Maxam’s Gazette Removes Fair Use Disclaimer


A Google News Alert for “pro se” brought me to June Maxam’s North Country Gazette this morning — my first stop there since questioning, in a series of postings last month, NCG‘s claim that “Fair Use is not applicable” to the copyrighted material appearing at that site.  The Nov. 21st NCG‘s article is about Florida Judge Cliff Barnes, who is representing himself before the State’s Judicial Qualifications Commission.  The Barnes story is interesting, and concerns public complaints he made about the conduct of other judges, local enforcement officers, and the public defender.  (Read more here and here.)  The judge seems more than capable of presenting his own case, so the story does not particularly deserve a lot of shlep attention. 

announcerR What is worth noting, to update our readers and the record, is the current copyright notice at the end of the North Country Gazette article.   The broad claim of rights now ends with the words “This article is copyright protected” and no longer has the erroneous statement “Fair Use is not applicable.”  In addition, the Home Page Sidebar no longer contains the wrongheaded prohibition against all reproduction “in accordance with Fair Use.”  

I’m not sure when the changes were made, but the oldest piece linked to today’s front page, dated Nov. 14th, does have the corrected version.   (I checked only one article, dated Oct. 19, 2006, to see if older NCG pieces had also been amended.  That article, which was a verbatim copy of a NYS court press release, continues to say “This article is copyright protected and Fair Use is not applicable.”)  This result — ending the incorrect Fair Use Disclaimer — was my modest goal when I first approached the publisher of NCG and raised the topic at this weblog.   I’m thankful the misleading statement about the Fair Use doctrine is gone, as it did a disservice to readers of the Gazette.  I’m also hopeful that my mentioning this good outcome won’t lead to its reversal, as happened after only one day last month.   We should applaud The North Country Gazette for changing its policy.

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