Category Archives: Publications

The Freedom of Information Act’s “FOIA” latest ruling stirs up controversy

The Freedom of Information Act’s “FOIA” latest ruling stirs controversy

 FOIA”  law allows US citizens the right to access information from federal agencies.

According to the Los Angeles Times, US citizens have encountered a setback in the ruling of the Freedom of Information Act.  The Virginia ruling was unanimous, in that you must be a resident of the state that you are requesting public information in.  If you are non-resident of that state, then you have no access to the public records and this ruling was adopted by a few other states; what a blow to the rights of citizens of the United States, however the good news is that although those states are not required to give access to public records, the can however choose to do so at their own discretion

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) “provides for the disclosure of information held by administrative agencies to the public.”  “The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government, it’s often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. “

Search for request, Appeals and records can be found online, courthouse, the library of law and more. (c) 2013 Photo by D. Garvin

Anyone can use the Freedom of Information Act to request information from government agencies, including foreign nationals.  No one group has more rights over the other when it comes to requesting public information under FOIA.  However the journalists, bloggers or anyone involved with news media does have a few extra perks, such as waiving or discount of some fees and perhaps even speeding up the process, but don’t bank on that completely, it may not always be the case.  But, informing the agency of who you are and letting them know that you may publish some of the information can possibly be a motivation to the FOIA officer to make your process a little easier, faster and can possibly save you some of the required fees.

IMG_0781

Your local City Hall is a good place to start your search for public city records.
(c) 2013 Photo by D. Garvin

               

Andre Washington of Atlanta Georgia gave an account of his own personal experience with public records search.  While driving home late one night on the highway, he was trailed by a police officer and was signaled to exit the highway.  Once exited, they officer walks up to his car to tell him that he were stopped because his tail light was out.  “I figure, it was an easy mistake, he can give me a warning and let me go.”  Instead, it became very intense, the officer insisted I get out, I replied, what’s the problem officer?  According to Washington, the officer was irate and replied, you don’t get to ask me questions I’m asking the questions right now!  He began searching the car, while holding him against the car.  Washington say’s “the more questions I asked the more aggressive he became.”  I recognized that kind of aggression w/a badge, so I did what he asked.”

After holding me up for 20 minutes I received a ticket for the light, says Washington.  I was angry about the unnecessary treatment and was advised to research the officer’s background.  I found out that the officer had the same complaints by several African Americans, going back seven years about his aggressive behavior and racial comments.  Washington challenged the ticket after finding out the information and won.  So, public records can serve it purposes for many reasons.  Doing an online search is an easy and convenient place to start your search. There’s also a site called black book online, it’s a directory that links you to a host of public records search sites.

pic

Online search is another source for Public Records Search (c) 2013 Photo by D. Garvin

These sites share limited information for free, and for a price you can access more comprehensive information.  You’d be surprised at how much you can learn just by gaining access to public records including federal, state, county and local resources.   Public search can be done to research companies, employee verification, research public officials, and to protect ourselves against unlawful government activities.  It can also be a benefit for personal reasons, to gain information that will even help in negotiating business, creating proposals, background checks on employees and even aid in creating lists for sales leads.

                                                                                                

 

Release Forms, Photos & Videos for Any Occasion: Know When to Protect Yourself

Everyone Loves Taking Photos & Videos for Just About Any Occasion:  How Do You Know When You’ve Crossed the Line of Hobby to Offender of the Law

Know How to Protect Yourself

In today’s world, people will whip out a camera, cellphone and even the tablet to capture the moment on video and photograph for just about any reason.  Whether it’s for work as a photographer, filmmaker, Journalism, or for just plain ole fun, once it’s upload to YouTube and/or your social networking page and any other public site; shooter beware!  It’s not like the times of old when things were much simpler and internet was not hugely popular.  Although there were always laws in place to protect people’s privacy or legal rights to prevent unlawful display of a person’s image in the professional world, those of you who do it for fun today take heed, the same rules may apply to you once you decide to cross the line of fun and into the realm of use for commercial and profit.

