A short while back, a pseudonymous blogger started a blog covering the CrosSynergy crossword. It did the usual things a crossword blog did — it displayed the completed solution grid along with the clues and answers. In fact, it looked conspicuously like the LAT crossword blog looks on Sundays. About a week ago, the blogger was contacted by CrosSynergy, claiming that the site violated their copyright. They even went so far as to file a DMCA complaint with Google. The blogger immediately deleted the blog to avoid any further complications.
Well, as you’ve probably guessed, the pseudonymous blogger in question was me.
I won’t try to argue that what I was doing was legal. I’m not a copyright lawyer, and copyright law is complicated. I think it’s especially complicated for crosswords, because several things are certainly not copyrightable about a crossword — the empty grid itself, the individual clues … you could probably argue that the solution grid is copyrightable, and maybe the theme. And of course, the empty grid and clues together. But again, I don’t know enough about the issue to argue either way. I had just assumed it was okay because so many other sites were doing something similar.
I don’t mind having taken down the blog. It wasn’t getting many hits anyway. But what really hurts is that as a result of this, Google has disabled my AdSense account, as they now view me as a copyright violator. This includes removing all ads from my totally unrelated YouTube videos. I suppose I should be thankful that they didn’t delete my account entirely or bring criminal charges against me, but I don’t see it that way.
Anyway, I guess this is a word of warning. If you are planning on starting a crossword blog, you may want to check with the owners of the copyright of the crossword to make sure it’s okay. Most of them seem all right with it, but if you run into someone who’s not, you can potentially get yourself into a lot of trouble.