Copyrights and Wrongs

Wednesday, May 11th, 2005, 12:43 pm

Rather than bloviate about the recent brouhaha involving websites grabbing content from various poker blogs, just read Otis’s post on the subject (and the comments) and then hit The Fat Guy for more good stuff.

In a nutshell, a site (and there have been several other instances) took content and posted it on their pages without asking permission. And then, when the writers specifically said they wanted their stuff removed, were told that because the content was syndicated it was free for anyone to use, attributed or not.

No no no. Not so. Everything I write in this blog, and everything anyone blogs, is protected by copyright. To paraphrase what I wrote in a comment:

Mean Gene = The New York Times = CNN = NPR

when it comes to copyright protection. You can’t steal stuff I wrote, or use it without my permission, even though this is just a blog, and even though I’m not as famous as Andrew Sullivan. It’s a sad fact that I don’t have people banging down my virtual door begging for my bon mots, but I did have one site steal something I wrote and I told them to desist. It felt good–it made me feel like a Big Man.

The fact that this issue even came up shows how far blogs have come even in the 18 months since I started my own. Blogs are THE thing right now. All the networks and big-city newspapers are reporting on blogs or starting blogs or arguing about them. Blogs are hot. As hot as poker, even. Think about it–how many bloggers are going to the World Series thanks to WPBT satellites? Sounds like four at least. Two years ago, were there even four poker bloggers?

The latest big thing in blogs is The Huffington Post, a site that features the writing of something like 300 people, most of them celebrities of some flavor. The power behind it is Arianna Huffington, who is…actually, I don’t know exactly what she is. Go read her bio, basically she digs politics.

I dunno if it’s gonna work–first of all, the typeface and color scheme remind me a lot of The Onion, and I don’t think that was intentional. Seriously, they had a picture of John Bolton on a sidebar with a tagline leading you to the story, and it looked JUST like the Onion. The picture showed Bolton in the middle of taking off his glasses, and I half-expected the tagline to read “MUSTACHE ORDERS MAN TO REMOVE SPECTACLES”.

Blogs let people write in their own distinctive voice, but on the Huffington Post you get serious policy pieces by Michael McCurry followed closely by goofy stuff from Robert Evans. You only see the first paragraph of each post and then you get that much-loathed link if you want to “read the whole post”, and so your eye is naturally drawn down to the next scribe in line. Hard to hold your reader’s attention, which is a problem you don’t find with the one-person blog.

I think there’s gonna be some good stuff there (if Harry Shearer writes it, I read it) but how well these big-ego types are going to deal with being one voice among many clamoring for attention is rather up in the air. Also remaining to be seen is how many celebs who wrote for the first issue will decide that, while this blogging thing was a quaint little diversion, it’s time to get back to the schmoozing and the yes-people. Maybe, just maybe, the more famous among us won’t let us down.

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3 Responses to “Copyrights and Wrongs”

  1. Jefferson Kweder Says:

    you make a valid point, and a corollary one too; I have been listening to Harry Shearer’s Le Show for quite awhile and only recently have I felt that other people were doing the same. I always wanted it to be just me.
    Listening to a famous person broadcasting out of their home is akin to reading a Blog. Shearer even had the LiveJournal equivalent of “Listening To:” and “Current Mood” with his song selection.
    Albeit, Blogs are a gangly, second-cousin of radio, for me, at least.

    I wonder if anyone listens to “This American Life?” Please, don’t answer. I want to keep my secret a little longer.

  2. StudioGlyphic Says:

    Arianna… former Republican turned progressive (coincided with her GOP husband coming out and their divorce!). Also one of the candidates for CA governor during the recall. Participant in this show:

    Jefferson, I’m thinking you’re as much of a public radio geek as I am.

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