Friday, August 21, 2009

Odds and ends

If you're just joining us...I'm being sued by the Miami Herald!

The Herald's lawyer alleges that I am stealing Herald content. He also alleges that I derive income from ads on my blog and that using Herald content helps drive traffic to my blog.

A Random Pixels reader shot that argument down in short order:
The HERALD can't even earn money from their articles, what makes them think Random Pixels can?

Seriously, bill, that's what's behind all of this: the herald (misguidedly) thinks you are taking advertisers away from them. How many of your advertisers run ads on the Herald's site?
South Florida Lawyers - a widely read blog authored by a real lawyer - offers an attorney's perspective on all this:
This is one of those examples where, as a lawyer, you have to talk to your client. Is it in your best interests to go after some local blogger for posting a picture? Is that really what you want your resources and attention focused on? Even if you had a colorable argument, is it a fight that is in your best interests to pursue?
What really puzzles me is why the Herald, all of a sudden, decides that they want to stop me from posting a few pictures and old stories, when they've known about this practice for some time.

I never heard so much as a peep after posting this item almost a year ago.

Is there an underlying motive?

Are they trying to silence me?

I do know that what they have succeeded in doing is quadrupling my traffic. Thanks guys!

Finally, here are some helpful numbers and email addresses if you'd like to show your support for me and this blog.

If you feel the Herald is right, let them know that also.

  • Anders Gyllenhaal, Senior Vice President/Executive Editor (305) 376-3790

  • Rick Hirsch, Senior Editor/Multimedia (305) 376-3504

  • Suzanne Levinson, Director of Site Operations (305) 376-4676

  • David Landsberg, President and Publisher (305) 376-2515

  • Subscriptions: to start or stop a subscription 800-843-4372

    1. The Herald is right. Your contention that 20 year old articles are historic artifacts is incorrect.

      Sorry dude.

    2. Wow, Anon. Helluva argument there!


    3. Dear Sir:

      It has come to our attention that you are using words on your blog.

      Words are also being used in the Miami Herald.

      We therefore insist that you desist in using words and instead invent a system of symbols for use on your blog that will express your thoughts in a First Amendment-appropriate manner while avoiding any potential copyright problems with the Herald.

      Thank you sincerely etc and now honey you can stop typing that message to the blogger and add another $500 to my bill to the Herald heh heh heh oh and hand me that brandy snifter please too wait you're not writing all this into that e-mail are you stopstopstop


      Frank Chimera of the law firm Chimera, Bogey and Figment

    4. Bill....I think it's an obvious effort to remind you who's the boss. It's outta left field and it's so petty it's ridiculous. You haven't shown them the respect they apparently need.


    5. If you're using herald images -- copyrighted -- or stories -- also copyrighted -- you're in the wrong. Want to write a blog? Shoot your own pics. Write your own stories. Or link back to the herald instead of copying.

      It's simple to be ethical, really.


    6. Bill, I am usually a friend of the Herald, but let's not forget that they are potentially making money off bloggers with their blog aggregator project, which makes this whole lawsuit even more ridiculous.

      So they get to populate portions of their website with a shitload of rich content at our expense, and you get shit for posting two lo-res pix with full attribution. Doesn't make sense.

    7. This is sick; just plain wrong. Funny, because in the past, the Herald has stolen content from me. How ironic. I'll link to the post on SFLTV and shoot them a few e-mails.

      When ya' mess with one SoFlo blogger, ya' mess with them all.

      Good luck!

    8. While I enjoy good snark aimed at my former employer as much as anyone, you've got a problem.
      While you may consider 20 year old articles historic artifacts, copyright law says otherwise.
      And the lawyer corrected what Ms. Levenson incorrectly stated in saying you couldn't take "full sized" photos.
      The Fair Use doctrine is about substantial taking, and the photos you've run meet that legal test. You took them and ran them in a large size. You can quote a small part of a book in crafting a book review; the Herald's lawyer appears to be offering the photo equivalent in OKing thumbnails.
      Get some legal advice before it's too late.

    9. actually Matt, you're wrong.

      If you look at the post in question, I used two re-sized photos from a 40 photo slide show and I also included a link to the slide show.

    10. It appears to me that you are ok on the "fair use," defense. You are not commenting on the cheerleaders, the dolphins, the stadium etc, etc, this is an article about the photos.

    11. Whether he can claim the fair use doctrine is up to the courts if the Herald spends the money to pursue this.

      The fact that the Herald seems to have permitted use of their material in the past could be a mitigating factor, but that is something of which an attorney would have to convince the court.

      The kind of illwill this can create for the Herald is tremendous; they're taking a big risk by going after this particular blogger.

      Blogging changed the face of newsmaking tremendously, and many traditional media seem yet to realize the need to catch up.

      Wouldn't it be something if the Herald became a 2x a week paper (Sun/Wed + online updates) instead of a daily paper? I doubt this particular situation will spell the end of the Herald. I will say that if they're in the kind of financial straits where they feel it is to their economic advantage to stop this blogger, despite the loss of goodwill to the community it creates, they must be on their very last legs financially.


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