This episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign first ran five years ago today.
SOUND: Skype rings once.
JOHNNY: Johnny Atsign.
RULE 5 GIRL: (Telephone Filter) Hello, Johnny.
JOHNNY: Well, hello.
RULE 5 GIRL: (Telephone Filter) Have you seen what The Grouch is tweeting this morning.
JOHNNY: No, I haven’t bothered to check his feed yet today.
RULE 5 GIRL: (Telephone Filter) He’s saying that he had permission to use all of those blog posts he copied. He’s going on about some sort of blanket permission.
JOHNNY: Nah, he never had permission.
RULE 5 GIRL: (Telephone Filter) He seems to think so.
JOHNNY: He didn’t do a good job of reading the fine print.
MUSIC: Theme up and under.
ANNOUNCER: The Lickspittle Broadcasting System presents W. J. J. Hoge in the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed Twitter account, America’s fabulous free-lance Internet investigator …
JOHNNY: Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign!
MUSIC: Theme up to music out.
JOHNNY: The following is partial extract of the tweets sent and received during my investigation of Missing Link Matter.
THE GROUCH TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) So how can he sue me if he’s given me blanket permission to copy his posts?
JOHNNY: It can be quite intriguing how different investigations can wind up intersecting. For past few months, I’d been looking into some copyright infringement issues. It turns out that an moderately infamous cyberthug known as The Grouch has been taking screen caps of entire blog posts and incorporating them into his own work. Other bloggers had be shrugging it off … until one day, when he published several bloggers’ work in an ebook that he offered for sale.
That was a camel-back-breaking-straw. I was hired by one of the bloggers to locate all instances of The Grouch’s use of that blogger’s material.
BLOGGER: He’s been doing this for years. He has no respect for anyone’s copyrights. Except his own, of course. He’s tried and failed to raise money for a copyright suit in the past.
JOHNNY: Are you sure you want to bother with this. He’ll claim Fair Use.
BLOGGER: Let him. Fair Use is an affirmative defense. Raising it is an admission of infringement.
JOHNNY: Uh, huh. But what about your Terms of Service. You pretty much give your stuff away.
BLOGGER: With proper credit and a link by to my blog. I’m told you’ve been backing up The Grouch’s websites and tweets and that you’ve got the html code of stuff he’s pulled down. (Fading out) I wonder if you can search for those instances where he’s ripped me off without that link …
JOHNNY: In fact, I had been backing up The Grouch’s sites and Twitter accounts as part of another investigation, the Short Fuzed Dud Matter, an investigation of an anti-First-Amendment activist called The Bomber. The Grouch has been serving as his PR Flack.
I was able to find over a hundred instances of use of entire posts by the Blogger in The Grouch’s online publications that had a missing link. And an ebook. And a hard copy book.
The Blogger sued.
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THE GROUCH TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) I’m no longer associated with The Bomber. Haven’t talked to him for months.
JOHNNY: I had stopped by the Federal Courthouse in Baltimore to drop off some documents for the Blogger to use as evidence in a hearing. We were standing in the hallway on the 4th floor waiting for the courtroom to be opened. There’s an impressive view of the lawn and sculpture garden outside the courthouse from up there.
BLOGGER: Thanks, Johnny.
JOHNNY: You’ll need a lot more than this if the case goes past preliminary hearings.
BLOGGER: I know, but there’s time to … hold it. Is that who I think it is down there?
BLOGGER: Do you see The Grouch?
JOHNNY: The guy using a walker? Yeah.
BLOGGER: Look at the man walking about 30 or 40 feet ahead of him.
JOHNNY: The Bomber.
BLOGGER: Curiouser and curiouser.
JOHNNY TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) @BobBailey One link may be missing, but another may turn up.
MUSIC: Theme up and under
ANNOUNCER: Now, here’s our star to tell you about next week’s intriguing episode of our story.
JOHNNY: Next week? It’s another example of Hunter S. Thompson’s saying that when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. Join us, won’t you?
Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign!
MUSIC: Swell theme and under
ANNOUNCER: Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign, starring W. J. J. Hoge, is transcribed in Westminster. Be sure to join us next Monday, same time and URL, for the next exciting episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign.
MUSIC: Theme up to music out.
ANNOUNCER: Johnny Atsign is a work of fiction. If anyone thinks it’s about him, he should read Proverbs 28:1.
This is LBS, the Lickspittle Broadcasting System.
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I wonder how that excellent friendship is these days.