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UK tabloid rips off RetroCRUSH

CleverNickName (129189) writes | more than 10 years ago

News 18

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

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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Good advice, actually (2, Interesting)

turg (19864) | more than 10 years ago | (#7892282)

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.

Re:Good advice, actually (1)

turg (19864) | more than 10 years ago | (#7892332)

Also, when he does get a lawyer, addressing the other publications that ran the story will put more pressure on the first publication.

Re:Good advice, actually (1)

JordanH (75307) | more than 10 years ago | (#7892356)

Of course, the editor will deny that he admitted anything and saying anything about copyright law.

I hope that Wil's friend has some deep pockets. I would think that actual prosecution of this would be expensive. Hopefully, someone would take this on commission.

Hmmm... I bet that someone who has been slagged by this tabloid, certainly there's somebody with very deep pockets who's in this position, might want to help here...

Re:Good advice, actually (1)

turg (19864) | more than 10 years ago | (#7892531)

Yeah but the lawyer will look at the facts and may decide he hasn't got much of a defense.

In any case, the writer needs representation of his own. The National Writer's Union may be of assistance in this regard.

Re:Good advice, actually (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 10 years ago | (#7892846)

Actually, from the sounds of it, I'd half-expect the lawyer to say 'Oh, bloody hell, not again."

Re:Good advice, actually (2, Informative)

Tet (2721) | more than 10 years ago | (#7893003)

I hope that Wil's friend has some deep pockets. I would think that actual prosecution of this would be expensive.

The UK press has a reasonably effective self regulatory body, the Press Complaints Commission. If nothing else, it's worth a complaint to them. They won't help you recover monetary damages. For that you really will need to seek legal advice. But having a complaint upheld by the PCC can only help any legal action that may follow. []

As a side note, the editor's employment contract almost certainly includes a provision of adherence to the PCC's code of practice [] . Since plagiarism almost certainly violates the first rule ("Accuracy") in regards to attribution, if nothing else, there's a reasonable chance you could push for the offending editor to lose his job (not through the PCC -- that would need to go directly to the paper's owner, which in this case is Express Newspapers Ltd). After all, this was a deliberate and willful violation of the code, rather than anything accidental.

The Daily Star is pretty much at the bottom of the pile when it comes to UK tabloids, anyway, surpassed only by The Daily Sport. It really doesn't surprise me to see them stealing stories from the net like this...

Re:Good advice, actually (1)

arb (452787) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897719)

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.

He's best off getting his own lawyer to contact tehir lawyer rather than going direct. Their lawyer is just going to brush him off and deny that the editor said anything. By getting a lawyer of his own, he'll be more likely to get a favourable result.


Call it flamebait, but... (2, Interesting)

Embedded Geek (532893) | more than 10 years ago | (#7892417)

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.

Re:Call it flamebait, but... (1)

Cipster (623378) | more than 10 years ago | (#7894419)

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.

Re:Call it flamebait, but... (1)

Embedded Geek (532893) | more than 10 years ago | (#7894853)

<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 it in bad faith with the intent to defraud (why else miscite the source). While both these points might be made against a file sharer, the tabloid is obviously a grosser offender.

Copyright Infringement and Plagiarism (1)

Sensitive Claude (709959) | more than 10 years ago | (#7909009)

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.

Re:Call it flamebait, but... (1)

Rysc (136391) | more than 10 years ago | (#7895056)

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.

Re:Call it flamebait, but... (1)

Embedded Geek (532893) | more than 10 years ago | (#7897077)

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 facts for each situation.

Good catch. Thanks.

Re:Call it flamebait, but... (1)

sharph (171971) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898878)

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 (2, Interesting)

ryanr (30917) | more than 10 years ago | (#7892599)

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. (1)

NTT (92764) | more than 10 years ago | (#7898104)

The same thing happened to Mil Millington [] . He got a settlement out of it. You can read the saga here []

DRM (1)

roalt (534265) | more than 10 years ago | (#7900562)

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

Contact Private Eye! (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 10 years ago | (#7900624)

Ian Hislop would hoist them on their own petard
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