‘Kill’ the lawyers before they kill journalism?
May 17, 2009 | 1:05 am
Apparently Google must be stopped from indexing the web unless a vast armada of lawyers is deployed to vet ever jot and tittle whilst billing by the hour. Also for safety reasons “hot news” must be allowed to cool before the unwashed masses may touch it.
That is my biased interpretation of this opinion piece: Laws That Could Save Journalism.
Jeff Jarvis of Buzz Machine has a response titled First, stop the lawyers. This title is a gentler version of a famously bloodthirsty Shakespearian quote.
Shakespeare’s exact line ”The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” was stated by Dick the Butcher in ”Henry VI,” Part II, act IV, Scene II, Line 73. Dick the Butcher was a follower of the rebel Jack Cade, who thought that if he disturbed law and order, he could become king. Shakespeare meant it as a compliment to attorneys and judges who instill justice in society.
Apologists for lawyers are everywhere.
Editor’s note: That’s my headline, not Garson’s, and of course isn’t meant to be taken literally. I myself am pro-newspaper. But here, we’re talking about the attempted corruption of the U.S. copyright system, which now allows for fair use and linking. Special favors for newspapers would reduce their independence, since politicians can always take away what they grant. If newspapers really want to control their distribution, let them come up with reading software with decent interfaces and first-rate search and aggregation capabilities. That way, more commerce will happen within journalism—if you really insist that Google doesn’t count. Usual disclosure/reminder: I’m a very small Google shareholder, although I love to beat up on Google when it deserves it – D.R.