Copyright, Fair Use, and Wine Blogs Lindsey A. Zahn January 31, 2011 FCG, Features 50 Comments Introduction The early days of the Internet were like a snowy country road: directionless, unpaved, and in dire need of regulation. Whereas legislation governing the internet developed as business transactions and the amount of endusers grew, there are many aspects of law that still remain uncertain with respect to internet regulation. One of the complications that recently developed with respect to blogging on the internet concerns creating a website exclusively to post content from other blogs. Clearly, posting the full content of other blogs, without the permission of and/or accreditation to the respectable author, is a violation of fair use. But what happens when a website is solely created to post excerpts from other blogs? Is this “fair use,” even if permission is granted for the website to use the content? And what happens if the original author of the blog article does not grant permission to the website to use its content, yet the website owner proceeds with using the content regardless? These issues, and several more, arose recently in the world of wine blogs. Background (Facts) Recently, Wine Miles, a site owned by Scott Williams, appeared on the web. Wine Miles’ subheading is “The Best Minds In Wine,” and its mission is “to serve as a comprehensive gateway to the best minds in wine.” Additionally, Wine Miles distinguishes itself as being “. . . dedicated to promoting the best wine bloggers and making it easy for wine enthusiasts to stay up to date with the latest wine commentary, happenings, and blogging, all in one place. The website itself is a conglomeration of the work of many wine bloggers throughout the internet. Originally, Wine Miles posted full content of other blogs but has since changed its tactics, (perhaps because of potential legal problems): only partial content of each blog is posted with a link to the full text on the original blog site appearing at the bottom of the article on Wine Miles. The “About Us” section of the Wine Miles website indicates that wine blog owners “can syndicate their blog or web site content as an RSS Content Partner, or individuals without web sites are free to make posts to Wine Miles as a Contributing Writer at any time.” To become a Contributing Writer, Wine Miles requires site registration and for the writer to publish content through Wine Miles’ “self service Content Management System backend” and “all Contributing Writers who publish at least ten approved, original, articles or blog posts, are entitled to 100% of the ad impressions displayed on their posts.” Whereas requesting the registration of blog writers who are interested in having their content published on the Wine Miles site seems reasonable, several problems have since arisen amid the wine blogger community. David Honig of Palate Press was featured in an article written by Jeff Lefevere of Good Grape and noticed the content was posted on several additional websites. The additional websites that posted the article indicated the article was written by authors other than Mr. Lefevere. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Honig received an e-mail from Mr. Williams of Wine Miles stating that, “Many of the top Wine blogs have agreed to syndicate their RSS feed to us, and I would now like to request permission to re-publish your RSS blog feed on our web site too.” The e-mail was allegedly sent before the site was launched to the public and Mr. Williams indicated that, although he fully integrated the content of Palate Press into Wine Miles, the information could be removed upon request. Additionally, Mr. Williams added that, “[f]eatured on our home page are our blog partners most recent syndicated posts, and all older posts can be found in categories and tags down the right side navigation of our site.” This suggested that the featured blog partners, such as Palate Press, Washington Wine Report, Benito’s Wine Reviews, and RJ’s Wine Blog, gave Wine Miles permission to publish their content; this strategy, when used collectively throughout the wine blog community, caused many authors to believe that their blogger colleagues granted permission to Wine Miles and, therefore, they should as well. After becoming suspicious of the tactics used by Mr. Williams, we contacted several wine bloggers who are “featured blog partners” on the Wine Miles site. Sure enough, most authors indicated they either did not receive an e-mail from Mr. Williams or the authors requested that Mr. Williams remove their blog content from his site. Whereas few authors did “approve” after receiving the e-mail, the majority of those authors did not realize the suppositions behind Mr. Williams’ acts. Several bloggers indicated that while they received the initial e-mail from Wine Miles requesting approval, “Wine Miles had already