On Thursday, I wrote a story about how the Rochester Tea Party Patriots have put out a flier that looks peculiarly similar to the Rochester Public Schools' informational flier on the operating levy that's on the ballot for Nov. 3.
That was the point of the Tea Party flier, of course -- to be a faux version of the district's, arguing that people should vote no.
I'll leave it to the attorneys to decide whether that was fair game. But Tea Party leaders said they weren't backing down and they kept a copy of the faux flier on their website, despite the district's "cease and desist" letter. We published images of both the district and Tea Party versions online and in Friday's print edition (partial images in print).
But at some point after that, the Tea Party apparently posted a slightly different version of their flier -- without the photo montage at the top, which was copy-and-pasted from the district's version. The top of the original Tea Party version is posted here, with the newly altered version.
Did the Tea Party pull their punch and decide there was a copyright problem after all? I can imagine an attorney saying, "The district can't sue you for using a fairly generic typeface and color scheme on a one-time flier, and the allegation of a campaign violation is bunk, but that photo montage is a problem..."
Fair photo use and reprint permission is a challenging process all by itself, leaving aside how the Tea Party used this to attack the district and its proposed levy.
(For the record, the Tea Party also seems to have changed one piece of type at the top of the flier.)
I'll check it out Monday. Also, I may try to quickly pull together a Post-Bulletin Dialogue event on the referendum, with representatives of the district, Alliance for Strong Rochester Public Schools and Tea Party on a panel. Wish me luck.