Internets Whap Editor With Clue Stick

There is not much more I can say about the Cook’s Source Magazine scandal that hasn’t been already said.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about (and if so, what Internet have you been surfing?) we have the author of an article about  medieval tarts (SCAdians take note) who had her article lifted wholesale and printed in a magazine without her permission.  The editor, Judith Griggs, of Cook’s Source Magazine not only admitted to the theft, but actually said the following words that may live in Internet history alongside “the internet is a series of tubes:”

Yes Monica, I have been doing this for 3 decades, having been an editor at The Voice, Housitonic Home and Connecticut Woman Magazine. I do know about copyright laws. It was “my bad” indeed, and, as the magazine is put together in long sessions, tired eyes and minds somethings forget to do these things. But honestly Monica, the web is considered “public domain” and you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole article and put someone else’s name on it!

Editor fail.  Copyright fail.  Ethics fail.  And, public relations fail.  (Just note the comments on their Facebook page.)  You see, when you decide to be an asshat to a blogger, especially in such an interestingly twisted and completely asinine fashion, they tend to blog about it.  And, when your statements have reached such an epic level of complete  cluelessness about the nature of the medium itself, it becomes entertaining for other people to blog about it.  So the relatively unknown person you’ve stolen from blogs about it and gets a linkback from the relatively known Nick Mamatas.  The latter, being relatively known, inspires even more relatively known bloggers to mock the stupid whose name is  Judith GriggsScalzi takes a swing with the cluebat and makes a palpable hit in front of his 30K of daily eyeballs.  (What’s the circulation of that magazine again?  Just wondering.)  And the Smart Bitches of equally vast viewage take multiple swipes and offers a present of Google.  Then, at last, the meme goes nuclear when it crosses the radar of Instpundit.

So, Judith Griggs, you are now an internet meme.  I wonder if permanently associating yourself with this kind of asshattery in the minds of a few hundred thousand people was worth the few hundred bucks you saved by not actually buying the rights to your articles.

Yeah, this will save your business model.

(NOTE: I’m going to start posting (some) political stuff on my blog again, the experiment with two blogs didn’t really work, and no one needs another political blog anyway.)

Again with the asshats I say.  And we have some wonderful hats of assness this time in the person(s) of a company known as Righthaven.  What is Righthaven, you ask?  It is a posse of out-of-control lawyers who Google on behalf of their clients’ IP rights, and if they catch someone doing something nefarious— such as quoting a paragraph with proper credit and linking back to the full article— then they sue your ass. I don’t mean they send you a nasty note, or a cease and desist, I mean they file paperwork at the court demanding $75K and you don’t find out until you get a subpoena.

How to fight this? Well, if you get sued, take their ass to court and don’t settle. Sure, it’s a pain in the ass, and expensive, but if everyone does this their whole scheme will collapse. Second, never ever ever link back to the assholes that hire these people. they don’t deserve the traffic, and a trackback may get you sued.

Old Media kills self by autoerotic asphyxiation

So the AP still doesn’t “get” fair use.  Or they don’t want to get it.  According to Tom Curley, AP’s chief executive:

The company’s position was that even minimal use of a news article online required a licensing agreement with the news organization that produced it. … He specifically cited references that include a headline and a link to an article, a standard practice of search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, news aggregators, and blogs.

So, AP seriously wants everyone to pay for the privilege of linking back to their own articles. So what’s the logical outcome a) a brand new revenue stream b) a serious downturn in traffic back to their sites, and a corresponding decrease in ad revenue?

And then we have Steven Metalitz, lawyer for the RIAA and MPAA (Now that’s a satanic resume) who has no real problem with the planned obsolescence of DRM’d content.  Just cause you bought it don’t mean you get to keep it.  That attitude doesn’t promote piracy at all, does it?

Then we have the hysterical antics of the Canadian Access Copyright society, that would make anyone ashamed to be a copyright holder.  (But then, none of this is about protecting individual authors, is it?)

If you thought the last way to save newspapers was stupid

You will love this.  And I quote:

Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.

If you read the whole thing on the dead tree apocalypse, you might read through this paragraph without thinking. But look at it again. Bar linking to or paraphrasing. The judge has a frakking blog, you’d think that gives him some understanding of how the internet works  hell, you’d think he knows how fair use works. I mean, you want to save an obsolete business model by outlawing the core functionality of HTML? MMMMM’kay. If you do that, how does he expect anyone to end up on the on-line walled garden of the NY Times? Oh, right, this is about the perpetuation of dead trees, not allowing the N.Y. Times (or anyone else) to actually profit from the new media to pay for their journalists.

This idea is made of FAIL.

