for cheese night. The omission of pitchforks and torches was much appreciated. Anyone else who would like to talk about all this and is in the Lower Manhattan Area, feel free to come by the Burp Castle on friday night. I'll be there pulling pints as usual.

write soon,
rachel

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

"In Soviet Russia, Hyman busts you. "

For those of you who haven't seen the slash dot commentary, the fark commentary, or the digg comments, I'll tell you that they're gruesome at times and honest at others. I'm disappointed at how many people would resort to personal attacks. A great many insisted that I was power tripping, and a few even said I had a "big fish in a small pond" complex.-- Manhattan is an island, not a pond. It might not be the biggest island in the world, but it's a pretty important one if you ask me. I don't think the important parts of this discussion should be about either myself or Ashley: it's not a "who is the bigger bitch" contest. Regardless, some people seem mistaken about some facts about me that I'd like to set straight.

About ME
I went to college at Boston University, graduated 2002. I grew up in working class Baltimore, and now bartend (despite my college degree) so that I can spend my time working on my art. I am a realist painter and I do some installation projects as well. In college I did try my hand at poetry slam, and was the champion of Boston's Cantab Lounge for over a year, and a member of the Cantab's 2001 and 2002 national teams.

What all of this was about before the DMCA Notice
My blog was about my life. Take it or leave it- kids who bring fake ID's into the bar and attempt to be served are putting me in danger. My way of diffusing that danger has been to post the confiscated ID's for the amusement of my readers (before yesterday "my readers" meant my family and friends and some patrons from the bar).

What is the tension that would cause me to post these ID's?

The relationship between NYU, the surrounding community, and the community board needs great repair. The east village has gone through a stage of gentrification, and ended up as an "east village" themed section of New York. The streets that were once home to countless artists and poets, Tompkin Square park riots, a thriving NYC punk rock scene, and squatters, have started to become luxury condos and more NYU dorms. While CBGB's couldn't keep it's lease, their T-Shirt shop sprung up on St. Mark's Street selling their garb without a problem.

The Community Board can try to limit new liquor licenses and the police can try to find ways to eliminate old licenses, but this will cause a tension in the service industry. A lot of money is being spend commercializing an area that was for years residential and dangerous, but now is very fertile ground for development and bars. NYU is purchasing and using a lot of the area, and their students are inflating the rents in order to be close to their classes. Understandable. The people who have lived here for years are fighting the weekend noise, the public drunkenness, the increase in rents, and the changes which are replacing the character of the neighborhood with chain stores. Also, understandable.

I'm trying to give a framework for those of you who aren't from or familiar with this part of downtown New York City. It is silly to think a place will never change. But change should be approached responsibly, organically, and people should respect each other enough to work together-- that was always the way the east village residents tried to function.

The police have been doing sting operations, especially on bars that aren't friendly to underage drinking. Lately beer bars, like the one I work in, have been temporarily shut down, and suddenly the fear of not IDing the right people has begun to spread.

I post the fakes I confiscate from the bar. Some argue that this is an extreme measure for the underage drinker to endure. I don't think so.

How about this extreme: If I serve the person who hands me that ID and a cop comes in to check the place, I can be fined thousands, my boss can lose hundreds of thousands in investment when the bar is closed, I lose my job, and then I CAN BE ARRESTED AND THROWN IN JAIL.
What would happen to the kid who brought this into the bar? Not much - a small fine and at most- community service hours.

The repercussions are not fair. Maybe it isn't my place to equalize them by mocking a kid who thought it was ok to threaten my livelihood and freedom. Maybe mocking isn't enough, and everytime I get an ID I should have the person arrested on the spot. Save the cops the trouble later on. Is that what you want?

I think that's vindictive. I don't think posting the ID was an attempt to cause harm on these kids, but a way to discuss a situation where they try to trick me and lose. If you were in the service industry you might understand my lack of compassion for people who try to get me fired from my job. No, I'm not a cop. I'm a citizen and resident of a neighborhood that is affected by the new brashness and confidence ( and a wicked sense of entitlement) that the underage drinkers exercise by coming into our bars, and putting us in a very bad position.

