Saturday, June 28, 2014


Scocca knows smarm.  Scocca knows snark.
But does Scocca know...silly British humor?  No he does not.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jay Hathaway suspended over plagiarism charge

Gawker blogger Jay Hathaway was suspended for one week, after it was alleged his post about a Florida "porn diva" had copied the structure from a Miami New Times article.

In the post last week, Hathaway gave attribution to both the Miami Herald and the Daily Dot, but not to the Miami New Times.

What's impressive is that Hathaway actually made the effort to read three different news sources. Manufacturing a Gawker post usually means taking a 350-word AP article, trimming it to 150 words, and inserting a snarky headline.  But actually using three sources?  Damn.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cook out

John Cook, the editor-in-chief of Gawker, is leaving for First Look Media:

To mark the occasion, here's one of the few exchanges I ever had with him:

For the record, he actually answered my question in a separate tweet, so he wasn't avoiding it.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Dr. Phil follow-up

I found more info regarding Deadspin's removal of the Dr. Phil footage.

On Thursday, reported that Peteski Productions had settled their copyright infringement
suit against Gawker Media:
“The case settled to the mutual satisfaction of the parties,” said Jackson Walker partner Chip Babcock, who represents Peteski.
Details of the settlement are confidential.  Neither Babcock nor Gawker's attorneys provided further comment to

Friday, March 7, 2014

Deadspin removes Dr. Phil footage

Last May, Dr. Phil's production company, Peteski Productions, sued Gawker Media over copyright infringement.  The issue arose after Dr. Phil obtained an exclusive interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man behind the Lennay Kekua catfishing hoax.  The interview spanned two episodes of Dr. Phil, and the first episode ended with a cliffhanger as Ronaiah finally prepared to speak in Lennay's voice for the camera.

Deadspin obtained footage of the second episode before it aired in most of the country, and at 10:29 A.M. they posted a clip of Ronaiah performing Lennay's voice.  Peteski Productions claimed that Deadspin's actions resulted in lower ratings for the episode.  According to Law360:
"Peteski Productions has asked to be awarded any profits Deadspin recouped from publishing its video, statutory damages for willful copyright infringement, pre- and post-judgment interest, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. It also asked the court to issue an injunction requiring Deadspin to remove the video from its website."
I've googled this case a few times since May but never learned anything new.  Today, I checked the Deadspin post in question to see if the footage was still up.  Lo and behold, it was gone!  At the end of the first paragraph there's a note which reads:  "[Update, March 3, 2014: The video has been removed.]"

That looks like a good sign for Dr. Phil!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Copyright infringement?

A while back, I noticed Gawker had embedded the entire pilot episode of The Newsroom onto their site using the hosting platform Viddler.  And I wonder:  Is that technically a copyright violation?

When The Newsroom premiered in June of 2012, HBO temporarily made the pilot available via YouTube and via the HBO player.  Mashable said the episode would only be available until July 23rd. So now, if you follow one of those original links to YouTube, you'll be greeted with a message saying: "This video is private."  Likewise, if you go to a website that had embedded the HBO player, you'll see a message saying: "We're sorry.  This video is no longer available."

Gawker must have seen the benefit in embedding the video using their alternate platform.  They originally tried embedding the video using YouTube, but several commenters complained that they were getting an error message saying: "Embedding disabled by request."  So Gawker took down the YouTube version, and replaced it with the Viddler version, and that's the version you can see today.

My impression is that HBO did not want the pilot to be freely available beyond July 23rd.  The situation doesn't seem too different from what Hulu regularly does, when you're allowed to watch the most-recent episodes of a TV show for free, but need a Hulu+ subscription to watch those same episodes when a month has passed.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Writing off Jezebel

Yesterday, I linked to a blogger who said she was quitting Jezebel following the Lena Dunham incident.

(Quick recap:  The website had offered a $10,000 bounty for the original photos from Dunham's Vogue photoshoot.  Jezebel got the photos and posted them, and it turned out the photos weren't really altered to any significant degree.)

Another person writing off Jezebel is Lena Dunham herself.  She recently sat down for an hour-long chat with Bill Simmons, and they touch on the Jezebel incident around the 52-minute mark. Dunham says it's hard to give a website the benefit of the doubt after they've personally attacked you.  She also feels Jezebel erred by not acknowledging, after getting the Vogue photos, that the changes to them were minimal.

It's a fun interview overall, and if you watch the whole thing you'll probably learn something new about Macaulay Culkin, too!