Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Good Heavens! Media One gives obituaries "eternal life"

Media One CEO Brent Low called Tuesday to say he had exceeded his own original intentions by extending the longtime 30-day limit for free online access to obituaries that have appeared in the two Salt Lake City dailies. "Forever" is the new limit. He had stated on Monday that he would immediately change the allotted time to one year as an initial step in reforming obit policy, but he decided not to bother with incremental change, and to go all the way right now. I expressed my support, but reminded him that the more serious issue is Legacy.com's unconscionable and illegal commandeering
of the copyright and intellectual property protections that accrue to its hoard of 14 million obituaries. Legacy's claims of mind-bogglingly vast rights and privileges -- regarding the content that was created by, and is the true property of, grief-stricken family members -- will be defeated in one way or another, either by the power of the media or by a class-action lawsuit that is already being discussed. (see my Feb. 22 posting for the full text of Legacy's claims upon content that WE create).  Mr. Low said he was meeting with a Legacy lawyer later that afternoon to discuss a range of issues. We have been raising hell about this for months, but it wasn't until we went public that anyone decided it merited some attention.