Prior to his summary dismissal, Gregg Easterbrook wrote a column for ESPN entitled “TMQ” which stood for “Tuesday Morning Quarterback.” Well, for those of you just now learning about some guy named Easterbrook who wrote a TMQ column for ESPN, and who want to read a few of those old columns to see what those columns were like, I have some bad news: they are gone. ESPN/Disney decided that Easterbrook’s recent blog comments were so odious that not only did he deserve to be fired, but also that all of his posts at ESPN’s website should be permanently expunged. Even though those prior TMQ articles were in no way offensive.
So they are now gone. Out of here. Hasta la vista, baby.
Well, you might say to yourself, so what? Easterbrook has copies of what he wrote; if he wants the world to see those old articles let him publish them himself. On his own weblog. The one that he used to publish the ill-advised comments that got him in trouble to begin with. Yeah, that’s right. Let him do that and see if anyone cares to read his stuff.
Only one problem with that, though. Disney, er, ESPN owns the rights to those words that he wrote because he wrote them for them as part of his job. That is, ESPN/Disney owns the “copyright” to those works, and they can not only yank them from their site, but also prevent anyone else, including the author, from publishing those words on any website. Boo yeah!
So we’ll not be reading Gregg Easterbrook’s TMQ column, even the old ones, anytime soon. Unless ESPN/Disney somehow decides to either publish the columns or to let Easterbrook publish them, which seems highly unlikely. And God forbid that Easterbrook decides to publish new stuff under the name “Tuesday Morning Quarterback” at his website. I’ll betcha ESPN has a trademark right to that name. Boo yeah!
So basically ESPN/Disney is saying: Take that Easterbrook! We own you bro! You and your words. So go sit in your corner of the web while we erase all evidence of what you wrote because we are the Content Kings and our job is “controlling content.” We harvest content from people that we employ and then we use it as we see fit. If we don’t want to make money off of your content because we deem you to be a person unworthy of future employment at ESPN then we aren’t going to allow you to exploit your own works either. How long can we keep your works out of circulation? Oh, about 95 years or so.
Man, it’s good to be a Content King.
Anybody want to tell ESPN what they think about their decision? Assuming, of course, that you disagree with their decision, and that you have the temerity to voice it to them directly.
Update: Apparently Easterbrook is planning to return. That’s good news.