The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Okrent and the spoof Corrections page
We are slowly getting an impression of New York Times ombud Daniel Okrent in his (relatively) new role.
There was his 'ruling' on the Peter Landesman sex slaves piece ; and his comments on a case of harrassment of a Times journalist (March 15).
Now, we have his contribution to the Robert Cox spoof incident (March 16), made in his kinda-blog.
The Times' DCMA notice - alleging breach of copyright by Cox - was of dubious legality and something of a PR snafu. The reason given by the Times for its climbdown was transparently inadequate.
Yet Okrent's graf introducing the Times reply to Cox's lawyers, is, one feels, disingenuous:
Readers (and others) upset with The Times for sending a cease-and-desist notice to the creator of a parody "corrections page" aimed at the paper's Op-Ed columnists can relax.
The fact that a (would Okrent say, the?) leading US newspaper had used the bully-boy tactics it did against a critic causing it commercially insignificant (if any) loss was reprehensible in itself.
That said newspaper declines to pursue a meritless action, and cites crassly spurious grounds for so doing, does not mitigate its responsibility.
I choose (for the moment) to believe that Okrent is husbanding his resources. He does not want to pull the trigger until he is sure he has a target worthy of the risk to his credibility.
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