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Friday, 11 June 2010

Content Copyright And Fair Use

There is an  increasing vehemence in the manner that traditional media are pursuing blog owners who reproduce their content.
Internet Surf and Turf-Revealed: The Essential Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Finding Media

Take the recently reported case of the Las Vegas Review-Journal which is in litigious mood and according to an LA Times article is taking some 30 websites and blogs to court.

It raises the very important question - what is fair use?

Plagiarising large blogs of content from a third party site or publication is certainly not fair use.  If however one draws attention to the original;  reviewing and rewriting certain elements in the process, then this would appear to be deemed acceptable.

The advice in the article is that a publisher should:
  • never republish more than three paragraphs
  • always name your source
  • always link to the original
Chris Crum of WebProNews quotes attorney John Burton "I strongly recommend receiving written authorization from the copyright holder prior to redistributing their work or link, especially if there is a commercial interest in why you are using the work"

The other side of this media argument is how frequently traditional media quote from online blogs, in many cases without prior permission being given by the content owner of an attribution made.  One example of this practice is given by Danny Sullivan in his blog Daggle

What all of the above really proves is just how threatened traditional media are by the rise of citizen journalism in the digital age.

It is quite appropriate that mainstream media who pay for, or commission, content should expect a financial return through its use.  This after all is their core business.

However it is very much a case of trying to close the gate after the horse has bolted as many of the global and local news stories now break through citizen journalism sources rather than traditional media.  Nothing is going to change this as it is now an established societal norm.

Perhaps the final word should be this video which has been viewed some 10 million times on YouTube.

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