The Audacity of Hubris: MySpace caves to Obama Campaign

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HAT TIP: NY TIMES

WASHINGTON (AP) — Is MySpace always mine or can it belong to someone else?

At the cost of losing 160,000 friends, Democrat Barack Obama’spresidential campaign has taken over control of the MySpace page listed under his name on the popular social networking site.

For the past two and a half years, the page has been run by an Obama supporter from Los Angeles named Joe Anthony. At first, that arrangement was fine with the Obama team, which worked with Anthony on the content and even had the password to make changes themselves.

But as the site exploded in popularity in recent months, the campaign became concerned about an outsider having control of the content and responses going out under Obama’s name and told Anthony they wanted him to turn it over.

In this new frontier of online campaigning, it’s hard to determine the value of 160,000 MySpace friends — about four times what any other official campaign MySpace page has amassed. But the Obama campaign decided they wouldn’t pay $39,000, which is what Anthony said he proposed for his extensive work on the site, plus some additional fees up to $10,000.

MySpace reluctantly stepped in to settle the dispute and decided that Obama should have the rights to control http://www.myspace.com/barackobamaas of Monday night, while Anthony had the right to take the contact information for all the friends who signed up while he was in control. That includes the right to tell them exactly how he feels about the Obama campaign.

Anthony referred The Associated Press to his MySpace blog, where he has written that he is heartbroken that the Obama campaign was ”bullying” him out of the page he built. He said the candidate has lost his vote.

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is trying to rebuild his friends network from scratch and was up to more than 17,000 by midday Wednesday. ”We support the MySpace community, and look forward to building our relationship,” said campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

This sets a dangerous precedent for MySpace and the lengths to which they will go to trample over the free speech rights of their users to appease the arrogant Presidential campaign team of the Safe Negro. 

32 thoughts on “The Audacity of Hubris: MySpace caves to Obama Campaign

  1. We live in a world that $40K is really not as much as it use to be. It would have been nothing for the Obama camp to pay the guy that money. When you look at the money that they’re raising via campaign contributions, the money that the guy was asking for was simply pennies.

    SB: Did the young man get any money at all for the site?

  2. rikyrah

    I think they were wrong. They should have paid him. But, this should be a warning to others. Can’t be surprising – this is Murdoch, after all.

  3. rikyrah

    Interesting thing with the Graves non-fundraiser.

    As for Nevada, I never thought he had much of a chance there, but I’ll be honest – I thought Richardson would be a serious contender there, and he’s not. How come?

  4. dblhelix

    rikyrah — Rory Reid, Harry Reid’s son is working for tBQ. I doubt Harry Reid is really “neutral” — and I think he pretty much runs the state.

    From what I’ve read, there’s only one person left of any influence — a state senator, Dana Titus, who has a huge grassroots operation.

    Richardson has PO’d many people over the course of his career.

  5. dblhelix

    Second-tier candidate launches attack on … Edwards (how predictable!)

    The quote from Dodd’s camp expresses a frustration felt by all of the Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate toward Edwards over the ads, which aim to pressure them to stand strong against any attempts to compromise on Iraq legislation.

    The argument goes that Edwards, a private citizen, is free to throw rhetorical bombs at his Senate rivals with no real consequences since he will never have to vote on a bill or bills that may be seen as half measures or worse by base voters. That’s a luxury that Obama, Clinton, Dodd and Sen. Joe Biden (Del.) don’t enjoy.

  6. rikyrah

    The quote from Dodd’s camp expresses a frustration felt by all of the Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate toward Edwards over the ads, which aim to pressure them to stand strong against any attempts to compromise on Iraq legislation.

    The argument goes that Edwards, a private citizen, is free to throw rhetorical bombs at his Senate rivals with no real consequences since he will never have to vote on a bill or bills that may be seen as half measures or worse by base voters. That’s a luxury that Obama, Clinton, Dodd and Sen. Joe Biden (Del.) don’t enjoy.

    I think Edwards is right to express his opinions. Lord knows Al Gore is. So, Dodd needs to suck it up and get ready to vote.

  7. rikyrah

    dblhelix,

    I’m still chuckling at them being forced to go to NH. It cracks me up to no end.

