The Fuzzy Edges of Fair Use

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).


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.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Just In