Articles about "Copyright and fair use"


Study: Journalists’ lousy understanding of fair use leads to self-censorship

Social Science Research Network
Few journalists understand the rules of fair use, but they often successfully fake their way through the issues it raises. That's one takeaway from "Copyright, Free Speech, and the Public's Right to Know: How Journalists Think About Fair Use," a study by Patricia Aufderheide, Peter Jaszi, Katie Bieze and Jan Lauren Boyles, who interviewed 80 journalists and compared their often-comical understanding of legal matters to reality.

Among their findings, people who work in newsrooms had the advantage of colleagues they could consult:
Interviewees who work within institutions had confidence that their editors had established a newsroom practice that they could comfortably follow. Journalists also referred often to “common sense,” or as one put it, “You just know in general you shouldn’t park too close to a hydrant.” Through this process, most journalists acquire baseline knowledge of fair use, often without realizing they are even relying on it. Those who lack newsroom support often display less confidence.
Amazingly, they often got it right:
Interviewees demonstrated a robust confidence in their ability to access other people’s copyrighted material without permission or payment, in some situations, typically without knowing they were employing fair use. Further, when they employed fair use without identifying it as such, they often accurately used the reigning logic of the doctrine -- transformative purpose and appropriate amount.
Photo editors were more sensitive to copyright concerns than others, maybe because so many of the people they work with get their stuff stolen all the time. (more...)
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Slate writer: BuzzFeed pillages Reddit for its viral photo posts

Slate | Pbump.net
Farhad Manjoo writes:
How does this one site come up with so many simple ideas that people want to spread far and wide? What’s their secret?

The answer, in short, is that BuzzFeed’s staff finds stuff elsewhere on the Web, most often at Reddit. They polish and repackage what they find. And often—and, from what I can tell, deliberately—their posts are hard to trace back to the original source material.

... Once you understand how central Reddit is to BuzzFeed, it’s like spotting the wizard behind the curtain. Whenever you see a popular BuzzFeed post, search Reddit, and all will be revealed.
It's not the first time BuzzFeed has taken heat for republishing other people's photos in lists like “33 Animals Who Are Extremely Disappointed in You.” Manjoo said BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti "concedes that some of its ideas have appeared elsewhere online, but he argued that there’s nothing wrong with that because few things on the Web are really original."

Grist writer Philip Bump, writing on his personal blog, evaluates Manjoo's case against BuzzFeed:
Where Manjoo's post hits hardest, I think, is when it suggests that BuzzFeed steals ideas. ... (more...)
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If putting photos together in a top 10 list is fair use, what isn’t?

The Atlantic | Slate
Tuesday, The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal wrote that BuzzFeed co-founder Jonah Peretti believes BuzzFeed can legally republish others' photos in thematic packages such as "33 Animals Who Are Extremely Disappointed in You."
So, Peretti told me that he considers a BuzzFeed list -- its sequencing, framing, etc -- to be a transformative use of photos. That is to say, including that unattributed photo of the otter in that list was OK because its inclusion as an "extremely disappointed" animal transformed the nature of the photo.

"It's a question," Peretti said, "of when lots of little things add up to a transformation as opposed to a copyright violation."
A law professor tells Slate's Jeremy Stahl, however, that he wouldn't expect that to hold up in court.
Adding a funny caption, however, has not been viewed as transformative. “I would expect an interesting response from a judge if I argued that putting a caption on a photo was transformative use for the purposes of fair use,” says UVA professor, copyright expert, and occasional Slate contributor Thomas Nachbar.
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Meltwater says AP’s copyright lawsuit threatens all search engines

Meltwater has filed a response to the Associated Press' copyright lawsuit by saying that it's simply a sophisticated Internet search engine, and it hasn't violated copyright law by indexing AP stories.

In its copyright infringement lawsuit, AP called Meltwater a "modern-day clipping service." For $5,000 a year, Meltwater enables clients to search news stories for mentions of keywords and to receive email digests that contain portions of relevant news stories. AP contends Meltwater is undercutting its business by providing its content without paying AP for it.

Meltwater's defense is important, as Nieman Journalism Lab's Justin Ellis reported, because courts have treated search engines and clipping services differently in regard to copyright law.

