Tulsa World: February 2011 Archives

OKDemocrat.com is a very old-school message board, mainly about struggles within the Oklahoma state and Tulsa County Democrat organizations, but also touching on broader local political issues. If you want to find out which local Democrats don't like each other and why, this is the place to go. Sometimes there are rumblings of stories and scandals weeks before they emerge in the mainstream.

The tone of the board is set by its proprietor, Rusty Goodman, a Vietnam veteran and long-time Democrat operative. Rusty and many of the regulars on the board are old-fashioned, pro-military, pro-traditional-values economic populists who are frustrated with the anti-military, anti-traditional-values liberals who dominate the state and county organizations and, according to the OKDemocrat regulars, are running the Democrat brand in Oklahoma into the ground.

(An aside: I don't understand my fellow Republicans who wish our side had a message board like this. It's fine for the Democrats to air their dirty laundry for our amusement; why should Republicans return the favor?)

All that to say that Rusty Goodman and the OKDemocrat board have had a run-in with Tulsa's monopoly daily newspaper. On February 9, a message was posted on OKDemocrat, apparently by Tulsa World web editor Jason Collington, saying that an OKDemocrat post "contains a copyrighted story from the Tulsa World and it is printed in full on your website, which is a violation of the copyright,' and that the story had been altered, which "makes your website subject to civil action."

The post apparently from Collington went on to ask for the deletion of the offending post "and any other posts that contain complete versions of our copyrighted stories."

The next sentence tickled me: "You are welcome to excerpt our stories and provide a link back to the story." It was six years ago this week that Tulsa World VP John Bair sent me, Chris Medlock, and two other websites a letter saying that we were not at all welcome to do that, that the act of linking and excerpting constituted a copyright violation. (The Whirled made no effort to follow through after the threat received national attention and ridicule.)

I confess I have sympathy for the World's position. I love it when someone excerpts and comments on a BatesLine post, with attribution and a link to the post. I don't like it when someone posts the entire entry, particularly if there's no attribution and no link.

A newspaper needs money to hire reporters, editors, and webmonkeys, and that money mainly comes from advertiser dollars. If you put a complete newspaper article on your website, the reader has no reason to go to the newspaper's website to read it, where his presence boosts readership numbers which in turn can be used to sell ads, so that the reporters and webmeisters can be paid. If you don't even provide a link or attribution, the reader doesn't even know where to go if he wants to read more stories of that sort. The right thing to do is to excerpt a few sentences to provide the context needed for your comments, cite the source, and provide a link to the source if it's on the web.

That said, it appears that the Whirled is taking an odd route to defending its copyright, using people on the content side of the house to pursue the matter, instead of someone on the legal or corporate side of the company. According to statements on OKDemocrat, the paper's state capitol reporter posted a request on Facebook for contact information for OKDemocrat. Web editor Collington submitted his message to an OKDemocrat feedback form and, when that got no response, posted to an OKDemocrat topic.

In reply, Goodman stated, "I have copies of over 30 stories that broke here first and a few days later showed up at the Tulsa World. Some of them almost word for word were printed in the Tulsa World from this site. Yet no credit was given to this site for breaking the news first."

I'll be watching OKDemocrat to see how all this works out. Should be interesting.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa World category from February 2011.

Tulsa World: August 2009 is the previous archive.

Tulsa World: April 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



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