stolen my site, without my permission.” Some bloggers suggested that changing the RSS settings to allowing an RSS Full Feed prevented Wine Miles from stealing content as easily. When contacted with respect to this issue and the legal ramifications thereof, Mr. Williams failed to respond to e-mails. The Law (Fair Use) The prevailing issue in a case like the one entailing Wine Miles is “fair use.” What constitutes fair use of another individual’s written work on the internet? In this case, Wine Miles originally used the full text of blog articles from other blogs. Shortly after launching, Mr. Williams changed Wine Miles such that blog articles that are posted contain a snippet of the actual blog article with a link back to the original post. And, in some cases, photos from the original blog post are posted on Wine Miles. Does this violate fair use? The governing statute on fair use is Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, or 17 U.S.C. 107, which reads as follows: Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research is not an infringement of copyright… Under a broad reading of Section 107, if the act by Mr. Williams constitutes fair use of copyrighted work, his acts do not violate copyright as long as the purpose of Wine Miles is for “. . . criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching . . . scholarship, or research . . . .” However, if Mr. Williams’ utilization does not constitute fair use, Wine Miles is in violation for infringing copyright material. Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 lists four factors that help determine what constitutes fair use. These factors are: (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether it is for commercial use or for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyright-protected work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. A site like Wine Miles exists for a commercial purpose, which contradicts the first factor of what constitutes fair use. Surely, if the site existed for a non-commercial purpose, a finding of fair use might be reasonable. Additionally, if Wine Miles continued to copy full articles from blogs without the permission of the original authors, this undertaking would clearly violate the third factor of fair use. Generally, when fair use is imprecise or cannot be defined, courts will favor use of copyrighted material when it advances scholarship, education, or contains academic criticism. However, courts are increasingly skeptical of the use of copyrighted material when such use generates income or inhibits the income of a copyright owner. Whereas, arguably, a small excerpt of a blog article with a link to the original blog may constitute fair use and thus not be an infringement of copyright, there are still subsequent issues pertaining to Wine Miles that since manifested. Subsequent Issues While the legal issue of fair use certainly governs this problem, an additional issue that may arise concerns the amount of traffic Wine Miles receives from content that does not belong to the owner of the site. This is even more of a concern after considering that Wine Miles uses advertisements and has sponsors that pay per view or per click, which constitutes a commercial purpose of the site. The traffic that is generated from posting blog articles written by other authors without the permission of the authors is certainly legally questionable, but more so if the owner of a website generates revenue from traffic produced by unoriginal content. The commercial nature of sites like Wine Miles would outwardly persuade a court that the use of copyrighted material infringes copyright. Additionally, there appear to be a current influx of websites that use the RSS feeds of blogs, linking to the original websites, to generate money and run commercials from content authored by other individuals. Sites include Virginia Wines Daily and The Food & Wine Daily. It appears that these websites operate in a similar fashion to Wine Miles: using RSS feeds of other blogs for the majority of their content. Similar to the new tactics of Wine Miles, these sites only post part of the blog article and link to the original site. What is interesting to consider is that, whereas large-name blog owners that already generate an admirable amount of traffic might be vexed by the operations of Mr. Williams, smaller blogs that spawn less traffic may actually appreciate sites like Wine Miles. For authors of lesser-known blogs or blogs with fewer visitors, a site like Wine Miles might actually be a useful resource. Smaller blogs might receive increased traffic from Wine Miles’ patrons, spawning greater interest among new visitors through the efforts of an external site. Remedies Whereas Mr. Williams’ original e-mail indicates that he will remove content of any blogger who does not want their content posted, this causes an important