from the blog-world-problems dept
Because I was once just a lowly Techdirt reader before Mike had the brilliant idea of giving my brand of insanity a share of his platform, I know what most of you think it's like to write for the site. But, despite what you surely think, it isn't all high-priced call-girls and expensive narcotics broken up by occasionally typing up a four hundred word rant about copyright. There's actual research involved, gathering story ideas, discussing them with the other writers, and then putting thoughts to virtual paper. Occasionally, the actions of others make our jobs a little bit tougher than they should be.
For instance, I recently informed you all about Dov Siedman, a guy who essentially does the corporate speaking circuit, who also is battling Chobani, a maker of Greek yogurt, over the word "how", which Siedman insists is his and his alone. I linked to a New York Daily News post for that article and pulled several block quotes from it to round out the post. What you may not realize is that I had originaly found the story on a site called Food Navigator USA, a site dedicated to news about the food and beverage industry. It was actually, in my opinion, a superior article and I had wanted to use it for the post. The problem arose when I attempted to copy/paste a small section for the first block quote of the article and received this popup.
THIS CONTENT IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTEDAre you, the educated Techdirt reader, done vomiting yet? Good, because now we can all have a discussion about how both misleading and self-destructive this kind fo notification is. Let's deal with the headline of the popup first: THIS CONTENT IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. When produced for attempting to simply copy and paste a tiny section of an article, with zero attempt made to discern what the intention of the copying is, the message being sent is that such an attempt to copy the text is a violation of copyright on the article. This, of course, is absolute nonsense. It ignores entirely the concept of Fair Use and I damn well could have pulled the quotes I wanted, posted the article I'd originally intended to write, and gone on the rest of my life feeling secure knowing that there is nothing the assuredly esteemed plethora of lawyers on the Food Navigator USA dole could do about it. I'm protected. Now, the insistence that only the entire article could be shared with the headline intact is an obvious attempt to get more people to the site in order to generate more readership, ad revenue, etc.
However, if you would like to share the information in this article, you may use the headline, summary and link below:
How Matters: Chobani ‘disappointed’ by ‘baseless’ trademark infringement lawsuit from Dov Seidman
By Elaine Watson+, 05-Jun-2014
A lawsuit filed by bestselling author and corporate ethics consultant Dov Seidman accusing Chobani of infringing his trademarks with its 'How Matters' campaign is "baseless and without merit", says the Greek yogurt maker.
Which completely backfired because I'll be damned if I'm going to include a site that uses this kind of heavy-handed, nuance-less mind-boning in one of my posts, unless it's to discuss how completely stupid and backward it is. The funny part of all this is that, after being confronted with this popup, I found roughly a trillion other sites that had this same story and which didn't bash me over the head for pulling block quotes. We at Techdirt, of course, always link back to the original posts when we discuss a story, and our block quotes don't encompass the entire articles. The idea is that the sources we pull from get traffic via our links and, wouldn't you know it, that happens even though we aren't simply reposting all of their content with their headline and bylines intact.
Am I saying this is a problem that is insurmountable? No, of course not, since I found another post from which to pull quotes. Am I saying this is a heavy hardship on me, the Techdirt writer? No, for the same reason stated previously. But in the end, it creates a little extra work for us writers and generates nothing positive for the site with the silly popups. So how about not doing that crap any longer?