Proceedings before the HONOURABLE SAINTSATIONAL, Judge, International District Court for the Saints Blogosphere, commencing at 6:00 a.m., on the 7th day of April, 2009, in the 26th District, Courtroom CSC, New Orleans Courthouse, New Orleans, Louisiana.
SAINTS NATION, New Orleans Saints fan blogger, http://saintsnation.blogspot.com/, appearing on his own behalf.
JEFF DUNCAN, New Orleans Times-Picayune writer, reporter and blogger, http://www.nola.com/saints/, appearing on his own behalf.
THE COURT: Please rise for the HONOURABLE SAINTSATIONAL.
HIS HONOUR: Be seated.
HIS HONOUR: Are we ready for the jury?
BAILIFF: Yes sir.
(Jury in at 6:01 am)
HIS HONOUR: Members of the jury, good morning.
JURY: Good morning.
HIS HONOUR: Court is now in session. You will recall that when we recessed yesterday afternoon, we were hearing testimony from SAINTS NATION. We will continue with his testimony now this morning.
SAINTS NATION: Thank you, your Honour. Members of the jury. At 8:57 am on Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 we wrote our second post ever, an original article titled "Revisiting the disaster that was the 2007 offseason." In said article we detailed the draft picks and free agent acquisitions made by the New Orleans Saints during the 2007 off-season and concluded that it was an incredibly dismal failure. If we could all turn to Exhibit 9 and read it aloud. It is the opening paragraph of said post.
When you look at the Saints' run to the NFC Championship game, and everything that has transpired since then... one thing you can point to for the Saints' fall from grace is an absolutely abysmal off-season in 2007. The Saints are still trying to recover from mistakes made during that time.
SAINTS NATION: At 10:20 pm on Saturday April 4th, 2009 - just two days later - Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune posted an oddly similar article titled, "Missteps after 2006 season sent New Orleans Saints sliding backward." It is my contention here today that Mr. Duncan is guilty of illegal piracy. Keeping in mind the opening paragraph of from my initial post mentioned above, I would like the jury to read aloud Exhibit 51, the opening paragraph of Mr. Duncan's article.
Fresh off a historic playoff run in 2006, the Saints appeared to be only a few moves short of the impossible: A Super Bowl championship.
They led the NFL in offense and ranked a respectable 11th in defense. Seemingly all that was needed to put them over the top were a few good men on defense.
So what did the Saints do?
They followed one of the best seasons in club history with one of its worst offseasons.
SAINTS NATION: I think it would be impossible for members of the jury to not notice
JEFF DUNCAN: Objection. Speculation.
HIS HONOUR: Sustained. The jury may not assume on your behalf. You will have to fully present these alleged similarities.
SAINTS NATION: Of course, your Honour. The jury will notice that both of our introductions preface the article with the New Orleans Saints run to the NFC Championship in 2006 and their obvious shortcomings since that moment. Then, of course, because it is the entire premise of each article, we both blame this collapse on the 2007 off-season moves made by the organization.
HIS HONOUR: That's better.
SAINTS NATION: As soon as I discovered the despicable article and recovered from my initial shock, I posted a reply to Mr. Duncan on our own website. That is Exhibit 9 for the members of the jury.
Mr. Jeff Duncan... hmm, well, this is the article he wrote todayon the front page of the Times-Picayune sports section.
This is the article I posted on my blog TWO DAYS AGO
Notice any similarities?
I think I need to start posting topics of less quality if I don't want nola.com to steal my ideas!
SAINTS NATION: I think the facts of this theft are evident and I am conifident that at the end of the day the members of the jury will rule in my favor.
HIS HONOUR: Do you have anything more to add?
SAINTS NATION: No, your Honour.
HIS HONOUR: Mr, Duncan, it's now your turn to address the members of the jury.
JEFF DUNCAN: Your Honour, I've said everything I need to say in my follow-up post for the Times-Picayune. It is Exhibit 12 and I would simply like to read it aloud to the court.
