Photo via The Yes Men, Flickr
When several volunteers headed to News Corp. building in New York to hand out copies of the Yes Men-produced spoof climate-change edition of the NY Post Monday, NYPD officers detained them and confiscated their papers.
So, why were the police using public funds to act on a corporation's behalf? Sure, the volunteers were passing out the fake papers outside the Post's HQ, but the paper itself claimed to be "flattered" by the spoof. But, more importantly, parody is allowed under the fair-use provision of copyright law. (The same day Yes Men co-founder Andy Bichlbaum was arrested while demonstrating the SurvivaBall, a self-contained living unit that safely silos an individual off in the event of war or natural disaster.)
John Bercovici of Daily Finance asks another question of the police action: "[D]id News Corp. -- a journalistic enterprise that has a vested interest in defending free speech -- have anything to do with it?" It would appear so. He talked with volunteer Melissa Lockwood, who had no trouble passing out 300 of the papers. But right after one of the volunteers managed to get a copy in the hands of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, Lockwood recalls, two cops showed up and took as many as 300 papers.
"The policemen said they needed to have the papers there with them, because someone from the Post was coming over to inspect them ... and they implied we would be in more trouble if we were still there" when that happened, she said.
The Yes Men tell Bercovici they're fine letting the incident go, "no matter how illegal it was."
at 9:12 AM