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Newspapers Are At It Again

To: John D. Bair
Vice President Tulsa World
[email protected]
(918) 583-2161

Dear Mr. Bair:

I am writing on behalf of the Internet blogging community. We have recently learned that your newspaper has threatened legal action against www.Batesline.com and other Tulsa area bloggers for allegedly violating your copyrights.

Even though The Tulsa World copyrights its entire newspaper, you appear to be professionally inept in your basic understanding of copyright law. One would expect a senior officer of a publishing company to have at least some understanding of the concept of "fair use," but apparently that is not the case. As the recipient of similar missives, my policy (and that of many other bloggers) is to discard any such letter unless it is on the letterhead of a law firm. The fact that you couldn't even get an in-house lawyer to send your petty cease-and-desist letter speaks volumes to the toothlessness of your threats.

As the proprietor of a web site that regularly outdraws tulsaworld.com perhaps I can offer you a piece of advice in dealing with the Internet; drop your petty vengeance campaign against Tulsa bloggers. Why you would deliberately harass bloggers whose readership averages 1,000 readers a day boggles the mind, especially when the law is on THEIR side.

Some quick background research on the CBS Memo scandal, the resignation of The New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines, or the recent resignation of CNN's Vice President Eason Jordan should convince you that it's a bad idea to tangle with the community of weblogs. Even though you are only targeting a couple small weblogs, when you attempt to silence them you attempt to silence us all.

I assure you we will not let that happen.


Kevin Aylward


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Newspapers Are At It Again:

» A Dusty Life linked with Old Media is Afraid of Dying

» KelliPundit linked with Blogger Beware

» basil's blog linked with Tuesday's Lunch Special:

» Alarming News linked with Desperate.

» joelblain.com linked with The World Steps In It

» ZuDfunck linked with Blogs Against the Empire Strike Back

» Swanky Conservative linked with Tulsa Whirls into the Blogosphere

» Interested-Participant linked with "We Will Not Let That Happen."

» Michelle Malkin linked with THE TULSA WORLD BULLIES A BLOGGER

» CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Newspaper Threatens Blogger

» Myopic Zeal linked with Kevin Aylward v. John D. Bair

» BatesLine linked with BatesLine / Whirled controversy on CNN

» Nerf-Coated World linked with Wizbang's got some brass

» Christian Grantham linked with 'Tulsa World' Bullying Bloggers

» Anil Dash linked with Please, Tangle With Us

» Winds of Change.NET linked with The MSM strike back - if you can't beat 'em, sue 'em

» Christianity and Middle-Earth linked with We Are Not Amused

» Bene Diction Blogs On linked with Blogger Threatened


» Sue Bob's Diary linked with The "Gray Line of Sneers and Jeers"

» Common Sense Runs Wild linked with Tulsa World Bullies

» The Primary Main Objective... linked with The Tulsa World is Scared

» JackLewis.net linked with And now for some local news

» TechnoChitlins linked with Smackdown!

» The Dead Parrot Society linked with Tulsa World v. BatesLine blog

» Snapshot linked with Licensing of Journalists Coming Soon

Comments (37)

Good letter. [ooops typo ... (Below threshold)

Good letter. [ooops typo fixed thanks Pavel-ed]

And you're right: this editor hasn't a clue about the law. Or, frankly, about the technology.

That is why the MSM is running scared. They're being called to account, and they don't understand how it can be happening.

Jesus. They REALLY THINK TH... (Below threshold)
Rob Hackney:


I don't know too much about all this new technology, but I think people have a right to use it. THat's the free market. That's why we aren't commies in CHINA!!

I bet this is a tactic they would pull in CHINA to stop blogs..if china HAD blogs of course.

Thanks I knew that, but evi... (Below threshold)

Thanks I knew that, but evidentally typo'd it. Fixed.

Howell, not Harold. Then d... (Below threshold)

Howell, not Harold. Then delete this comment :)

Oops. You're ahead of me, ... (Below threshold)

Oops. You're ahead of me, as usual.

I don't think Mr. Bair has ... (Below threshold)

I don't think Mr. Bair has a clue what he has just unleashed upon himself.

I have a mental image of a guy blowing up a dam while standing at the base. The last I checked, 18 blogs have already trackbacked to Batesline, and that is just those that have officially tracked back.

The blogswarm cometh...

Fuck 'em up good!... (Below threshold)

Fuck 'em up good!

Whoa! SuperKevinBlogger to ... (Below threshold)

Whoa! SuperKevinBlogger to the rescue!!!

