Newspaper calls blogger on blogging newspaper who covers stores who really like the press. We don't know how to say this. Yesterday the phone rang towards the end of the day and when we picked it up the voice on the other side of the line said, "This is Marianne Rohrlich." It was like getting a call from Elvis. Marianne Rohrlich?! Who we have been reading obsessively and PROMOTING obsessively for the best home section coverage IN THE COUNTRY? She is, however, not happy with us. "Did it occur to you that it is not right to just LIFT other people's work?" she asks me. ("Do you know what blogging is?" I want to ask.) "Our legal department is going to be calling you."
Calling us! Legal department! Whoa!
I had a Shawn Fanning moment. Is this Napster 2004? Are we in trouble?
I looked at the day's posts to see what could be so upsetting. I was always taught that the worst thing you could do was STEAL someone's work and claim it as your own, which we never do. We LOVE The Times, always say so and go out of our way to credit them and their writers accurately AND link to their articles directly. BUT on Thursdays, our coverage largely is about The Times' House and Home section, there is no doubt about it. People are reading about them through us.
Ms. Rohrlich was very upset and wanted us to know that they worked very hard at The Times and those photographs we copied were copyrighted. Hmmm. We work hard too! In fact we have three jobs and are supporting this site on a shoestring, AND it is not as if we are subsisting entirely on recycled Home and Garden articles...... And the pictures? We'll we will have to find out about that. Most of them are from the stores press kits themselves and are not The Times' property either, though I am sure a number of them are Times' originals.
What is a poor blogger to do? What would Elvis do?
With great respect, let us say that WE LOVE Ms. ROHRLICH and her work and THE TIMES, and are inspired by what they do. We want to SPREAD THE WORD and THEIR WORK as well as that of others. We do not wish to piss anyone off (unless they aren't nice) or break any laws, so we will make sure we are not.
Ms. Rohrlich's final words were not comforting, however, and I failed to make a friend of someone I admire: "Our legal department is going to be calling you."