    This isn’t the White Citizens Council Network; sure, the Manchester Union Leader is a conservative paper, but it’s the paper of record for the state and has always done a very good job of covering the Democrats and Republicans in depth, and covering the issues that would be important to their respective constituencies – that is why it is respected, even though if you’re a Democrat, the Editorial Page would drive you crazy.

    They better watch out for their questions….snicker..snicker…snicker…

    As for the GOP, you have to give them credit for this – they know how to do the ‘ visual’. The visual of them having the debate in a hanger with an old Air Force One – impressive. It’ll impress their target audience.

    As for my choice, I expect for McCain to probably surprise folks by doing decent. I’m counting on Ron Paul to make things not boring. I’m hoping he’ll throw a few bombs towards Rudy or Mitt’s way.

  8. dblhelix

    rikyrah: I’m still chuckling at them being forced to go to NH. It cracks me up to no end.

    Me too. I have this mental picture of them trudging to NH w/ their heads down.

    Looking forward to your NH savvy as this nonsense continues through the year!

  9. I think that if someone opens up a networking page and pretends to be you then you have a right to get the page shut down or do whatever you want with it. It doesn’t matter if the guy liked him or not. It sounds to me from what I have read here that he was impersonating Obama. Other people have had sites shut down by people impersonaling them. I’m surprised they didn’t do something about it sooner. Anyways, its Myspace…how much work do you do maintaining a Myspace? I didn’t read the terms of service but I don’t think you are supposed to use Myspace to make money directly (correct me if I’m wrong). Its Myspace who makes money off advertisements. I know musicians advertise and may indirectly make money off the site but I think paying someone for a site would be against Myspace policy. Then anyone could make up a Myspace in someone’s name and hold it for ransom until the person pays.

  10. J

    This is not a case of cybersquatting. There is no presedence in this matter as myspace.com is the domain, and barackobama is a private user name on the domain. Myspace has the shared right of control to the user name with Mr. Anthony. As Mr. Anthony has abided by the TOS set forth by Myspace.

    If you had the email address barackobama@msn.com, and the campaign wanted it, does it have the right to it?

    What if you set up your own website and had the user name barackobama on your site. Does that entitle Obama to your user name on your website?

    This situation screams “Don’t tread on me.”

    I sympathize for Anthony. Two years is a lot of time.

  11. Hmmm…. BronzeTrinity made some good points. See, I don’t know much about MySpace. I don’t even visit my friends’ MySpace pages. So, I don’t know anything about the terms of service. Maybe the guy didn’t have any real rights in regard to the site. However, I still think that the Obama camp could have paid him. Maybe not what he wanted, but something. That’s why I asked SB did they give him any money at all.

    Next Topic: I think that McCain will win the debate. I think that RJ and the other contenders are under estimating him. I think that JM is the most sturdy candidate on the GOP side.

    Do you guys think that Gore is going to throw his hat in the race later this summer? I was convinced that he would jump in the race late. But now, I’m not so sure.

  12. sand

    oh please. From myspace ToS:

    You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the MySpace Services or otherwise have the right to grant the license set forth in this section, and (ii) the posting of your Content on or through the MySpace Services does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights or any other rights of any person. You agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owing any person by reason of any Content posted by you to or through the MySpace Services.

    If this guy was a true fan of Obama for 2 years, he should’ve handed the site over willingly. And $40k is not that much money? Are you kidding? This guy earned and deserves $40k?

  13. rikyrah

    Do you guys think that Gore is going to throw his hat in the race later this summer? I was convinced that he would jump in the race late. But now, I’m not so sure

    I used to think so too, but if the second quarter fundraising numbers are as strong as the first quarter, I don’t think he will.

    I am, however convinced that Fred Thompson is going to enter on the GOP side.

  14. Denise

    ““We are still very close to the Graves and it was simply a scheduling matter,” said Psaki, who added that Graves will likely host a fundraiser for Obama in the fall…”

    Mmmm hmmmmm.

    I will say this: he IS consistent! LOL

  15. Obama should have paid. Everyone else has to.

    For instance, when I first started up my Graphic Design company, I bought http://www.zerflin.com for 10$ a year.
    A year later, I was three days late in renewing the contract, and a domain hunter bought it. When I inquired about getting it back, they demanded I pay FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Just to get the “opportunity to purchase”.

