Blogger paid

In this video, blogger Duane Lester confronts the editor of a newspaper which plagiarized something he wrote. The best part is when the editor tries to physically intimidate him, a moment so inexplicable and hilarious I created a YouTube Infinite Loop of it for you.

There's a happy ending, though: he ultimately saw reason and paid Lester for the article.

How to Assert Copyright Over Your Work When It’s Been Plagiarized [All American Blogger via Jim Romenesko]


    1. Not in my experience — many are just shameless propaganda organs for the local political establishment/chamber of commerce.

  1. Nice, should learn some of the argue for myself. Who knows? May be I’ll need it,, :-P

  2. I have to confess, and while I know I’d be wrong for doing it, so, so, so very wrong… …I would have given him a nice little tap when that whole, John Wayne-y, saunter over, physical intimidation thing happened.

  3. “So that’s what the camera’s for?’

    Sharp lady.  Looks like it could’ve turned really bad if she didn’t remind her coworker that he was on film.

  4. I love how he was all set to get in the bloggers face, right up until the woman says “is that what the camera is for?” Also did you notice how the woman made a comment about another blogger and the man dismisses it? Sounds like they have been down that road before.

  5. Bad form, old guy, bad form.

    Unless the chap in the video is substantially higher caliber than the majority of the world’s bloggers, he probably would have agreed(if asked ahead of time) for peanuts and a pat on the back. But no. You reprint and then, when called on it, go into full small-man-with-something-to-prove mode.

    Keep it classy.

  6. whoa…you can almost make out the bank routing and account number in the final seconds of the video. Duane better watch out or it’ll be Bob that’s after his ass.

  7. From what I understand of copyright law, if the blog piece had been registered with the copyright office and identified as a registered copyright on the blog, the holder of the registered copyright would have been entitled to statutory damages (monetary amount dictated by law, without having to prove the amount of damages) plus any legal fees.

    That would have been even more fun!

    1. I can here the conversation  in my head right now
      Duane: Hey lawyer I’ve got a blogger here who says we violated his copyright and wants $500 dollars for his efforts.
      Lawyer: Well did you violate his copyright?
      Duane:[side eyes camera] Hmmm could be, yea looks that way.
      Lawyer: I see and he only wants $500?  Just write the check and be glad.
      Duane: But the story is every were now…
      Lawyer: That is his problem just pay him that jackass in a robe at the court house will be tired of having to see him and start taking it out on the defendants
      Duane:What should I write in the memo block?

    2. But to register copyright on every blog post would be $35 a pop. (That’s if he does the newfangled online way. The paper way is $65.)

      1. I believe you can register copyright on a recurring publication (like a newspaper, magazine, or in this case, blog) that lasts for some ammount of time, and covers all the new content the publication creates. His blog,, does have a registered copyright notice at the bottom. I’m not sure how it works, but there must be a way to do this, because even before the internet, it would have been unresonable for periodicals to register each and every issue or article individually.

    3. Register copyright?

      Isn’t that something that used to happen (and only in the US) ?

      Copyright is automatic, and costs nothing.  You might be thinking of trademarks or patents.

        1. That seems like a hell of a racket. If registration is not required, which is stated in you comment, then there is no to those who register.

          1. Basic protections, such as actual damages, don’t require registration, but certain additional civil aspects (damages and attorney fees) require registration.

            “If registration is made within three months after publica­tion of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.”

  8. You know, this guy was nice. The moment the old guy mentioned a lawyer, this could have ended immediately only to go to a court room for substantially higher damages. Hell, he probably could have ended up owning that “small town paper”.

  9. I was inferring a slight on his status as a journalist based on him being a blogger, which had me thinking (from the bloggers perspective) “Well I’m good enough for you to rip off.”

  10. This all comes across as a blogger making a mountain out of a molehill. It also comes across as one bully confronting another bully bully-style. All in bad taste.

    While I do think the blogger should be compensated, or at least cited, in the newspaper I can’t help but feel sorry for the editor. I mean, really? A camera? Duane obviously didn’t try to resolve the issue beforehand. A polite lettre or two would have been more appropriate before escalating to sicking a camera on a couple of (old-ish) folks.

