Should moderators use their power to advance their own agenda?

Should a SDMB moderator use his or her powers of censorship to censor ideas and information that disagrees with their own personal and professional set of beliefs?

Or is this type of behavior a misuse of power and trust?

Contestant #3

Another question. Should a troll post 90% of a copyrighted article, and thus endanger the whole board, and be allowed to get away with it?

Slythe once again has incorrectly interpreted the law. Some things NEVER change.

Contestant #3

Look, bub, you can’t quote virtually all of a copyrighted article, OK? It’s against the law, and this is one law we happen to like - we’ve had to sic the lawyers on people who were stealing OUR stuff. The fair use provision of the copyright law lets you quote short excerpts from published works - not the whole thing (or most of it). David was just doing his job, and I’m glad he did.

Con3 clearly didn’t even understand the contents of his own post when he quoted that section on U.S. copyright law in the UFO thread. Let me re-quote the relevant sections:

In other words, using too much of a copyrighted work violates the fair-use provisions of the statute, just like David B and others claimed.

Profit and other financial considerations are but some of the other factors that can be considered in cases where only a smaller portion of the work is used. But quoting a large majority (particularly as much as 90%) of an article clearly violates the fair-use standard.

Once again, C3, you disproved your own thesis.


Thesis this buddy:
As I understand the Fair-use definition:

***For purposes such as criticism, comment, and the like is not an infringement of copyright.

Hmmmm…kinda like the way I used it.

Some of the important factors to be connsidered are:

***Is such use of a commercial nature?

No. There is no charge for enjoying my posts on the SDMB.

***The nature of the copyrighted work

In this case, a recitation of readily available facts

***The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Let’s see, an newspaper article seven months old about a current event…hmmmm…definitely was worth something the week of January 9th, 1999, MIGHT have been worth something in a January issue of a magazine…but undoubtably has ZERO market value in July of 1999.

Do you folks have an actual point here or is this just a circling of the wagons?

Contestant #3

Hey Connie, put up or shut up.


I’m a woman phenomenally
Phenomenal woman
That’s me
(Maya Angelou)

That’s weak Maya Angelou wannabe.

You are wrong. I am right. You are circling the wagons to protect your kind.

Contestant #3

Back in the days when I was a brand new lawyer my mentor used to tell me the old saw about “If the facts are against you, pound the law, if the law is against you, pound the facts, if the facts and the law are against you, pound the table.”

Looks like Connie’s reduced to pounding the table.


I’m a woman phenomenally
Phenomenal woman
That’s me
(Maya Angelou)

BTW, Connie, where’d you go to law school? I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall) in 1983, and now work in the General Counsel’s office of a major corporation.

-Melin, Esq.

I’m a woman phenomenally
Phenomenal woman
That’s me
(Maya Angelou)

It seems like this bears repeating (with post surgical corrections) from the other thread, with new additions.

Let’s take this a section at a time, shall we, class?

[[In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include -

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;]]

Ooopsie. You blew it right there. This is a commercial site. Posts from the Dope boards have been included in Cecil’s books, thus rendering this far out of nonprofit range. That precludes full repeat being within Fair Use, without even going further into it.

[[ (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;]]

Uh oh. Guess what? You didn’t fairly quote small sections, you “stole” (yep, infringement is the theft of intellectual property) at least 90% of that article. Taking 360$ out of a wallet and leaving 40$ behind when you return it is still stealing, even though you only took 90%.

You weren’t repeating facts, you were quoting an entire article verbatim. You weren’t using it for criticism or comment, you were using someone else’s words – apparently without any added comments of your own that could have given your defense of using it merit – to support your position.

The point here, C3, is that it is WRONG, and even though the article is old, it is still covered by copyright for the next, oh, 60 years or so until after the death of the author or dissolution of Reuters. Allowing an illegally quoted post to remain sets an unlawful precedent suggesting that it is all right to do what you did.

The problem is, you’re still wrong. Because one tiny piece of the Fair Use Doctrine supports you, you are ignoring the rest of the conditions that negate your argument. If you fail to meet even one condition, such as this being a commercial site, Fair Use is negated entirely and it becomes a case of infringement, profit or not.

I really don’t understand how someone can only look at one small fact – like C3’s “pofit” defense – and think that it makes a legal wrong right. That sort of thinking seems pretty cheap to me, like: “If no one catches me breaking the law, I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Is it a morality deficiency? A case of blinders putting ME ME ME before being right? An overall lack of consideration? Hmm, maybe this “situational ethics” dilemma is a topic for another thread.

Suze – what AM I doing? – anne

The Burning Begins Anew at

[[ like C3’s “pofit” defense]]

That would be profit on my planet.

Damn, I can’t wait to get rid of this cast and stitches to use two hands again. Typos suck.

