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Journal CleverNickName's Journal: UK tabloid rips off RetroCRUSH 18

RetroCRUSH is a pop culture website run my my friend Robert Berry.

On November 20, 2003, Robert wrote a humorous article called The Worst Sex Scenes Ever: A Look At The Most Unsexy Sex Scenes". On December 30, 2003, his article was stolen by the UK Tabloid The Daily Star. Robert writes, "The UK tabloid 'The Daily Star' printed the same feature, with the same movies I used (even failing to omit a joke entry for the film Deliverance that I also included in my feature). Instead of crediting my site, however, they credited a seemingly fictitious American magazine named FILM. Not only did they highlight the films I mentioned, but they lifted three separate quotes from my article and attributed them to FILM magazine readers who responded to a (apparently non-existent) poll." It was subsequently syndicated to at least 30 other news organizations without crediting Robert, who is the author of the story.

Robert recounts his conversation with Kieran Saunders, the News Editor at the tabloid: "He said, 'Well, if it's on the internet it's up for grabs. You can't copyright anything on the internet.' I told him that was untrue and he then refused to speak with me further, and said all future communication needed to be sent to their legal contact, Steven Bacon in London. I even tried to call back an hour later to speak with the actual author of the piece, Emily Rose, and Saunders answered the phone, stating, 'I told you never to call here again, speak to our legal group' before ending the call."

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UK tabloid rips off RetroCRUSH

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  • by turg ( 19864 ) * <turg&winston,org> on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @12:50PM (#7892282) Journal
    They stole his material and are clueless about it. The legal department is the avenue through which this can be corrected. If he contacts their legal department and says what the editor has admitted to and how the editor views copyright law, the lawyer is going to go visit the editor with cluebat in hand.

    Getting a lawyer of his own would be preferable, of course. But based on what's already been said, my guess is that the publication's lawyer might see a quick settlement as the best result for his client.
  • by Embedded Geek ( 532893 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @01:02PM (#7892417) Homepage
    My kneejerk reaction is "justified lawsuit."

    And that's kind of hypocritical. You see, my kneejerk reaction to RIAA lawsuits is "unjustified." As much as I'd like to pretend that I can reconcile these two opinions based on the merits of each situation, I know that I shouldn't pretend to have the in depth knowledge of the RIAA specifics to say that in good conscience. The fact is that I (like many) have bought into the simple "Bad Big Brother" filter on events like these.

    While I doubt I'll be sporting an "I <heart> RIAA" bumper sticker any time soon, this case points out that copyright holders have every right to protect their properties. While I still have an immense bias against RIAA, I now realize I need to back it up with specifics instead of just my gut... and keep an open mind in case the evidence points the other way.

    P.S. If you want to save me some time and post some arguments in reply, you are more than welcome (I admit it - I'm lazy). Just please don't go for the "It's because music today sux" or "They're suing grandmothers!" tacks - try to keep it logical.

    • The difference is that the tabloid is making money by publishing the story.
      The people being sued by the RIAA are not making a profit by downloading MP3's.
      • <devil's advocate>
        Isn't the root of your argument theft, though? The tabloid is making money off Retrocrush'es copyright. The artists represented by RIAA are being denied money they would otherwise receive. While the downloaders are not gaining a liquid, cash benefit, they are benefiting from receiving a product for free - stolen goods.
        </devil's advocate>

        I do concede that the tabloid is a worse offender in two ways: (1) they are violating a copyright on a mass scale and (2) they are doing

        • To use the p2p analogy, what is going on with the tabloid is like someone downloading an MP3, making and selling CDs, and claiming that they performed the music on the mp3 that they had downloaded.

          There is a big difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism.
    • The difference is which side of the argument the corporation is on. Notice you're on the other side in both cases? I doubt that this is a coincidence.
      • No coincidence at all - that's the root of the bias I was admitting to with my "Bad Big Brother" comment.

        The problem, of course, is that I'm a hypocrite for jumping to one side of an argument simply because there's a corporation on the other. Doubly so because I've worked for large corporations for my entire working life (with the exception of a small TV repair shop in high school). Corporations are not inherently evil or wrong. As a responsible adult I have a duty to formulate my views based on the fac

    • The difference, is that the tabloid is calling the work their own, unlike MP3s where you don't claim to have written the songs you share.
  • I'm shocked (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ryanr ( 30917 ) * <> on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @01:21PM (#7892599) Homepage Journal
    Such reprehensible bahvior from a.. a.. tabloid!

    Seriously, they get sued all day long by celebrities with tons of money and lawyers on speed dial. I doubt they will respond to anything else.
  • The same thing happened to Mil Millington []. He got a settlement out of it. You can read the saga here []
  • by roalt ( 534265 )

    With Microsoft DRM technology in place this would never have happened! ;-)

  • Ian Hislop would hoist them on their own petard

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.