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December 4, 2004
Sony v. Kottke: Point/Counterpoint
Red Herring, reporting on Sony Entertainment threatening Jason Kottke with infringement claims after he spoiled the "surprise" ending of Ken Jennings' winning streak on Jeopardy -- while letting The Washington Post off the hook (hyperlinks, mine):
"I think it's possible that Sony thinks individual bloggers are more easily intimidated," said Wendy Seltzer, an Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney who specializes in intellectual property law. "I don't think they had a reasonable request. A short audio clip -- not a full show -- could be a fair use in the context of news reporting. Jason Kottke was reporting an event that had, in fact, happened. And just because television producers wanted to treat it as suspense media, doesn't mean that it's not also news."
"Even copying a small part of someone else's work can be a copyright infringement," said UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, an expert on the First Amendment and Internet law. "Sony can say, 'We're particularly unhappy about this one guy who is the first to publish the spoiler and we want to send a message,' or Sony might say, 'Why should we start scrapping with someone who may have lots and lots of lawyers instead of someone who's more likely to give in?'"
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