Well, what do you all expec... (Below threshold)

Well, what do you all expect from a paper that only permits subscribers to read the online pages? Only one other paper I can think of does that, and that's the WSJ, of course. (And THEY'RE actually worth it.) Being originally from Tulsa and knowing the "quality" of the Tulsa paper, this merely demonstrates yet again the ridiculous pomposity of their owners and editors, with no substance behind it.

Par for the course.

Yikes. While you're correct... (Below threshold)

Yikes. While you're correct about fair use issues, threatening newspapers with the "unruly mob" is kind of...unprofessional. True, we aren't professionals, but Dan Rather and Eason Jordan were guys doing bad stuff and trying to cover it up. This guy is ignorant. It's a bit different. I think bloggers ought to be careful about cries to "unleash the hounds!" on MSM outlets, else we begin to look like the lynch mob they describe us as.

Kevin - At times like this,... (Below threshold)

Kevin - At times like this, only one thing to say...

"America, F*** Yeah!"

Mr. Blair will be responsib... (Below threshold)

Mr. Blair will be responsible for for some good out of this: pushing Batesline readership well over 1,000 hits a day.

A fool and his "newspaper" (network/anchor job) are soon parted.

What did I say that Kevin l... (Below threshold)

What did I say that Kevin looked like? He writes like one too.

A statesman ;-)

I <a href="http://dfriedman... (Below threshold)

I linked to your letter. Fair use? I think so!

sweet.Be sure to kee... (Below threshold)

Be sure to keep us posted if he replies

Some dialogue from the Migh... (Below threshold)

Some dialogue from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers would be funny right about here...

"Commanding mighty warrior dolphin spirit, helped by warning wave of butterly karma..." ha.

The e-mail went out this mo... (Below threshold)

The e-mail went out this morning, any I'm awaiting a response. I'll publish his response.

Just a note: The Daily O... (Below threshold)

Just a note: The Daily Oklahoman requires a subscription to access their archives as well, OR you can subscribe for free if you have a 7 day a week subscription to the paper.

The Oklahoman is probably the closest thing to a conservative daily paper as there is. The libs are always screaming about the unfair coverage provided by the Daily Oklahoman.

Hi CNN (3:40pm Tuesday) jus... (Below threshold)

Hi CNN (3:40pm Tuesday) just highlighted this post on Howie Kurtz's segment, noting the line that its a bad idea to tangle with bloggers and he said it sounded like a threat to shut down the Tulsa site. Typical.

Another site I was involved... (Below threshold)

Another site I was involved in pre-blogging simply *linked* to news articles (this was 1998-ish) and I got a nasty call from some crotchety older gentleman at the AP bureau here telling me we were illegally re-using AP content and he was going to put a stop to it and that he would sick the other papers on us for doing the same thing to them.

I ran it by a media/first amendment lawyer who did work with my then radio employer and when another newspaper guy called prompted by the AP guy he already knew the deal and just asked that we made sure we cited where the link came from. That ended that.

The Tulsa World has certain... (Below threshold)

The Tulsa World has certainly dropped its candy in the dirt. Perhaps Mr. Bair can recognize the PR blunder for what it is and use this sad occasion as an opportunity for some "professional development" during the rag's next staff meeting. Gone are the days of being a journalist so one can "change the world." Everyone with a passion for the facts and a blog is a reporter. Blogs with the highest hits find an audience. Blogs with the highest TRUTH content will have sustainable traffic. Will the Tulsa World be able to extract itself from the MSM tar pit? Stay tuned.

Excellent letter, Kevin.</p... (Below threshold)

Excellent letter, Kevin.

The fellow at Batesline.com should sue the newspaper for harrasment.

Sounds like a job for...</p... (Below threshold)

Sounds like a job for...

Team America!

If they're not still crying after reading the letter...

In some respects I hope the... (Below threshold)

In some respects I hope the paper sues. This kind of BS needs a good asswhupping.

To John Bair at the Tulsa W... (Below threshold)