In film production, to protect yourself legally you should began researching and preparing all of the necessary waiver/release forms to collect any signature connected to your production.  Particularly for each identifiable actor and/or product such as logos and photos that you plan to have publicized that belongs to another.  There are a variety of release forms for a variety of situations such as location, property, talent, private events, interviews, underage children and more that involves commercial purposes.  If you’re a film student the rules still apply because you can also be sued for displaying work online, that’s why you should always protect yourself by getting release signed up front

pen

Chris Donati Reviews a Release Form and Contract Before Signing. (c) 2013 Photo by D. Garvin

For instance, former film student Anthony Barr explains his issues with an actor after shooting his student film.  According to Barr, after the short film was shot the actor was disappointed in the way he was edited in the film and thought that film was not good enough to be published online and that no one would take him seriously after seeing the finished product.

Barr explains all of the hard work that went into it and disagreed.  After having several back and forth conversations about it, Barr felt that it was good and ignored his request because everyone else was satisfied and he decided to upload it anyway.

When the actor/friend found out that the movie went up, he called the school to complain and insisted that it be taken down.  Barr stated, he never thought it was that serious until the media department explained that the actor was in the right, he never signed a release form.  Barr says “it’s my own fault, I learned the hard way to always get a release form signed no matter who it is, especially friends.”  I’ll never let my guards down again!

Grabs pen

Donati Grabs pen in agreement to sign contract

A release form is like a contract, which is a written agreement between two parties for the purpose of protecting yourself from any future lawsuits that may include, claiming invasion of privacy or perhaps for money or profit.   However, laws differ depending on the jurisdiction and the state you live in when it pertains to the use of an individual’s image.

signed release

The Release Form is Signed

Understanding the law and the business side of online marketing, will save you money, time and protect you from a whole lot of future legal woes down the line.

 

 

 

 

How Much Privacy Do You Really Have on Your Public Sites?

Are You Apart of the Social Networking Scene? Your Private Settings Are Not So Private Anymore

Companies are making social networking sites a first step to pre-screening before hiring.  They’re checking your conversation, photos and anything else that will give insight into your character.  Your personal Facebook Page is not so personal anymore; people are actually fired over Facebook Postings.

According to NBC 4 New York, Twitter was asked by a judge to surrender an Occupy Wall Street protestors tweets.  “We are disappointed in the judge’s decision and are considering our options,” a Twitter spokeswoman said Monday.”  “Twitter’s Terms of Service have long made it absolutely clear that its users own their content.”

photo

Occupy Wall Street Protestors (c) 2013 Photo by Copyright Associated Press/NBC New York

Social media has become bigger than the federal government and more people are tracking you more often than you think.  So, If you put all of your information including posts, photos, videos, resumes and what have you on the World Wide Web, It’s there for the world’s picking and it will be your own fault.  Whether it’s on one of your many social networking sites or email, you should expect to be a potential victim of hacking, researched or investigated.  You can have a life changing experience simply by having your alone hacked.

photo2

Is your securtiy at risk? (c) 2013 Photo by D. Garvin

 How can you protect yourselves and your personal information from being invaded from privacy and internet fraud?  What about when companies tell you to go online to apply for jobs? How safe are you with these companies? Craigslist has become another popular site for job searches, but you never know what you may get when not dealing with a company’s direct website.  Extra precautions should always be taken when dealing with a third party.

That’s exactly what happened to Sonia Roe, a customer service Rep in the Atlanta area.   While searching for work on Craigslist, she applied for a position using her home address and email not thinking much of it because she linked to the company’s site and it all looked legitimate.  However, a Few weeks later she received a $1600 money order, in which case she assumed it was from another organization who she expected to receive support from for her education.