question to arise: is removal of content sufficient? In such instances where removing content is not an adequate remedy, two legal remedies remain: injunctions and monetary damages. Section 502 of the Copyright Act of 1976 allows courts to grant “. . . temporary or final injunctions on such terms as it may deem reasonable to prevent or restrain infringement of a copyright,” but sometimes such a directive may insufficiently compensate those harmed. In instances where individuals are not adequately compensated for the injury, Section 504 of the Act allows the copyright owner to recover actual damages and profits or statutory damages. Actual damages and profits are defined in Section 504(b) as: The copyright owner is entitled to recover the actual damages suffered by him or her as a result of the infringement, and any profits of the infringer that are attributable to the infringement and are not taken into account in computing the actual damages. In establishing the infringer’s profits, the copyright owner is required to present proof only of the infringer’s gross revenue, and the infringer is required to prove his or her deductible expenses and the elements of profit attributable to factors other than the copyrighted work. In a case such as the one presented in this article, a copyright owner may be entitled to recover actual damages for loss of traffic and advertisement revenue, as well as any profits that Mr. Williams incurred as a result of using the owner’s copyrighted work. A copyright owner may, as an alternative to actual damages and profits, recover for statutory damages. Section 505(c)(1) of the Act defines statutory damages as: . . . all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just. For the purposes of this subsection, all the parts of a compilation or derivative work constitute one work. Furthermore, in cases where the owner “sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds” that the violator acted willfully, a court may use its discretion under Section 505(c)(2) of the Act to increase the statutory damages to no more than $150,000. In a case like the one involving WineMiles, a court could increase statutory damages to $150,000 if the copyright owner sustains its burden of proving that Mr. Williams willfully committed copyright infringement. In addition to injunctions and monetary damages, a court may, under Section 505 of the Act, use its discretion to “allow the recovery of full costs by or against any party other than the United States or an officer thereof. Except as otherwise provided by this title, the court may also award a reasonable attorney’s fee to the prevailing party as part of the costs.” Conclusion It seems far from fair, let alone compliant with the conditions of fair use, that a website owner generate revenue and traffic from the intellectual property of other individuals. While a more reasonable platform could allow individual bloggers to receive monetary compensation from WineMiles’ advertisement revenue, it is still unlikely such a business model would respect copyright laws without the permission of the original author. Accordingly, the best short-term solution to the ongoing difficulty encountered by many bloggers in the wine community is to ask Mr. Williams and others to remove content created by other authors. Bloggers who feel their business is harmed to a greater extent can seek legal solutions, such as an injunction against Mr. Williams or actual or statutory damages. However, the most appropriate and effective long-term solution is to cease the operation of websites like WineMiles. (Note from the Publisher – This article is particularly timely in the wine blogging world. Just last week VinTank identified a significant problem with Snooth using CellarTracker tags without permission. Snooth says it is fixing the problem with CellarTracker, though to date it is not at all clear that it is making the same efforts to be sure it is not using other websites’ data for commercial purposes. If you determine that Snooth, or any other website, is crawling, scraping, or otherwise stealing your intellectual property, we would be interested in learning about it. Send it, in confidence, to email@example.com. For more, see the original story, Is Snooth scraping data from CellarTracker?, and Snooth’s CEO’s response, An Apology to CellarTracker.) Lindsey is the founder and author of On Reserve: A Wine Law Blog. She is a 2L in law school and has a passion for the hospitality industry that furnishes her interest in wine law. Additionally, Lindsey is a recent graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. In the future, Lindsey aspires to connect both her legal and hospitality backgrounds as a wine lawyer. Pingback: Wine – where do you start? » Blog Archive » Southern Oregon Wine Institute awarded Pingback: Tweets that mention Copyright, Fair Use, and Wine Blogs : PALATE