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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Time's Sell-Out Pt. II

While we're at it: Time has agreed to hand over documents "concerning the confidential sources" of Matt Cooper that, according to the New York Times, include Cooper's handwritten notes.

So, how did Time come to possess those notes? Did Cooper just leave them in a drawer at his office? I would imagine--without any evidence or direct knowledge, as per usual--that in a drawn-out and high-profile case such as this one, at some point Time's attorneys and Cooper's attorney sat down with him and said, Where are your notes? And I'd further imagine that a conversation ensued about which party was best suited to continue to possess said notes.

If Time Inc. said, We'd like to hang on to those, if you don't mind, then the jig was up then. If I were in Cooper's shoes, the minute I was aware of a subpoena I would have gathered all the information related to the identity of that source that I could, and handed it either to a random and trustworthy confidant who wasn't connected with the case or to an attorney paid to represent my interests, as opposed to Time's.

Of course, there are other records that Cooper had no control over--phone, e-mail--that Time can give up, and it's conceivable that Time has some sort of regular filing process whereby reporters' notes are handed over to the company after a story is filed, but I doubt that.