Friday, June 10, 2005

Writers' Rights Advocacy, ASJA Style

On May 19 Erik Sherman, who I understand is the "contracts chair" of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, sent me a a two-paragraph, 142-word email critiquing one of my blog posts. I replied, said I would like to publish our exchange at the blog, and asked his permission to use his name. In the alternative, I said, I would post the exchange without using his name.

Sherman said I could not have such permission. He said he had sent the email to me “mistakenly.”

I posted the exchange, deleting his name.

Sherman then pitched a fit to me via email and added comments to the post, identifying himself as the correspondent in the exchange and accusing me of copyright infringement.

Today I received a notice from Blogger Support telling me that a complaint had been received and that unless I filed a counter-notification pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, blah blah blah, the post would be removed.

The claim of copyright infringement is too absurd to waste time on. But I’ve removed the post, “A Thoughtful Exchange With a Reader,” which used to be at http://freelancerights.blogspot.com/2005/05/thoughtful-exchange-with-reader.html.

Much more valuable than Erik Sherman’s misinformed ramblings is this illustration of what evidently passes for writers’ rights advocacy at ASJA.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Erik Sherman said...

At the heart of writer's "rights" and copyright is respect. By asking for permission to post something and then ignoring the author's wishes, you showed that you are similar to many publishers in my observation: you put your own personal desires before respect of others.

As far as being mistaken, to claim that a letter or an email has no copyright interest shows that your grasp of copyright is fundamentally flawed.

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