Sorry to disappoint your suspicions of intellectual piracy, but the only thing I'm guilty of is eerie timing. I never saw the aforementioned blog. I can't say that I've never seen Saints Nation because I have a file with Saints blogs bookmarked, but I can assue you I haven't visited the site in months (perhaps ever) and am not a regular visitor.
I saw where some readers suggested the same thing in the comments on my column, so I thought I would address it in my Insider blog today. You can check it later.
But I can assure you that there was nothing duplicitous going on. I'm actually insulted by the accusation. I've been wanting to write the column about the 2007 offseason for about a year now and finally found a week where I thought the timing was right. The recent release of Kaesviharn and the impending release of Jason David made it the right time. In fact, I've mentioned the 2007 offseason and how bad it was in many of my mailbags and chats. For all I know, this guy (blogger) could have read those exacts posts and stolen my thunder before I got around to expounding on it in a fullblown column.
I can definitely see where people would think otherwise, though. The subject matter is the same now that I have looked at his blog.
But if you knew how the newspaper business worked you'd know that our budgets (story lines) are determined well in advance of publication. The subject matter for my column was determined earlier in the week, as always. I wrote the column on Thursday and submitted it for publication on Friday.
I know you might not believe it, but I really don't "mine" other blogs for information or opinions. In fact, the only time I ever go to a fan blog is when someone (usually the author himself) emails a link to me. Not being arrogant. I simply don't have time. The free time between reporting and writing is spent reading work of professional reporters and columnists who I trust in the business.
Thanks for the interest and taking the time to write.
I hope this clears everything up.
JEFF DUNCAN: That is all, your Honour. Thank you to the members of the jury.
HIS HONOUR: I've heard enough and I am ready to hand down my decision. This matter is ridiculous and I honestly can't believe we've wasted tax payer's money and the precious time of these jury members on this trial here today. There is absolutely no need for this circus. In the matter of SAINTS NATION versus JEFF DUNCAN, this court rules in favor of the defendant, MR. JEFF DUNCAN. Though the posts do share some remarkable similarities and the premise behind both is the same, there is no real evidence to support the theory put forth by SAINTS NATION. Their case is based purely on speculation and conjecture and we can only chalk it up to simple coincidence. There is no crime against coincidence. Besides, we all know the 2007 off-season sucked. MR. DUNCAN'S defense, on the other hand, seems logical and plausible. Nobody better understands the rigors of creating daily content while covering a tight-lipped NFL organization during the slowest news period of the year than this court. I also find it hard to believe that a veteran journalist such as MR. DUNCAN would have even read the second post ever of a brand new blog with absolutely no history. This court also applauds MR. DUNCAN for even addressing this issue and for, at the very least, acknowledging the existence of Saints blogs other than his own. I hope that in the future we will see the greater acceptance of legitimate blogs from not only JEFF DUNCAN and the New Orleans Times-Picayune but from all main stream media outlets. It is the dream of this court to see the lines of communication finally open between quality New Orleans Saints blogs such as Canal Street Chronicles and the local New Orleans media. But MR. DUNCAN, though you claim not to be arrogant, your writing does contain a bit of that very attitude, particularly when you end your defense by making a seemingly cleverly disguised insult towards blogs saying...
The free time between reporting and writing is spent reading work of professional reporters and columnists who I trust in the business.
HIS HONOUR: It is noted. MR. DUNCAN please continue providing the quality Saints coverage you have done for several years now. Having ruled against the plaintiff, SAINTS NATION, I now must decide the proper punishment. Considering the frivolous nature of these accusations subsequent disciplinary action should also be light. Therefore, it is the decision of this court that SAINTS NATION be forced to watch twenty (20) hours of Kevin Kaesviharn and Jason David game tape. The plaintiff should consider themselves lucky that this court is not recommending the maximum penalty: Josh Bullocks game tape. I do, however, encourage SAINTS NATION to continue blogging about the Saints and keeping their website updated on a regular basis with superior content. The pressure is on now.
HIS HONOUR: This case is now closed. Thank you all for your time.