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Wikileaks To Sell Hugo Chavez' Email 313

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-much-to-look-through-his-garbage dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Wikileaks seems to be a bit hard-up for cash, so they're trying a little experiment. They plan to auction off an archive with three years worth of Hugo Chavez' email. The winner will get a period of embargoed access to break any stories they can find in the files, while Wikileaks will later publish the archive in full. Wikileaks plans to use the profits for their legal defense fund, but they may run into trouble because most reputable news outlets have policies against paying sources."
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Wikileaks To Sell Hugo Chavez' Email

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2008 @05:35AM (#24776627)

    most reputable news outlets have policies against paying sources

    Then mabye someone else will buy it and break stories?

    • by dintech (998802) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @05:57AM (#24776751)
      Also, there are plenty of unreputable newspapers out there too...
    • by meringuoid (568297) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @06:23AM (#24776889)
      Then mabye someone else will buy it and break stories?

      There are plenty of disreputable news sources around, but would their readership be interested in Hugo Chavez's email? I can't see the average Sun reader caring too much. Unless some of the emails were sexually explicit and addressed to a former Big Brother contestant.

      • by MrHanky (141717) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @08:23AM (#24777583) Homepage Journal

        Hello, as a freelance Sun reporter, I'll quote you on that: 'Unnamed sources claim some of the emails were sexually explicit and addressed to a former Big Brother contestant'. Hope that's OK with you, and if it's not you can just piss off. Thank you.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Per Abrahamsen (1397)

        > There are plenty of disreputable news sources around, but would their readership be interested in Hugo Chavez's email?

        Well, the CIA is kind of a news source, whose very select readership is likely to be interested in any dirt they can put their spin on.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And does this mean that no UK newspapers are reputable as every single one of them pay their sources?

    • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @07:44AM (#24777267) Journal

      Well, that's what bothers me the most: that it's essentially an invitation for anyone, the less reputable and scrupled the better, to use those for a fishing expedition.

      Now I'm all for leaks which actually prove _some_ kind of breech of law, contract, or such. You know, take one or two emails out of there that prove Chavez has done anything illegal, and publish or sell only those.

      Basically sorta how using a quote from a book to make a point is fair use, but "quoting" the whole book is breech of copyright law.

      (And if you think that that's a bad analogy, no, it's not even just an analogy: everything you write, even emails, is automatically copyrighted by you. So essentially they're selling something wholesale, on which that guy and everyone who's ever sent him an email, has a copyright.)

      But here you don't even know if there's any incriminating stuff at all in those emails. It's just an invitation to buy them and see if you can find something you can mis-use. Or to put it even better: it's not even selling some newsworthy story, it's just selling someone else's privacy. No more, no less. Maybe incidentally you can find some story material by trawling through his private correspondence, or maybe not, but at the end of the day what remains is that you paid to rape someone's privacy.

      And, yeah, it doesn't matter if you're even a reputable news outlet or a news outlet at all. Conceivably even some spammer could buy them to harvest all email addresses in there. Or someone could buy them and see if they can find any blackmail material in there. Maybe not even as much against Chavez, as against some random politician who's mentioned taking a vacation for some medical condition in an email to Chavez. Or anything else.

      I don't know... it seems an absolute low. It seems like the kind of thing only a complete scumbag would even think about doing.

      • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Thursday August 28, 2008 @08:19AM (#24777531)

        Exactly. Privacy is privcacy. Either you care, or you don't. I does not matter if it's Chavez (who is not that bad as shown trough us proparanda, but also not that good either. ;). King Kong or yourself.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Arthur B. (806360)

          Chavez has demonstrated many times that he does not recognize individual rights, thus he can't consistently argue that his email should be distributed, nor could he argue for example that he shouldn't be stolen from.

        • by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @08:55AM (#24777907) Homepage

          This is not an "individual". this is a head of state and a key
          member of a government. "privacy" doesn't enter into it. His
          communications need to be documented for tranparency of
          governance and historical and archival purposes.

          We would do the same thing to Bush if we could.

          • by dns_server (696283) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @09:17AM (#24778175)

            By law the white house must keep an archive of all messages. Unfortunately bush "accidental" lost 2 years of email archives.

          • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @11:10AM (#24779735)

            Yes, by entering public office you immediately forfeit all rights to a private life. This is definitely the way to encourage normal people with typical values to participate, rather than scaring them off and leaving a government full of sociopaths with exhibitionist God complexes.

            Moreover, putting all internal government communications on the record is well known to encourage free and frank discussion among senior policy makers, leading to well considered decisions made in the best interests of those the government is supposed to represent. It certainly does not create a culture of CYA where everyone strives to do as little as possible so that they cannot be held accountable later.

            The problem with sites like Wikileaks, and attitudes like the parent poster's, is that they basically assume that any kind of privacy and secrecy is bad. This simply is not true. Publishing confidential information, usually without context, independent verification, right to reply or responsibility accepted for any consequences, is not really in the interests of anyone except those seeking to build a reputation for themselves based on the hype. Wikileaks is basically a joke at this point, and frankly, the world would be a better place if it crawled back under the rock.

            • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @12:35PM (#24780935)

              And, on the other side, having any aspects of governance that could be made arbitrarily secret (because those governing decide what does and what does not infringe on their "privacy") is oh so conductive to preventing back-room machinations involving CEOs of mega-corporate friends of the politicians and other the like-minded cash-bearing chums, meetings in, say, the White House with, say, the Vice President, where, completely hypothetically, plans of invasions of foreign lands aimed at securing resources, say, oil, which somehow ended up under the sand owned by some undeserving brown-skinned "barbarians" are made. It also completely prevents authoritarian sociopaths with God complexes, who "just know better then you what us good for you and you do not need to know what it is for reasons of 'state security' and that is why you are on a secret no-fly list" from participating, no?

              Moreover, making arbitrary government communications secret is well known to encourage honest and corruption-free government operations, leading to senior policy makers making well considered decisions in the best interests of those the government is supposed to represent and no possibility whatsoever of such a scenario aiding aiding decision making for their personal gain, that of their buddies, or for their most "charming" lobbyists, certainly?

              Look, between the two "evils" of utterly stripping public officials and the government itself from any "privacy" and granting them "privacy" (which is by definition arbitrarily defined and subjective) to hide behind, it is clear that the former choice is orders of magnitude better.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                Look, between the two "evils" of utterly stripping public officials and the government itself from any "privacy" and granting them "privacy" (which is by definition arbitrarily defined and subjective) to hide behind, it is clear that the former choice is orders of magnitude better.

                I respectfully disagree. While you make valid points, they assume the extreme position of having no useful disclosure at all. Why can't there be a middle ground, where government are required to fully disclose any actions they are actually taking and any money they spend or accept? The people are quite capable of judging for themselves why they think the government did those things and voting accordingly, but actions always speak louder than words. (And if the government want national security get-outs on t

      • by langelgjm (860756) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @08:30AM (#24777651) Journal

        (And if you think that that's a bad analogy, no, it's not even just an analogy: everything you write, even emails, is automatically copyrighted by you. So essentially they're selling something wholesale, on which that guy and everyone who's ever sent him an email, has a copyright.)

        Funny, I didn't realize Venezuela's copyright laws worked in exactly the same way as the U.S's.

        Perhaps you'd like to use a source [wipo.int] to substantiate that claim?

        Sorry to give you a hard time about it, but I think it's very important for people to realize that copyright law is not the same throughout the entire world.

        • Read your own link? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @12:19PM (#24780687) Journal

          Err... read your own link, dude.

          Quoting from the English version of that Venezualan copyright law, that you linked to:

          5- The author of an intellectual work shall have, by virtue of the mere fact of his creative act, a right to the work which shall itself include rights of moral and economic character as specified in this Law.

          The rights of moral character shall be inalienable, unattachable, unrenounceable and imprescriptible.

          Which part of "by the mere fact of his creative act" is confusing you? By the very act of creating something, you already have copyright on it in Venezuella too. :P

          I also quoted the next line because it also pretty much spells it out that even though he's a public figure and all, he still isn't losing that copyright.

          Also, before that:

          1. The provisions of this Law shall protect the rights of authors in all creative intellectual works, whether literary, scientific or artistic in character and whatever their nature, form of expression, merit or purpose.

