Chapter 12: Law and Ethics: Producing and Disseminating News

Click on the tabs below to view the content for each section.

Assignments

  1. Go to Creative Commons and search for 4–5 images that would be beneficial for you to use in your own multimedia project. Determine the type of licensing attached to each image and whether you could or should use them in relation to copyright infringement.
  2. Go to Creative Commons and decide if you have a photo from a news story you covered that you would submit for re-use. What type of licensing and access would you allow?
  3. Determine the copyright and reuse policies of the local newspaper, news site, or television station for a text story/article, a picture, or a video. Discuss what rights freelancers (or interns) might have in reproducing that material for a personal website or e-portfolio.
  4. Check out the comments policies of a local, a national, and an international news organization’s website and/or Facebook site. What is the policy regarding anonymity and registration for those that allow comments? Do any prevent comments on certain topics and what are the topics where comments are restricted or eliminated?
  5. Poynter Institute’s Regina McCombs has written a strong article arguing against use of music in news stories because of how it alters tone and context. Read her article at: http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/newsgathering-storytelling/94672/music-in-multimedia-add-sparingly-not-as-a-crutch/. How would you devise a policy regarding music use in multimedia stories?

Links

Links to articles about ethics in online journalism

What are the ethics of online journalism?
http://www.ojr.org/ojr/wiki/ethics/

Legal guide for bloggers
https://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal

No one owns the news
http://www.ojr.org/ojr/people/robert/200904/1689/

Links to articles about plagiarism and copyright

Do-it-yourself copyright protection online
http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/080521niles-copyright/

Google Video sued for copyright infringement
http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/digital-strategies/e-media-tidbits/79293/google-video-sued-for-copyright-infringement/

NYT Co.’s top lawyer doubts that aggregation is a copyright issue
http://www.niemanlab.org/2009/07/nyt-cos-top-lawyer-doubts-that-aggregation-is-a-copyright-issue/

Pinterest addresses copyright concerns
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/pinterest-addresses-copyright-concerns/2012/03/15/gIQAijAFES_story.html

Google boots music blogs, claiming copyright fouls
http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-10451740-261.html

If putting photos together in a top 10 list is fair use, what isn’t?
http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/172446/if-putting-photos-together-in-a-top-10-list-is-fair-use-what-isnt/

Journalists, fair use and free speech
http://www.centerforsocialmedia.org/blog/fair-use/journalists-fair-use-and-free-speech-0

Defining “fair use” for the digital age
http://www.cjr.org/page_views/defining_fair_use_for_the_digital_age.php

Gawker and the Washington Post: A case study in fair use
http://www.niemanlab.org/2009/08/gawker-and-the-washington-post-a-case-study-in-fair-use/

Saving journalism from itself? Hot news, copyright fair use and news aggregation
http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/interactive/events/2010/04/omlnpanel1

What’s the law around aggregating news online? A Harvard Law report on the risks and the best practices
http://www.niemanlab.org/2010/09/whats-the-law-around-aggregating-news-online-a-harvard-law-report-on-the-risks-and-the-best-practices/

Is the AP suing an aggregator or a search engine in the Meltwater case?
http://www.niemanlab.org/2012/02/is-the-ap-suing-an-aggregator-or-a-search-engine-in-the-meltwater-case/

Bloggers and other online publishers face increasing legal threats
http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/top-stories/91639/bloggers-and-other-online-publishers-face-increasing-legal-threats/

Website admits copyright, “hot news” violations
http://www.rcfp.org/node/98128

Who owns the work—The Creative Commons alternative—Hot news
http://www.rcfp.org/first-amendment-handbook/who-owns-work-creative-commons-alternative-hot-news

The Barclays case: Will “hot news” limit the right to aggregate news?
http://www.niemanlab.org/2010/03/the-barclays-case-will-hot-news-limit-the-right-to-aggregate-news/

The future of the hot news misappropriation tort after Barclays Capital Inc. v. TheFlyontheWall.com
http://www.medialawmonitor.com/2011/09/the-future-of-the-hot-news-misappropriation-tort-after-barclays-capital-inc-v-theflyonthewall-com/

Links to articles about combating online piracy

What journalists need to know about SOPA [Stop Online Piracy Act]
http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/top-stories/158210/what-journalists-need-to-know-about-sopa/

SOPA copyright bill draws fire
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57326107-93/sopa-copyright-bill-draws-fire/

How the Stop Online Piracy Act could impact journalists
http://www.mediabistro.com/10000words/how-the-stop-online-piracy-act-could-impact-journalists_b8460

Legal and business advice for online publishers and bloggers
http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/070411pearson/

Links to articles about website comments policies

No comment
It’s time for news sites to stop allowing anonymous online comments.
http://ajr.org/article.asp?id=4878

Cleaning up comments
When readers spot offensive online comments on Gannett web sites, Pluck Media Solutions jumps into the fray.
http://www.ajr.org/article.asp?id=4897

Online comments: Dialogue or diatribe?
http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reportsitem.aspx?id=102647

