In protest, I quote your words!

I just learned that Clayton Cramer has been sued for quoting from and commenting on a newspaper article headlined "Slain store clerk, 77, mourned." I found the article here and as I am assuming it is the same article, I will exercise my Fair Use rights under the First Amendment, and reprint it here simply as a comment on the slimy tactics of those who would use the copyright laws in such an underhanded manner. What follow are the magic words of a news story that the authors are claiming belong exclusively to them, and which they say I cannot quote!

Quote them I will, not because I am especially interested in the story, but because I believe our freedom depends on it:

[Text and discussion follow as an extended entry, for the convenience of interested readers, as well as those who don't want to scroll past a long passage -- the merits of which I am not interested per se.]

He was known as "Bill" to his friends, but to his wife, he was always "Chilly Willy."

"He was ripe, but he was getting better, like a bottle of wine," said Christine Burhoe, 58. "We didn't have kids. Neither of us could have any, but we always had each other. And I'm going to miss him."

William L. Burhoe, her husband of 16 years, was gunned down late Saturday night at the Super Mart convenience store were he worked as a clerk. But before he died, the 77-year-old shot and killed the would-be robber.

The coroner's office identified that man as Yendy Quinones, a 28-year-old who was paroled in October after serving 26 months for assault with a deadly weapon, according to prison records.

Las Vegas police said the gunman entered the store about 11:40 p.m. and placed a beer on the counter just before an altercation broke out and shots were exchanged.

Christine Burhoe said detectives told her that the robber, upon discovering he did not have enough money for beer, left the store. When he came back inside, he brought a gun and shot her husband, she said.

Christine Burhoe called the act "senseless" and said her husband would have paid for the man's beer had he asked.

"He would have paid for it and put his own money back in the drawer," she said. "All this, over a bottle of beer?"

At a vigil Monday evening outside the store, at 6595 W. Smoke Ranch Road near U.S. Highway 95, close to 50 adults and children crowded into the parking lot outside the store to remember William Burhoe.

His wife seemed overwhelmed by the showing.

"I just didn't realize how much all of you touched him and how much he touched you," she told them in between tears and hugs with tearful customers who came to pay their respects.

Many of them came to remember a man whom they knew as generous, humorous and even sometimes ornery.

"He was the heart of our neighborhood," Lorraine Wood said. "Everybody came and went, but he was always there."

Store owner Ed Kashat recalled how William Burhoe welcomed him each day with a joke and how his 300-pound frame reminded him of a "big bear" that you wanted to grab and hug.

He had worked at the store part time for the past three years, making extra money to bet on the horses, he said.

"He loved playing the horses," Kashat said.

Inside the store, Kashat placed donation boxes so customers could give money to help Christine Burhoe.

Outside the store, a makeshift memorial of prayer candles, real and fake flowers, photos and stuffed animals honored a man many called a hero.

Customers talked of William Burhoe's ever-present jokes and the ease with which he would dig into his own pocket to lend a buck or two to a customer.

On a homemade poster signed by more than a couple of dozen well-wishers, one entry stood out. Inside a hand-drawn heart a mother thanked William Burhoe for his generosity.

"Hey Bill. Here's your 50ยข you gave to my daughter," she wrote.

On the poster next to the words were two taped quarters.

Christine Burhoe said her husband was a former Marine police officer who had been an insurance broker and ran his own photography studio, among other jobs during his life, she said.

He had been working at the store to supplement his retirement and fill a financial void created when she lost her job more than a year ago, she said.

They started dating in 1978 and were married in 1993, the year they moved to Las Vegas from Maine, she said.

Coping with his death hasn't been easy, she said.

"I feel like I'm in a prison, trying to find my way out," she said. "He didn't deserve this. That's all I can think about."

Christine Burhoe said her husband was experienced with guns and kept one with him while he worked, but he never used the gun when the store was robbed before, she said.

She didn't believe he would have fired a shot until he already had been struck, she said.

"He wasn't like that," she said.