          The rights recognized by this Law shall be independent of the ownership of the physical medium in which the work is embodied, and shall not be subject to compliance with any formality.

          It's plain english, not even legalese. But if someoneone needs a translation: no, he doesn't have to register copyright anywhere, and there is explicitly no requirement of merit or purpose for it to apply. Still not clear? Well, let's read on:

          2. The following in particular shall be considered included among the intellectual works referred to in the foregoing Article: books, pamphlets and other literary, artistic and scientific writings, including computer programs and the associated technical literature and users' manuals; lectures, addresses, sermons and other works of the same nature; dramatic or dramatico-musical works, choreographic and mimed works the stage movements for which have been set down in writing or otherwise; musical compositions with or without words; cinematographic works and other audiovisual works expressed by any process; works of drawing, painting, architecture, engraving or lithography; works of applied art that are not mere industrial designs; geographical illustrations and maps; plans, three-dimensional works and sketches relating to geography, topography, architecture or science; and, finally, any literary, scientific or artistic product susceptible of disclosure or publication by any means or process.

          It seems to me like if they're worthy of being disclosed or published by Wikileaks, they just met this requirement.

          Sorry to give you a hard time about it, but I think it's very important for people to realize that copyright law is not the same throughout the entire world.

          That is a valuable idea indeed, but it still doesn't quite justify a knee-jerk posting that even where it doesn't apply at all. The relevant paragraphs aren't different in its provision or spirit from US copyright law at all. Maybe post that remark where it actually applies? Just a thought ;)

      • by KGIII (973947)

        Given that they have surely already vetted it, as have any government that is interested, there is nothing left for them buy of value other than publicity.

        Media complies with supply and demand. I was young, stupid, and attempted to do an exposé on the local paper mill where I lived. I was in college and had no idea of how bad it was. The paper company that I was doing the articles on was also the paper company that provided the stock paper for the newspaper.

        I'd type more but I'm tired, don't be f

    • by aleph42 (1082389) * on Thursday August 28, 2008 @08:27AM (#24777621)

      Wikileaks already explained in wired [wired.com] that they plan to abandon the wiki model, and also let journalists pay to get news before everyone else.

      I really felt let down, so I went to their live chat to ask about it; they said that the subscription model was a way to keep good relations with journalists, and that abandoning the wiki model was because the first version of the articles (made by wikileaks staff) were always "of a superior quality". (since the chat was anonymous, it is hard to make this attribution; but they can always deny it later if it isn't true I guess). Instead the users would be able to leave comments about the articles. Also,recall that the really important decisions, like what material gets published, where always handled by wikileaks staff.

      - I kinda understand the head start given to journalists, except it's not very 21rst century to draw a line between "real" journalists and others. Anyways, charging money for that subscription is not going to make any suspicion go away.
      - Abandoning the wiki model is really losing the core good idea of this website. Remember, they are an anonymous bunch of people; I just don't feel I can trust them with choosing what should be or not be published, let alone say they don't want a single comma changed in their article because they like their own version better.

      I think at this point, they must change their name; any link to a "wiki" process is fake advertising ( and they admit that most of their initial visibility was due to people knowing wikipedia). They will end up giving open source politics a bad name at the first scandal.

      And its a shame, because it was really the most fascinating thing I ever saw on the internet; and I have high hopes for a real open information website like this some day.

  • by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Thursday August 28, 2008 @05:35AM (#24776629) Homepage Journal

    I guess the difference is that a photographer creates the photograph, but how is this different to paying for, say, the Hitler Diaries?

    • by Tom (822) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @05:48AM (#24776699) Homepage Journal

      Because you don't want incentives for sources to create stories (or forgeries).

      • by Swizec (978239) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @05:56AM (#24776747) Homepage
        They may not want incentives for sources to create stories, but why then are reporters paid? They create stories, "spin" them I believe is the term they use, all the time and we love 'em for it.
        • by Korey Kaczor (1345661) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @06:00AM (#24776777)

          Journalists don't create stories, they document existing events. The problem is that wikileaks doesn't need to provide an incentive for people to create false documents.

          • by Swizec (978239) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @06:10AM (#24776827) Homepage
            That's like saying politicians don't lie.

