The Fuzzy Edges of Fair Use

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Last week, I wrote a post, Is Big Pharma Strangling Biotech Startups in Their Cradles?, in which I linked an Xconomy interview with VC founder Kevin Kinsella.  Yesterday, I received a note from them, complaining that my article didn't name them, but only linked them on the phrase "easting their seed corn", and that I used 740 words out of an interview of about 2100 words.


I won't disclose the contents of our correspondence, since the editor who emailed me has requested that they remain confidential.  I think I may disclose that they are very upset about what they see as an egregious fair use violation.  I attempted to rectify the situation by trimming down the excerpts, and naming the site from which they were drawn, but this seems to have somehow only made them madder--perhaps because this is so rare in my ten years of experience blogging that I was mystified rather than sufficiently apologetic.   But of course I support their right to control lengthy dissemination of their work, so I have taken down the offending post.  I cannot, of course, get rid of the cached versions on the internet, but I assume they'll clear in time.

The reason I'm writing this post, however, is that the comments still seem to be active, so I don't simply want to rip down the post without explanation.  The comments are interesting, and don't use Xconomy's content, I've left the post up, simply noting that the content has been redacted at their request.  (Note: I posted this and then edited it down to the essentials).


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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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