Dear Rick,After editing the post, I sent an email back to Ms. Levinson inquiring as to who brought it to the Herald's attention and if there are other "stories" they want removed from SFDB since, after all, she did use the plural tense. I got this response...
It has been brought to our attention that you have copied nearly complete stories from MiamiHerald.com onto your website, or copied them in their entirety. For instance, this column by Leonard Pitts Jr.:
is identical to the copyrighted MiamiHerald.com version:
You are welcome to blog about and link to our articles, and we encourage it. We appreciate your link back to the article "in its entirety". But we must ask that you limit the amount of content you are pasting into your posts. Normally we allow use of the headline and one paragraph, though if you are commenting about an article you may use another paragraph when needed to make it clear to a reader what you are posting about.
Please remove the copyrighted MiamiHerald.com content from your website. If you have comments or concerns about our copyright policy, please feel free to contact me. Our complete copyright policy is available on our website at MiamiHerald.com. http://www.miamiherald.com/terms_of_service/
It explains you are welcome to link to content on our website, using no more than a headline and first paragraph of the story, and clearly identifying the source of the content. You are not allowed to reproduce content in excess of that, or in its entirety, on your website.
Thank you for your attention to this matter,
Rick,In a return email, I asked Ms. Levinson if the Herald also wanted me to delete the posts she referenced in her second email. I also requested the email address of the complainant. I have not heard back.
Thanks for your quick response. There were a few other posts, also Pitts' columns. I noticed many of your posts use only a few paragraphs from our stories, and that's fine. We got an email from a reader who pointed them out. Here are the other ones mentioned in that email. I did a quick scan of your blog, and didn't find any others:
Again, I appreciate your attention to this.
Dir. of Website Operations
Miami Herald Media Co.
With everything that is going on at Miami's leading newspaper, I've got to hand it to the Herald for chasing after SFDB. No matter how many copy editors and journalists they're dismissing, they still have time for employees to police the web. Bravo.
Ms. Levinson and the Miami Herald apparently feel that if an SFDB reader gets enough of the story on my blog, then they won't visit the Herald. I suppose they are also concerned about the fact that Herald content will be available for free at SFDB even after they move it into their pay-for-view archives. I understand those concerns but would like to point out that every one of those posts links to the Herald and provides them a potential customer that represents more traffic and advertisement revenue. I would think that the Herald, a newspaper in the midst of a subscriber freefall, would be happy for any links to their website. I think if this was a habitual thing with a certain blog or if there was a pattern of abuse I might better understand their hardline approach. But I've posted close to 8,000 times in just less than 3 years so a handful of posts that apparently violate this policy hardly constitutes a pattern or a problem, in my opinion.
There's no doubt that the unidentified "reader" who filed the complaint certainly played some part in the Herald's decision to pursue SFDB as there are other Miami-based blogs that apparently regularly violate the Herald's policy and don't receive emails or attention from Ms. Levinson.*
In any case, I have complied. I have no choice, really. And to avoid any further conflict or nasty emails from the Miami Herald, I'm going to stop linking and referring to Herald content at SFDB, at least for the moment. That includes Jim Morin's cartoons, which I dearly love and will greatly miss and any other material that I've traditionally included in the Sifts. I don't want to have to deal with Ms. Levinson or any other Herald employee's subjective interpretations of whether I'm in compliance with their policies. I'm sure they won't miss my traffic and I don't have to deal with their emails so good-good for everyone involved.
However, I would like to suggest to Ms. Levinson and the rest of the Herald staff that the blogging community is their ally, in most cases, and it serves both parties and their respective readership to work together, link appropriately, be "interactive" and not get too consumed with content ownership.
Just ask your fellow employee, Chuck Rabin, Ms. Levinson. I'm sure he'll agree.
* In an interesting twist to this situation, a fellow South Florida blogger who frequently and harshly criticizes the Herald visited SFDB early this morning and specifically checked the posts that Levinson referenced in her second email. I'm not sure what caused him to go directly to those posts since I hadn't even posted about this incident yet, but I've been having a rather contentious back and forth with this blogger for months and it wouldn't surprise me a bit if he was the impetus behind the Herald's attention.