A brief aside from Longhorn commentary, following some very unsettling news from our colleagues at Black Heart Gold Pants. You may know the Iowa bloggers for their comedy gold. And you've undoubtedly heard about their home state in the news as it deals with a flooding crisis of enormous proportions.
With entire cities under water, billions of dollars in damage, and a frightening number of injuries and deaths, the recent flooding has been devastating. Though the BHGP crew has been spared any personal loss thus far, their concern for their fellow Hawkeye state citizens led them to post this story on the flood and how people can assist those in need.
To help show the magnitude of the flood, BHGP went to the Des Moines Register online video vault, found an appropriate video of the flooding damage, selected the newspaper-provided embed code, and posted the clip along with their story. To what end? Urging readers to donate to the Red Cross or other organizations helping flood victims.
The problem? Today they received a cease and desist letter from the newspaper, telling them to remove the video within 24 hours or face a lawsuit.
This is not a trademark issue, where non-enforcement could lead to the loss of legal protection. This is a copyright issue, meaning the paper has discretion what copyrights it will litigate.
And yet - despite providing the embed code itself - they choose to threaten BHGP for posting a video... of flooding. In a post urging readers to help victims of the tragedy.
1) Let my disgust be noted on the record. I'll never be reading or linking to the paper again. I would urge other bloggers to follow suit. If you're so inclined, Des Moines Register contact information is here.
2) I'd urge everyone to make a donation to help their fellow citizens in need right now. BHGP has details on how you can help.
[UPDATE: The DMR here and elsewhere apologizes, explaining that their policies were not updated along with their technologies. Much better.]