Newspaper Pretends It Can Block Fair Use And Threaten Those Who Say It Can't

from the nice-try dept

We recognize that some of the finer points of copyright can be confusing (or are disputed), but some things are pretty clear. Fair use, for example, does exist and cannot be denied by the owner of copyrights (even if they’d like to pretend they can). The latest example of this is pointed out by David Levine, who links to a blog post from legal expert Eugene Volokh ripping apart the claim of an “investigative report” publication who puts “This article is copyright protected and Fair Use is not applicable” at the bottom of all their articles. It also says: “In accordance with Fair Use of Copyright: WE FORBID ANY REPRODUCTION in part or in whole…” As Volokh notes, unfortunately, you can’t just make up the law in your favor. Fair use isn’t at the whim of the content owner, and it’s not in accordance with fair use to deny “any reproduction.” Volokh found out about the site from David Giacalone at Harvard’s Berkman Center. Giaclone discusses more problems with the legal language the site uses, while noting that it’s especially worrisome since the site fights for legal reform. However, the most ridiculous part of the whole thing is that when Giaclone (a retired member of the bar in two areas) points these things out to the editor of the site, she responds by calling him “an ass,” saying that the site would be giving him “some publicity” and accusing him of “practicing law without a license,” for which the publication’s lawyer and the state Attorney General would be alerted. All this for pointing out that their legal disclaimer isn’t actually binding? And we wonder why some people have trouble dealing with the finer points of copyright law…

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Comments on “Newspaper Pretends It Can Block Fair Use And Threaten Those Who Say It Can't”

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itanshi says:

this interests me and i have a question

Say someone made a work of fiction say a free, not for profit story derivative or based upon an existing published work of fiction. If the creator of the published work denies the fair use implication of the derivative work, does this block fair use?

I suppose the question is, is the derivative story fair use? I’d like to think it is.

So if the original denies the derivative, is this right or fair?

Alex Hagen says:


Actually, from reading the comments at it is pretty clear the editor (June Maxam) is just a complete psycho nutcase.

A link where she was convicted of false accusations:

She was also the self entitled “Associate JAILer-in-Chief, NY JAIL4Judges”, a “quaint little organization that wants to put judges in prison because according to founder Ron Branson judges are part of the New World Order.”

And has filed several crackpot lawsuits:
Maxam v. Warren County et al, No.06-1012 (N.D.N.Y. filed Aug. 22, 2006) (Pro se complaint brought pursuant to §§1983, 1985, alleging pretty much everyone in the County has deprived the plaintiff of various Constitutional rights)

Maxam v. Sheriff of Warren County Jail and New York State Attorney General, No. 04-491 (N.D.N.Y. Filed June 5, 2004) (Seemingly frivolous habeas petition alleging False Instrument conviction was obtained unlawfully) (Represented by lawyer, P.D. Theresa M. Suozzi).

Maxam v. Warren County et al, No. 94-80 (N.D.N.Y. dismissed Apr. 4, 2004) (Civil action complaint, brought with the assistance of attorney Kirk M. Lewis).

Yeah, she’s just completely bonkers. Nothing to see here, move along.

David Donahue (user link) says:

If fair use is denied, how can i read the page?

One of the non-blockable fair-use rights is the right for my computer to download published but copyrighted web pages into memory and into my page cache.

None of this even touches on other more transient Fair-use rights such as my screen’s ability to displayed copyrighted material already on my web browser, the right of routers and networking gear to relay countless portions of their content between my computer and their web server and finally the right of me to read and “know” what they said (making a copy of the observable copyrighted information into my brain).

The above is an example of why Fair Use is inherent in all non-ridiculous interpretations of copyright law.

Another problem is that their disclaimer is at the bottom of each page. Even if it were valid, it could reasonably be argued that you read the content, then read the disclaimer, realized it was a contract that you weren’t willing to agree to and stopped further reading. Then you used the parts of the document that weren’t covered by it.

The only thing that’s good in their defence, is that you can pretty much say anything on your web pages, legally valid or not. So i suppose their “real position” is that if we say “no fair use” on every page it’ll discourage people from exorcising their fair use rights and since that might increase subscription revenue, lets do it. They can always simply not sue anyone who ignores it.

That’s just the same as putting up a sign saying that “trespassers will be shot”. It’s OK as long as you don’t actually shoot anyone.

ehrichweiss says:


This is almost funny. Sunday I was browsing on a friend’s computer and discovered that someone had taken an entire article word-for-word from our paper(I’m just the web developer now but I used to run 75% of the paper at one time from layout to distribution, only thing I didn’t do was sell advertising..anyway..) and posted it in their blog. I asked them nicely not to quote the whole article and after me proving I was who I said I was, it ended fairly amicably and he quoted part of the article after I advised him that wasn’t a concern for us.