    There’s justice and then there’s revenge. Looks like Duane got a bit of both. Shame.

    1. After watching the video, documenting the encounter was incredibly effective and necessary. And much better done in the open with a camera like this than with some sort of gotcha hidden tape recorder or something.

      And after his stuff was ripped off, why was it unreasonable for the blogger to expect prompt payment? Would giving the paper an opportunity to toss a couple registered letters in the trash have improved matters? It’s a strategy that certainly makes sense if the eventual plan is to end up in court, but entirely unnecessary if the goal is actual resolution.

    2. After watching the video, documenting the encounter was incredibly effective and necessary. And much better done in the open with a camera like this than with some sort of gotcha hidden tape recorder or something.

      And after his stuff was ripped off, why was it unreasonable for the blogger to expect prompt payment? Would giving the paper an opportunity to toss a couple registered letters in the trash have improved matters? It’s a strategy that certainly makes sense if the eventual plan is to end up in court, but entirely unnecessary if the goal is actual resolution.

    3. Yeah, I’m with Ryan T H on this one. Watch the old guy right before she says that: he was clearly working himself up to throw a punch, or worse, and would have if he thought he could get away with it.

      1. “he was working himself up to throw a punch,  if he thought he could get away with it.”

        “….if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”

        “…and your damned action-recording movie camera!”

      2.  An awful lot of ‘a certain type’ do this. They assume you were abused by your father, coach, or some other male in your life, and that that person did all the work for them.

    4. @boingboing-51d3e5bc93ceaa3eb3ab12ad40e120c6:disqus Out of nowhere, a concern troll appears!   

    5.  Awww, another person who wants us to get confused about the difference between appropriately assertive, and asshole aggressive. [pat pat pat]. We can figure that out without the help, thanks friend.

    6. I fully agree, magnetiquewolf. A bully confronting a bully. Everyone loses. The newspaper editor lost face, the blogger lost a potential client, and both look like jackasses. Too bad.

  11. This is little more than a small-time copyright pissing match. Any self-respecting journalist would let this slide, maybe asking for a correction, rather then showing up to some small town press demanding cash.

    He could have even just mailed the letter letting the editor do the right thing, rather then delivering it in person with a camera crew.

    Neither of these guys showed any integrity. 

    1.  Any self respected Journalist (and any other creative) expects to be paid for their work. The first rule of any content creator, whether artist, journalist or whatever, is never work for free.

      If I am making something for my own enjoyment or edification then I have the option of releasing it however I want, including for free. But if I am working for you, or you want to use my work for your own profit then I expect to be paid. Anything less devalues my future work and disrespects any time and experience I have brought to bear.

    2. “Integrity” and “tact” are not the same thing.

      Could the wronged blogger have left Mr. Newsprint more room to save face? Sure, if he felt like it. Is not doing so a mark of non-integrity? No. Tactless, one can perhaps argue; but the only party who lacks integrity is the guy who copied him without so much as attribution.

      Even without ‘copyright’ as a legal construct, failure to attribute somebody else’s work has been treated as highly unethical behavior for some centuries now…

      1. I meant the word I said, though I thought I was clearly talking about professional integrity. The blogger has every moral right to claim his copyright and anything else he feels due, however, I feel his actions show a lack or respect or understanding of his trade. 

        Either way this would be an interesting discussion in a media ethics class.

        1. Maybe that would make sense for institutional journalists who could just let their organizations lawyers deal with it, but  I don’t see that making sense for independents.

          1. Or he could have just sent the letter, called the guy, demanded a correction instead of cash.

            Being independent doesn’t give you an excuse to be unprofessional. Should all independents writers blind-side their opponents with a bill and a camera crew?

          2. If the publisher intended to be reasonable, he’d have negotiated before printing. I don’t see an issue with calling him out publicly on it.

          3. Nothing unprofessional about reporting in the unethical and strong handed tactics of a small local newspaper.  I’ve seen many professional news shows take the exact same approach.  I agree 100%  @fuzzyfuzzyfungus:disqus , sure he could have been more tactful, but there was nothing unprofessional about this.  The only people who acted unprofessional were those at the newspaper.