Roe says, “So, I deposited the money order, and all of a sudden my account was in the negative.”  After reporting to the fraud department, she discovers that her personal information had been collected after applying for the online position.  “Luckily I called the fraud department because they traced the numbers on the money order right back to the man who sent it.”  “Apparently he has had a history of fraudulent money orders”.  There are actually hacking classes, software and an operating system created, which makes it so much easier for hackers today.  An Operating System called Kali Linux built into computers used to do a penetration testing is given away for free hoping that the big companies will bite and take the hacking classes offered by them, which is said to be a $4000 class for these companies.

Information is being hacked every six seconds and you must learn ways to protect yourself.  Here is a link that can give you a few tips to protect yourself.  Other privacy issue the citizens of the United States have to be concerned with today is the idea of the government’s National Security Agency (NSA) tracking and collecting our phone calls, monitoring the numbers we call and the duration of the call.  However, the president suggests that they’re not monitoring the content of the call, but the goal is to gather and enter the information into a government database allowing it to sit unless otherwise needed for criminal investigation.

This act is turning talks towards the idea of revisiting the 4th amendment, which is the part of the bill that guards against unreasonable search and seizure without a warrant, since that law was put in place before internet and social media existed.  The NSA and FBI are tapping directly into servers of web companies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 36th Annual 2013 Atlanta Jazz Festival

The 36th Annual 2013 Atlanta Jazz Festival brings in about 50 Thousand plus Attendees Memorial Day Weekend

Group 3 (2)

Photo by L.A. Jackson

The Atlanta Jazz Festival is one of the Country’s Largest Free Jazz Festival, which takes place at Piedmont Park, located in the heart of midtown Atlanta.  Historical Piedmont Park is one of Atlanta’s prime locations for a host of annual events, including Midtown Music Festival, the Atlanta Pride Festival, Dogwood Festival, and many more.

The Annual Jazz Festival was originally created by the former Mayor of Atlanta Georgia, Maynard Jackson.  The first African-American Mayor of Atlanta, who has also had the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport named after him in his honor.

Alexandra Jackson

Atlanta 2013 Jazz Festival (c) 2013 Photo by Robb D. Cohen

One of the first time performers of this year’s event was Maynard Jackson’s youngest daughter, Singer Alexandra Jackson.

The Atlanta Jazz Festival organization says that they are a non-profit cultural organization, whose mission is to educate and entertain a diverse audience of jazz fans; and to nurture the next generation of jazz musicians.

 

 

 

Youtube clip by Only in the “A”

Here are just a few examples of some of the Atlanta Jazz Fest lineups:  Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Gordon Vernick . Cécile McLorin Salvant, Dominick Farinacci, Meshell Ndegeocello, José James, Tia Fuller, Aruán Ortiz, Gretchen Parlato, and Rudresh Mahanthappa

The Publicist for the Atlanta Jazz Festival, Karen Hatchett Says the 2013’s theme for the festival is “Generation Next”.  This year’s festival is more about the new up and coming artists, focusing on the future generation of artists.  This year also included something for the youth, which are two of the youth jazz band competition winners from two local high schools Benjamin E. Mays High School Jazz Orchestra and Westlake High School Jazz Ensemble, which performed on stage for the event.

2013  Atlanta Jazz Fest

2013 Atlanta Jazz Festival, Photo by L.A Jackson

Group 4 (1)

Huge Crowd enjoying the 2013 Atlanta Jazz Festival (c) 2013 photo by D. Garvin

Atlanta Jazz Festival attendee, Tracy Sykes says “that the crowd was large, the weather was hot and the energy through the roof”.  Sykes, also stated “that the best time to attend the event was late in the evening due to the hot weather.”  She also made a point to say, along with many other attendees is, that the “event could have been a little better had there been a different or better lineup of performers.” Oh well, you can’t please them all!

Never-the-less, the Atlanta Jazz Festival is always the place to be for the Annual Memorial Day Weekend. Expect the event to get better and continue to grow annually, there’s always something for everyone.

 

Racism in Entertainment

Racism in the Entertainment Industry

Racism seems to be running rampant in the Entertainment industry.  African-American actors find it difficult finding quality roles with equal pay.  According to the British-Zimbabwean actress Thandie Newton, she told the Belfast Telegraph that “the industry is  two-faced, with double standards and is overflowing with racism.”

