Copyright Abuse by Media Bullies

This really gets me angry:

Last week, I send out a few test notices about RR&A to a handful of people in my address book — less than 30. I get a phone call and email from XXXXX, who works for XXXXXXXX, an (obviously) major media company.

This person informs me that "I owe them money for reprints" that are posted In the section labelled "In the Press."

Excuse me?

Now, I use, refer to and reference alot of other work by other people on the blog. I am meticulous about giving appropriate credit, and I very much try to stay squarely within the boundaries of "Fair Use."  I do not merely reproduce in whole or substantial part, entire articles, but rather, take snippets, a paragraph or three, a chart — and then annotate/comment/add value extensively on them.

On the pro site, there is even less of that.

Anyway, this weasel starts haranguing me for a reprint fee. What reprint? What are you talking about? I couldn’t figure out what the hell they were going on and on about. There are no PDFs (except my own) and very little in was of reproduced content from anyone else.

Until it dawns on me — the links? WTF?!? You want to charge me for pointing to an article of yours? (GET ME LEGAL!).

I go off on her, cite old case law that this was resolved in the 1990s, and then ask her "What’s with the not-so-subtle litigation threats?"  I politely tell them to take a flying f%$# at a rolling donut, and suggest she contact legal and Sue me!

That was last week, and by now, I have done the slow burn: Instead of selling a legitimate product — reprints, PDFs, mailer inserts, etc. — there are some weasel salespeople who (with the apparent power of a major media firm behind them) scare/bully/bluff people who do not know better in paying for something that is free.

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Here’s my promise: The next time one of you copyright weasels tries this, you become my new hobby.

Seriously.

Consider yourself warned.

Category: Financial Press, Intellectual Property

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The Return of Abelson

Bol_logo_top_page_05"AS WE WERE SAYING BEFORE WE WERE SO rudely interrupted by a man dressed in a white smock and wielding a scalpel (thank heavens he left his box-cutter at home), the stock market looks a bit worse for the wear."

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So says Barron’s Alan Abelson, usually one of Wall Street’s most visible Bears. Just his luck — or was it the Trading Gods having some fun? — that he managed to be out of service for the most bearish period in 3 years. Traders, being a superstitious lot, will soon be begging Abelson to "let us know the next time you go in for a procedure" – so they can get short.

Regardless, whatever the  man dressed in a white smock removed, it wasn’t his arch sense of humor or acid tinged tongue:

"The impact of the massive disturbance was global in every sense: Not only were its terrible tremors felt far beyond the narrow canyon of capitalism in lower Manhattan, but they commanded notice in quarters much loftier than trading floors or commodity pits. We’ve not the slightest doubt, for example, that what prompted the famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking early last week to urge earthlings to create settlements in space was, pure and simple, fear of the effect of crashing markets on the human race."

But the key to Abelson’s return is his clear eyed take on inflation, which comports squarely with our own views:

"FOR OPENERS, OUR HUNCH IS THAT MR. BERNANKE’S concerns about inflation, despite his mucking up the message with all that rubbish about inflationary expectations, have more than a modicum of merit. And our conviction on this score is only strengthened, of course, by the fact that so many pundits pooh-pooh inflation as a problem. Indeed, if anything, we fault the chairman for his evident sympathy with the argument that the fearsome upward spiral in the price of crude, so far, anyway, hasn’t been exerting all that much impact in the economy at large.

Apparently, Mr. Bernanke, like his critics, needs to get out more. Oil is a very sneaky commodity. Our old friend and revered Barron’s contributor, Abe Briloff, likes to describe certain stealth accounting practices as comparable to a bikini: what they reveal is interesting, what they conceal is vital. Oil is something like that: Its uses are readily manifest, but it plays a far bigger and more critical role in our lives than is easily perceived.

Read More

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