Friday, August 21, 2009

D'oh!





Have you seen this letter sent to local blogger Random Pixels by GT attorney Ian Ballon on behalf of his client the Miami Herald?

I guess the Herald is upset over whether or not photos from their website are reproduced on blogs in thumbnail or "full-size"?

As if that determines whether or not the photos fall within the protections of the fair use doctrine?

Here is Ian's contention:
"Because fair use looks to the amount and substantiality of the portion taken (both in terms of quality and quantity), reproducing entire articles, large excerpts of articles or large-size photos is not permitted."
This sweeping generalization -- with no context and zero case citation -- is almost certainly wrong.

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?

(Though I appreciate that Ian's letter is somewhat restrained and not as dickwaddy as it could have been, I still would have advised against it).

My advice here would be, for the most part, to ignore Ian's letter. If there are "copies of entire articles" on his blog (which I understand are simply historical in nature and not lifted from the Herald online archives), I would edit them slightly so you are in compliance with Ian's demand.

The balance of the letter is wishy-washy and doesn't really require any further action, so I wouldn't take any.

Ian, I just gotta know something -- did Glenn Garvin put you up to this?

9 comments:

  1. SFL: I agree with your premise that the tone of the letter is not "dickwaddy", but the nebulous wordsmith that I am, I would have preferred "douchebaggy". Regards.

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  2. Greenberg and the Miami Herald. Dumb and Dumber. Doo and Fuss. Bevis and Butthead. Bo and Ring. Looooo and Ser. Pond and Scum. I could go on all day.

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  3. The Herald.....still dickwaddy after all these years.

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  4. I love that picture of Garvin. What a happy man!

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  5. SFL: Thanks for watching my back!

    This whole thing is ludicrous....

    I just re-read the letter and Ian contends that by posting entire articles (archived) readers no longer need to go to the Herald site.

    This shows me he hasn't even looked at my site or doesn't understand what he's seeing.

    I am posting 10 year old, 20 year old stories that aren't even on the Herald site.

    Thanks for the advice on editing.

    What you are saying is that if I redact portions of the articles and just summarize them, then I meet his demands?

    Thanks again.

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  6. 1:55, it looks that way the me.

    He is talking about reprinting "copies of entire articles or large segments of text" -- even though if anything that might drive interest in Herald news coverage. In fact, I have gone to the Herald archives more than once after reading an old story or picture you have posted (not from the archive, btw).

    But I think those requested edits can be easily accomplished and wouldn't affect your site very much.

    The rest of his demands relate to future conduct -- "refraining" from using more than thumbnail images (though you resize them anyway).

    But what do I know?

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  7. SFL, I hereby request that you do everything in your power to "full-size" that Garvin photo.

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  8. What you have is that many lawyers, mostly litigators but not only litigators, that appear friendly and sincere are just plain asses, asses in suits. Next to GT, at the Fowler White firm, there is once such purified ass, the transformer looking, always grumpy Charlie De Leo. De Leo is like the Jim Crow era white politicians kissing negro babies to advance themselves. Yet put these types on the spot, such as a trial, and they crumble. De Leo belongs as dictator over a place down south and not as a partner at FW; what an ass. I am sure GT has there share of asses too...

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