Gawker Threatened For Publishing Quotes From Book Proposal, Adds 'Commentary' In Response

from the nauseating-and-cloying-precociousness-that-permeates-the-entire-proposal dept

Apparently, Gawker recently got its hands on a book proposal from someone named Lena Dunham, who received a rather significant $3.7 million advance for the work. I've never heard of Dunham, though $3.7 million book advances are pretty rare. You generally have to be someone pretty big to get that. Either way, Gawker, as it is known to do, published the book proposal and made fun of Dunham and the writing. Gawker's initial post definitely did seem a bit gloating and childish in mocking Dunham, but that's kind of the point of Gawker, I believe. Either way, Dunham went legal. Her lawyer contacted Gawker and demanded removal of the proposal, along with all of the quotes from it. In response, Gakwer did remove the full proposal, but left in the quotes but added commentary which is unlikely to make Dunham particularly happy. Here are two examples, though there are many more.

I've been in therapy since I was seven.

Update: Lena Dunham's personal litigation counsel Charles Harder has contacted Gawker to relay a demand from his client, Lena Dunham, that we remove the above quote from our web site. In order to clarify our intent in quoting the above matter from Dunham's proposal, we have decided to append the following commentary: The quoted sentence is revelatory of Dunham's character in that it provides evidence that she has been examining her own thoughts and desires analytically from an absurdly young age. It is also indicative of a nauseating and cloying precociousness that permeates the entire proposal.

When I was about nine I developed a terrible fear of being anorexic.

Update: Lena Dunham's personal litigation counsel Charles Harder has contacted Gawker to relay a demand from his client, Lena Dunham, that we remove the above quote from our web site. In order to clarify our intent in quoting the above matter from Dunham's proposal, we have decided to append the following commentary: The quoted sentence is indicative of Dunham's self-dramatizing narcissism inasmuch as it presents what is obviously a desire for an attention-grabbing condition as a fear of developing said condition. It is also indicative of a nauseating and cloying precociousness that permeates the entire proposal.

Of course, by adding commentary, Gawker is clearly trying to show that it's quoting was fair use. Given the short nature of the original quotes, they probably could make a decent fair use claim on the original post as well, even without the additional commentary (and, of course, if sued, they could still get dinged for the original quotes sans commentary). But, still... the end result of all of this is that Gawker just gets that much more attention, and Lena Dunham's "nauseating and cloying precociousness" gets a further hearing. I fail to see how that benefits Dunham at all. Going legalistic just because you don't like how someone covers your work -- even if you have a legitimate copyright claim -- is often not a particularly intelligent business decision.

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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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    out_of_the_blue, 12 Dec 2012 @ 6:46am

    You don't know that any publicity is good publicity?

    "I fail to see how that benefits Dunham at all."

    It's an and still likely strategy -- just look: with this notice on Techdirt, at least a dozen people are informed of her upcoming book! If the usual rates apply, she's assured of 0.001 more sale!

    I'm surprised that Mike "Streisand Effect" Masnick wouldn't know all there is about publicity (reverse strategy too), let alone that old saw. But Mike's failures are frequent.






    Every click for Mike "Streisand Effect" Masnick is a click for him!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect
    His fame now depends totally on you! He's done all he can!

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