            Any story can be written so it comes out meaning something completely different to what really happens even if what you write isn't a lie per se.
            • Truth and Honesty (Score:5, Insightful)

              by martyb (196687) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @08:09AM (#24777431)

              Any story can be written so it comes out meaning something completely different to what really happens even if what you write isn't a lie per se.

              Agreed. Slightly OT, but I'd like to elaborate on what you wrote; it reminds me of a definition I'd heard:

              Honesty: The absence of the intent to deceive.

              I can be utterly truthful but still be dishonest. For example:

              "Sorry I'm late getting to work, boss. I'm not feeling well. You know there's some kind of nasty bug going around."

              One would be excused for THINKING I had some kind of "nasty bug", but that WAS NOT stated. A hangover from heavy and late drinking the night before could also be covered by this example. So, just because each sentence in the example was *true* does not mean that the entire comment was *honest*.

          • by JonTurner (178845) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @08:04AM (#24777395) Journal

            >>Journalists don't create stories, they document existing events.
            I'm sorry, but that's just naive.

            Just a few examples to hopefully open your eyes:

            Dan Rather's famous forged Air National Guard documents (for which he was fired, but stands behind with his infamous "fake but accurate" quote):
            http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=12526&only [littlegreenfootballs.com]
            This wasn't just some staff reported in Podunk Arkansas, it was a lead anchor who was willing to end his career in order to further propaganda piece that was obviously fake. Makes me wonder what other pieces he pushed in his many years as news anchor and senior editor.

            The New York Times accepts (read: publishes without edit) Barack Obama's Op-Ed but "rejects" a piece by John McCain. No bias there. Nosir. Nope.
            http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/21/mccain.nyt/ [cnn.com]

            Reuters accepts the most amateurish photoshop jobs:
            http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/21956_Reuters_Doctoring_Photos_from_Beirut [littlegreenfootballs.com] ...and only after an internet firestorm has to admit it:
            http://sweetness-light.com/archive/reuters-caught-blowing-smoke-faking-photos [sweetness-light.com]

            Tennessee newspaper published blatantly altered photograph to promote political agenda: http://terryfrank.net/?p=2964 [terryfrank.net]

            Iran gets in on the photoshop act: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/10/in-an-iranian-image-a-missile-too-many/index.html?hp [nytimes.com]

            And then you have the FREQUENT odd Reuters captions: It seems that every time Israel takes out a terrorist with a missile, the area is flooded with "youth" that "inspect" the wreckage. (in reality, they are looking for bits of body parts, for they believe that by touching bits of the dead "martyr", they help secure a spot in heaven. Grisly and repulsive.)
            http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=25627_Palestinian_Car_Swarm_Watch [littlegreenfootballs.com]

            And I'll finish with the most vile, disgusting example I've ever seen. The Associated (with terrorists) Press publishes staged photographs of dead children arranged by a (so called) palestinian "press agent". Pure propaganda.

            http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=22123_Green_Helmet_Admits_Staging_Photos&only [littlegreenfootballs.com]

            which is promptly carried to the United Nations and presented there:
            http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/22669_Fauxtography_at_the_United_Nations [littlegreenfootballs.com]

            That's what I was able to put together with 5 minutes of work. I could continue for hours (days?) but hopefully this will open your eyes to the fact that there are people in the "news" that have clear agendas and aren't above creating stories where none exist in order to influence you. Not to mention those who write with bias.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2008 @09:47AM (#24778529)

              Journalists don't create stories, they document existing events.

              I'm sorry, but that's just naive.

              Yes, but it's just as naive to ascribe journalistic behaviour to tardmemes like "the liberal media" the "zionist conspiracy" or (/. favorite) "mainstream media bias".

              Journalists do what they do for one of two reasons: self-glorification (such as Dan Rather) or to sell papers. The big boys who own the papers don't give a damn how you vote or how you perceive events unless it affects their bottom line; they can buy and sell congressmen of either party like bars of soap. If it doesn't increase or at least maintain circulation, they don't print it. This manifests differently in channels that survive on pure advertisement revenue as compared to media that run on subscription income, but it's the same basic impulse.

              With the exception of media that are entirely supported by a single outside source (such as the Reverend Moon, Lord of Heaven and America) all media must generate income to survive. There are a limited number of eyeballs to saturate and the media that cannot compete (again excepting a few anomalies like Moon and Xenu) fail in accordance with Darwin's model.