PRESS -- Topsy.com Pingback: The Best Fine Wines » Copyright, Fair Use, and Wine Blogs : PALATE PRESS http://swirlsipsnark.com G.E. Guy We were contacted by Wine Miles when they first started. Given that we have a very small, very regional focus I agreed to give it a shot in the hopes it would goose our traffic, as long as they only posted an excerpt. The idea didn’t sit quite right with me, but I figured that since we knew other wine bloggers who agreed it was worth a look. As time has gone by, I’ve gotten more and more irked by the whole thing. I have Google Alerts set up for several Virginia wine keywords, and more and more I find that what pops on the alert is our post – on their damn site. It makes sense, as I’m sure their financial success comes from search engine optimization and a high Page Rank. This morning I sorted through the data in my analytics and discovered that Wine Miles has accounted for 1.07% of our inbound traffic. So we’re giving up positioning on the SERPs and putting our content to work for someone else for fewer visitors than it would take to fill a commuter plane? Eff that. These RSS scrapers are parasites who lack the creativity to actually contribute something of value. As a side note, we haven’t done anything to monetize our site. We have a very strict ad policy that only allows for local businesses to advertise with us, which means I would need to solicit the ads – and I’m way too busy with my “real” business to do that right now. So it’s not like we’re losing out on PPC/PPM dollars, it just pisses me off that our hard work and content is contributing to someone else’s bottom line. Great post! Thanks for motivating me to actually look at the numbers and get off the fence. http://www.thomaspellechia.com Thomas Pellechia Are you aware that this post appears on Wine Miles? http://palatepress.com David Honig Tom, That’s hysterical. http://www.winelawonreserve.com Lindsey A. Zahn I was wondering if it would be published on Wine Miles. Interesting. I wonder if it will remain on the site? http://www.redwinebuzz.com/winesooth Arthur Web sites like Mr. Miles’ are the most despicable of parasites and the tactics and “model” they employ are deplorable and emblematic of the sleezy “do-nothing-and-get-paid-for-someone-elses’-work” mentality permeating not only the internet but much of our culture. http://www.redwinebuzz.com/winesooth Arthur http://www.copyscape.com/ http://www.thomaspellechia.com Thomas Pellechia Tell me about it, Arthur…having been a writer for so many years, I find the present climate the most hostile to intellectual property in my whole career–and for that I thank the marvelous Internet for its “free” information mentality. http://wine-by-benito.blogspot.com Benito I’d forgotten about this until Thomas reminded me this morning. I just used the contact form to request removal of my content–we’ll see what happens. http://www.vintank.com Paul Mabray Excellent post and very timely. It will be intriguing to see the outcome of Snoothgate/Scrapegate and Wine Miles. Thanks for bringing this to the surface. http://www.cellartracker.com/ Eric LeVine Fascinating stuff, thank you. -Eric LeVine, CellarTracker.com http://www.thomaspellechia.com Thomas Pellechia Benito, If you were to maintain a less-read blog–like mine–you’d escape these hassles Although, I have had to threaten a few scraping sites. http://drinksareonme.net Dale Cruse You mean “copyright” doesn’t mean someone has the right to copy it? http://wineharlots.com/ Wine Harlots This guy is particularly douchetastic. When I objected to him taking my work without my permission, I got a canned response that I should check my spam folder. (Seriously?) It turns out; many other writers didn’t get the email either. I’m not sure how they think they can have a successful business model based on lack of ethics and outright theft of intellectual property. It’s not how I do business, even though I am a Harlot, I’m sure as shit not going to get into bed with people who act in such a manner. http://www.winesooth.com Arthur @Wine Harlots: “a successful business model based on lack of ethics and outright theft of intellectual property” – isn’t that how this country was built. To loosely phrase the great philosopher, Christopher Julius Rock III : “The bigger the crime, the bigger the fortune”… http://www.paulgregutt.com Paul Gregutt My blog was hijacked by these folks and I wrote to Scott Williams as follows: “I don’t see any advantage to having you take my content for free, make money off it, and dump it in with hundreds of other (mostly inferior) wine blogs. That is supposed to do me some good? I can’t see how.” After a little back and forth I agreed to do a minimum partial post (100 words and a link) for a trial basis. “But it’s a trial only,” I cautioned, “100 words only, and if it starts to get cluttered up with junk posts and cheesy ads, I’m