I didn't drink in bars until I was over 21. Maybe the law should make it legal for 18 year olds to drink, but I don't have enough of a political lobby to change that myself. MADD changed it in the 80's because of drunk driving accidents. Outside of New York, America has a driving culture. People drive to the bar and still drive home after a few drinks. That scares me. So until the oil runs out, US lawmakers have made a sincere attempt to keep drunk driving down, which means letting people feel the dangers of driving before they can legally drink. Somehow the change in the drinking age helped lower some death statistics. I don't know that changing the drinking age back to 18 will keep those statistics down. Inside New York City, the majority of people don't drive, and certainly a great weight would be lifted from the shoulders of the service industry if college kids could drink legally.

In those places where patrons do drive to the bar, the bartender and bar can be sued if on their drive home they hit someone. That's awful. Americans need to start taking responsibility for their actions, and not abuse the legal system to blame others for their own mistakes.

I don't think Ashley was driving, and I'm certain that neither of us meant for this issue to blow up like it has over the past few days. She didn't have malicious intent, and neither did I. But the laws in which we function could have done seriously terrible things to me for her having a fake ID if I didn't catch her. As a bartender, I am responsible for other's actions. That is not right.

Why the DMCA notice was important
Her choice to use a DMCA notice to remove her picture may not have been the best move. But what is this law that would allow immediate censorship of someone's first amendment rights without any review? Ashley acted on the advice of a friend, and obviously didn't see the reaction of the internet world coming. But what injustice did she stumble upon?

Maybe the real treachery of this situation is the way that we've legislated away our right to speak and publish. Is this law just? What are the many ways it's being used improperly?

Isn't that the real issue? A fake ID wouldn't make the cover of a slash dot page unless it was about something else. It's about the laws we've allowed to be passed and how these laws are functioning against us. It's about how we're in such a culture of fear that we allow this legislation.

What are you going to do about it?
Will you write a letter to your senator about how you disagree with the DMCA?
or go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and learn more about what's going on?
Do what you think is right and live responsibly, in every way you can.

Whats become of it all
I didn't intend to slander Ashley, and certainly didn't intend the firestorm of hate that washes both towards her and me from the few internet discussions about us.

I obviously don't have control over the US liquor laws, and do think that these things need to be revised.

Especially, I think NYU needs to take some responsibility for its students and how they're effecting the neighborhood. I think the penalty for underage drinking should be heavier on the drinker, not the bar or the bartender.

I think the DMCA should be used properly, and with restraint. All laws should be used to help society function with the least amount of hurt.

I apologize if I've hurt Ashley, or any of the other kids who try to pass off a fake ID at the bar. I hope they too apologize, like Ashley has. Her apology was well thought out and very sincere.

People should learn to interact with each other decently. I'm sorry for all of you who missed the humor of my posts, and who thought I was attempting to endanger underage drinkers as they have already endangered me. I really wasn't attempting to be malicious.

Many people have asked me if they can make donations in case I end up in a legal battle. Awesome! There's a paypal button on the left column if you feel so inclined. Thanks.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Regarding Fake ID's

The last few days have had some interesting things occur in the life of my little blog here. First, I've had an amazing amount of readers referred here by a link from facebook. Then, realizing that someone had the lack of forsight to use their real name on a fake ID and had found my blog from my posting, as I do, of their fake ID with text about the confiscation of the ID. I removed their last name from the posting in a gesture of good faith.

See, I collect the fake ID's by confiscating them from underage people who attempt to buy alcohol. I've been informed that I'm required to do this. I don't mind because frankly, our bar is for adults, and not a NYU undergrad hangout. My bar has not had a problem with underage drinking, only other bars that my bar's owner also owns. I have never knowingly served a minor, and never will. Enough of my friends work in the service industry in the neighborhood that if I don't confiscate the ID's, I'm putting their jobs and livelihoods at risk.

I seem to be making an amazing amount of enemies from doing this. Sadly, they don't realize that their real enemy is probably the community board that is cracking down on underage drinking in the East Village, and the Liquor Board that would revoke our license to serve beer legally if we too didn't do everything in our power to stop underage drinkers from obtaining beer at our bars.

Why people would use their real names to make a fake ID?
The obvious advantage is that their credit cards then function as backup identification. The amazingly obvious drawback is that their name is on the illegal piece of identification.

When I went to college, at freshman orientation, we were given a lecture by the Boston Police about the consequences of our actions. If we were caught with a Fake ID, our drivers license would be suspended in our home state, and we would suffer penalty from the University, and legal action from the state of Massachusetts.

