It's been entertaining watching people go on about Ian Shapira v. Hamilton Nolan today. Shapira wrote a piece in the Washington Post about how, largely, he felt like Hamilton at Gawker had "ripped off" a previous Washington Post piece of his-by means of that great enemy of press freedom and profitability, something called "extensive quoting." Hamilton wrote a 439-word item, 227 words of which are blockquote from a Shapira story (226, say others), and 5 words of which are the hyperlink to the source of all the material. Gawker honcho Gabriel Snyder wrote a rather fabulous response today, if you can get the site to load. One of Snyder's two best points: the Washington Post is intentionally boring readers to death. This is true.
And Shapira himself made a huge error in introducing an "expert source" in his complaint, one who isn't really very expert. But we treat this as an opportunity for a stroll down memory lane, rather than the chance to be yet one more set of hands with too much typing-time on their, uh, hands!
Oh, let us go back in Gawker-time, to the pioneering wonder-works of one Elizabeth Spiers, who was charged with essentially the same duties of young Hamilton, but with less corporate obsession with SEO. March 2003, anyone?
Its hard not to admire the brevity of these items, is it not? Useful little excerpts of things to go and read. A guide for readers! So servicey. And then lots of little bits of original content- including this short bit!
Let the record reflect that I actually am stealing from Gawker by using these screenshots.