        2.  How does he show a lack of respect or understanding of his trade? He seems to think that plagiarism is wrong. How is that a lack of respect or understanding of his trade?

          1. He never even thought to ask for a correction or to have his byline corrected, which would be the first concern of every journalist I’ve known.

          2. Is there no end to your vacuous references about journalists that you’ve known and what real journalists do? Do you have some sort of credential that you’d like to share with the rest of us?

    3. Really?  Wanting to get paid for the work you weren’t even credited for is lacking integrity?  That’s what’s wrong with the world nowadays.  The definition of “integrity” has changed, and not for the better.

    4. sounds like an excerpt from “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

    5.  disagree.  this is how people who can’t afford lawyers handle things.  you sound rich enough to think of $500 as a “pissing match.”  that’s a week’s pay to me.

      you honestly think that sending a letter to the editor would have solved the issue.  that’s cute.  this is the same editor who willfully plagiarized the work in the first place.  the camera “crew” isn’t meant as some kind of media circus, it was to log that Lester did indeed explain his position directly to the relevant party, and to log the response.  hiring a law firm to accomplish these things would have cost more than the payment, and it would have taken a year.  being classy doesn’t enter into it.  but lawyers aren’t classy anyway.  they’re all on coke.

    6. Wait a second. It seems likely that this is not the only instance of Oregon Times Observer plagiarizing work off the internet.

      By making it uncomfortable for them, it is much less likely that they will pull this kind of thing again. This guy is doing all bloggers a favor.

  12. Ugh! He knows! He knows from the moment Duane Lester opens his mouth that he is wrong, wrong, wrong and he is caught! And I bet that old lady has been warning him that this day would come for months and months. Good on you, dude.

  13. So why did this guy act like a prick instead of explaining that he was the original author and asking for a resolution? That’s all he needed to do. Instead, he goes into a condescending tone right after the old guy apologizes. That’s right…he apologized, for fucksake. He acts like a total asshat from the word go. …let’s not forget he’s a blogger and not a pulitzer prize winning journalist.

    Good job trying to embarrass ma and pa instead of coming to a neighborly agreement.

    1.  why does it matter if he is a blogger or a pulitzer prize winning journalist. Does that make what happened any less illegal?

    2. He only apologises after he realises he is on camera. Before that’s he’s ready to tell the guy to get lost.

    3. Perhaps it’s okay to burn down your house or rob you, since you’re not a movie star or any sort of important person. 

    4.  If by apologize you mean when, realizing that he is being filmed – “oh” – instead of getting ready to threaten the guy verbally, the editor says,  “Well, we’re /terribly/ sorry that we stepped on your feet.” 

      That, my friend, is not an apology.  That is a dismissal.  That is “You are irrelevant and so is your blog and I will steal from it again.  What are you going to do about it, you young punk?”

    5. you obviously did not watch the same video i did.

      the blogger did the right thing, had the newspaper guy acted politely as most people would, this would be a non issue and we would never have seen this video.  *BECAUSE* the newspaper guy is an a-hat and has obviously done this quite often, he was shown to be an a-hole by his own actions and behavior.  the video wasn’t edited, the blogger didn’t make him look bad, he did that all on his own.

  14. Seems everyone on BoingBoing is fine with music / movies being pirated but when some small town paper reprints some jackass blogger’s news, it’s a violation?  I call BS on that.

    1.  there is a difference between pirating a song or film and passing it off as your own.

      1.  Why does it matter? 

        One act of doucheness is less douchy than the other? My, we are self-righteous.

        1. Why?

          I could download High School Musical illegally 1 million times, and it’d cost no one anything; it’s had no impact on Disney’s income, nor their distribution, nor their reach.  It’s as good as irrelevant.  Especially if I never even watch it or pass it on to any one else.

          Or, I could download High School Musical once, before the cinema release and then distribute it around the world under my own name, selling tickets and DVD’s, making millions and ensuring that Disney lose their captive audience to me.

          You seriously don’t understand how those two things are different?

        2.  “One act of doucheness is less douchy than the other?”

          Are you implying that you comments here make you as bad as the newspaper guy?

