Judge orders Gawker to remove Sarah Palin book excerpts

palin3.jpg Gawker received, published and criticized excerpts from Sarah Palin's new book, America By Heart. Though a perfect example of fair use (a limitation on copyright that explicitly allows for reportage and criticism) her publisher has other ideas. Even after Palin publicized leaked excerpts at supporters' sites, HarperCollins filed a copyright lawsuit against Gawker yesterday. U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa ordered Gawker to remove the passages today, despite the small size of the excerpts and writer Maureen O'Connor's substantial fair-usey criticisms. Gawker complied. Google's cache, however, republishes the post in full. It seems shrill to suggest that HarperCollins would have done this to get rid of Gawker's deflating pre-publication criticisms. Its toleration of identical 'infringements' in Palin-friendly venues can speak for itself.


  1. Wow. My respect for HarperCollins takes a nosedive. Not to mention my respect for U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa. My respect for Sarah Palin remains untouched, however.

  2. So, this is the kind of presidency we can expect if this horror manages to get elected?!?

    Wow. Just, wow.

    1. You don’t have to worry. She’s actually not eligible to be president since she doesn’t meet the requirement of being a resident of the country for 14 years.

      The United States exists within reality and it’s obvious that she hasn’t even visited reality for quite some time, much less lived here.

  3. “Did you ever wonder where the Tea Party come up with the seemingly endless supply of people who can’t think their way out of a paper bag but are deluded enough to get up in front of the electorate and run for national office anyway?”

    This woman is a media and a money whore. She couldn’t handle a full-term as Gov. of Alaska and she thinks she could be President?

  4. It’s too bad no one ever told Sarah when she was young that she wasn’t particularly intelligent or able to think on her feet and therefore not suited for public office, or that that if she wasn’t mildly attractive that she’d be working at a Circle K (or Alaska’s equivalent)and no one at all would know who she is, or that nothing she thinks or has to say is worth writing in a book even with a ghost writer.

  5. Bemoaning the cult of self-esteem that’s infected this country? Sarah Palin? This HAS to be the ghost writer taking a subtle shot at her.

  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harper_%26_Row_v._Nation_Enterprises

    Very similar facts, and a similar finding for the publisher… although this before Congress added the explicit reference to unpublished material.

    The majority of the Gawker piece is comprised of infringing material, as in Nation, even if that material makes up only a small fraction of Palin’s book; as the Supreme Court has indicated, “no plagiarist can excuse the wrong by showing how much of his work he did not pirate.”

    And so what if she hasn’t gone after everyone who has possibly infringed? This isn’t like TM, where you have to defend it or lose the right. Palin is free to go after infringers, or not, as she pleases.

    1. Relying on wikipedia for interpreting a court ruling is pretty shaky, especially if you read the actual cite (which has a negative history, and if you knew anything about law you would know that.)

      1. Negative history isn’t the be-all-to-end-all, if if you’re running away every time Westlaw throws a yellow flag you’re doing it wrong. The fact remains that while this may be a textbook case of Fair Use, it’s probably in the textbook as an example of what the court has found NOT to be Fair Use.

        Yes, Congress changed the statute in response to the case (as I acknowledged). Yes, different positions have been articulated by different courts (though this goes for just about every factor related to fair use), and the facts are somewhat different. But the case doesn’t seem all that different from the Nation case (at least not in the mind of at least one Federal Court judge)… though if you want elaborate on how I’ve “completely misrepresented what the [C]ourt said,” be my guest.

        I thought that some people might find the wiki entry to be easier to digest than the actual case. Apparently I was wrong; here’s the full opinion:

  7. I suspect her twitter submissions are a more accurate portrayal of her thought process and writin’ style. I honestly wonder if she has even read this prose after having taped her stream of consciousness.

  8. I hate to find myself agreeing with Sarah Palin on something. I also can’t stand the poor fools who appear in front of the nation on American Idol and fail at belting out songs that weren’t that great to begin with. However, I believe she is talking about the people with the hilarious auditions at the beginning of each seasons, whereas I am not.

  9. Oh, a court order? That will keep these pages off the internet.

    These? Why, these are my magic beans, if you plant them in the ground they grow into money trees, or so that man passing through town told me.

  10. The court order is an unfortunate part of justice here. The law requires the allegedly infringing cites to be removed until it is determined that fair use is what is being done. Gawker’s lawyers got caught with their pants down. They should have seen the possibility of this coming, and been ready to brief and argue the injunction. They obviously were not. You can’t just walk in and say “It’s fair use, because that’s how I understand fair use.” While the way Gawker presented the material was practically a textbook example of fair use, unfortunately, you have to be prepared for someone to be willing to spend the money on some attorneys to be wrong. And then you have to spend some money proving them wrong, and then ask for damages and sanctions. Which in this case would probably be awarded to some degree, but it wouldn’t be free. Now Palin can go out and spout the half-truth that the “court” ruled it was copyright infringement. And her followers will eat it all up.

