Michael of BatesLine has been sent a “nasty-gram” by a local newspaper called Tulsa Whirled (I mean, World) to stop quoting their articles or linking to their website or get sued. He happens to be “the opposition” of many of their apparently opinionated articles and occasionally mentions his disagreements with full credit to their stupidity and a complimentary link to their website. Michael says:
… The threat is empty, an attempt at using intimidation to silence my criticism of their editorials and news coverage.
Why would a big ol’ daily paper, with over 100,000 daily circulation, send a nastygram like this to someone who gets about 1,000 visits a day? And why now? Here’s a little background, especially for you out-of-towners:
That they are stupid I take for granted based on their lengthy “cease and desist” letter that Michael received stating their “demand that you immediately remove any Tulsa World material from your website, to include unauthorized links to our website”. What they hoped to accomplish by their bullying of a local “insignificant” objector I don’t know, but they have gained the blogosphere’s scorn and derision and have given Tulsa World’s foe a much larger audience.
It does bring up an interesting point about copyrights, though. I remember some talk related to the Napster saga that spoke of linking as possible copyright infringement. The reasoning behind it was that by viewing a web page, you are essentially copying it to your hard drive. Thus in linking to it, you are aiding and encouraging copyright infringement. Of course that reasoning doesn’t really mean much seeing as that’s what the internet is and how it functions. Apparently, that’s what a Federal Judge, Harry L. Hupp, decided: Hypertext Linking does not violate Copyright
. Michael notes this as he comments on another Tulsa World attack over linking rights.
For my obligatory quote of the newspaper, I turn to Tulsa Whirled’s Copyright Statement where they inform us that we may not “display or store any part of its Material for purposes other than the Userâ€™s personal, noncommercial use.” They said it themselves! It’s not copyright infringement if used as “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research” as stated in Section 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use of Title 17 of the United States Code. Of course there is limits to “fair use”, but I think that this case is a clear case of MSM bullying.
Update: With all the reading, I forgot where I got there from. Thanks to Eric at The Fire Ant Gazette!