              What you buy determines what they sell. Consumers create the news! Right now, the consumers are buying Obama, and McCain is staying on the shelf. It's not a conspiracy - or if it is, you're a member of it.

            • by SoupGuru (723634) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @11:16AM (#24779829)

              Yeesh... someone likes their right-wing blogs.

              I understand your point and I agree that while some event might be newsworthy and even interesting, with a little tweak here or a little adjustment there, it could be stupendous and earth-shaking news. The temptation is too great for some journalists to bear.

              But I hardly think one side of the political spectrum has a corner on the market.

            • by internic (453511) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @12:49PM (#24781145)

              You know, yours started out as a seemingly somewhat insightful comment. Then you come in with lines like, "The Associated (with terrorists) Press" and you unmask yourself as totally off your rocker. It also doesn't help that almost all of your links point to what is clearly essentially a political propaganda site.

              However, I don't dispute that the mainstream press makes stuff up. I don't know how you missed mentioning the Jayson Blair [wikipedia.org] incident, for example. Usually people have a tendency to notice the instances that go against their ideological preconceptions and interpret this as a [insert opposing group/ideology] media bias. I think it's good to remember Hanlon's Razor, never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity...or in this case laziness and greed. The simplest explanation for the observed phenomenon is simply that journalists try to churn out as much work as possible as quickly as possible and sometimes some of them get sloppy. Unfortunately, most of the people who would like to position themselves as the alternative to mainstream media are even worse, in terms of both accuracy and bias.

              I wish there were more of a backlash against inaccurate reporting, but unfortunately most people are far too constrained by ideological blinders to do anything but turn it into some partisan fight over supposed media bias. Judging by your list of sources and the absence of any of the many many examples of misconduct by Fox News, it seems you probably fall into this category as well.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Repossessed (1117929)

              Dan Rather didn't fake the Air National Guard papers. Someone else did. And then his producers hired dipshits for experts. Though the bias, if you actually read the documents, is pretty obvious, the only actual failure on Bush's part was that he didn't make it to the doctors for a physical, apparently due to trying to juggle his military duties with helping his father's campaign at the same time he was trying to get transferred to a different base. The failures to evaluate are because this transfer mean

          • by jav1231 (539129) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @08:25AM (#24777599)
            You're high. Dan Rather? Jason Blair? Big Media is essentially a spin factory these days. We have troops coming back from Iraq and hardly recognizing what they're seeing on the news passing for "war coverage." Yet, we're formulating our opinions on the war based on that coverage. Hmmm...
            As for Chavez, I could care less what becomes of it. He's a piece of shit.
        • They create stories, "spin" them I believe is the term they use, all the time and we love 'em for it.

          Speak for yourself, dude.

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @07:23AM (#24777133)

        Why not? Those diaries were an incredible hit, pushed the sales of the "Stern" by thousands and didn't really have any negative impact for them when the hoax became public. A lot of people were actually angry that they stopped the series, despite it being fake.

        People don't care whether a story is real or not. Whether a story is interesting and entertaining matters.

    • by stephanruby (542433) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @06:19AM (#24776871)

      I guess the difference is that a photographer creates the photograph, but how is this different to paying for, say, the Hitler Diaries?

      Let me see:

      Hitler is dead. Hitler's Estate can not claim copyright ownership. Hitler's rights have expired. Hitler's diaries are much more difficult to tamper with than copied email records. Conversely, Hitler's diaries are probably much easier to authenticate than electronic email records. And contrary to what the CIA wants us to believe -- Hugo Chavez is not Hitler.

      And besides, wikileaks doesn't claim to have Hugo Chavez's email records, they claim to have the email records of an unspecified "top aide" of Hugo Chavez. And here in the United States, it's not the top aides that leak the information (unless they sell the information themselves for lucrative book deals, or unless it's a careful manufactured fake leak), it's our own President himself who doesn't know the difference between whitehouse.org and whitehouse.gov when emailing his staff.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by GBC (981160) *

        Hitler's rights have expired

        Although this is off-topic, I had to respond as actually whilst Hitler may have expired the copyright in his works hasn't. In Germany, as with the rest of the EU, copyrights are for life of the author plus seventy years. If he had beneficiaries (which, as far as I am aware, he didn't) they would would hold the copyright for his works until 2015 given he died in 1945.

