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Minnesota Democrats Exposed

I had mixed feelings about the news that MDE was being pursued by Inside Minnesota Politics (IMP), a local lefty blog/podcast. The basic background is that MDE used a picture (nothing that’s going to get nominated for a Pulitzer) from IMP’s website. MDE linked to IMP and credited IMP with the photograph. IMP complained, and MDE took the picture down. Now IMP is pursuing MDE through legal channels for Copyright infringement.

The merits of the case are rather weak. The picture probably falls under the “fair use” clause. Most of the lawyers in the MOB (and there are a few) agree that the case IMP is bringing against MDE is baseless, and that this is really just a ploy to get MDE’s name public.

This is where I have mixed feelings. I oppose anonymous blogging, posting, pamphleteering or any other anonymous work. That’s one of the rules for getting onto “da role” on my sidebar. In the words of Bill O’Reilly “If you’re going to sling it, sign it.” It matches my attitudes exactly.

I understand the need for anonymity at times. I myself have given stories “on background” (during a vicious and childish student government race in college). I also receive information from anonymous sources that I have in Minnesota state government. I rely on these sources a lot, mainly because I have so few of them. I defend their anonymity strongly.

I just don’t like it. “Charles Carroll of Carrollton” reads the signature of one of the men that signed the Declaration of Indepedence. Not only did Carroll sign the Declaration, but he gave the British directions to his house where they could find him. That takes guts.

But like I said, I understand the need for anonymity. Anonymity will reveal information that otherwise might not get out there. MDE doesn’t lie, MDE is not being charged with libel. MDE did not profit from IMP at all. It’s a tactic to get MDE out of the arena. I don’t know why MDE wants to be anonymous, but he must have his reason[s]. (I also do not know who MDE is, so don’t ask.)

IMP is making an assualt on MDE for political gain. It’s that simple, and because of that, I must make a stand with MDE, and encourage any of my readers who can afford it to donate to the MDE defense fund.

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7 Responses

  1. Sadly, it seems this episode has tripled IMP’s daily average traffic.

  2. Unfortunately, MDE doesn’t seem inclined to give us many details beyond “I’m under attack!” and “Contribute to my defense fund!” What case? What litigation? What has happened other than the domain name people getting one request for his identity? Any court orders out there? Any demands?

    Before coughing up cash, ask a few questions about whether this is a real threat or an overreaction.

  3. Tony Garcia has been in contact with MDE, and we’re still trying to find a way to get him on the air without revealing his identity.

    I can tell you that even consulting with a lawyer costs money, more money than I make in a day at least.

    And it is a threat, anytime someone threatens you with legal action, it’s a threat and should be taken seriously.

  4. I will also say that these guys do throw legal threats (meritless ones) around like beads in Mardi Gras.

  5. I think that this case is a perfect example of why we have public writers and anonymous tipsters in the MSM. It actually happens quite often that a baseless lawsuit is brough against a MSM outlet, and is usuallly killed prety quickly. The tipsters are never involved.

    In this case the news outlet is the one who is anonymous, so dealing with the baseless lawsuit results in unmasking.

    Maybe he would have been better off doing a blog with someone else who was ‘out’ as a pointman, while he (she?) could have still written all the stories, etc.

    Unfortunately this is either going to cost him a lot of $ for a good lawyer who can meet with the IMP lawyers and show them how this will cost them a fortune to move forward and there will be a countersuit, or he’ll have to give up the anonimity – at which case I assume the lawsuit will be dropped as it is baseless anyway.

    The Copyright Act was amended in 1976 to recognize what had been a judicial doctrine of fair use. The Act now provides in relevant part:

    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. 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;

    (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

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

    (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the abovefactors.

  6. Good question Anon…. Tony, I read the emails you posted from IMP – and they weren’t threats. They stated that the material was copyright protected. I think you can safely “fair use” it, but it is copyrighted. I assume that when you talked about it during your radio show, you gave the information about the source – so people could go to the source and decide for themselves.

  7. Seems to me that “Stop using my copywrited protected material” is a far cry from “Tell me who you are, anonymous blogger, so I can sue the pants off of you with or without good cause!”

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