She later learned from police that after he was shot, her husband lunged forward and fired three times.

Knowing there won't be a trial has helped her through the anger, she said, as a sense of closure.

"It sounds morbid, but I'm glad he killed that guy," she said. "It's the Lord's justice."

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283. Contact reporter Brian Haynes at bhaynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0281.

I have reprinted the entire article verbatim simply as an act of protest against the tactics of the copyright pigs who have sued Clayton Cramer.

Yes, they have. Complaint here in pdf.

Sure, I could pause after each paragraph, and add some commentary, but why I should have to bother? Especially when I am only reprinting this out of principle.

This is free speech. I can quote anyone I want.

So go ahead and sue me, assholes!

Once again, these people are using the copyright laws to defeat free speech.

The best defense is a good offense.

MORE: I should point out that I did not bother reading the above story in full, because the merits of what it says are not the point.

My sole purpose here is to protest the idea that honestly quoting the properly-attributed words of someone else might ever be forbidden in a supposedly free country. This utterly flies in the face of the First Amendment.

AND MORE: Clayton Cramer points out that the entity filing the lawsuits has sued 69 people, in such a frivolous manner that it really ought to be considered abuse of process:

It turns out that this law firm has filed DOZENS of lawsuits, overwhelmingly against blogs and similar small scale operations across the country. By filing in federal court, where the diversity suit requirement is a $75,000 controversy, they are effectively threatening little people without resources with bankruptcy--in the hopes of getting a settlement of a few thousand dollars. It appears that this is the Review-Journal's new business model, since they haven't figured out the newspaper thing very well. Some interesting materials in the Las Vegas Sun about this at

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/jul/15/5-more-suits-filed-over-alleged-r-j-copyright-viol/

and

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/jul/15/5-more-suits-filed-over-alleged-r-j-copyright-viol/

Because the actual damages that the Review-Journal is experiencing from a particular news story are necessarily speculative (and likely closer to $75 than $75,000), I'm having a little trouble distinguishing what they are doing from extortion. If there was some question as to whether the damages they have suffered from four articles exceeding Fair Use caused them $60,000 in losses, or $70,000 in losses, then it would not be much of an argument. But since their actual losses in advertising revenue from each article can't possibly exceed a few tens of dollars (in their wildest fantasies), and the advertising revenue the Armed Citizen earned from those four articles exceeding Fair Use can't possibly exceed a dollar or two, isn't threatening to take you to federal court with the prospect of $75,000 judgment--when the legitimate amount is probably a few dollars--reaching into the extortion realm?

Uh, yes it obviously is.

I also think they are acting in conspiracy to deprive citizens of their constitutionally protected right of free speech.

UPDATE:
Glenn Reynolds
links Wired's discussion of these contemptible lawsuits, and wonders whether "the real goal is to silence the blogosphere . . ."

I can't think of a better motivation, because it doesn't seem to be money.

Glenn also links Ron Coleman's interview about copyright law, which touches on the subject of fair use. While the idea that I might not be allowed to quote something accurately -- with proper attribution -- is bad enough, what really fries me is not being able to quote something in protest.

That's like Michael Savage claiming it was copyright infringement for his critics to quote him! Or Che Guevara's family maintaining that there is no right to ridicule the famous Korda image because they hold the "copyright" to it.

Nonsense!

Sorry, but I think the reproduction of text and images for purposes of ridicule and protest is fully protected by the First Amendment, and if copyright law says otherwise, then the law is an ass!

I hope the "Righthaven" people get their comeuppance.

posted by Eric on 07.21.10 at 11:09 PM










Comments

I have to applaud your courage. And thank you for standing up to the bullies.

M. Simon   ·  July 22, 2010 10:02 AM

Let me add that the RJ seems to be a failing paper. Expect more of this as the paper business goes down.

M. Simon   ·  July 22, 2010 10:04 AM

Streisand could not be reached for comment.

Anon   ·  July 22, 2010 5:00 PM

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