UPDATE: The Terms of Service did [change!](

I received an email from one of the two staff members at [](, a fledgling local news reporting site that looked like junk mail but was actually real. I tested the system by actually visiting the site, reading the terms and conditions and then sending a reply email.

Bob Korpella wrote back, addressing my concerns in his real voice, not one inspired by legalese, with the intent to make changes:

> “But, having said that, let me say I took another look at our terms and conditions. I originally read them from a publisher’s point of view, to protect us from accusations of copyright infringement. Reading it from a writer’s point of view … eye-opening! And you are right. It does sound like we want to steal ideas and market them as our own. So, I am revising the terms this week. Gone will be all the legalese and clutter. I will write them in simple English and basically present that we respect the automatic copyright afforded to an individual’s writing and photos. We simply want a non-exclusive right to display that material on our site and want members to know that others will have the opportunity to download, print or email the material. I don’t want to steal anything from anyone. I really do want people to have a voice and I feel that is a great way to do that.”

If anyone is willing to make this kind of effort, they deserve a look from local readers and, if the changes pan out, participation.