Friday 16 September 2011

Pissed-Off Beauty Pageant

Oh dear. We've pissed off the Director of Miss Right to Life of Georgia with this post.

In the comments and in an email, she says:
Pageant Director of MRTL said...

This is to advise you that you are using copyrighted and protected material on your website/blog. Your illegal use of photographs and text is originally from my website/blog called "Miss Right to Life of Georgia" at This is original content and I am the author and copyright holder. Use of copyright protected material without permission is illegal under copyright laws.

Please remove the plagiarized material immediately.

I expect a response within 3 days to this issue. Thank you for your immediate action on this matter.

First, I don't think plagiarism means what she thinks it does.
Twentieth-century dictionaries define plagiarism as "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication," of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work, but the notion remains problematic with nebulous boundaries. There is no rigorous and precise distinction between imitation, stylistic plagiarism, copy, replica and forgery.

I plagiarized nothing. I used direct quotation with proper attribution.

Then there's that little matter of what you in the US call 'fair use'.
Fair use, a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work, is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test. The term fair use originated in the United States. A similar principle, fair dealing, exists in some other common law jurisdictions. Civil law jurisdictions have other limitations and exceptions to copyright.

Or what we in Canada call 'fair dealing'.

Now, IANAL, but it seems to me that DJ!'s use of the quoted material falls squarely under both 'fair use' and 'fair dealing'.

But perhaps Miss Right to Life of Georgia would like to consult their own lawyers on the matter.

The photo, charming though it may be, might be a horse of a different colour. DJ! is consulting our lawyer about that.

And yes, we fully realize that things are done differently in the Excited States, especially in ultra-'prolife' Georgia, where they are set to execute a black man named Troy Davis, against whom the case is shockingly weak, on September 21.

By those lights, what punishment does a little blogger in Canada poking fun at a beauty pageant deserve?

Suggestions welcome.

Image source

ADDED: I wonder if this gang got prior written permission.


Matthew Miller said...

I suspect she's used to using high-school level intimidation to get what she wants. You probably flummoxed her by standing up for your rights.

Gristle McThornbody said...

I can't help but wonder if their outraged, indignant response would have been the same if you had been some half-wit stage mommy who had blogged about what a wonderful idea their little pageant was and included the same picture. I'm gonna go with "no."

fern hill said...

@Jeri, you mean like this?

Gristle McThornbody said...

Yes! Exactly! So wholesome it made my eyes bleed. I especially like this part:

"Last year's ruling queens include a baby, a toddler, an infant, various pre-teen levels, teen levels and college-aged women.

"Contestants not only compete on stage, but also with a personal interview that gives light to their genuine pro-life beliefs," the Georgia Right to Life website states.

I can't help but wonder what the baby, the toddler and the infant said that so impressed the judges. GAH! GOO!

Alison said...

Jeri : I believe it's usually something about working for world peace.

liberal supporter said...

Based on Pageant Director of MRTL's definition of plagiarism, a zygote in your uterus would also amount to plagiarizing the work of two people. Yet Pageant Director of MRTL would like to assert ownership over said zygote and insist that you not remove it, no?

Niles said...

Well, they've tried to have foetuses 'testify' before Congress, so maybe they're used to the idea the voices in their heads are preborn mutants using telepathy.

As for plagiarizing....are you making money off it or not attributing it to them there furriners?

fern hill said...

@liberal supporter: I am so confused. Pageant Director asserts ownership but demands I remove the zygote. Is this a coerced abortion? Is Pageant Director *gasp* pro-abortion?

fern hill said...

@Niles: I don't thing making money has anything to do with plagiarism. I certainly did properly attribute the direct quote I used.

fern hill said...

Er, *think*.

Scotian said...

Tis better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

That was what went through my mind when I read the complaint because like yourself I had heard of this pesky legal concept of fair use/dealing. This woman seriously needs to learn to understand the reality of such things before trying to threaten others with them, otherwise you end up coming off like a total moron or as in the quote I used, fool.

Nice response fern hill, and a pleasure to read given how dumbed down the world is becoming.

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