I posted this in the other thread that C3 started about this in General Questions, but here goes:
I kinda understand where you guys are coming from, but I posted 2 whole articles, C&P’d directly from the Houston Chronicle the day they were printed. Nobody said anything to me about copy-right infringement. What’s the difference? Please don’t take this the wrong way, but was my post different enough to be legal where C3’s is not (or maybe you just didn’t catch me?), or do you guys just really not like C3? I’m leaning toward the first until I get an answer, as I’d like to think you guys don’t play favourites.

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
– Henry David Thoreau

Melin just thinks because she runs errands in the GC’s office where she works that she’s some kind of legal authority. She is not. She tries to impress us by name-dropping where she graduated from…ooohhh…I’m impressed! My guess is that she hasn’t passed the bar and is not an actual practicing attorney. If I’m wrong and she does practice, I’d say her specialty is probably reviewing boring purchase contracts that the purchasing agents send to her.

I’ve known a couple attorneys that do this that are boderline suicidal!

I’ve challenged her to use her Westlaw or Lexis account to present an actual precedent for her sloppy assertions, but there you go, nothing but insults. She deserves whatever I throw back at her.

Contestant #3

Cessandra, now that you’re aware you violated the fair-use statute, perhaps you should write to the moderator of whatever forum you posted those articles in and ask that they be removed or edited.

I, myself, once wrote such a letter to one of the moderators here after posting something I later realized might have legal repercussions for TSD or the Chicago Reader.

That moderator acknowledged the great difficulty in keeping up with every single post in every single thread in their forum. I suspect the same thing happened in your case.
And Con 3, only after you’ve earned your law degree from a school in Berkeley’s class can you directly insult someone else’s legal knowledge – not before.

Cessandra: When and where did you post those articles? Until just a couple weeks ago, the moderators on this message board were severely overworked and could not keep up with the volume (that’s why three of us were added in the last few weeks). Thus, I suspect it is simply a case of not having seen the articles you posted. As Ambushed suggested, if you could tell us where they are, the appropriate moderator or an administrator will take care of them.

As far as Contestant#3’s claim:

The simple facts are completely against him. Several people have already pointed out how wrong he is about copyright law (and how has he countered? By ad hominem attacks against those who showed him wrong). But I wanted to further address his implication that this has to do with censorship. Anybody reading the thread already knows that this has nothing at all to do with censoring things. If he had wanted to, he could have quoted appropriate parts, or summarized the Firmage case, or pointed to websites containing info on Firmage, etc. His ideas have never been censored, and will not be as long as he follows the rules of this message board. Did I edit his post of the Reuters article? Yes. I left enough so people knew what he had been talking about (Firmage’s belief in UFOs) and got rid of the rest. Did I then delete his follow-up? Yes, but he has already admitted he posted at least 90% of the original article, in violation of fair use. He has had ample opportunity to make his points without violating copyright law and the rules of this message board, and continues to have those opportunities if he wishes to use them instead of complaining and insulting people.

David B, SDMB Great Debates Moderator

Hey, look, there’s a bottom line here. The Chicago READER pays for this site, for its upkeep and maintenance. The READER appointed Ed Zotti as the Guy in Charge.

So you can argue law, or cite precedent, or crab and whine all you want. It’s irrelevant. The fact is that the READER is the organization that would be sued, and that Ed (as person-in-charge) is the decision maker about what risks the READER is willing to take. Once Ed has looked at it and made his decision, buddy, you’re done. Kwitcher bitchin’. You don’t like it, find another site to post on.

This aint “abuse of power” and it ain’t “censorship” and it ain’t even a legal question. It’s a business question of what kind of risks the READER (on advice of its attorneys) is willing to take, or not willing to take. Other attorneys may have different advice, again, that’s irrelevant. There’s a bottom line here, and it was reached when Ed posted his comments. Period.

To answer your orignal question, C#3: no, but they should be allowed to take steps to protect the boards from possible (let me stress possible) legal action.

I like to think we’re all having fun here. I’d like all of us to continue having fun. So we don’t need some an idiot like you going out of his/her way to fuck up things.

Why don’t you just sit back, revel in your self-ordained sense of rightness, and just drop the issue? None of us is going to agree with you, you’re not going to change your mind, so picking fights with the rest of the Dopers isn’t going to accomplish a thing.

Don’t you have any other hobbies?

Guy: It does nobody any good to start hurling insults. You could have made your point just as clearly without it. If you feel you must, please take it to the BBQ Pit. Otherwise, please keep the insults like this out of it. Thanks.

David B, SDMB Great Debates Moderator

We’ve covered the topic pretty thoroughly, so I’m closing this thread. To summarize, our policy on this board is that you can quote SHORT EXCERPTS from a copyrighted work in a post. You can’t quote ALL or MOST of it. Posts that do will be pulled. If you see a post that appears to violate this policy, please notify the board moderator or the Webmaster. Thanks!