I just got off the phone with Detroit News editorial page editor Nolan Finley, who said he’s calling the Romney campaign “right now” to complain about its handling of today’s News endorsement.
The Romney camp removed this paragraph before sending the endorsement to reporters:
We disagree with Romney on a point vital to Michigan — his opposition to the bailout of the domestic automobile industry. Romney advocated for a more traditional bankruptcy process, while we believe the bridge loans provided by the federal government in the fall of 2008 were absolutely essential to the survival of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Corp. The issue isn’t a differentiator in the GOP primary, since the entire field opposed the rescue effort.
“They should have run the complete, original version,” says Finley. “It’s a bit inappropriate to edit out the mild criticism.” While the edited version has ellipses, “the reader has no idea what they removed.”
UPDATE: A Romney campaign spokesperson called me after getting Finley’s call and said that “because of copyright laws, we’re required when sending something out that it’s less than half the original article.” Any copyright experts care to chime in?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Maria Amante emails:
The campaign’s use of the complete editorial, without subtractions or omissions would be considered fair use.
According to the US Copyright Office: http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-fairuse.html#permission
How much of someone else’s work can I use without getting permission?
Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports. There are no legal rules permitting the use of a specific number of words, a certain number of musical notes, or percentage of a work. Whether a particular use qualifies as fair use depends on all the circumstances. See FL 102, Fair Use, and Circular 21, Reproductions of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians.