Thursday, June 28, 2007

Plugola Central: 'O'Reilly Factor,' Other Media

I was on Fox News' O'Reilly Factor last night, discussing the sensational story of the murder-suicide of wrestler Chris Benoit and his wife and their son as it relates to the themes of my book WRESTLING BABYLON: Piledriving Tales of Drugs, Sex, Death, and Scandal. The post about this at the blog promoting the book is

I'll be on Fox News again tonight -- not O'Reilly, but a news report scheduled to air at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time. has a nice new review of WRESTLING BABYLON at

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Plugola Central: WRESTLING BABYLON Author Muchnick in Media Coverage

Irvin Muchnick, author of WRESTLING BABYLON: Piledriving Tales of Drugs, Sex, Death, and Scandal, was interviewed by several media outlets yesterday as part of the widespread coverage of the murder-suicide of wrestler Chris Benoit and his wife and son:

MSNBC, "Scarborough Country"

[segment 1] (go to the box headed “Killer wrestler?” and launch)

[segment 2]


Rogers Sports Net, "Sportsnet Connected"


Houston Chronicle
website, “Benoit investigation renews scrutiny of wrestling”


WVLZ Knoxville, "The Edge With Tony Basilio"

Monday, June 25, 2007

LexisNexis Counsel Proskauer Rose: Copyright Advocacy's New Strict Constructionists!

To: Louis M. Solomon (, William Hart (

Dear Messrs. Solomon and Hart:

As the lead objector to a copyright class action settlement for freelance authors in which your firm, Proskauer Rose, serves as a coordinating counsel for the defendants – a case now awaiting a decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals – I was drawn to your op-ed essay in Monday’s San Francisco Chronicle headlined “Newspeak on copyright holders’ rights.”

I am posting the link to your article,, at my Freelance Rights blog, I also am inviting your further comments in response to mine below, and suggesting that blog readers write both to the blog and directly to you with their own thoughts.

Your Chronicle article makes legitimate – and, really, obvious – good points about the doubletalk, or “newspeak,” behind Google and YouTube’s model of blatant copyright infringement against the plaintiffs you represent in a new class action infringement case. It is true that Google and YouTube defy common sense with a convoluted defense based on the “safe harbor” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, on “playing ostrich,” and more broadly on a unilaterally asserted, and far from universally embraced, policy rationale for copyright law.

Unfortunately, the Proskauer firm’s defendant clients in the author case use the same method of “implausible deniability.” There can hardly be any doubt that the defendants in In re Literary Works in Electronic Databases Copyright Litigation, MDL No. 1379 – including LexisNexis, which Proskauer represents – have willfully and systematically infringed across a period of decades. From the very beginning of widespread access to online magazine and newspaper article databases, such as those marketed by your client LexisNexis, both print publishers and their online licensees and partners received many notices that they were trafficking in material that they clearly did not have the right to redistribute. (For details and documentation, see my declarations accompanying the objectors’ briefs.)

Perhaps most disturbing to me personally are the stealth nature of your clients’ infringing practices and the secretive and unprincipled measures they have taken in an effort to minimize exposure. Database companies, when confronted by infringed authors, selectively removed works, with or without informing anyone, including information consumers. Later, the same entities that created these holes in the historical record, without disclosure, complained that it was authors who were responsible for having turned databases into “Swiss cheese.”

Even after the Supreme Court ruled definitively in 2001 against your clients’ bizarre interpretation of the Copyright Act of 1976, LexisNexis and others forged right ahead with business as usual, and even expanded their infringing practices and created new products with them. These became “facts on the ground” during the years of negotiations with the class representatives of In re Literary Works. The settlement that they forged, which the objectors are appealing at the Second Circuit, is collusive and a sellout of the rights and interests of creators. The settlement even codifies a “license by default,” in perpetuity, for the works of the hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of writers around the world who don’t know about it.

In your Chronicle piece, you state:

Nothing is going to erode “artistic expression” more than for a creator of content to know that his or her hard efforts are worth nothing, because with a click of a mouse Google/YouTube facilitates the massive copying and exploitation of the fruits of the creative effort without any compensation to, or permission from, the rights holder. A filmmaker or songwriter who cannot pay the rent will find something to do besides filmmaking and songwriting.

Well said, Mr. Solomon and Mr. Hart! I suspect, however, that the examples chosen – filmmakers and songwriters, with no mention of freelance authors – were crafted with your firm’s conflicting roles in two important current pieces of litigation in mind.

Now that your oxen, as well as ours, are being gored, the long-term solution to this problem, in my view, is an equitable, technology-supported mechanism to facilitate access to copyrighted works while ensuring that a fair share of resulting revenues be directed to rights holders. I hope you will join me in calling for such a new-generation ASCAP model.


Irvin Muchnick

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Plugola Central: WRESTLING BABYLON Author Muchnick on 'Wrestling Observer Live,' Sunday, June 10

Irvin Muchnick, author of WRESTLING BABYLON: Piledriving Tales of Drugs, Sex, Death, and Scandal, will be a guest on “Wrestling Observer Live,” the popular radio show hosted by Dave Meltzer, on Sunday, June 10.

“Wrestling Observer Live” airs 8-10 p.m. Eastern time (5-7 p.m. Pacific time) Sundays on Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 122 and is syndicated by the Sports Byline USA network. A complete list of affiliates is at The show also streams live at the website of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter,

In its third decade of thorough weekly coverage of the pro wrestling industry’s inner workings, the Wrestling Observer is universally regarded as the No. 1 publication in its field. Currently, in addition to producing the newsletter and hosting “Wrestling Observer Live,” Meltzer writes a regular column on mixed martial arts for the Los Angeles Times.

WRESTLING BABYLON, Irvin Muchnick’s hot-selling book about pro wrestling behind the scenes, has been widely praised by, among others, Sports Illustrated’s Frank Deford and ESPN’s Bert Randolph Sugar. Links to the author’s reviews and media appearances are at

Muchnick is scheduled for book signings in St. Louis at the Pro Wrestling Shirt Shop, South County Mall (Thursday, June 21) and Borders Books, Sunset Hills Plaza (Friday, June 22), with local media appearances before and after. For details, follow the WRESTLING BABYLON Blog, Media inquiries: