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<nettime> A Zero for an O, Or: How Associated Newspapers tries to stop G
startx on Sun, 4 Jul 2010 23:43:58 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> A Zero for an O, Or: How Associated Newspapers tries to stop Gordon Brown's deportation ...


A Zero for an O.

Or: How Associated Newspapers Ltd tries to stop Gordon Brown's
deportation by shutting down a website.

by startx, London *

Britain's tabloid press has not excatly the reputation of being quality
press, some say it has also the reputation of being openly racist.
It also has no humor for sure, at least not if somebody has a good
laugh on their costs.

Last Friday and Saturday London saw "two days of action against the
racist press", called for by several anti-racist activist groups. Some
people seem to have thought that the best way to challenge the tabloid
press is to become the tabloid press, and commuters were suprised to
get handed over a new free paper called "Metr0" (you could read that as
"metre zero" if you into leetspeak) last Friday ( 2 July) early
morning, featuring the stunning headline that "Gordon Brown is to be
deported to Scotland".[1] There must have been ten-thousends of copies
spread all over London, as the newspaper was available at many tube and
railway stations.

Free daily newpapers have become a big business in London, and in fact
it happens that there is also a free daily newssheet called
"Metro" (read "metro", but some hasty commuter might have mixed both of
them up because they did not read that aloud.) published by a company
called Associated Newspapers Ltd, which also happens to be behind the
"Daily Mail" (yes, that's the Daily Mail which cheered for Oswald
Mosley's blackshirts). 

Now while you can say for sure that quality is not on of the
characteristics of Associated Newspapers Ltd's products, they also seem
not to be up for a good laugh: Probably being given a copy of the
"Metr0" themselves on the way to work, they had to discover that there
was now also a website called "metr0.co.uk" [2] which shared some faint
design similarities to their own website "metro.co.uk": and seemingly
decided to consider their new competitors "Metr0" not funny at all
indeed. 

So instead of sipping their morning espresso, taking the joke and being
proud of being historically in one line with "The New York Times" [3], 
they let loose their dogs .. err ... their law department, i mean, 
big time: Within hours, they sought an High Court injunction demanding 
"not publish or distribute in any way (including by way of the
Internet) any publication which purports to be 'Metro' or any other
publication of the applicant." 

While on the copyright front it is not quite sure what "Metr0" or
"metr0.co.uk" actually copied from the "Metro" (the logo is obviouly
"Metr0", not "metro", they also claimed in the injunction that
Associated 
Newspapers Ltd's Metro "avowedly doesnât take a political stance ",
which comes a bit of a suprise for you if you are a frequent reader of
that newssheet. 

Meanwhile, so the Metro's solicitors in court, "The people behind the
spoof are avowedly political.", which seems to be enough for them to
be suspicious. When asked by the judge if the lawyers "seriously suggest
that [the metro] will suffer damage [as a result of the spoof]" the
solicitors stated that "It is an intangible damage to my clientâs
goodwill, that is, it effects what people will think about its
product." Oh my god, somebody might even "think" about their product!

However, they got their injunction, but not knowing whome to serve it
to, they delivered it to the London Activist Resource Centre (LARC),
assuming this might be the place to locate a group called "Press
Action", which in fact runs a completely different website
( http://pressaction.wordpress.com ) and is blogging about racism in
the British press (busy job) and while doing so mentioned the
"Metr0" on Friday [4], too.  No luck for the lawyers there ...

They then sent their lawyers to the domain registrar to get the domain
"metr0.co.uk" deleted because of "copyright infringement" (which the
registrar refused as it is unlikely that Associated Newspapers can
claim a copyright on the word "metro", unless they going to sue the
Parisean underground) and a hosting collective in New York they suspect
to host the "metr0.co.uk" website. Even Barbara Streisand meanwhile
knows that such a thing might not be a good idea to shut down a website 
in that way and hence more links to the site turn up since it became
known that Associated Newspapers does not like it.

Therefore, instead of chasing websites and newspapers around half the
planet and wasting money on their law department, some would recommend
to Associated Newspapers Ltd to sit down and have a nice cup of tea (or
whatever their managers prefer to take) or even better: to make better
newspapers. There's not much hope for the latter though ... and the
question of Gordon Brown's whereabouts is unsolved, too.

[1] a pdf version of the Metr0 from 2 July 2010 can be found at:

http://metr0.co.uk/images/metr0-e-edition.pdf
http://london.indymedia.org/system/file_upload/2010/07/03/240/metro_spoof.pdf

( and meanwhile most likely at other places, too)

[2] http://metr0.co.uk 

[3] http://theyesmen.org/hijinks/newyorktimes

[4] Press Release by PressAction:
http://pressaction.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/metro-spoof/


* this article was written for nettime on Sunday 4 July 2010 
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/


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