Blogs and Press Releases
Recently, I have read a lot of blogs that focus on blindness and technology simply repost press releases with no commentary or criticism. Thus, having google news alerts on “Freedom Scientific,” “Window-Eyes,” and others in the biz, I find that I get hits on posts that, for all intents and purposes contain identical material.
Most recently, I must have seen at least a half dozen reposts of Dan Weirich’s statement on the FS v. GW patent lawsuit. Weirich says some interesting things in his short statement but one only need read it once, perhaps directly on the GW blog or in the press release directly if you receive such. I think this shows a general laziness and lack of courage on the part of the blindness blogosphere as receiving a statement and simply copying, pasting it and posting it with no analysis, commentary or criticism, positive or negative, provides those of us who read a variety of these blogs with a lot of duplicated information and absolutely nothing that the bloggers we respect enough to read regularly think about the issue. I have spoken to some of these people on the phone since FS filed the suit and there is no shortage of opinion or analysis going on but the public statements from independent parties are few and far between.
One blogger did title his repost of the GW statement as “GW Responds to the Idiotic FS Suit,” which at least said that he thinks the lawsuit is idiotic. While I oppose all software patents on principle, I can say that “idiotic” is probably not the right adjective as a
Patent and other IP law can be very complex, seemingly ambiguous and even appear contradictory at times. There are many very nuanced bits of language in the FS patent and possible ways for GW to respond both in the court of public opinion and in the District courts. I would think that instead of simply reprinting posts by Weirich and Lee Hamilton, the bloggers should provide commentary, opinion, and something else to turn their posts from simply repeating the various corporate propaganda and proffering editorial information that can better express their stance on the suit and why they think one or the other side is correct.
It might be an interesting exercise for the blind blogosphere to try to organize an amicus brief on behalf of one of the parties in the suit or one that takes neither side but provides an explanation of the technology, its user community and the potential effects that a decision favoring either company would have on us. Providing those who follow the blogs as their primary form of information would benefit from we so-called experts dissecting the corporate statements and delivering the information in a manner more friendly to our readers.
I suppose I’ve ranted enough.