According to the Guardian’s technology editor Charles Arthur, who appears to be going a bit doolally in his dotage, I am responsible for ‘ripping off deaf children’.
We don’t seek out fights with other publications, really we don’t. But they do seem to keep coming our way. The latest preposterous attack on The Kernel has come from Guardian technology editor Charles Arthur, about whom we ran a story today, sympathising with his plight as one of the few remaining tech and media reporters the newspaper has left.
Arthur didn’t like our story very much, but rather than responding to its contents, he sent us an email asking us to remove his picture, alleging that we’d violated his copyright. Well, that’s one way of responding to criticism.
Ours is a fast-moving industry and the ever-shifting nature of news – in particular with the advent of online publishing – is such that it is not always possible to secure copyright clearance before pictures are published. But we offered him double the usual rate to settle up and end the matter quickly.
Or so we thought. Because that’s when things got weird.
I’m not interested in profiting personally from your error in this regard. Please therefore pay the £60 that you’ve offered to the charity of my choice, which in this case is the National Deaf Childrens’ Society.
We declined, perfectly reasonably, to do that, asking Charles for his bank details. His reply?
You’re saying it’s too much trouble for you to write a cheque to help children who can’t hear? Children who will suffer higher rates of joblessness, depression and in some cases will go blind due to Usher’s syndrome when they hit their teenage years?
Seek your human side. It’s in there.
You know you can do this, so don’t subject yourself to public ridicule by being both uninformed about CC-BY (all the kids and the oldsters know about that) *and* ripping off deaf children.
Is it me, or does Charles Arthur need medical attention? I don’t know about you, but his emails – I’ll spare you the full thread – read suspiciously like a series of threats, both to humiliate The Kernel somehow and to accuse me personally of “ripping off deaf children”.
“Simplify your life by settling this quickly,” Arthur’s latest message to us read. Somebody call the man a doctor!
We don’t appreciate blackmail and threats to publish libellous statements, particularly ones that are so badly targeted. In 2009, Arthur himself wrote about one of the many charitable initiatives I’ve spearheaded over the years.
Whatever. The money’s in the mail, dude, and how you choose to disburse the funds when they arrive is up to you. But do us a favour and stop emailing us every half hour like a spurned high school girlfriend. You’re a section editor at a national newspaper, for God’s sake.