        Things that you think are out of copyright probably aren't, thanks to the current global IP regime.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Lyrael (1196443)

          Not global, or even 'the rest of the EU' as here in England copyright is 50 years from creation, whether the author is still alive or not.

          (yes, I am completely off-topic and just picking at semantics, thank you for noticing.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by PhilHibbs (4537)

            ...here in England copyright is 50 years from creation, whether the author is still alive or not.

            I don't think that's correct. I'm pretty sure our copyright is harmonised with the rest of the EU.
            This [worc.ac.uk] says "70 years from the end of the year of the authors death". 50 years from creation is only for sound recordings.

        • Did he leave everything to Donitz? or just Germany?

          The wiki [wikipedia.org] suggests that he left anything of value to the Nazi party, but doesn't say what became of the assets of the party after the end of the war. Whoever got the party's assets probably (at least in theory) holds the copyright to the diary.

          Except that the 'Hitler Diaries' were fakes. (And copyright of Konrad Kujau, or, rather his heir, since he's dead as well.) The copyright to Mein Kampf is still held by whoever got the assets of the Nazi party, probabl

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Cow Jones (615566)

            The wiki [wikipedia.org] suggests that he left anything of value to the Nazi party, but doesn't say what became of the assets of the party after the end of the war. Whoever got the party's assets probably (at least in theory) holds the copyright to the diary.

            "At the time of his death, Hitler's official place of residence was in Munich, which led to his entire estate, including all rights to Mein Kampf, changing to the ownership of the state of Bavaria. As per German copyright law the entire text is scheduled to enter the public domain on December 31, 2015, 70 years after the author's death. The copyright has been relinquished for the English, Dutch and Swedish editions."

            quoted from this page [wikipedia.org].

      • Oh of course whomever set up his email program knew the difference. And not just Bush, but 50 people in the Whitehouse. This was a cheap runaround to the Presidential Records Act [wikipedia.org]. While it was a cheap shot, it was also effective. Millions of emails 'lost' [time.com], subpeonas to turn emails over ignored - ahhh, the Executive Branch must love all the extra power they've gained over the past 8 years.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jdgeorge (18767)

      I guess the difference is that a photographer creates the photograph, but how is this different to paying for, say, the Hitler Diaries?

      It's much more like paying for Hitler Diaries 2, which was "created" by the filmmakers. The first one, at least, was based on the book.

      Contrast with Sisterhood of the Traveling Boots, which was entirely based on the.... oh, never mind.

  • Suicide. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by urcreepyneighbor (1171755) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @05:37AM (#24776637)

    This stunt will come back to haunt them.

    • Re:Suicide. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stephanruby (542433) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @05:51AM (#24776713)

      This stunt will come back to haunt them.

      I agree. If I was an existing source for wiki leaks, then I would stop giving them free information -- I would want to get paid for it. Same goes if I was donating them free hardware and free bandwidth. This may be just an experiment, but it's going to completely change the way people perceive wiki leaks from now on. Once you sell out, you can never go back.

      • by octal666 (668007)

        Being for the legal fund, and that's a thing that they need, I don't see a problem with them offering an exclusive, provided that they publish the information later.

    • Re:Suicide. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NorQue (1000887) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @06:10AM (#24776825)
      And I hope it shuts them down. Seriously, I'm all for the idea behind Wikileaks... but *selling* your information to the highest bidder? This is about as diametral to informing the public as it gets! This is moral bankruptcy for them, IMHO.
      • Re:Suicide. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2008 @06:54AM (#24777009)

        to be fair,

        they will the release the archives in future. what they are selling is exclusivity.

        i don't see this as a detrimental practice if it allows them to continue doing what the do.

        but i'm just an AC so what do i know

  • In other words... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @05:42AM (#24776667)
    In other words, ethics are negotiable. I can't say this impresses me much.

