July 21, 2010
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."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 atUh, yes it obviously is.
I also think they are acting in conspiracy to deprive citizens of their constitutionally protected right of free speech.
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.
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
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