Where to begin with today's dose of stupidity:
Allegra and Emerson Wong have a website called City Felines Blog. A few months back, the cat people posted a story about the suffering of a bunch of birds that died in a fire at a wildlife sanctuary.
That created a problem, not because cat people shouldn't write about birds, but because the story had been reported, edited and published originally not by the cat people but by the newspaper people, otherwise known as the staff of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Now the Wongs are facing a federal copyright infringement lawsuit, and possible damages, for duplicating the Vegas paper's work without permission. They are not alone — roughly three dozen other websites and blogs face litigation for using Review-Journal stories without permission.
The confrontation has the blogosphere whirring and sputtering. Much of the commentary drips disdain — just another establishment media company picking on a bunch of poor little upstarts. But others cheer the newspaper for standing up to the new-media freeloaders, whose best work is taking other people's best work.
It's not cats, but dogma, that dominate this debate. Newspaper people believe their cash-starved profession might be saved if only they could corral and get paid for all the content they create. Internet people believe the Web is a giant free-form party that boundaries and rules just might kill.
Yes. The Internet people. Out here on the Internet. We only oppose batshit insane, counterproductive lawsuits because we don't want our party ruined. We absolutely have no concept of copyright, and all we want to do is drink and blow noisemakers and cash in on the billions we get from Google Ads about catnip. That's us.
God forbid some of the "Internet people" spend years dissecting the ways in which newspaper companies have earned and spent money that makes lost web revenue look like peanuts, or bring up the inconvenient truth that no matter how much money news organizations rake in from these lawsuits (Rainey's piece notes that one site settled for $2,185, or approximately the cost of a publisher's regular Tuesday suit) it won't begin to compensate for the dollars lost through 30 years' abject stupidity and rapacious profit-mongering.
God forbid some of the "Internet people" (it's unclear if Rainey means political bloggers, knitting bloggers, Facebook, D&D fandom, or what) point out that the only people lawsuits like this will enrich are the lawyers who fight over this in court. Working reporters won't see a damn dime. Or do you want me to believe a bunch of publishers will take every dollar that comes in from harassing bloggers who are driving content to their sites and give it to their underpaid, overworked employees? That they'll reinvest it in the newspaper, in news coverage and marketing and distribution?
I may be a hard-partying Internet person who just thinks news needs to be, like, free and stuff, dude, but even I'm not that naive.