I am visiting the Department of Statistics at the University of Washington today and am enjoying their warm hospitality (thanks Emily!). I have a little breathing room now so I thought I would write a quick blog post.
Earlier this year, I posted my contribution to the collection celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS). My essay, entitle “Rise of the Machines” was about the interaction of Machine Learning and Statistics.
Of course, I was paying homage to The Terminator and my essay began with this iconic image:
The publisher, Taylor and Francis, was unhappy with my use of the terminator image. Two of the people editing the collection, Xihong Lin and David L. Banks, did their best to help me in my quest to use the image. This is the image, in case you forgot:
According to the principle of Fair Use, I have the legal right to use this image. But Taylor and Francis, fearing a lawsuit, still did not want me to use the image.
So I wrote to Warner Brothers to request permission to use the image. I mean this image:
Warner Brothers quickly wrote back and said they did not own the copyright. They directed me to a company called Intermedia. I then asked Intermedia if I could use the image. Here is the image, in case you forgot:
But my attempts to contact Intermedia failed. It appears that they went broke and were bought by a hedge fund. Next we tried to reach the hedge fund but were unsuccessful. My only option at this point was to remove the image from the article. The image, by the way, looks like this:
So, fear of litigation has won the day. My article will appear without a picture of the terminator. This is a real shame. By the way, this is the image: