Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Puzzle of The Times, Muslim Feminism, and Copyright

We are back from Devon.  We had a lovely time, and I will have stories soon.  My blog inbox, however, brought me a surprise today, a possible copyright violation.

A few weeks ago I posted about Shaista Gohir, a woman who Stefanie Marsh called "the most feminist Muslim in Britain" in an article for The Times.  I've also posted on Veena Malik, Shaharzad AkbarSheryl WuDunn, violence against Christiansexporting feminism, and have linked to posts about the Taseer and Bhatti assassinations.   Recently, I learned that I had been banned in Turkey, I believe due to posts such as these.

The Shaista Gohir post contained an extensive excerpt of Stefanie Marsh's article.  At the time I thought to give my American readers, who rarely have a Times subscription, a decent taste of Gohir without reposting the entire article.  So I excerpted and linked. Women like her are too valuable to remain unheralded.  Instead the post seems to have bounced around Turkey, hopefully reaching women for whom Shaista Gohir represents hope.

This morning I received a notice that my post had been pulled down by Blogger for alleged copyright violation.  After a little investigation, I suspect that it was not The Times or Stefanie Marsh who made the request.  It would be simple, but illegal, for anyone to pose as Ms. Marsh or a Times rep on the Google request form.  Furthermore, as I have received no other notices even though I have multiple Times excerpts posted on this blog, I suspect that someone other than The Times is behind the notices and attempting to use copyright as a weapon of censorship.  I also cannot find my notice archived on chillingeffects database though Google says that they report all notices to chillingeffects and other April 11 notices are already available.  Puzzling.

That said, I have not confirmed my suspicions with The Times.  Therefore, I am pulling down my Times excerpts until I discuss with them how they would prefer bloggers excerpt their content.  More on this later, I am sure.

UPDATE: The author, Marsh, didn't file the complaint against this blog.  She's checking at The Times.

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