In the film industry, Tyler Perry has faced lots of criticism for his films and its stereotypical roles, yet, his film Temptation has grossed over 21.6 million opening weekend, and overall his films has grossed over 630 million world-wide. Why has he been so successful? According to Huffington Post, Hollywood has made it possible for Perry to pull from a pool of great black talent, due Hollywood’s soft racism and the lack of quality roles and equal pay as their white counterparts.

On the positive side, Tyler’s success has created opportunities not only for actors, but for behind the scenes crew positions as well.  For years Hollywood kept up the existing state of affairs by maintaining the idea that black films do not have international value, and that’s why they feel that they can pay black actors less money.

According to Cuba Gooding Jr., he mentioned how George Lucas used Tyler Perry as an example of how black directors can force Hollywood to take notice.  However, Perry still has to fight an uphill battle finding advertisers and distributors.  Michael Jackson appeared at Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network headquarters in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood and told the crowd that the music industry cheated and stole from artists, especially black artists and specifically targeted “Tommy Mottola, saying that he is mean, a racist, and he’s very, very, very devilish.”

Marc williams

Marc Williams, Atlanta Playwright by way of Rochester N.Y, discussion on racism in entertainment (c) 2013 Photo courtesy of Marc Williams.

Lorenzo Marc Williams, writer, director, playwright and journalist, straight out of the “A” by way of Rochester N.Y. Williams is making his mark in the Atlanta area.  He explains how his love of writing goes all the way back to his elementary school years as a skilled creative writer with a colorful imagination.  He says “as he grew, his writing grew, and he never put the pen down.”  Williams’s creative thinking eventually evolved and developed his writing ability into poetry.

Not long after, he began furthering his career as a writer, playwright and journalist. As an up & coming playwright, Williams has experienced his fair share of racism, particularly from the media. He found that getting media coverage has become a real challenge due to having a black production. He also understands that having a black production that’s not of five star statuses is why he faces the obstacle of gaining support for advertisement and media exposure.   However, that has not stopped Williams from moving forward.  With the will to keep going like so many other struggling African-American talents, Williams understand that there’s more than one way to skin a cat and being a man of strength & conviction, he uses ingenuity to kick in the back door to create his own lot in life.

 

 

Leonard Beaty, Muscian, and Keyboard Player

Leonard Beaty, Muscian, and Keyboard Player in Atlanta, Georgia by way of Rochester N.Y

Leonard Beaty, another one of Atlanta’s own.  Beaty is a native of Rochester N.Y., and a self-taught full-time keyboard player with 20yrs experience under his belt.  Beaty is a successful musician who’s making a name for himself in the Atlanta area and on the music scene.  Playing the keyboards have been a long time passion of his since the age of five.  Beaty has found major success since being in Atlanta and has toured the world and worked with several major gospel and R&B acts. Whether locally or on the road traveling, Beaty states that he has not experienced racism personally, but has seen it and knows that it exists.  However, he also says “that the bulk of his opposition comes mostly from his own people.”  Beaty’s goal is “to make an impact on the lives of young children through music.”

And what about the Job Market?

In today’s world not much has changed when it comes to racism, like the old saying goes, the more things change, the more they remain the same.   According to Newsone for Black America, they state that in today’s job market, the unemployment rate fell 7.5 percent, but has remained at 13.2 percent for African-Americans.  Not to mention the fact that due to the Sequestrations role in budget cuts limitations, reports indicates that nearly 11,000 workers across the board including federal, state and local government workers are feeling the job loss of black unemployment, which continues to be nearly double the national average.