Now why more of these can’t be resolved like this I can only guess is because people THINK they understand copyright and/or fair use.

If you want to look at the WORST possible way that it could turn out you only need to look at the case of Island Records/U2(bastids..their music sucks ever since too) vs. Negativland. While what Negativland did wasn’t entirely fair(it definitely pushed the limits of fair use), neither was U2 when they slapped a 110 page lawsuit on Negativland instead of a simple cease and desist. Eventually this was dropped but it cost Negativland $250k for U2’s attorneys fees. U2 tried to blame this on Island but it was recently discovered that it was nothing more than a smokescreen as many of us had suspected….and U2’s music started to suck right after that coincidentally….

Gordon Firemark (profile) says:

Chilling effect... regardless whether she's a crac

The real trouble with crackpots is they can still file lawsuits. Defending such suits can be very costly.

When the editor of a publication says “fair use rights do not apply”, she’s basically saying, ‘if you use anything from our publication, we’ll sue…. and it doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong… it’ll cost ya!’

Definitely enough to make you think… no?

Gordon Firemark (profile) says:

Chilling effect... regardless whether she's a crac

The real trouble with crackpots is they can still file lawsuits. Defending such suits can be very costly.

When the editor of a publication says “fair use rights do not apply”, she’s basically saying, ‘if you use anything from our publication, we’ll sue…. and it doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong… it’ll cost ya!’

Definitely enough to make you think… no?

Alex says:

fair use rights always apply

the funny part of this really is, just because one company or person wants to interpret fair use, and try to enforce their own interpretation of it, doesnt mean it isnt going to cost THEM for wasting someone elses time.

Actually, I think i’m going to go and fairly use anything I like on their site within my rights and then send them a notification.

it will show them what I’ve “fairly used”, and CLEARLY state that contacting me, with the intent of me investing time to consider what they say – amounts to them agreeing to be billed my standard rate of 125$CAD/hr.

If they so much as waste 15 mins of my time (my smallest bill-able block), i will bill them for each block they use… and I will send collectors as well.

Nice idea. thanks guys!

Anon101 says:

June Maxam = Nutcase

After some very nasty emails from June Maxam, the Fair Use is not applicable clause showed up everywhere on her site.

The article in question, supposedly lifted from her site, was one she’d lifted elsewhere (I think CNN), changed words in the first and last couple of paragraphs, then called it her own.

Maxam was complaining about the original article appearing on my site, thinking I had lifted the text from hers instead of the source.

(BTW: The text on my site matched the source, not the hacked text which appeared on the Maxam’s site…)

Every email received from this wacko mentioned all of the lawyers she knows (like the one just sentenced to prison in Ohio), and all of the nasty things she could do to make someone’s life hell. Just a bunch of empty threats, and she finally went away, after she realized that all she’d get was a firm GFY from me.

Her first email actually wanted money… I was supposed to pay her $500 (?) or some crazy/similar amount for her story…

The funny part was, back when this occured, that I’d just passed by (one town over from her), but was 1200 miles away before receiving her first email. I’d have loved to have knocked on her door with her printed email threats in my hand, and…

hornback12 says:

Re: you are fruitcakes

june maxam also threatened to sue me. i posted on a board that she was convicted of perjury and harassing her neighbors. she told me that that was libel. she then proceeded to tell me that that conviction had been overturned. when i pointed out that the fact that the ruling had been overturned meant that she had been convicted in the first place, she told me that any other e-mails to her would be considered harassment. the internet is litered with people she has threatened to sue. the only thing stopping her is that she doesn’t have a case

Ann (user link) says:

Newspaper? North County Gazette? I Don't Think So

The North County Gazette appears to be nothing but a random collection of news you’ll find anywhere else, thinly shrouding June Maxam’s aluminum-foil-hat conspiracy theory articles.

Just another waste of bandwidth and yet more clutter in google results.

Someone do her (and everyone else) a favor and get a doctor to commit her someplace quiet with no connectivity…

Jerri says:

He he... Maxam Doctrine, according to bottom of pa

MAXAM DOCTRINE: In an extension to June Maxam’s (North County Gazette) nutty interpretations of Fair Use of Copyright, WE FORBID ANY REPRODUCTION of any word, phrase, letter, character, color, texture, or combination of any letters, scents, characters, colors, or textures used or even remotely considered for use on Bad Cop News 🙂

Evidently they’ve had less than pleasant dealings with Ms. Maxam.

BCN (user link) says:

June Maxam - She's Back...

A man was unable to reach June Maxam’s North Country Gazette site, got her eMail address using Google cache or something, emailed her, and the nutcase emailed back claiming she had reported him to the New York State Police, a bunch of federal agencies, and FBI (Everyone but God).

He wrote:

I cannot access your site during the day from work, I am typing and it goes to a hate site at every single time. I was able to get to your site on Friday afternoon, but cannot now unless I am at home.

