Wednesday, May 18, 2005

More About the NewsBank Infringements

As noted in the just-posted item, two of my copyrighted-and-registered works are being infringed at NewsBank. Two observations emerge in connection with this. One directly pertains to the copyright class action preliminary settlement that I'm trying to halt. The other is just bizarre.

First the directly pertinent observation. Both infringements have this notice at the bottom: "Copyright [date] San Francisco Chronicle." My observation doesn't refer to the dispute over whether the San Francisco Chronicle holds this copyright -- though the United States Supreme Court has clearly spoken on the point that the copyright belongs to me, not the Chronicle. No, I'd like to focus on the fact that the San Francisco Chronicle was acquired in recent years by the Hearst Corporation. Under the vague release language of the preliminary settlement, it appears that I might not have claims against the Chronicle's successor, or current, owner, even though the current owner is participating in a continuing scheme of infringement.

Now the bizarre observation. My 1994 article for Lingua Franca magazine (r.i.p.) -- a profile of maverick Berkeley physics professor Charles Schwartz -- was reprinted under a "second serial rights" deal between myself and the Chronicle. That's one of the current infringements. The notice at the bottom says "Copyright 1993 San Francisco Chronicle." But the article wasn't published by anyone until 1994. What is this, clairvoyant copyright notice?

Please post comments about your own experiences to this blog or email me at


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