    No matter which way you slice it, to breach someone's privacy just to offer the media a convenient fishing trip is ethically unsound. Looks like they might need those funds for their own defence.
    • by dnwq (910646)
      They're going to release it anyway; what they're selling is exclusive earlier access.
  • by Korey Kaczor (1345661) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @05:42AM (#24776669)

    Sites like this have a hard time obtaining any sort of revenue to pay for their costs, so it's only logical to allow short-term exclusive access to information in order to maintain site costs and legal expenses. Donations only go so far, and many people are probably afraid of contributing with their credit cards as to not end up on any FBI watch lists.

    I'm sure many /.ers will have a problem with this, but how else is wikileaks going to be able to defend themselves from lawsuits designed to shut them down through ridiculous, unpayable court fees?

    It's a win-win situation: news sources get profit from being the first to break the story, and wikileaks obtains money to keep their site going and defend freedom of speech while remaining true to their mission.

    • you solve this by creating the community that will support you. The problem with sites like this is that there are many people who claim to be fans, provided someone or something they don't like is the focus, but they don't donate. They are just riding on the bandwagon because it feels good to be part of something, even anonymously.

      the one thing the internet exposes with great frequency is the number of people who want something for nothing. They are all lined up in support until someone asks for money.

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      ``I'm sure many /.ers will have a problem with this, but how else is wikileaks going to be able to defend themselves from lawsuits designed to shut them down through ridiculous, unpayable court fees?''

      Well, Wikileaks provide a much needed way for whistleblowers to safely blow their whistles. This is an invaluable service, and should be judged as such by the courts.

      The problem is, before there can be such a ruling, Wikileaks will have to pay a lot. This is a fundamental problem, and one that affects everyone

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by fmoliveira (979051)
        And why a site like this have to be run in the USA? They could even drop these documents in a file sharing network.
  • Risky... (Score:5, Funny)

    by someme2 (670523) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @05:45AM (#24776683)

    Wikileaks plans to use the profits for a small but capable force of mercenaries to protect their collective asses.

    IFYPFY.

  • by nietsch (112711) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @05:48AM (#24776701) Homepage Journal

    They are not doing this to scrape some money together. There is some kind of paradox that newspapers are less interested to invest time if the sources are there for any competitor to see. The free availability makes the perceived value less/zero. So by giving exclusive access to an interested outlet, they are guaranteed a better exposure then when they just would give it to all takers for free.

    • by pr0nbot (313417)
      Perhaps they should create a currency, wikicredits or whatever, which is paid out when you contribute to wikileaks, and can then be used to buy time-limited exclusive access to new leaks.
  • this is what happens when you have a site that pushes data data that everybody wants to take a look at, but nobody wants to pay for.

    and, of course, its hard to argue you are working for ethical reasons when you are charging money for it as well.

    seems like a flawed business model from start to finish really, but many other websites suffer the same.

    the only reason this is noteworthy is the nature of the information that they proffer.
  • by bobdotorg (598873) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @05:53AM (#24776727)

    He's kicking himself for not using the same email backup system as The Whitehouse.

  • but they may run into trouble because most reputable news outlets have policies against paying sources.

    That's not what the movies tell us!

  • by NZheretic (23872) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @05:59AM (#24776769) Homepage Journal
    It's a slippery slope that will eventually lead to something like this [youtube.com].
  • They got this info from somebody who could have sold it themselves

    They lost their credibility ... pity

    G
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Korey Kaczor (1345661)

      Is this money going to pay for wikileaks's legal bills, or for the site owners' new porshe? Think about it. Either wikileaks sinks from being unable to defend themselves in court, or find themselves a way to pay for their lawyers and other fees.

      • by rbanffy (584143)

        But what if it's for the lawyers new Porsche? I'm confused.

      • by Raenex (947668)

        Is this money going to pay for wikileaks's legal bills, or for the site owners' new porshe? Think about it.

        How would you, I, or anybody else know which? Donating money is a black hole. There are plenty of examples of people enriching themselves in the name of public service. Think about it.

  • Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @07:03AM (#24777041)
    For a site that's supposed to be about promoting openness and moral conduct this is an incredibly immoral move.

    'victims' of leaks will not get a chance to respond or refute big stories before they hit the front pages. The site wants no accountability for the information it provides whilst at the same time wanting to reap all the benefits that posting false informaiton can bring.