To John Bair at the Tulsa World
I am most impressed at the courage you have shown by taking on BatesLine.com. I am also saddened that such foolishness can be demonstrated by a member of the main stream media, whose function, once, was the dissemination of accurate, unbiased, un-spun information. But then, in retrospect, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised given the sad performance shown by the MSM in recent years.
However, as a strong supporter of the Blogosphere, I believe that you should clarify your position as regards to the letter sent to Mr. Bates. I read it with great interest. I have every intention of paying closer attention to your newspaper now and inserting my comments into the Blogosphere if I find something you publish with which I disagree or which I find to be incomplete, biased or simply inane. So, in pursuit of this goal, I request an explanation of your rationale for declaring you are not bound by fair use concepts and that linking to your items via remote WEB sites, over which you have no control , is not to be permitted.
I understand that the limits of fair use may be debated. However, this new idea, that a public internet url cannot be referenced without your consent is well beyond my comprehension. I would be most interested in seeing the tap dance you employ to explain this. If you would so kind as to enlighten me, I would be most appreciative.
Actually, I find that this attempt to expand your role as “the unelected conscience of society” into the realm of the judiciary most disconcerting. In fact, I believe that it should be challenged and fought at every turn. The tables are turning and the mechanism has been given birth that will challenge the supremacy, self-righteousness and arrogance of the MSM. I speak, of course, of the Blogosphere. No longer is freedom of expression and the pursuit of an agenda the sole prerogative of the MSM. The people are regaining their voice and they will provide the balance to the unchecked Fourth Estate which has been so corrupted by its absolute power.

Thanks, Kevin-- an excellen... (Below threshold)

Thanks, Kevin-- an excellent, forceful letter. Your words are appreciated.


Kevin that was so excellent... (Below threshold)

Kevin that was so excellent a letter! I never heard of Tulsa World before, but they seem to have appointed themselves the keeper of the MSM kingdom.

I did link to this and tried to trackback, for some reason haloscan wouldn't let it happen. Just wanted to let you know.

I'm not a lawyer, but some ... (Below threshold)
Jim C.:

I'm not a lawyer, but some of this could still be a problem. Assuiming that the content excerpted or linked to is availble only to paid subscribers, that's a bit different from copyright. If you still need a login to directly get to stuff linked from somewhere else, or if the stuff he's excerpted really does qualify for fair use (which I'll assume here), I don't see the problem.

The defense of Fair Use is ... (Below threshold)

The defense of Fair Use is vital to us all. Even those that blog education. Linked on The Carnival Of Education: Week 2

My first time reading a blo... (Below threshold)

My first time reading a blog... I am elated at the forcefullness you guys exert in voicing your opinions.

Let reiterate what was said above again:

Fuck them good, for messing with free people.

There! I feel better now.

I've decided to <a href="ht... (Below threshold)

I've decided to engage in a deliberate policy of doing the very things (linking & excerpting Tulsa World) that TW has demanded he cease & desist from.

It's most gratifying.

I don't see the problem wit... (Below threshold)

I don't see the problem with linking or deep linking at all. All sites can erect subscription barriers. What's the big deal?

For example, once I tried t... (Below threshold)

For example, once I tried to deeplink a nice photo of a dog. I was linking to a forum full of friends. Well, the page owner didn't quite like that kind of thing, to put it mildly. Up popped the picture. But it wasn't a dog. It was a picture of someone's asshole.


Point being, sites can erect their own barriers.


Beck, Drumwaster and I have... (Below threshold)

Beck, Drumwaster and I have done the same. Rise, Pajamahadeen!

Fellow Bloggers:Th... (Below threshold)

Fellow Bloggers:

There is more to this story than the Tulsa World's allegation of copyright infringements.

Several years ago, Tulsa residents were asked to approve of an increase of the Tulsa sales tax in order to pay for something called the "Tulsa Project".

The Tulsa World endorsed the tax increase. Michael Bates led the opposition to the tax increase. Tulsa voters rejected the tax increase.

A few years later, Tulsa voters were asked to approve of an increase of the Tulsa sales tax in order to pay for the re-incarnation of the Tulsa Project (re-named "It's Tulsa's Time").

Again the Tulsa World endorsed the tax increase.
Again Michael Bates led the opposition to it.
Again Tulsa voters rejected it.

A few years ago, Michael Bate ran for a seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The Tulsa World endorsed Michael's opponent.

Now do you know why the Tulsa World would want to harrass Michael Bates?

Dodo David: Nearly correct... (Below threshold)

Dodo David: Nearly correct about the two sales tax issues, in 1997 and 2000. While I opposed the '97 proposal, and wrote an op-ed against it which appeared in Urban Tulsa Weekly, I wasn't a leader of the opposition that year. I was an opposition spokesman against Tulsa Time in 2000, and again in opposition to 2003's Vision 2025 sales tax hike, a battle we lost, but it turned BatesLine into a blog focused on local politics.

Also, I haven't run for State House. I ran for Tulsa City Council in 1998 (first attempt at elective politics, finishing 2nd in the Republican primary), and then was the GOP nominee in 2002, losing to a World-endorsed opponent.

I stand corrected. I'm sor... (Below threshold)

I stand corrected. I'm sorry, Michael.






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