A recent decision by IPEC (Intellectual Property Enterprise Court) might make journalists, marketers and bloggers think twice before they reproduce images from other people’s websites, reports Cleland Thom.
The presiding judge, Richard Hacon, awarded £6,000 damages against a home improvements company who copied and pasted photos from another site.
The damages were on top of the basic cost of the images, and reflected the fact that the company’s action was ‘flagrant’. Continue reading
Earlier this week Nieman Labs reported on audio hosting service SoundCloud‘s ‘guilty until proven innocent’ approach to content containing copyrighted material:
“If your content contains any copyrighted material to which you haven’t secured the rights — even if you have a valid fair use claim — SoundCloud may take it down at any time.”
The story came from a podcast hosted – you guessed it – on SoundCloud (also embedded below). It suggested that even if you are adhering to local laws, laws in other countries may trump those. An appeal under US fair use exemptions brought this response from SoundCloud: Continue reading
This year’s series of The Great British Bake Off has a social media-savvy spin-off: An Extra Slice.
It’s a mix of interviews, punditry and contributions from audience members and viewers. But the programme makers have a curious approach to copyright law which users of Twitter and Instagram may be ‘agreeing’ to without knowing about it. Continue reading
Every day this week I am publishing an example of a legal dilemma that a journalism student might face (why? Read my previous post on students being publishers, and the responsibilities that come with that). I can’t promise a ‘right answer’ at the end of the week – but I hope you can comment on what a student publisher might do – and why.
Case 2: Celebrity visit – and you don’t have pictures
This is a true story. A fire drill has just ended, and as you’re walking back to the classroom you think you see a famous rugby player in the crowd. Your friend says “Nah, it’s not him”.
Like a good journalist, you don’t accept that, so you go to the university reception to ask if Famous Rugby Player is indeed around today. Yes, they say, he is.
Apparently he’s promoting a healthy eating scheme – and also looking at a new piece of kit designed by the health faculty.
You get the details of what he’s doing there, and where he will be when, make a quick call to your editor, and then chase off to find him.
Once there, you interview him, a marketing rep from the company paying him, and a representative from the health faculty.
But your phone runs out of battery – so you have no photos.
As you get back to the newsroom, Famous Rugby Star’s visit is already all over Twitter.
You want to get this story up on your blog before the local newspaper – but a celebrity story is nothing without images.
Thankfully, a few of those tweeting about the visit have taken snaps. Also, one has uploaded some brief video footage to YouTube, and embedding is enabled.
Meanwhile, you have emailed the marketing rep and the health faculty rep for images – both have been promised, but you have no idea how long it will take.
- What are the legal issues here – and what tests need to be met for them to be an issue (or not)?
- What defence could you mount?
- How likely is it that legal action would result?
- Would you publish – and why?
‘Answers’ and discussion in the comments
This is the third in a series of extracts from a draft book chapter on ethics in data journalism. The first looked at how ethics of accuracy play out in data journalism projects, and the second at culture clashes, privacy, user data and collaboration. This is a work in progress, so if you have examples of ethical dilemmas, best practice, or guidance, I’d be happy to include it with an acknowledgement.
Mass data gathering – scraping, FOI, deception and harm
The data journalism practice of ‘scraping’ – getting a computer to capture information from online sources – raises some ethical issues around deception and minimisation of harm. Some scrapers, for example, ‘pretend’ to be a particular web browser, or pace their scraping activity more slowly to avoid detection. But the deception is practised on another computer, not a human – so is it deception at all? And if the ‘victim’ is a computer, is there harm? Continue reading
Most writing on law is like a gas: it expands to fill the space given to it. But a new ebook by journalism trainer Cleland Thom bucks the trend, and it’s all the better for it.
Internet Law for Journalists, Bloggers, Students, Social Media Users … is as impressively succinct as its title is long. The book provides a tour through the expanding range of laws you need to consider when you publish online, illustrated with copious and simple examples, along with guidance for what you should do to avoid being added to the list. Continue reading