Is it Racism or Favoritism? You do the Math

According to Nancy DiTomaso, a professor and vice dean for faculty research and professor of management and global business at Rutgers Business School of Newark and New Brunswick.  Also the author of the book “The American Non-Dilemma: Racial Inequality Without Racism.”  The book claims that we put too much of our focus on racial inequalities and unfairness of the black race by the white race, rather than putting our attention on the fact that the real act of racial inequality is characterized by whites doing good things for other whites, which can be looked at as favoritism. Can whites hiring whites be called racial discrimination or favoritism?  Can it be the old adage “It’s not what you know, but who you know”?

 

 

 

Tough Times Make Tough People

 L.A. Jackson embodies this old adage in just five words

  “Never Let the Dream Die”  

L.A Jackson

L.A Jackson Profile Story (c) 2013 Photo by Mike Blocker         Keep It Moving

L.A. Jackson, is a native of Kingston Jamaica, the capital of Jamaica.  He also speaks the native language called Jamaican Patois.  Jackson say’s Bob Marley is his idol because he demonstrated to him that It’s OK to be Jamaican and still accomplish your goals”.  Jackson’s motto has always been  Keeping It Moving”

The Early Years                                                                                                                              

As a young child in the mid 60’s, Jackson and his family relocated to Brooklyn New York where he grew up. He has a close relationship with his brother and sister.  His mother was a housekeeper and his father was the superintendent of the apartment building where they lived.   Jackson experienced the culture shock of racism or what some may call reverse racism. It was disturbing to young Jackson because it came from  his own race.  However, he was considered an outsider due to his Jamaican heritage; living in the ghetto around other children of color Jackson had no understanding of why he was teased, spat on and called crude names.

Although he faced discouraging opposition from his peers, he remained optimistic and used that opposition as his source of motivation to catapult himself to the next level. In the third grade he was placed in the (IGC) Intellectually Gifted Children program for three years in a row and by the fifth grade was made Valedictorian of his school.  His mentor and fifth grade teacher Bernard Percy saw great potential in Jackson and made him a contributing author to his nationally published books, including (How to Grow a Child: A child’s advice to parents, The Power of Creative Writing and Help your child).

From 1984-1994, Jackson spent 10 yrs marketing Columbia, Epic and Def Jam Records for Sony Music. In 2001, he executive produced the Atlanta Artist Against Violence CD, for the “Million Mom March Foundation” following the murder of a friend, DeKalb County Sheriff, Derwin Brown. This project lead him to manage Baba Oje, formerly of the musical group Arrested Development.

Today

Jackson is President and Co-founder of Peach City Records in Atlanta and head of the marketing & sales dept. Jackson spends a major part of his day on the phone, online, and going to meetings & events.   He met Wade Jones at a music studio and they immediately connected and in less than a year formed a business partnership. According to Wade Jones Co-Founder/CEO, of Peach City Records,  “L.A is enthusiastic and energetic; he follows through on his great ideas and don’t mind sharing his expertise.”  He also states that “he has the gift of gab and knows how to rub elbows.” L.A. recently wrote his own seven series book called Musicology 2101. To further promote the book, he’s planning a book tour that includes musical groups.

Jackson have his hands full in several ventures, including his MKM Multi-Media Works company which oversees the media production of music, audio visual, home theater and sales of books & merchandise.  He’s also a member of the (NARIP) National Association of Record Industry Professionals, as well as the (GMIA) Georgia Music Industry Association.

Jackson’s favorite quote:

2013 COVER 

 “Everything Turns Out Right in the End.  If it isn’t Right, It isn’t the End”

 

One Member Of The Successful 1990’s Multi-Platinum Hip Hop Rap Duo “Kris Kross” Has Died At The Young Age of 34

Rapper Chris Kelly formerly of the successful 1990’s Multi-platinum Hiphop rap duo “Kris Kross” has died at the young age of 34.

 

Another Tragic Loss For The Hip Hop Community

Rapper Chris Kelly formerly of the successful 1990’s Multi-platinum Hiphop rap duo “Kris Kross” has died at the young age of 34.

Rapper Chris Kelly formerly of the successful 1990’s Multi-platinum Hiphop rap duo “Kris Kross” has died at the young age of 34.