I am limited to slow dialup at home, and would greatly appreciate your looking into this, as I can’t possibly be the only victim of whatever is taking place.

Thank you,

She Replied:

As of this morning, complaints involving you and your message have been filed with the New York State Police Cyber Crimes unit, Ic3, FTC and the local office of the FBI. I am advised that the federal government is already investigating badcopnews and their operators and are monitoring them.

Then she sends him a plea for help that she had intended to go elsewhere:

I got this message today—any ideas what can be done? I think this is an email sent out to try and evoke a response from me. I wrote back and told him it was the first such complaint had had, wasn’t experiencing any problems with and suggested he filed a complaint with I do know that some fucker registed the domain name of and has that redirected to badcopnews. I don’t what I can do to stop that. I own so they can’t get that one.

// Obviously, his woman has some personal issues that ought to be resolved.

BCN (user link) says:

Nutcase June Maxam - Now she's pissed. hosts “2 Girls 1 Cup” video (Don’t go there if you are eating!), and June Maxam flips out 🙂 The FBI must be sick and tired of her rants…

Text from her complaint:

“The person registering the website of has done so illegally, engaging in the unauthorized use of a registered business name and is using the website for harassment and cyberstalking purposes, posting pornographic images and video on a website under the domain name of I am the registered owner of the business name and retain all rights to it. This is an illegal use of my business name and I wish the domain registration terminated. I have also submitted this matter to the FBI.”

Terry Martin (user link) says:

Nutcase June Maxam's efforts against her hosting c

An officer in Warren county, very familiar with Maxam, describes her as a “…lonely bitter old lady and she needs to find a hobby that doesnt include constantly f**king with strangers on the computer…”

“..the internet is littered with people she has threatened to sue.”

Who is North County G? A Google search finds that June Maxam’s reputation is also scattered in tiny pieces about the globe. (Search for “June Maxam nutcase” et. al.).

* She reported one of her blog readers to the FBI for daring to email her for help when unable to access her little blog.

* She threatened to write editorials about one of her blog’s readers and that individual’s clients. (Who responded with “By all means, I’ll simply release your nutcase emails.”)

* She enjoys threatening and harassing individuals via. email.

* She harasses other websites with unfounded complaints if they are critical of her or her blog’s content.

* She’s currently honored with one site’s “a**hole of the month” affixed with the quote “Just because she has a blog doesn’t mean she has a brain.”

* She tried to completely re-write US copyright statute with a really silly footer on her blog.

* She harassed another website which adopted a parody “MAXAM DOCTRINE” based on Maxam’s really silly footer, which forbid reproduction of every “..of any word, phrase, letter, character, color, texture…” appearing on that site. (LOL)

Unfortunately I must withdraw my support of this campaign until a reputable individual heads the effort, preferably someone who has never seen the inside of a jail cell.

Shuftin (user link) says:

June Maxam

As a Moderator of I received this e-mail from June Maxam on or about 13 Aug 2007.

Shuftin is full of shit. The charges against June Maxam were reversed and dismissed. There is no conviction. He is engaging in lies, defamation and he also steals other people’s work, strips off the headlines and bylines and makes them his own—or so he thinks. Shuftin has been reported to the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office for impersonation and other federal cybercrimes for impersonating a person and engaging in internet harassment. His IP number was captured and enough supporting documentation has been turned over to his favorite police agency for prosecution. It’s likely he will soon be proscuted.

tgreiner says:

i could get to the sight your all talking about yesterday but if i follow links from google or to or type it I only get 403 forbidden Server configuration does not allow access to this page. i tried making account at but that didn’t help either. i can see text in cached on google but no pictures or anything. can anybody get there or is it already gone? thank you

Derek says:


Same here. It looks like the site is down or maybe they’ve discovered that by blocking everyone they can keep the pirates at bay. I check occasionally for local stuff, ignored anything with a funny odor, but they became more intent on posting regurgitated out of area stuff than local news.

Work computers were excluded a months or so ago, then my phone, now at home too. It would be interesting to know if anyone get there besides Google.

Interesting business model there folks.

no one special says:

June Maxam

I took a couple of minutes this past week to flip off a comment on the web site referred to here, after first checking their privacy policy. Ms. Maxam not only doesn’t understand what copyright and hacking mean, but she guarantees privacy on her site, and then she will investigate your email address and you if you say something with which she disagrees. Her claim is that she has the right to investigate anyone who signs onto her site because she has purportedly been the victim of hacking. I am writing here to warn people not to sign on to her website at all, and by all means, stay away from her “anonymous” forum, and don’t believe a word of her privacy policy. She will claim that if you are not a subscriber, you’re not entitled to privacy. People need to be warned in a big way as her purportedly anonymous forum is anything but that. It can be very damaging if you pop an email from your work address during your coffee break or something.

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