Home > future of journalism, journalism industry > NPPA Multimedia Immersions: Copyright

NPPA Multimedia Immersions: Copyright


(Note: This will be similar for all the posts concerning the NPPA Multimedia Immersion session so skip if you’ve read before.)

I absolutely love that the National Press Photographer’s Association streamed some of their Multimedia Immersion sessions live.

Tuesday’s session was on Ethics and the Law for multimedia. The panelists included Mickey Ostericher – NPPA Counsel, Roy Gutterman – Newhouse professor and Barbara Fought – Newhouse professor.

Much of the talk focused around shield laws (and the burning question of our time — namely, who is a journalist), privacy and copyright laws.



Creative Common image by ecstaticist

Most copyright and privacy law you encounter will depend on the purpose of your information gathering. You have to be cognizant of what category you’re shooting for. Are you gathering information for public dissemination?

Mickey Ostericher summed it up, thusly:

The whole idea of copyright law is asking permission.

The problem is that a lot of copyright involving multimedia and work produced and copied online hasn’t been decided yet, so we’re all still feeling our way a little. Barbara Fought recommended reporters follow the Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press to find out more information about the current litany of access and privacy cases currently working their way up through the state courts.

Barbara Fought likes the idea of Creative Commons but wants to warn journalists that the laws involving Creative Commons have not been established.

Creative Commons seems to be a good solution to a problem we’re having.

Some photographers asked about copyrighting their own work. While all work that is produced is immediately copyrighted in the United States, unless you have a license from the U.S. Copyright Office, it’s difficult to recover losses for a number of reasons.

1. The cost of bringing a coypright infringement is sometimes more expensive than the damages you would recover.

2. You’d have to go through a whole loss and litany to prove losses.

3. The statute of limitations for copyright infringement is relatively short, about two years.

This entire session actually started an argument with a co-worker and I about Shepard Fairey’s Obama Hope poster, which I hope to discuss in another post. Suffice it to say, I think Fairey’s poster will be found as fair use, while my co-worker is adamant that it is a copy. What do you think?

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