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March 13, 2004

REVENGE OF THE BLOGS: The New York Daily News has a report on the latest involving Robert Cox's parody of a (sadly nonexistent) New York Times oped corrections page on his website, TheNationalDebate.com:

Ten Web sites in the U.S. and one in Germany yesterday picked up and posted a New York Times parody that the paper had sought to remove from TheNationalDebate.com after alleging copyright infringement.

Asked if The Times planned to challenge the new Web sites, spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said, "We are evaluating our next steps."

Disturbingly, the Daily News also reports that: "Cox is facing a possible Monday shutdown of his site by Verio, his Internet service provider, unless he removes other Times-focused material." It's not clear what that means, but the Times charges seem rather grabby and unfocused. As Cox notes: "The print-out are 16 pages from my web site with no markings or specific indications of what The Times considers infringement. Am I supposed to guess?"

The Times is being a bully here, and should be ashamed. It should also, of course, be ashamed on the underlying issue addressed by the parody -- that it has failed to correct egregious factual errors by its oped columnists -- and perhaps this bullying constitutes a tacit admission that it's in the wrong there.

Note to Ms. Mathis: Your "next steps" should be an apology to Mr. Cox and to the blogosphere, and the institution of a reasonable oped corrections policy. Just FYI.

UPDATE: Uh, oh -- it's snowballing.

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