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A ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’ Lesson for the Digital Age

If we were surprised Tuesday night, it was because journalism failed us. As reported in the NY Times, every major source forecasted the Clinton win for which the establishment desperately hoped. No one predicted a night like this — that Donald J. Trump would pull off a stunning upset over Hillary Clinton and win the presidency. The misfire on Tuesday night was about a lot more than a failure in polling.…

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UVA administrator awarded $3M in Rolling Stone case

Jurors awarded a University of Virginia administrator $3 million Monday for her portrayal in a now-discredited Rolling Stone magazine article about the school’s handling of a brutal gang rape a fraternity house. The 10-member jury’s decision came after they concluded Friday that the magazine, its publisher and reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely were responsible for defamation, with actual malice, of former associate dean of students Nicole Eramo in the 2014 story…

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Fair use prevails as Supreme Court rejects Google Books copyright case

Fair use is a concept baked into US copyright law, and it’s a defense to copyright infringement if certain elements are met. The US Copyright Office says the defense is decided on a case-by-case basis. “The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may…

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What’s a Snollygoster? Even lexicographers are wrong sometimes

This is an amusing little story about how politics affects the English language. An obscure word that politicians and pundit like to use to refer to their opponents has faded in and out of use. The “wrong” move was removing the word from the dictionary recently, after which it made a comeback. (I’d still never heard of it.) As the dialectal furor faded, so too did snollygoster—so much so that…