out.” Williams did in fact confirm that he has taken down the full posts and limited me as outlined above. Does it do me any good? Highly doubtful. But I’ve been too busy to screw around with it any further. http://notesfromthecellar.com Steve Paulo The content I write on Notes From The Cellar is Creative Commons-licensed. As long as sites like Wine Miles give me credit as the creator, they are free to do anything with the content. http://wine.tastytreats.com on the other hand, seems to take the content and treat it as original work. I’m in the process of getting ahold of the curator of that site. http://www.anotherwineblog.com Amy Corron Power, Attorney at Law We were contacted by WineMiles.com and asked to participate. When I visited I noticed that not only was our feed being pulled, but that our logo was being used on a number of other blog posts not related to our blog. This was at a time when a number of other blogs were either scraping our content or appropriating our artwork without our permission. While we found it necessary to file DMCA takedown notices with a number of blogs, Mr. Williams immediately responded to our request to remove all of our content from the site. Perhaps it helped that “Attorney at Law” followed the signature. But we haven’t had a problem with him at all since. Anyone who puts his entire post into the RSS feed is giving away the keys to the kingdom. There is no reason for anyone, ever, to visit your site, and it makes it easy for bots and script kiddies to scrape all of your content and then make money selling adds using creative content you naively gave them. That’s why our RSS feeds are only partial. We don’t mind if someone pulls a portion of our posts as long as they provide a link back. It’s quite another matter when they scrape the entire post and do a right click and download our pictures only to upload them under their own name. Not that it stops the more sophisticated thieves – it just cuts down on the amateur drive-bys. News media used to get excited when the AP or UPI picked up their story and printed it elsewhere – that’s the part of traditional print journalism that bloggers sometimes forget. http://www.thomaspellechia.com Thomas Pellechia Steve Paulo, Giving away content is the problem, not the solution. Obviously, you write as a hobby and don’t appreciate the fact that some write for their income. But even a hobbiest should retain rights to his or her intellectual property, if only not to gum up the works for the rest of the world. If I am wrong, and you do write for a living, then you aren’t being smart giving it away to anyone who wants to profit from your work–for free! http://drinksareonme.net Dale Cruse It’s very curious to me to watch as this comment thread is slowly turning wine blogger against wine blogger. Thomas Pellechia claims Steve Paulo isn’t “being smart” & Paul Gregutt doesn’t want his blog associated “with hundreds of other (mostly inferior) wine blogs.” If we can’t find it within ourselves to support each other, why should we think our audiences will support what we do? http://www.thomaspellechia.com Thomas Pellechia Dale, If it will make you feel better, I also felt the chill of Pauls’ remark, but to keep things civil, and to keep moving along on the topic at hand, I chose not to mention it. In any case, it isn’t smart for a professional to work for free to the betterment of someone else’s profit, and I am being generous by giving that information to a fellow blogger for free. But if it pleases your sensibility I’ll change the word “smart” to “astute.” I still maintain that the solution to intellectual property theft is not to give it away. That’s on topic. http://palatepress.com David Honig A few observations, if I may. I agree with Tom that there is no reason to give away content for free FOR SOMEBODY ELSE’S PROFIT. But I don’t think that is inconsistent with what Steve said. Steve, I know you’re using Creative Commons. Are you limiting it to ‘attribution, non-commercial?’ If so, then what Wine Miles and others are doing is actually in violation of the license, even if they link to your site. By selling advertising, they are commercial. If you do not limit the license that way, it is my suggestion that you do so. It makes a lot of sense to get people to your site through other sites, but as Tom notes, why let other people make money off the sweat of your brow? Amy, didn’t the newspapers benefit from being part of the AP and UPI networks, effectively trading the rights to their stories for the ability to print other network stories? That reduced their staff costs and made business sense for them. I’m not sure it was just for the great feeling of being picked. Does the same business dynamic exist for bloggers? http://catavino.net ryan These sites are a dime a dozen, and every year there is a kerfuffle about them, when some blogger finds out that they