    2. Nope. Both is copyright infringement, and just like you have to pay for pirating a song or movie if you get caught, the small town newspaper has to pay for pirating an article now that they got caught. 
      It seems like you think the law only works against internet users, not for them? I call BS on that.

      1. That’s not what Gerty meant, I think she means that BB supports, in a positive light, sites like The Pirate Bay. True, they don’t have a Breaking News tab, but still, Gerty has a good point. We support illegal activities that hand us the things we want for free, most of us couldn’t care less about some small town blogger. BB has an interest in this bloggers plight, they share the same industry and passion.

        1. You pay too much attention to what  newspapers say.

          The Pirate Bay has never done anything illegal.  They host magnet links, that facilitate illegal downloading.

          What they do is no more illegal than Google indexing torrent sites, or Firefox allowing you to navigate to illegal content.

          Also, you lost the argument when you typed ‘could care less’.  Like nails on a chalkboard.

          1. There’s no  losing  when posting on BB, we all win when we engage in debate. So help me understand, where do you assume I glean all my info from newspapers? I don’t read a single newspaper or watch a single minute of networked news casts. 

            If one typo, like a mole on an angel’s face, makes you wretch in revulsion, then you’re a grammar bully. And BB allows edits, so I’m more than happy to make the correction. It’s a win win.

          2. @boingboing-82164bffe4ccc2dbd0163c9486f9e62a:disqus 

            I’m no grammar bully; I spew as many errors as anyone else, that’s a specific one that’s rarely a typo :)

    3. I have to agree with you, there is a slant. Just the other day BB had ANOTHER post about The Pirate Bay and there seems to be on average, one  post a month. And for anyone who comments, fine, but we all KNOW what the Bay is for, even though they hide behind the statement “It’s performance art!”

      1. I thought The Pirate Bay provided links to files that are links to other files.

        Not wholesale copying of published works.

        Or passing them off as their own creations.

        I mean, nice try though, but your attempt at exposing some sort of hypocrisy misses on multiple counts.

        1. “Hypocrisy” and “slant” are on two end’s of the spectrum, your overbearing verbiage screams “SHILL!”

          1. I am personally not of the pernicious opinion that my limited utilization of extemporaneous verbiage is indicative of any reasonable semblance of specific predisposition in the direction of a support for a particular interest.

            So. And.

          2. “Anyone who points out the multiple flaws in my arguments is UPPERCASE LETTERS followed by exlimation marks!!!  I’ll knit pick at some minor point I inject into their argument rather then address all the major points clearly made by them.  Oh and i’ll claim they are misunderstanding and blowing things out of proportion even though they obviously have a much better and clearer understanding then i do of what is being discussed and systematically addressed all of my points.  If act like they are wrong with no basis then I won’t have to admit to being wrong!”

            Unfortunately I’m seeing this exact argument more and more frequently here and on gizmodo. :-(  Never ever found a way to get through a single point to anyone who has ever made this sort of argument.  They seem to be the only ones not open to learning from their peers.  *sighs*

    4. Any one who feels this way either needs to read more carefully when BB posts, or go and do some reading elsewhere.

      The issue is far more complex than you give it credit for.  You’re either trolling, or ignorant.

      1) The vast majority of the support for pirate bay comes in the form of resisting internet censorship; piracy is incidental (and legally, localised). I, like BB, was furious when my ISP blocked Pirate Bay. FURIOUS. Do I ever visit the site? No, actually, I don’t. Should BB not post breaking tech news about censorship because it involves TPB?

      2) Downloading a copy of Little Mermaid that you were never going to buy doesn’t cost anyone any money (whether it’s right or not is a separate argument, but most of the arguments for piracy involve problems with ease of access, DRM, ‘try before you buy’ etc. All things that people are working hard to provide outside of a piracy context – and pirates spend a lot more money on content than your average non-pirate – so what’s your argument here?).  

      Stealing an article you would have needed to pay a writer to produce and then making money either by selling that article, or selling ad space that sits along side it; is quite a different matter entirely.

  15. I like a lot about this video. It’s about a man being forced to do the right thing. Not the way I would have pursued the matter, but at least it has a happy ending (and a relatively civil one all things considered).

