Mt Democrat Newspaper Complains About Being Criticized
PLACERVILLE, CA: In a thinly veiled complaint, the publishers of the Mt Democrat newspaper has issued a DCMA complaint to the host of this website. Our response to the Hosting company and to management at McNaughton Newspapers, Inc., the owners of the local Placerville newspaper is included below. Although it could be said that the Placerville Newswire is some competition to the local paper, news aggregates like the wire service are more complimentary to old media, such as the Mt Democrat, as they drive traffic that has evolved away from traditional sources like newspapers, to online sources of news like Google News and the Huffington Post. Aggregators like these, and this publication, use a small portion of another publication's content and then directs anyone interested in the content to the original source. Everyone in the publishing industry is aware of the great changes taking place brought about be the Internet and the struggle that old media is having adapting to new cultural norms.
We understand these changes and difficulties it brings to old business models like paper printed newspapers, often called "dead wood" publications by critics. But the complaint received today by In El Dorado County seems to be driven by personal resentment rather than any infringement.
One only needs to look at the "media" website of Vern Pierson to see entire stories lifted out of newspapers and other publishers. Sacramento.cbslocal.com, news10.com, nevadaappeal.com, sacbee.com, laketahoenews.net, theguardian.com, Lisa Leff - Associated Press, huffingtonpost.com, tahoedailytribune.com, KTVU.com, and the mountain Democrat all have entire stories republished on this Pierson media website: http://vernpierson.blogspot.com/. But in the case of the local paper's editor's friend Vern Pierson, it is not only OK to sample a small section and require the reader to go to the originating publication to read the rest of the story, it is just fine to lift the entire story and republish it in a manner that the readers never need go the the originating publication. But in the case of this publication, the paper objects to not only the correct use of third-party content, but they also claim copyright on stories that they did not write and do not have any copyright to claim.
The response below outlines the position of this publication.
We have completed our research and have made these findings and taken these actions:
1) All stories noted are not an infringement and are properly titled, sampled, and attributed with live links in a prominent location and all images are properly credited and reduced in size and also reduced in quality to 30% in order to protect the photographers' works. All are properly used in the context of a news aggregation service. Although all are properly used, we have deleted all stories and photographs except, http://www.inedc.com/1-7666, which was submitted by the author.
2) We have unpublished the story [1-7666] and are now seeking confirmation from him that he was the actual submitter and that he is authorizing our publication of his story. If we do not receive a secondary confirmation within 24 hours, we will completely delete this story also.
UPDATE: The author has contacted us and we have confirmed authority to publish this story and it has now been reactivated.
3) We are currently reevaluating our relationship with the complaining enterprise as we will need to decide if the public interest justifies sending any traffic to an enterprise that would use the pretense of a DMCA infringement to mask the fact that the Editor of the paper is angry at us because we have been critical of his wife's unjustified bonuses as an elected official. He is also unhappy with us for reporting about his failure to disclose his financial self-interest with the Tax Collector of El Dorado County when reporting about the bonuses his wife was receiving as an elected official without disclosing his own financial interest. In spite of his leveraging of the newspapers reputation and resources to promote the $45,000 annual bonuses that his wife receives, the Board of Supervisors for the county voted unanimously to eliminate her bonuses. A position that our publication had promoted for the preceding 12 months. Now his wife is being challenged in an elected office she has held for over 27 years. In that 27 years she has never received a challenger for the elected office. We understand a good husband's desire to support his wife, but we find the misuse of the paper's assets, the failure to disclose his conflict-of-interest when reporting about those bonuses, and the misuse of legitimate protection laws, to be both abusive and unconscionable.
5) We are in the midst of a sea change in the way in which journalism is practiced in the United States. The past few years have seen an explosion of innovative approaches to both the practice and business of journalism. At a time of great flux in the media ecosystem, it would be premature, and likely counterproductive, to create rules which would have the effect, if not the purpose, of privileging one journalistic business model over others. In order for experimental business models to flourish, we need legal rules that promote flexibility and free access to information, not closed systems that tilt the playing field in favor of incumbents.
In El Dordado County - Placerville Newswire.