are being scraped. I have a CC license and ask for content removed when they have ads, but most of the time it’s not worth my time to complain. They are gaining nothing. And if this article is true: http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/21/google-spam-really-has-increased-lately-were-fixing-that-and-content-farms-are-next/ It might not be long that these guys can continue. That said, even if they do, other than building a link farm to sell links on, they are not making anything significant from the ads they have. Not enough traffic. Also to Amy’s point, please DO post your full feed in your RSS, it’s not “giving it away” if you do, it’s simply making it easier to read your content in feed readers. Also you can embed any ads you want to in the feed, so “visiting a site” does not mean that much in the end if your smart about your content overall. http://www.paulgregutt.com Paul Gregutt No surprise that someone jumped on me for the remark I posted. I could have edited myself, but in the interest of full disclosure I elected to post what was originally an entirely private message in its complete and original form. Perhaps I should have been more circumspect. But in any event, it’s off-purpose to get into an us vs. them wrangle over a couple of words. The point here is that ripping off content sucks, should not be allowed, and needs a harsh light shined on it whenever and wherever it appears. That more than anything was the motivation behind my somewhat snarky original e-mail. http://www.vintank.com Paul Mabray I am in Steve Paulo’s camp here. I like to share my content and give it away freely. The only place where I don’t is sites that don’t link back to our site and don’t give proper attribution. I am ok with sites making money from my content as long as they give us credit for its creation. http://notesfromthecellar.com Steve Paulo David, my choice of licensing is my own, and is deliberate. I don’t care if people make a book and sell it with my work in it, as long as I get credit as the author. I believe in the copyleft movement. Thomas, I do not write for a living. If an amateur’s work being freely available is somehow a threat to those who _do_ write for a living, perhaps the pro needs to improve their own work. After all, a professional’s should be easily distinguishable from an amateur’s, no? http://www.redwinebuzz.com/winesooth Arthur Let’s be honest: There are better and worse blogs. As the latter are more prevalent, I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to be lumped into a pool of mediocrity. http://www.redwinebuzz.com/winesooth Arthur Lest someone take offense that I’m uniformly disparaging bloggers, I submit the following: http://www.harpers.co.uk/news/news-headlines/10114-wine-drinkers-trust-merchants-over-bloggers.html http://wineharlots.com/ Wine Harlots Ryan = Thanks for your input on not abridging my feed. (I was pondering it just because of this reason, but when blogs do it in my reader, I’m not very likely to click over.) Arthur = Dude! I’m naïve and a crummy writer too? My harlot charms have not wooed you? Paul Gregutt = Yeah, if your writing was placed next to mine, it’s clearly understandable your derision and concern! Paul Mabray = As a think tank, you do want your white papers disseminated in the widest possible way, but… David Honig = …as a writer, you do want to assert control over your intellectual property. http://www.thomaspellechia.com Thomas Pellechia Steve “After all, a professional’s should be easily distinguishable from an amateur’s, no?” Should be, but usually to a cheapskate and a crook, free is better than quality. The human propensity for forgetting or ignoring the past is always amazing. The concept of intellectual property rights was debated and agreed upon centuries ago. While copyright law has been tweaked here and there, nothing about the Internet changes the concept of intellectual property rights, but a lot going on on the Internet challenges the law. http://www.palatepress.com David Honig Steve, Fair enough. I know exactly where you’re coming from, just wanted to be sure you know about the “attribution, non-commercial” option. I understand the copyleft idea, but PERSONALLY don’t much dig the idea of my stuff being free for other people’s profit. http://notesfromthecellar.com Steve Paulo David: That’s the crux here, isn’t it? As content creators we have the right to control–or not–the distribution of our work. No one should be taking anyone’s content against their wishes, and no one should be telling me I can’t/shouldn’t give away my stuff for free. Thomas: As my hero Walt Disney would say, “Quality will out.” http://www.redwinebuzz.com/winesooth Arthur It’s interesting how those who make the argument that “The creme rises to the top” seem to disregard that scum does as well. http://notesfromthecellar.com Steve Paulo Thomas and Arthur: Are