A. J. Liebling
You'd think that the people who run Miami's number one daily newspaper would have enough on their hands just keeping things from imploding at One Herald Plaza. Enough so that they wouldn't have time for much else.
But guess again.
There's one executive at the Herald who's apparently so satisfied that everything is running smoothly that she took some time out of her busy day to fire off a threatening email to Random Pixels over a few Miami Herald photos I posted yesterday.
Suzanne Levinson, whose title is Director of Site Operations for the Miami Herald, sent me an email this morning with the ominous subject line, "Use of Miami Herald photos on your blog."
Here's part of her email:
It has been brought to our attention that the web page located at http://randompixels.blogspot.com/2009/08/random-pixels-recognizes.html has content reproduced from The Miami Herald and MiamiHerald.com.My first reaction was "what took you so long?" My second was to ignore her.
Please remove these photos and any other Miami Herald content present on your site immediately.
[We] do not allow reproduction of complete stories or full-sized photos.
Please reply with confirmation of action taken within 5 business days or this matter will be forwarded to the McClatchy Company's legal department for further action.
But after thinking about it a bit more I responded that I didn't use full-sized photos; rather I resized them. I also pointed out that because the post was meant as a parody, it was in my opinion, protected under the fair use doctrine, an area of the law that many lawyers can't agree upon.
I also pointed out that my blog is a non-commercial blog with a limited audience and I didn't see how posting a few small photos posed a threat to the business interests of the Herald.
I usually try to avoid cliches: but the irony here is so thick that you can cut it with a knife.
First we have newspaper - that should be the first South Florida entity to safeguard free speech - trying to censor a piss-ant blogger.
Clearly my post made fun of the editorial judgment that allowed those photos to run on the web site.
But why didn't I get an email after I posted this?
Wait. I think I know the answer.
It's because if you say complimentary things about the Herald, then everything is just fine. But if you criticize us...then you'll be hearing from our lawyers! Can you say hypocrisy boys and girls?
More irony. Those of us who've been in South Florida for a while know about the Herald's penchant for "borrowing stuff."
Those who read this blog regularly know that I take numerous shots at the Herald. But I apparently touched a raw nerve with yesterday's post.
But if you're going to dish it out, shouldn't you be big enough to take it?
Especially when free speech is at stake.
A few weeks ago a Washington Post writer stirred up a hornet's nest on the blogosphere when he complained that the New York City blog, Gawker.com, "stole" his stuff after it posted four sentences from a story he'd written for the Post.
Some at the Post reasoned that if this "thievery" continued, blogs would soon put all newspapers out of business. Bullsh*t!
Gabriel Snyder of Gawker wrote:
"Blogs are killing newspapers. But it's not by mindlessly cutting and pasting from newspaper web sites. Gawker would go out of business if that's all we did.Random Pixels has no intention of putting the Herald out of business.
"The bigger threat is that blogs say the things that hidebound newspaper editors are too afraid to let their reporters write."
We're just here to have a little fun...and say a few things that the Herald is afraid to say.
But it's clear from this morning's email, that some at the Herald have no sense of humor.
And that's too bad.