Here’s the Blognet episode that first ran six years ago today.
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NARRATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to hear is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
MUSIC: Up, then under …
NARRATOR: You’re a Detective Sergeant. You’re assigned to Internet Detail. A group of bloggers have been writing about the activities of a paroled domestic terrorist and his associates. One of his associates is taking the bloggers’ writings and including them in online attacks on the bloggers in violation of their copyrights. Your job … document the infringement.
MUSIC: Up then under …
ANNOUNCER: Blognet … the documented drama of an actual crime. For the next few minutes, in cooperation with the Twitter Town Sheriff’s Department, you will travel step by step on the side of the good guys through an actual case transcribed from official files. From beginning to end. From crime to punishment. Blognet is the story of the good guys in action.
MUSIC: Up and out.
SOUND: Footsteps in hallway.
FRIDAY: It was Saturday, April 19th. It was warm and clear in Westminster. We were working the day shift out of Internet Detail. My partner’s Liz Smith. The boss is Twitter Town Sheriff, W. J. J. Hoge. My name’s Friday. It was 8:04 am when I got the Department Conference Room for a briefing.
SOUND: Door opens.
SHERIFF: Morning, Joe. Want a cup of coffee?
FRIDAY: Yes. Thanks, boss.
SHERIFF: There’re bagels on the table by the pot.
FRIDAY: No, thanks. I had a big breakfast.
SOUND: Coffee poured.
SHERIFF: Suit yourself.
SOUND: Door opens.
SMITH: Good morning, boss. Hey, Joe.
SHERIFF: (Simultaneously with Friday) Morning, Liz.
FRIDAY: (Simultaneously with Sheriff) Hi, Liz.
SHERIFF: Grab a cup of coffee.
SMITH: Thanks. Oh, good! Bagels.
SHERIFF: Yeah. Grab one and pull up a chair.
SOUND: Coffee poured. Chairs pulled out from table.
FRIDAY: What’s up?
SHERIFF: Over the past couple of days, we been getting complaints about some of the stuff that Parvocampus has been putting out.
SMITH: Well, he does tend to exercise his First Amendment right to be a jerk.
SHERIFF: Yeah, but it appears that he’s moved beyond his usual range of … I guess you’d call it “jerkiness.”
FRIDAY: How’s that?
SHERIFF: Yesterday, he published another one of his books. It’s up in ebook format on Amazon and a site called “Smashwords.” There’s not much new material in it. It’s mostly an anthology of old stuff from the Internet.
FRIDAY: Uh, huh.
SHERIFF: We’ve received complaints overnight that a significant part of the content has been ripped off from bloggers. I want you two to take a look through the book to see what Parvocampus has used.
SMITH: OK, but why?
SHERIFF: Possible copyright violations. Do you think he sought permission to use anyone else’s work?
FRIDAY: This may be another example of the rules not applying to Parvocampus.
SMITH: What do you mean?
FRIDAY: Parvocampus has upset a lot of people. Given his history, it might actually have been easier for him to have gotten permission that it will be for him to get forgiveness.
MUSIC: Stinger and under.
FRIDAY: When we got back to our office, we obtained a legally-purchased PDF copy of Parvocamus’s book. Liz and I each took one half of the book to review.
SMITH: OK, I’m done with a first pass. I’m ready to go over what I’ve found whenever you are.
FRIDAY: I guess I’m done too. Whatcha got?
SMITH: This first half is mostly recycled stuff he wrote under his Illiberal Goofus persona. He’s lifted a great deal of material from that Stanley fellow from Texas we helped last year.
FRIDAY: Uh, huh.
SMITH: But it’s nothing he hasn’t published before. Some of it might pass a Fair Use test, but I’m not sure all of it would. What have you found?
FRIDAY: The last chapters are essentially complete ripoffs of other bloggers. He’s made a few snarky comments, but he’s taken entire blog posts and recycled them.
SMITH: Whole post?!?
FRIDAY: Yep. Take a look at this chapter. It looks like he’s taken a four- or five-thousand word post from The Real McCoy and used it. I checked, and he didn’t ask for permission.
FRIDAY: Yeah. That’s a significant screw up for someone who claims to have real world editorial experience.
SMITH: We’d better write this up.
FRIDAY: Uh, huh. The boss will want to forward the information to the bloggers affected. Then we’ll see how if the rule applies.
SMITH: You mean … ?
FRIDAY: Yeah. We’ll see if he gets any forgiveness.
MUSIC: Up and under.
NARRATOR: On April 20th and 21st, copyright infringement notices were transmitted to the sellers of Parvocampus’s book. In a moment the consequences of those notices.
ANNOUNCER: Are you a loyal supporter of Team Lickspittle? If you are, you should be showing you support by wearing a Team t-shirt, sweatshirt, or hoodie. They’re just some of the useful trinkets with the Team Likespittle, Res Judicata, Johnny Atsign, and The Grand Hog logos you’ll find at The Hogewash Store. Why not go by today and spend a bit of your hard earned cash in support of Team Lickspittle? All those goodies are available exclusively at The Hogewash Store.
NARRATOR: On April 20th a copyright infringement notice was sent to Amazon. On April 21st, a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice was sent to Smashwords. Late in the evening of the 21st, Amazon removed the ebook from their catalog. On the 22nd, Smashwords dropped the ebook from their catalog. Willful copyright infringement can result in the award of statutory civil damages of up to $150,000 per infringing act.
MUSIC: Theme up and under.
ANNOUNCER: You have just heard Blognet, a series of authentic cases from official files. Technical advice comes from the office of the Twitter Town Sheriff’s Department.
MUSIC: Theme up to music out.
ANNOUNCER: This is LBS, the Lickspittle Broadcasting System. Blognet is a work of fiction. Anyone who thinks it’s about him should read Proverbs 28:1.
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Inattention to the details of copyrights can be significant source of difficulty, as one of the editors of
Breitbart Unmasked Bunny Billy Boy Unread found out when he ripped off material from this blog. But that’s a story for another day.