    They may bring in more money but they're leaving themselves open for far worse than lawsuits. They're leaving themselves open to real criminal charges. The second money becomes involved, it can easily become blackmail.

    "we have an email saying you did something naughty. If you don't want the press to get it before you can find out if the email is true or not or you want to pre-empt it, just make sure you outbid all the other newspapers"

    I don't know what country they're based in but that kind of thing will wind up in a criminal court with the site owners facing years in prison.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @07:21AM (#24777131)

    http://www.lyricstime.com/dead-kennedys-stealing-people-s-mail-lyrics.html [lyricstime.com]

    "Dead Kennedys sue Wikileaks!"

    Now that is a headline!

  • by atari2600 (545988) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @07:31AM (#24777185)

    Dear Castro,

    Bush sucks. Thanks for the cigars.

    Hugs,

    Hugo.

    PS: No you can't have my Hummer.

  • by Zashi (992673) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @08:18AM (#24777513) Homepage Journal
    Okay, so I'm just another grammar Nazi. Okay, so this is at the bottom of the thread and will probably go unnoticed. That's fine. But I have to get this off my chest.

    WTF.

    worth of Hugo Chavez' email.

    It's bad enough when people throw in an apostrophe for no reason when a word ends in s. I can at least see the logic. "Oh golly gee, this word ends in an s, I probably need an apostrophe." This is, obviously, not how you decide if an apostrophe is needed, but at least it's closer than what this person did.

    For the uninitiated, the following is correct usage:

    worth of Hugo Chavez's email.

    At this point in the game of battling bad grammar and usage, I'll offer some extremely oversimplified rules for possessive apostrophe usage:
    1. Regardless of what the word is or how it ends, if it's singular to make it possessive you add an apostrophe and an S. E.G. "the abacus's beads" or "the Nazi's obsessiveness".
    2. Regardless of what the word is or how it ends, if it is pluralized by adding an S or ES, simply add an apostrophe to the end of the word to make it possessive. E.G. "all of the abacuses' owners" "the Nazis' collective obsessions".

    Note: For my fellow Nazis who may try catch me on something: Abacus can be pluralized as abacuses or abaci. Also, please forgive any typos and use of passive voice.

  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @08:20AM (#24777549)

    "Proof that the stated reason for needing to invade Iran is a hoax and that the Western Media and Government are lying, blood-thirsty, psychotic tools. I'll sell the info to the highest bidder."

    On the surface, such a statement appears disgusting.

    The ONLY logic I can see here, (assuming that the Wikileaks guys aren't a bunch of sell-outs which seems inconsistent with their sole reason for existing), is that Wikileaks is gaming the system for mind-share.

    It will be interesting to see how this move affects awareness of Venezuela on the global chess board. --Um, no. Correction. The world is too brain-damaged at this point for chess. At this point, it's just the global checker board. South America is next in line to be 'jumped' by the Empire.

    -FL

  • by Vexorian (959249) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @08:21AM (#24777553)
    So, even though Chavez is... well, Chavez, I think your emails are... well, private. I just don't get why would wikileaks do this. Think of this : They will first sell Chavez' email then what would stop them to sell yours? Perhaps you are just a geek now, but who knows where life is going to place you later?

    Even if it was all right to publicize someone's email, it would still really go against' Wikileaks' ways to actually sell it, this makes no sense.

    This is ridiculous, wikileaks

  • I can't for a moment imagine that Wikileaks would have dared try this if this was email from the US President. As much as they've avoided the courts in the past (and with good reason), trying this with a blanket dump of US government email would have them shut down in a flash, surely? Or have I missed them doing this already. In any case, they can get away with selling the private email of Hugo Chavez because, well, he's not exactly a personal friend of a lot of Western governments. This smacks of hypocri
  • Sure the do (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @08:33AM (#24777683) Homepage

    Wikileaks plans to use the profits for their legal defense fund, but they may run into trouble because most reputable news outlets have policies against paying sources.

    Most "reputable" news outlets have policies against admitting that they pay sources.

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Thursday August 28, 2008 @08:34AM (#24777687)

    "Wikileaks...may run into trouble because most reputable news outlets have policies against paying sources."

    A cynic might suggest that the policies of "reputable news media" have more to do with refusing to admit they pay sources than with what actually happens behind closed doors.

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