  11. I’m a pretty strong proponent of fair use, but I have to say that, the excerpts hardly seem small, and they dwarf the editorial content in the post. Frankly, the “commentary” appears to be nonexistent. The commentary appears, basically, to be sarcastic restatements of the text and little more. It looks to me like all Gawker is doing is leaking text from an unpublished book, for the sake of leaking it, and for the sake of making fun of Sarah Palin. The real question, to me, is whether making googley eyes and reading Palin’s book in a sarcastic voice counts as “commentary.”

  12. Fair use is a notoriously slippery concept that is applied inconsistently by ever court that confronts the issue. Anyone who decisively claims that something categorically “is” or “is not” fair use is making a statement of advocacy, not objective law.

    Personally, I think this SHOULD be an instance of fair use, but only a psychic would know if a court would agree.

    The more disturbing issue that isn’t being discussed is the one of “prior restraint”. Apparently federal judges don’t seem to think the concept applies when it comes to copyright [unlike top secret documents such as the Pentagon Papers, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Times_Co._v._United_States%5D.

  13. AFAIC, removing anything Sarah Palin from anywhere is ok with me.

    She is just one of MANY useless twits who have invaded my consciousness via the media. The less of her, the better.


  14. “The cult of self esteem”?

    Airhead-know-nothing-barbie wants to be a president, thinks she is good enough to be a president, talks about the cult of self esteem?

    Look in the damn mirror!

    If she wins or even nominated, America, it’s your own damn fault for being full of idiots, enough to get her to win. Nowhere else in the world a person as unqualified as her can get within grasping range of the presidency, much less in a world superpower.

    1. Sarah Palin is indeed a person who appears to have difficulty stringing together more than ten words in a coherent manner.

      Nonetheless, it’s interesting to reflect on the fact that

      the ongoing war in Afghanistan,
      the trillion dollar supports to the zombie firms of Wall Street,
      the incipient devaluation of our currency,
      the groping of junk at the airport,
      the bought and paid for health care “reform”,

      and other things, are being brought to us by those whose elocution is several orders of magnitude better than Mrs. Palin’s.

      1. I actually find it even more interesting that the current president is still being held accountable by many for problems that, in reality, came from the previous administration, whose elocution is actually on par with Palin (or quite possibly even lower). The only item you listed that can properly be fully attributed to Obama is the health care reform.

      2. Good point.
        Sarah Palin continues to be pressed on the nation via the Democrats and the CNN-msnbc-NYT axis. (Guess who’s on the cover of the NYT Magazine today?) Palin’s an easy and well-deserved target. But more importantly, the Democrats wish for her to symbolize conservative ideology – all the better to discount it. She would be a disastrous Republican candidate. And she won’t be. Everybody knows that, especially the Democrats. But it’s a smart play to continue this political fiction.

  15. She’ll be elected in 2012. I have no doubt. I remember when Reagan ran for president. We couldn’t believe it, this california governor, B-movie actor, shill for GE, how could he possibly win? Every day we’d read about his gaffes, and we said “no way in hell, it’s impossible.” We laughed our asses off at the comedians who mocked him.

    Now a large chunk of the population (including many in government power, who make decisions every day affecting my life) look back at him like he was Lincoln or something.

    I plan on being dead.

  16. Jeebus Crow! Does no one remember what happened with Sarah Palin’s last book, Going Rogue? It was similarly poorly-written, and under normal book release activity would have been remaindered almost immediately. Instead Palin’s supporters funded huge volume purchases and donated at least two copies to every Public Library in the country. There are probably thousands of purchased copies sitting unread, in their packing cases, in warehouses around the United States. If Palin were not a famous stalking horse for the Republicans, the only way her writing would ever see daylight would be vanity press.

  17. Seems the publisher is working against itself here: the only people who will buy and read the book are Palin supporters, who would probably buy shellacked Palin turds to put on their mantle pieces if she offered them, negative reviews/excerpts in “the liberal media” will only reinforce their beliefs. I doubt a positive review in Gawker or the New York Times will generate many sales among people who despise her anyway. In fact horrendous reviews in the NYT might actually generate more sales, if Palin-haters want to witness more of the human train-wreck that she is.

  18. Well, I thought I had no use for Palin, but what she says about American Idol indeed reeks of the truth. Of course the idea of publishers suing critics for reviewing books negatively is ghastly, however.

  19. Weren’t most of the people currently on American Idol born when Reagan or Bush I was president? So Sanjaya was the _Republicans’_ fault.

  20. I just think this snippet is great considering her daughter is on the American Idol mirror Dancing with the Stars right now.

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