By attacking a search engine, Meltwater contends, AP "challenges one of the core functions of the Internet." (more...)
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Pinterest’s new terms make way for private sharing, API

Pinterest | Forbes
Pinterest has updated the legal policies governing its service. The terms lay groundwork for new features: private pinboards and an API. They also set strict rules against copyright violations and clarify that Pinterest will not sell uploaded content. || Related: How The Wall Street Journal uses Pinterest (10,000 Words) | Pinterest drops its "avoid self promotion" directive (The Wall Street Journal) || Earlier: As Pinterest grows visitors 52% in one month, journalism profs find news uses for it (Poynter)
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Pinterest says it’s conscious of copyright issues

Washington Post | The Next Web
Pinterest is telling content creators it does care about the potential for copyright violations as its millions of users "pin" images from all over the Web. The company notes it lets any website opt-out of having content shared to Pinterest, and is responsive to takedown requests. Most sites seem happy to work with the burgeoning network, however, because it drives significant traffic. Facebook, Google and YouTube are among the biggest beneficiaries. || Related: Revamped Pinterest profile pages, iPad app coming soon (CNN) | How to track your website's content on Pinterest (Mashable) | Women trust Pinterest more than Facebook or Twitter (Adweek) | Pinterest fueled by curation-over-content trend (ReadWriteWeb) | Founder talks about the road to success (Inc.) || Earlier: A list of newspapers on Pinterest
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Judge: Posting 10 percent of news story on political forum is fair use

Electronic Frontier Foundation | The Times-Picayune
A March 9 ruling makes it harder for copyright holders to sue when their work is reproduced in online discussion forums. In a lawsuit concerning five sentences of a Las Vegas Review-Journal article posted on the forum Democratic Underground, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Hunt wrote in his final declaratory judgment that "the act of posting this five-sentence excerpt of a fifty sentence news article on a political discussion forum is a fair use pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 107, and that the fair use doctrine provides a complete defense to the claim of copyright infringement from which this suit arose." (more...)
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AP sues aggregator Meltwater News over copyright infringement

Associated Press | Meltwater
Six weeks after the AP and other investors launched a licensing organization to collect fees from aggregators, the AP has filed a lawsuit against Meltwater News, which bills itself as "more than a traditional media monitoring service." AP CEO Curley calls it a "parasitic distribution service" that is undercutting AP's business by providing its content to Meltwater clients without paying for it.

The AP says Meltwater is taking its customers — not the newspapers and broadcasters you normally think of as AP clients, and not the average guy scanning Google News at lunch, but those like the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. According to the lawsuit:
The U.S. government is one of AP's largest customers, and AP's subscriber roster includes nearly 100 government agencies — federal, state, local and foreign — including the U.S. Senate, the U.S. State Department, the New York City Police Department, and various foreign embassies. These government subscribers often do not publish the stories themselves, but monitor the news wire to stay apprised of timely, accurate news reports as they develop. ...

AP has lost, and continues to lose, customers to Meltwater over the past several years. For example, the Department of Homeland Security terminated its contract with AP, choosing instead to receive AP content through Meltwater.
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Sharing sites like Pinterest raise copyright concerns

ReadWriteWeb
Like other sites that rely on user-generated content , the visually-oriented social media site Pinterest avoids violating copyright law by responding to requests to take down material posted without permission of the copyright holder. ReadWriteWeb's Dave Copeland says Pinterest users are better about giving credit than Tumblr, but copyright is still a concern:
"That being said, it's still awful that I might discover a new painter on Pinterest and not be able to find them. To not know their name or have their website," said [artist Laura C. George]. "It's truly an awful situation...it seems impossible to enforce this type of rule on such a huge site with thousands of members and billions of pins. They would have to check the link to every 'original' pin and research to make sure it was the original. That's insane."
A few news outlets are using the service to highlight their work. The "Today" show is posting images of "Anchor Antics," The Wall Street Journal has posted historic front pages, and Time magazine is posting its covers. || Related: How to adapt online news in the age of sharing (Poynter) | Why it’s time for journalists to pay attention to Pinterest & what you can do there (Poynter) | Pinterest is gaining on Twitter in terms of referral traffic, but Facebook's still on top (GigaOM)
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