I woke up this morning to a slew of notifications from twitter for our @opednews account, which is a bot, automated to post new articles from the site I run, Opednews.com.
To regular readers of OEN, I make this explanation because of the events I'll describe below.
Because the @opednews twitter account is strictly a bot-driven feed for OEN content, I don't track retweets and responses as I should, at least since I restarted tweet-deck after it crashed. Bad omission. It's been corrected. But last night, Keith Olbermannn posted this tweet to his 245,500 followers:
The flurry of responses led to twitter notifications to my email and I finally, hours later, figured out something was going on, checked twitter and sorted it out.
KeithOlbermann Keith Olbermann
Did you know there is a website called @ opednews that cuts, pastes and reposts your work without permission? I wonder if they have lawyers?
One of our 37 volunteer editors (we're a non-profit site created to support progressive values and activism ) got carried away and posted your (Keith's) recent article, probably because a bio page was created a few years ago when a dailykos article you wrote was posted. We DO have permission from Markos to repost, with links back, dkos articles. Then, a youtube of you was added to the bio page, and then, the first tweet when you disappeared and came back-- so we created a page to tie the content together and, well, that editor thought it was a regular account.
We do have permission from a lot of leading progressives to publish with permission-- Arianna, Thom Hartmann, Cenk Uygur, Dave Zirin, David Sirota, John Nichols, Chris Hedges, Robert Scheer, Naomi Klein, Naomi Wolf, Daniel Ellsberg... to name a few of the 100 plus on our permissions list, and we have many leading progressives who post or send us content to post.
Bottom line, the over-enthusiastic volunteer editor-- a huge Keith Olbermann fan-- with good intentions, posted your article without permission, violating our policy. We have a very strict policy of only posting WITH permission, with links back to the original article, except for elected public officials. We apologize for not getting your authorization and that the very brief bio was not updated to reflect your current situation. We've hidden the article and have removed the bio page, but we'd love to add you to our reprint permissions list.
Also, this "twitter event" will lead to us tightening up our policy on reprinting, attributions and postings by members and volunteer editors. Big sites like YouTube purge unauthorized postings daily. We've deleted yours without hearing from you directly and hope we can find our way into your good graces. In a few days, we'll announce new policy that will hopefully prevent things like this from happening, and in the event they do (with our open policy and our use of volunteer editors, these things sometimes slip by) we'll continue our policy of deleting articles when informed there is a permission problem.
Opednews.com has been in existence since a few weeks before the start of the Iraq war in 2003. People call us the people's progressive news because we're wide open to publishing anyone with good ideas and good writing, and last night, we passed our 125,000 article mark. While not as big as huffpo or dailykos, we do have over 50,000 registered members, see 200,000 to 800,000 unique visitors a month, and have been ranked by Technorati.com anywhere from top 50 to 250 blogs overall, for the past year.
Because of our strict no-reprinting-without-permission policy, out of 125,000+ articles published, I believe we've had to pull less than ten articles, over the years, for posting with lack of permission. We publish about 21,000 articles a year.
conclusion, the vast majority of our readers and I think you are a
national treasure and it is painful that our first contact has been
through this uncomfortable situation. Again, you have our deepest
apology and our commitment to make things right.
For starters, we've hidden the article and deleted the bio page we had for you. Please let us know what else we can do to cure this. You can reach me at rob [at] opednews.com
For readers of this apology, here's the proper Keith Olbermann profile.
Keith Olbermann @KeithOlbermann New York, NY
Chief News Officer, Current TV; 8 PM news/commentary hour coming to Current TV in late spring. On the web at FOKNewsChannel.Com & keitholbermann.mlblogs.com /
BTW, If you want to get a sense of what we publish, and what interests our readers, here's a link to the top 50 articles, based on page views, for the past week. And below, is a list of the top 20 articles from that link.