the two of you making the argument that there is no discernible difference between the “creme” of quality, professional writing and the “scum” of mediocre, amateur writing? Because if so, I’m willing to bet there are some professional writers who might have something to say about that. Not me, though. I’m not a professional writer. I’m scum. http://www.thomaspellechia.com Thomas Pellechia Dale, where are you? Seems the ad hominem is flowing now–and this time for real… Steve, I said that if you are a professional writer, you aren’t being smart to give writing away for free. I also said that if you are a hobbyist, by giving away your intellectual property you feed the habit of others who would profit from free labor. I may have been strident in my opinion, but nowhere have I said that you have no right to make the choice. I just point out that the choice you’ve made has consequences. http://notesfromthecellar.com Steve Paulo Thomas, fair enough. Apologies if I misinterpreted/misconstrued your statements. http://www.thomaspellechia.com Thomas Pellechia Thanks, Steve. I was beginning to worry about my communication talents http://drinksareonme.net Dale Cruse Thomas, I’m right here watching & laughing as this thread devolves. Every single online community I’ve ever seen has eventually turned inward, eaten itself & died. I’ve seen it dozens of times. I would like to see it NOT happen JUST ONCE. Your move, fellow wine writers. http://www.thomaspellechia.com Thomas Pellechia Dale, Dialog is a far cry from devolving. You may be reading too much into the messages. If it’s too damaging for the blogging world to have a dialog on a subject as important as intellectual property rights, which happens to affect blogs, then maybe this newfangled Internet experiment remains woefully immature. http://palatepress.com David Honig Dale, The really important question isn’t whether we’ve turned inward, eaten ourselves & died. The important question is, which Champagne will you drink with the meal? http://drinksareonme.net Dale Cruse David, some friends & I have a running joke discussion about what wine pairs best with “long pig.” Some say white, some say red, but I say it depends on the method of preparation. And we all know that sauces speak loudly. I think if we served the community up sashimi style or as a ceviche, it would give me a good reason to crack open this Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs grower Champagne in my fridge! http://palatepress.com David Honig Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs. Mmmmmm. I know a LOT of people I would be willing to sacrifice for some of that. http://drinksareonme.net Dale Cruse Like the authors of “hundreds of other (mostly inferior) wine blogs” & scum? http://www.onerichwineguy.com Rich Breshears Great article, and thanks for the information. Also, thanks for the fantastic dialog from all my “inferior” comrades. People steal my work all the time on my day job. It’s nice to know that people can steal work from me on my part time gig as well. How comforting. Pingback: You’ve Got to Read This: February 10, 2011 « Reid All About It http://www.bkwinephotography.com Per-BKWine Another post on this subject with a radically different view of the issue: http://phillipsgivenslaw.blogspot.com/2011/01/edouard-lambelet-founder-of-paperli.html Specifically concerning the “Dailies” from Paper.li http://www.biggerthanyourhead.net Fredric Koeppel I’m getting into this discussion late, but I hope the contributors to this thread will not mind my tardy sentiments. We may be in “the golden age of free content,” as Tyler Colman said during a panel at VINO 2011, but I’m an old-school journalist and a professional writer going back 40 years, first as an academic and then as a full-time reporter (and wine writer) at a major daily newspaper and now as a free-lance writer (I was laid-off two years ago.) You know my blog — http://www.biggerthanyourhead.net — and you probably know that I don’t carry a blog-roll and I don’t exchange links and I don’t give away content or offer my expertise and words for free. As Dr. Johnson said, “No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.” Not that I make any money on the blog, because I don’t, but important principles are involved. Yes, the Internet is wonderful and blogging is wonderful and we’re all so open and honest, except that some people aren’t — hence the spark for this article and thread — and I think that whatever social and media miracles technology has bred we need to protect ourselves and the products of our minds, imaginations and experience. That’s what we mean by integrity and independence. And, yeah, some blogs are better and some are worse, just as some wines are better and some are worse, but we all have a right to retain interest in our own efforts and intellectual property. http://www.palatepress.com David Honig Well said.