Last night ALA President-elect Michael Gorman responded to my second request for an explanation about his cryptic comments about Tulsa World’s harassment of the Batesline blogger. I’ll print his post to the Council list, and my response.
“Dear Ms. Schneider I am sorry to have kept you waiting for an explanation. It is in the letter that asks Mr. Bates to desist from reproducing ‘in whole or in part’ copyright articles from the newspaper. I had assumed that they were asking him to desist from practices in which he had engaged–the usual assumption in such circumstances–practices that do not, in my view, constitute, ‘fair use.'”
To which I replied,
“The usual assumption is innocent before proven guilty. Because Tulsa World accuses a writer of violating fair use doesn’t make it true, any more than a partisan organization saying a cartoon sponge is gay makes it so. Respected journalists have been reporting on this particular issue because it involves a big newspaper harassing a writer. (The Tulsa World is the only newspaper in Tulsa. How inconvenient for them to have someone with a free pot of ink offering an alternative point of view.)
“I don’t agree with Bates’ conclusions about, well, anything. But I believe, and other journalists and respected bloggers believe, and the Media Bloggers Association believes, that Bates had written with integrity and without violating copyright or fair use.
“Tulsa World is hoping for a chilling effect, where no one dare link to or quote from their newspaper for fear of harassment. I hope they do not prevail.”