BusinessWeek Comes Calling For a Humble JPG

This afternoon I received an email from somebody at BusinessWeek, asking me to remove a scan of half of one page of their magazine from my company’s website. The scan showed an article about Get a First Life, my wacky little satire from the start of the year. As it turns out, the article is online here.

Now, I appreciate that, according to the law, this constitutes infringement and I don’t have a leg to stand on.

It is a pity, considering that I’m the subject of the article and quoted within it, that they couldn’t cut me some slack. After all, it’s not like gets a lot of traffic, or that I was misrepresenting the content as anything other than what it was. It just strikes me as desperately pedantic, and downright unfriendly to their sources and readers. It’s also a little ironic, given Linden Labs’s enlightened response to the satire.

Hilariously, they offered me a ‘legitimate eprint’ for my use on Capulet’s site: “For a small business the cost is $2,000 for six months or $4,000 for one year.” Right, because most small businesses have that kind of money to spend on clippings.

I asked a couple of questions about BusinessWeek’s pursuit of infringing intellectual property, but in a final irony, they declined to comment.


  1. You have got to be kidding me. You scanned part of a magazine, to highlight something about YOU that they wrote, and they asked you to take it down? Then offered to sell (rent) it to you? I might have not so politely reminded them that without ‘my’ work, and the work of others, they’d have nothing to publish in the first place.

  2. If you’re excerpting insubstantially for a purpose like comment or criticism, then you are engaged in fair dealing and what you are doing is not an infringement. Tell them to get stuffed.

  3. Someone in the Intellectual Property Protection Department is obviously behind in their quota for September.

    Give them a break, they also have to harass single mothers and low-income seniors about using the magazine to plug holes in their exterior walls, because the Allowed Uses section of the purchase agreement doesn’t specifically allow alternate uses of the magazine for preventing death by freezing. That’s an extra $1,000.

  4. The Supremes have previously ruled that there are cases where the entire work must be reproduced in order to deal with it fairly. The classic example is a photograph. Another might be a story that is so short it cannot really be edited.

    You really don’t seem like the kind o’ guy who caves that easily. Perhaps because, even though you sport a Creative Commons badge on your blog, you are like most people and are ill-informed about copyright?

  5. Joe: Nope, I’m pretty familiar with copyright law, and I’m pretty certain that this doesn’t constitute fair use. That’s why I said that legally I don’t have a leg to stand on.

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