Maine paper to require verified names for online comments
http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/media-lab/social-media/112052/maine-paper-to-require-verified-names-for-online-comments/

A 5-minute framework for fostering better conversations in comments sections
http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/digital-strategies/121664/a-5-minute-framework-for-fostering-better-conversations-in-comments-sections/

People using pseudonyms post the highest-quality comments, Disqus says
http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/159078/people-using-pseudonyms-post-the-most-highest-quality-comments-disqus-says/

5 lessons from how Philly.com handled comments on Conlin sex abuse stories
http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/top-stories/157771/5-lessons-from-how-philly-com-handled-comments-on-conlin-sex-abuse-stories/

New York Times overhauls comment system, grants privileges to trusted readers
http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/media-lab/social-media/154615/new-york-times-overhauls-comment-system-grants-privileges-to-trusted-readers/

Google, Disqus working on new article commenting systems
http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/168088/google-disqus-working-on-new-article-commenting-systems/

Assessing legal risks and guidelines for user comments
http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/community-engagement/dialogue-or-diatribe/82577/assessing-legal-risks-and-guidelines-for-user-comments/

Ideas for how to make commenting systems work better
http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/digital-strategies/e-media-tidbits/97494/ideas-for-how-to-make-commenting-systems-work-better/

The writing on the wall: Why news organizations are turning to outside moderators for help with comments
http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/04/the-writing-on-the-wall-why-news-organizations-are-turning-to-outside-moderators-for-help-with-comments/

The comment police
NPR says it’s pleased with the results of its decision to outsource the battle against offensive online comments.
http://www.ajr.org/article.asp?id=5000

Is Facebook the solution to the obnoxious comment plague?
http://ajr.org/Article.asp?id=5213

Links to articles about libel, defamation, and reporters’ privilege

Introduction—Defamatory communication—Publication—Falsity
http://www.rcfp.org/first-amendment-handbook/introduction-defamatory-communication-publication-falsity

Reporters’ privilege
https://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal/journalists/privilege

SPLC legal brief: Legal protections for journalists’ sources and information
http://www.splc.org/knowyourrights/legalresearch.asp?id=31

Qualified privilege
http://www.rcfp.org/category/glossary-terms/qualified-privilege

What journalists need to know about libelous tweets
http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/top-stories/141987/what-journalists-need-to-know-about-libelous-tweets/

Debate about Crystal Cox blogging case misses a key legal point
http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/top-stories/155809/debate-about-crystal-cox-blogging-case-misses-a-key-legal-point/

The real danger in that bloggers-aren’t-journalists ruling
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-kennedy/the-real-danger-in-that-b_b_1136844.html

Crystal Cox, Oregon blogger, isn’t a journalist, concludes US court—Imposes $2.5 million judgment on her
http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2011/12/crystal_cox_oregon_blogger_isn.php

Libel ruling provides protection for forums, not individual bloggers
http://www.ojr.org/ojr/glaser/1057697648.php

What the Oregon blogger who lost a $2.5 million judgment should have done
http://www.ojr.org/ojr/people/robert/201112/2038/

Noonan v. Staples: “The most dangerous libel decision in decades”
http://www.niemanlab.org/2009/02/the-most-dangerous-libel-decision-in-decades/

Sources

Cenite, M., Detenber, B. H., Koh, A. W., Kim, A. L., & Soon, N. E. (2009). Doing the right thing online: a survey of bloggers’ ethical beliefs and practices. New Media & Society, pp. 575–597.

Copyright Basics. (2000, September). Retrieved October 20, 2004, from copyright.gov: http://www.copyright.gov/circa/circ1.html.

Goldberg, K. (2009, March 25). A case to watch. Retrieved December 2, 2011, from asne.org: http://tae.asne.org/Default.aspx?tabid=65&id=477.

Isbell, K. (2010, September 30). The rise of the news aggregator: Legal implications and best practices. Retrieved 2011 from http://cyber.law.harvard.edu: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1670339.

McBride, K. (2010, February 19). Why plagiarism continues and what writers, editors can do about it. Retrieved January 26, 2011, from poynter.org: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/everyday-ethics/100910/Why-Plagiarism-Continues-What-Writers-Editors-Can-Do-about-it.

Moos, J. (2011, November 10). Questions over Romenesko’s attributions spur changes in writing, editing. Retrieved November 14, 2011, from poynter.org: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/152802/questions-over-romeneskos-attributions-spur-changes-in-writing-editing/.

Shafer, J. (2010, February 17). The plagiarist’s dirty dozen excuses. Retrieved January 26, 2011, from slate.com: http://www.slate.com/id/2245030/.

Shepard, A. (2011, Summer). Online comments: Dialogue or diatribe? Retrieved December 2, 2011, from nieman.harvard.edu/reports: http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reports/article/102647/Online-Comments-Dialogue-or-Diatribe.aspx.

Thompkins, A. (2006, August 24). Story behind the picture: Who owns JonBenet Photos? Retrieved October 7, 2011, from poynter.org: http://www.poynter.org/uncategorized/76899/story-behind-the-picture-who-owns-jonbenet-photos/.