Mister Splashypants Goes to Washington

In Erin's Perspective by Erin L. Cox

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By Erin L. Cox

Okay, this story has nothing to do with Mister Splashypants directly, but it brings up a lot of questions that arose in an earlier post I wrote about Alexis Ohanian’s speech at TED about Greenpeace’s “Name the Whale” campaign and how, once you let things out online, it is near-impossible to try to control them…and sometimes that’s okay. 

Except, perhaps, when we’re dealing with copyrighted material, as you’ll see in today’s story.

Thank you, Publishers Lunch, for sharing this story today about the TechCrunch v. Fortune/S&S misunderstanding of what Michael Arrington could post from David Kirkpatrick’s forthcoming book, The Facebook Effect , on TechCrunch (see whole article here).  According to Arrington and based on the emails included in the story, it appears as if they are offering him the excerpts to run on his site.  Now, try to follow along here, Fortune meant to offer him excerpts of excerpts that would link back to their excerpts, which were running on their site.  So, when Arrington posted what he thought they asked him to post, they flipped out, and it became a “copy write” [sic] issue.

Go to the book’s Facebook page for some amusing comments about the story.

This story brings up a few questions that have arisen lately in my own life and work and which I referenced in my earlier article about Mister Splashypants (see, I told you Mister Splashypants would be involved).  In this world of social/online/viral media, how does one police and protect copyright?  Is there something that publishers can learn about offering free content to sites to spur on more book sales?   Of course, the same copyright laws adhere to online media, but will there be a future where we will see changes to these laws to either tighten or loosen the rules when it comes to promotion?

About the Author

Erin L. Cox

Erin L. Cox is the Business Development Director for Publishing Perspectives and a Senior Associate at Rob Weisbach Creative Management, where she represents writers and handles publicity and advertising clients.