More trouble for bloggers
And this time it is not censorship from the government or Google that is the problem. The problem is a profit-hungry "legal gentleman". You can read about him here. He is buying up off newspapers the copyright to their back issues and looking for anybody who has reprinted any of the content concerned. He then threatens them with legal action for breach of copyright.
Needless to say, many bloggers are "offenders". Most of what bloggers put up would appear to be covered by the "Fair use" provisions of copyright law, however. Fair use is a legal doctrine that recognises that the monopoly rights protected by copyright laws are not absolute. The doctrine holds that, when someone uses a creative work in way that does not hurt the market for the original work and advances a public purpose - such as education or scholarship - it might be considered "fair" and not infringing.
Even if a blogger is in the right and is covered by "fair use", the prospect of a court case is of course intimidating and it appears that many have opted to pay the "legal gentleman" settlement money rather than go to court.
One of the blogs targeted is Clayton Cramer's Armed Citizen blog. So Clayton has just suspended the blog until the matter is finalized. He has also temporarily taken his main blog private so that only invited users (I am one) can see it. It has always been a good libertarian/conservative blog so it is a pity to see it no longer fully accessible.
Clayton is all fired up and even seems to think that he can get the lawyers in this scheme disbarred. He is certainly not surrendering. So wish him every success.
As I have the means to defend lawsuits, I myself would not be intimidated by a lawsuit so all my blogs will continue. The fact that I live in Australia would also probably cause the guy to go after easier prey.
A matter of concern, however, is that the bloghoster for my blogs may be buffaloed into shutting me down. So right now take a note of where the mirror sites of of my blogs are hosted. See here. If the main blog is shut down, the mirror sites will continue.
Actually, TONGUE-TIED and my GUN WATCH blog are probably not in any great peril as on both I usually publish only short excerpts that are clearly permitted under copyright law. On some of my other blogs, however, I do often reproduce full articles. So we shall see what we shall see.
(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, DISSECTING LEFTISM, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)