Perhaps NYU freshman aren't informed with the same zest that I was. Perhaps the idea of actions having consequences hasn't been ingrained in their minds yet. College is about learning, developing a capacity for critical thought, and sometimes professional training. Education in general is also a method of socializing individuals to society. I should hope that the admission standards of NYU would be enough that the students would be at least mildly socialized to common laws and basic ethical arguments.

The choices you make in life will always carry consequences, some good, some bad, some extreme, some minor, some avoidable- with interaction comes vulnerability to the reaction of others. The justice system, whose laws you can choose to break, might also protect you from the consequences of breaking those laws, but only if you admit those laws are broken first. You could face a choice. You can engage that system while considering, is the admission of my initial breaking of the law going to cause more extreme consequences than my attempt to protect myself? or you can try to talk to the person who you threatened by breaking the law or you can let the consequences play out.


The differences between being a minor and being underage

A minor is under 18, an underage drinker is under 21. The advantage of being a minor is that you can have all records sealed at 18 of any mis-doings in your youth. The disadvantage of being 18 -21 is that you are an adult, and while that does not include being able to purchase alcohol until you are 21, you are considered responsible for your actions.

What has happened over the last few days

I posted a blog entry about a girl who tried to use a fake ID at the bar I work at. I posted a picture of that fake ID. I used her full name in the text of the post. Friday, she commented that she found it and was furious about my noting a political affiliation in the post. Subsequently, she wrote about it in her facebook notes, or someone did, because hundreds of people have visited this blog from that reference point over the weekend.

I realized that it could be a great disservice for her to have this blog show up on every google search of her name. Good intentions in my heart, I deleted the last name in every part of the article so when the cache was refreshed by google, it would no longer show up for searches of her name. I even emailed one of the people who commented, claiming they knew her, so she could rest easy that I didn't have malicious intent. Let's see what I get for being nice.

Then I checked my other email account, which is listed on my other website with an old address of an old studio space. I had been subscribed to some wild internet sites, and a few magazines too. Identity theft is a big deal kids. I unsubscribed myself to a bunch of these things, and sent notices to the magazines (which will not be forwarded to my new address because they will be less than first class in shipping, and aren't covered by the postal service's forwarding service.)

I wonder if the people who thought that using my email and address was a great idea were smart enough not to use their home computers, or school computer accounts. Those ISP addresses would be so trackable. I suppose the police will figure it out if I decide to call them up about all this.

So then the friend of the girl in question and I exchanged a few emails about the situation. He had some rather confused logic justifying a DMCA takedown notice, but informed me that "this young lady is going places". huh. sure, right. Like everyone at NYU. It seems they're all going to drive up the rent in the neighborhood.


This morning I got a notice from Blogger that read:


Hello Rachel,

Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that some of your images allegedly
infringe upon the copyrights of others. The URLs of the allegedly
infringing images may be found at the end of this message.

The notice that we received, with any personally identifying information
removed, may be found at the following link:
http://www.chillingeffects.org/notice.cgi?sID=3261

Please note that it may take several weeks for the notice to be posted on
the above page.

The DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for
online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. We
are in the process of removing from our servers the images that allegedly
infringe upon the copyrights of others. If we did not do so, we would be
subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits.
See http://www.educause.edu/Browse/645?PARENT_ID=254 for more information
about the DMCA, and see http://www.google.com/dmca.html for the process
that Blogger requires in order to make a DMCA complaint.

Blogger can reinstate these images upon receipt of a counter notification
pursuant to sections 512(g)(2) and 3) of the DMCA. For more information
about the requirements of a counter notification and a link to a sample
counter notification, see http://www.google.com/dmca.html#counter.

Please note that repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in
further remedial action taken against your Blogger account. If you have
legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal
counsel. If you have any other questions about this notification, please
let us know.

Sincerely,
The Blogger Team


Affected URLs:
rachelhyman.blogspot.com/2007/04/fake-id-confiscation-5.html

So I immediately called up some friends of mine who are lawyers. First, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't confused about what a DMCA notice is. It is a way to make sure that copyrighted images, text, etc aren't published without permission. Fine. I definately published her fake ID without permission. But can you have a copyright on a fake ID?

Nope.

"
Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture." says the U.S. Copyright office.

