November 13, 2002 · Lessig
So there’s this amazing site (for opera fans at least) called MetManiac, which before the lawyers found it, collected lists of Met opera performances from the beginning of the Met. Non-commercial, pure hobby, an extraordinary historical resource, this was the passion of a fan. If you follow the link, though, you’ll see the Met lawyers have demanded the site be shut down. (Shhh, but if you follow Brewster’s link, you can see what the page was. Don’t tell the lawyers, however, as they’ll shut that down too.)
Can anyone explain what sense it makes that this fan site, which collects historical facts about an important part of our culture, can be banned? I know the lawyers say “the law makes us do it” — that trademark law, etc., requires that they police the way other people use their name. But what possible sense does such a law make. And at a time when opera around the world is struggling for resources to build an audience, what possible sense does it make to begin to attack your fans?