  16. “I’m forty years oler th’n you, I don’t know nothin’ ’bout bloggin, twitten, an all them rich folk internetin machines, why I hardly know how to use the fax Machine, isn’t that right Edna?”

    1. I love how he clearly didn’t know what to say after “I’m 40 years older ‘n you.” He managed to finish the sentence, but he had to work at it.

  17. I get the impression that a lot of Mr. Ripley’s attitude was the result of a knee-jerk reaction to feeling “blind-sided” with an accusation of wrong-doing. He probably thought that stuff on the internet was “free”, which is a mistake a lot of people make, though being a journalist himself he probably should have known better. I suspect that’s kind of the point he was trying to make with the whole “40 years” spiel. In his own ham-fisted way I think he was trying to say that he didn’t fully understand the differences, and more importantly the key similarities between “normal” journalism and modern internet journalism.

    Either way I think he realized pretty quickly that he was in the wrong, but his ego probably wouldn’t let him simply back down. Hopefully such an exchange won’t happen again, but if it does (presumably over a preexisting article rather than one that was printed after this seeing as how he’s surely learned his lesson by now) I think he’ll probably handle it with a little bit more aplomb since he won’t be quite so surprised by it. Or maybe that’s just my desire to assume the best of people in spite of the evidence.

    1.  As a newspaper publisher, arguing that he thought the stuff on the internet was free just doesn’t pass the smell test. He, more than most, should understand how important crediting your source is and how little money freelance writers actually make. He should also know that printing anothers work without credit or compensation is a low and cowardly act. He just assumed no one would notice.

    2. Used to be small time journos believed (and apparently were taught in j-school) that once something was printed in a newspaper, there was *no* copyright and they could do what they wanted. I suspect they still teach this down at the local community college.

      I had a somewhat less tactful confrontation with a weekly newspaper owner/editor/paperboy/janitor over a column I wrote for another weekly paper, which he lifted and reprinted in its entirety. He claimed that (notwithstanding what was on the masthead, which happened to be on the reverse side of the column in that edition) since there was no copyright on the column, he was free to reprint it.

      I ended up not getting paid a damn thing, but he did put a correction in the next paper apologizing for lifting the column without permission.

    3.  I got the impression that the editor knew from the onset that he was caught red handed with both hands in the cookie jar, and was intent on doing everything in his power to squirm out of it – up to and including verbally and physically threatening this “peon blogger” with the /nerve/ to walk into /his/ business.  

      This is all evidenced by his body language and facial expressions up until the moment he realizes there is a camera, and further supported by the “get your ass out of my building” at the end, with the “bull shit” memo on the check.   The guy was furious that he’d been caught and placed into a situation he could not easily extricate himself without making amends first. 

      The editor clearly knew he was doing something illegal at worst, entirely unethical at best, but he assumed none of his readers would ever notice.   Woops!

  18. Although I support the writer 100% here, I had a small amount of sympathy for the old bloke, right up until his “I’m 40 years older than you” bit.
    Older =/= wiser
    In fact, IME,  its often the opposite.

  19. I hate old people who think that just because they are crusty they can do what they want. These two are talking out their butt. Unfit to run a newspaper. Thieves.

  20. So the the newspaper pays for and prints bull shit?  That doesn’t seem like good journalism.

  21. A blogger complaining to his town paper about copyright… Can you image a more trivial example of protecting intellectual property? This could have been solved with phone call and an accreditation in the next issue of the paper. 

  22.  While I think the paper was clearly in the wrong, your statement falls a bit flat.

    “Downloading a copy of Little Mermaid that you were never going to buy doesn’t cost anyone any money”

    Well, neither does reprinting a freely available article. It doesn’t make the paper’s actions any less wrong. The argument that you were never going to buy it, but are going to enjoy something anyway isn’t a good one here. It is a good argument against overblown industry statements of the “losses” generated by piracy, but not here. If it is okay to take and use something that isn’t yours, I think that arguing it is turning a profit off of that act that is what makes it wrong just doesn’t hold water. It shouldn’t matter if it was a local newspaper or a high school newspaper. These actions were wrong.

    I think that just simply stating that they had no right to use the article and thus the blogger had a rightful expectation to be paid is the way to go.

  23. Nobody in this video is a particularly appealing character, which is entirely beside the point. One side was clearly in the right, and the other side was fairly busted. The only thing I object to is living in a world where you have to be a jerk sometimes to avoid getting bulldozed. The blogger gets credit for maintaining composure, and bringing a camera not only prevented a later disagreement about what happened during this meeting, it got the issue settled quickly and saved everybody a costly trip to court.

    I just think it’s funny that the publisher didn’t even try to haggle over the guy’s rates.

    1. Once you’ve gone and committed a trivially verifiable copyright violation, in a commercial context no less, $500 is nothing compared to what the aggrieved party could wring out of you if he felt like lawyering up…

      (And, since the Podunk Times Intelligencer probably isn’t know for its in-house legal eagles, it is pretty likely that the wronged party could get a lawyer to kick your ass on contingency while you would have to pay for your own…)

  24. He came across with the check quickly because he believed he was getting a good deal.

    Take a look at the video again. At 3:21, after the blogger says “…and I would like payment for it.” you will see him do what is called a ‘tongue jut’.

    That is the classic sign of someone who thinks he just got away with something. It follows logically from his aggressive actions earlier (doing what he could to look larger, stepping into the blogger’s personal space) as a ‘fight’ reaction to a fearful situation. We can’t know what he was expecting that was ‘worse’ than being told he would have to pay; perhaps he has experienced this situation before or had heard of someone who got raked over the coals for this kind of a screw-up. Whatever the case, inside he was dancing.

    Personally, I think the blogger screwed up slightly. The demand should have been ‘payment for it and an inclusion in the next edition to the effect that ‘Article XXX printed in the Month, Date, Year edition failed to note that it was written by X.Y. Zee.’

    But if he’s happy with his $500 and youtube video that’s his business.

  25. I see some folks here are really confused and misunderstand what they perceive to be a discrepancy between the pro fair use / individual rights stance commonly expressed here, and this article about copyright in relation to the blogger.  This is a fundamental misunderstanding of both sides of the argument.

    There is NO DISCREPANCY.

    Boing Boing has always been pro-freedom and openness AND supportive of artists and content creators.  Those are not contradictory stances, but actually complimentary ones.  Content creators cannot create in a vaccum and in fact openness is crucial to the creation process.  Most everything wonderful that man has ever created has been created on top of previous ideas, knowledge, techniques, influences, inspirations, and could not have been created otherwise.  Art and creation is a naturally collaborative and responsive endeavor.

    Those that would seek to lock everything down are actually hindering creation and collaboration, and are stealing from the commons for self benefit.

    This blogger’s article could be freely read by anyone.  Any user could make a personal copy of their article to read later on any device.  They could print out a copy to share with a friend.  They could reasonably quote this article, or use the information contained to write their own new articles creating a derivative work.  These are all pro-freedon and individual rights activities.  They are to be encouraged.

    What they cannot and should not do is copy it wholesale, claim it as their own, and make money off of distributing the copies.

    Do you see the difference and where the line was crossed?

    Filesharing is all covered under the former, personal copies for personal use.  Same as taping a song off the radio or taping your favorite show to watch later or reading a book from the library or borrowing a book from a friend, etc.

    That is not what this was, this was copying not by an individual, but by a newspaper, who stole the piece and printed it as their own with no attribution, and who makes money off of the distribution of papers.  That is why the blogger was due fair compensation.

    It isn’t like he was going after some grandma for $50,000 for printing off his article so she could read it at the dinner table.  That is equivalent to what the big media barons would have us believe is acceptable, they are the true thieves, not those sharing freely.  Only one group is stealing and ending up with tons of money at the expense of consumers and artists.

  26. I’m interested in the old lady asking the blogger if he wasn’t afraid of the sheriff about whom the original article had been written.

    I think I’ll mosey on over to that podunk rag’s website, and see if the paragraph he added to the blogger’s original article was a defense of this apparently not-to-be-fucked-with “lawman”. I smell a small-town newspaper/redneck sheriff buddy-buddy relationship in the wind…

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