    I bet you any amount of money that the Obama people have attempted to get their hands on hot names like http://www.barack.com, http://www.obama.com, or even http://www.barackobama.ORG. Most likely, they were faced with stiff fees for obtaining them, that would rival Mr. Joe Anthony’s offer.

    Myspace has just opened a HUGE can of worms.
    Who do they turn over myspace pages to now?
    This one? http://myspace.com/pepsi
    This one? http://myspace.com/cocacola
    How about these? http://myspace.com/billclinton,

    Funny who is on top of the myspace game: http://myspace.com/georgewbush

    Though… names can be misleading…
    http://myspace.com/georgewalkerbush

    ~Benjamin

  16. I don’t think its really the same as a private website. Myspace owns every Myspace and can shut them down when they want. The guy didn’t own the site. He didn’t even pay to have the site. He has intellectual property rights to to content I guess. In fact the owners of Myspace could decide to take down the whole site tomorrow and they could because it is a free service and I’m sure it says in their agreement that they can do that. People sign agreements to have Myspaces so its not like the guy created a website he owned from scratch and had it taken away. If anyone was to be paid for the site it would actually be Myspace. The content would belong to the writer but the space and web template stuff belongs to the company.

  17. NMP

    You gotta laugh! Young men and women are dying every day in Iraq, genocide in Darfur, Black male unemployment may be as high as 30%, NO still looks like the aftermath of a nuclear bomb, and folks want a presidential candidate to speak to the bruised feelings of a volunteer who voluntarily managed a piss-poor web site (my son’s myspace page is more professional). If anyone is entitled to money, it’s his employer! If he was working around the clock on this website as he claims ,when did he find time to do the work he was being paid to do as a paralegal? Whatever Obama didn’t pay him is more than being made up in free publicity.

  18. NMP

    In the infancy of the Internet, a few people were able successfully bilk companies into paying outrageous sums for ownership of domain names. However, in the last decade or more, case law has firmly established that companies and public entities have inherent rights to their names and have been able to claim imminent domain of sorts to gain ownership with relative ease. If any of the aforementioned my space pages were operating as outlets of the respective companies, there is no doubt the companies would take steps to have them shut down. Currently working on a non-profit/corporate relationship with one of the companies listed, I can assure you they have NO tolerance of their name and logo being used without consent in ANY regard…can’t even use the logo on a joint correspondence w/o it being cleared. This is NOT about free speech. This guy wasn’t running a commentary site. This site was widely regarded as an official Obama site. He even took it upon himself to respond to emails as a “representative” of the Obama campaign; therefore, any incorrect or damaging information that he distributed would be the responsibility of the Obama campaign. Obama has every right to control his name, image and messaging. The campaign was misguided in allowing him to operate this site from the start, but would have been insane to allow it to continue.

  19. “E,

    I am hard on the brotha because he is running to be the big dog. That ain’t insignificant.

    True enough. I probably wouldn’t want to read it if you came off like a rubber stamp. You may find it amusing that I talked myself out of writing “I sometimes think Skeptical Brotha is a little too hard on Barack Obama (but that’s just my white guilt talking)”

  20. muhammad ali zarma

    iam a nigerian and a keen observer of the politiking in the united states and i must say it has been good good and so good to the only black man in the history of the world to earn respect and support of all americans in the world.
    please include me as one of the contributors to the obama campaighn in nigeria.
    let the voters decide for the change the u.s really needs.

  21. Malcolm MacLeod, MD

    This is all, actually, a lot of nonsense. Senator
    Obama has to to own jurisdiction over his own
    name. I , personally, do not subscribe to “My
    Space”, and I suspect that most of you who do
    cannot vote, and those who can are unable to
    do so intelligently. Yes, we can.

  22. Rev MO

    The country is heading towards a disaster, if we continue another republican reign. We should put aside race which always beset us. I know that God will help Barack, with Wisdom to put things back in order. It will take an extraordinary wisdom,and he.s chosen to give it to Barack. Please do not under estimate God plans. He’s no respector of persons.

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