(via here and here)

Just because it’s Wikipedia don’t mean it’s not plagiarism

A new plagiarism story is afoot on the web seeing light in many places.

freeAuthor Chris Anderson writes about the web, and web marketing. He is one who you expect to be savvy about things like social networking, open source, creative commons, and all that other Web 2.0 stuff that’s all the hot shite on teh interwebz. He knows the dynamics of the online mob like few other dead tree writers. . .

So you’d think he’d see this coming, wouldn’t you? You’d think if massive lifts of uncredited quotes from Wikipedia ended up in his book, he might realize that, well, there’d be a reaction. I mean, target audience anyone? Even if we’re as kind as his publisher and accept the explanation that it was all just a snafu: “All those are my screwups after we decided not to run notes as planned, due to my inability to find a good citation format for web sources…”

And somehow I don’t quite buy the explanation, especially given that the plagiaristic passages aren’t just a reprise of fact in the author’s words, but word-for-word cribbing of Wikipedia including transcription errors. Even if you had footnotes in place, that would be ethically problematic unless it was all set off as a quote.

Here’s a kicker, though: (From VQR Online)

Though reproducing words or original ideas from any uncredited source is widely defined as plagiarism, using text from Wikipedia presents an even more significant problem than reproducing traditional copyrighted text. Under Wikipedia’s Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license, Anderson would be required to credit all contributors to the quoted passages, license his modifications under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, note that the original work has been modified, and provide the text of or a link to the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

IMO, the Wikipedia usage goes a bit beyond fair use, so he’s probably violating the license even with footnotes. Of course the ready-made remedy is to release the book under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. I wonder if that’s going to happen?

Sorta like setting an oil derrick on fire to protest global warming

Boing-Boing tells us of a lil Canadian think-tank report. The Conference Board of Canada (sounds so official, I trust them already) who’re self-characterized as “the foremost, independent, not-for-profit applied research organization in Canada. Objective and non-partisan. We do not lobby for specific interests” (you know they’re independent, they said so.) had been paid by the province of Ontario to do a study on the “Digital Economy.” So they applied their foremost independent research to produce an objectively non-profitable report.

Now they might be non-partisan, or lobby for specific interests, but it seems that the report they plagiarized came from an agency that is and does.

From Michael Geist:

[The Conference Board’s] claims should take a major hit based on last week’s release of a deceptive, plagiarized report on the digital economy that copied text from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (the primary movie, music, and software lobby in the U.S.), at times without full attribution. The report itself was funded by copyright lobby groups (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, Copyright Collective of Canada which represents U.S. film production) along with the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. The role of the Ontario government obviously raises questions about taxpayer dollars being used to pay for a report that simply recycles the language of a U.S. lobby group paper.

I’ve piled on plagiarists here before, but you’ve sunk to a new low if you’re plagiarizing language specifically to be alarmist about the piracy of intellectual property. So asshats all round.

OMG! The Kindle is infringing our rights

What is with it with my fellow writers? Every few months I hear about some new neo-Luddite proposal that makes the stuffed suits at the RIAA look like they’re writing Harry Potter slash to bootleg Metallica MP3s. First it was Pixel-Stained Technopeasants, then it was royalties on used books.

Now the Author’s Guild says that the new Kindle’s text-to-voice feature is infringing on audio rights.

WTF?!? *headdesk*

Apparently reading a text version of a book is a violation of copyright?  No.  Fail. The “audio rights” are rights you sell to some third party to distribute some audio version.  Hey guys, no distribution of audio here.  This is the end user using material *they bought* and now we want to go all “no, you can’t use it that way.”

Well, I’m going to start stealing people’s translation rights by running manuscripts through babelfish.

Stupidity Backflow Redux

Dear Author again graces us with examples of the paleolithic thinking of the old media.

The upshot is, the NY Times thinks used bookstores are the reason publishing is in a crisis right now.

Yeah, right.

This is the true sign of a crisis, when the old guard suddenly tries desperately to find something, anything, to blame for their failures other than their own outmoded business practices.

Supidity Backflow

From Dear Author we have something that just amazes me in shear economic WTFry.

We all know at the wonderful, and oh so successful, way that major content providers (MPAA, RIAA, Viacom etc.) have tried to impose 19th century “this is my widget” mentality to IP law in the digital age. The stupidity these major interests have unleashed onto the legal system and Teh Internets is almost beyond human comprehension. But this draconian effort, suing dancing babies and all, has worked so well that some geniuses in the print realm have decided to take this line of thought back into the physical brick and mortar world.

They want royalties on used books.

Do I even need to explain why this is toxic waste masquerading as a business model? Hell, let’s just suck all the life out of the secondary market so when my books go out of print we can insure that no one ever hears of me ever again. Let’s make it more economic to pulp all these copies then have someone else read them. Good plan. Maybe you can add a review tax, there’s another cannibalistic income stream. Oh, and charge to view the cover blurb…