A fake ID, besides being illegal to create in the United States, is a derivative work of the United States Government, and is not an original creative work of authorship.

I think it's really interesting that someone would try to claim that the fake ID was their own creation, and subject to their copyright. Admitting you make fake ID's is a serious bath of trouble. More so even than just trying to use one, or possessing one.

At the end of the Day

At the end of the day, I went to yoga, and didn't think about this business at all. When it slipped into my head, I lost my balance. I'm filing a counter notification and considering putting the young lady's full name back into the post. I don't need to do any favors to anyone who first tried to buy alcohol at my bar, endangering my finances and job, and then didn't have the decency to ask me before filing a bogus complaint with blogger about an image I've posted.

If it's pushed further, I'll have some journalist friends willing to make the story more public than this, and her ridiculous attempt to rudely shut-down my blog in order to protect her "budding political career" will be made an example of, in this alcohol strict community board 3 area.


Final Remarks

You cannot copyright fraudulent documents. You should not make or use fake ID's. You are responsible for you, so act as if everyone is watching and don't do things that you'll be ashamed of later-- and don't try to cover up things you do with rude and ridiculous legal documents. Sometimes being polite works a lot better than pulling out a big ol' shovel and digging yourself deeper.

Don't try to put your bartender in a corner, if she's a scorpio like me, she's probably got a ridiculously large social network with which she can fight back.
Also, all day I've had that Hall and Oates song running through my head. I'm not sure how it applies, but the lyrics go like this:

You're a rich girl, and you've gone too far

cause you know it don't matter anyway

You can rely on the old mans money

You can rely on the old mans money

It's a bitch girl but its gone too far

cause you know it don't matter anyway

Say money but it wont get you too far,

Get you too far

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

chocolate

Oh New York Times, you are so right on! Despite my undying love for chocolate, I hate Max Brenner. I think the restaurant totally sucks. Their service is bad, they have many managers yet not a single waiter who can serve food right. Three times I've tried, and three times they've failed me. Their food pales to any good food made with chocolate-- try for instance the chocolate sandwich at Diner in Williamsburg-- Diner knows how to take good bread and good chocolate and make a delightful sandwich of them-- but no I will not each lunch with Max again.

This article, New York Times, was almost as harsh as I wanted it to be.

If you want some chocolate, New Yorkers, try Kee's Chocolates on Thompson just south of Spring street. Best in the whole city, if not the world, and given the stamp of indulgent approval by me, and my balding foodie boyfriend, and trust me, you can taste the difference. Below is an elaboration of that suggestion, and two others.


Chikalicious Dessert Bar
on 10th street between 1st and 2nd

possibly the dantyest place ever. three course dessert prix fix for 12$ handmade by gorgeous chef in front of you. Also, matching wine for 7$ more.
The pettifours were amazing. the applesoup with ice cream was delicious. I went for the cheesecake, which was served in a bowl of milk? placed in a much larger bowl of crushed ice to keep it all chilled. I like extra dishes. Jerrbear got a chocolate tart like thing with peppercorn ice cream. It also tasted as amazing as it's presentation.
Perfect for, in our case, an anniversary dessert during a month that involves christmas shopping, a birthday, and grad school applications.


Wattleseed Ice Cream.
Available from Vosgues which has a store in soho, where a counter full of absolutely gorgeous model type ice cream store employees will sell you a small cup for 3.75.
This is the best ice cream you will ever have.
And apparently this stuff grows wild in austrailia, which is likely the actual land of milk and honey, if it really grows wild there. Wattleseed explains why the aboriginal people never needed to have more complciated civilizations, because being civilized has few benefits, like awesome food, and they already had that.
We took my parents to try this, they were adequately amazed, by the ice cream and the ladies who sold it.
(recently I've found it in the new bowery whole foods too.)

Kee's Chocolate.
Go to 16 Thompson St. - jsut south of spring st
These chocolates scored a 29 on the Zagat. That means perfect. They are perfect. The green tea one and the almond one are incredible. And the rest will redefine what you think dessert should be. This ruined hersheys. This wrecked my mom's diet. This is the best chocolate in the city, and it's only 1.75 for a bon-bon. Really, you have no excuse. It's better than whatever you're eating. (Even better than chikalicious, but there's no counter to eat at, and you'll want to gorge on them where Kee won't look at you devouring her art. )