In this “highlights” version of the now-famous all-day Thursday session, top legal minds from across the globe will share insight and tips on a range of relevant legal issues, including copyright, newsroom law, social media and key issues involved in running a digital news operation.
Session has officially ended. Thanks for joining us!
Question: If I’m a journalist and I have a video shot at a fundraiser (i.e., Romney). Are there protections that downstream publishers have? Would they face liability even if they didn’t record?
Stephens: If you’re getting this after, and it’s been offered to you. It’s a problem for the source, not you, and it comes down to source protection.
Hart notes, though, that there are state with laws that prohibit the recording of wire or oral communication without the consent of all parties. Goller says in California the laws says that it only has to be a private, confidential conversation.
Panelist Mark Stephens worked with Julian Assange during his attempted extradition. He says that he no longer works with him.
“There’s no black and white answer” when it comes to copyright and what defines fair use, says Goller of the Los Angeles Times. Whether that’s 300 words or 5 seconds (it’s not clear) — she recommends journalists just be aware of lots of examples and how courts have ruled.
Goller of the Los Angeles Times says reworking the hot news doctrine isn’t going to save us. Says she has a reporter who said, “I personally dug up this quote from 2008″ from their archives. The point, of course, that there’s not much reporting there.
Some tweets from people following along:
Goller points out how much of this business is about rewriting content. We want to claim ownership over something, but then when someone takes our news, we get upset. Brings up the hot news doctrine.
But while attribution doesn’t matter so much in a legal analysis, it often can defuse a situation.
Just ID’d the last panelist. It’s Karlene Goller — Vice President, Legal and Deputy General Counsel of the Los Angeles Times. Goller says LAT is not fully a part of NewsRight, which is an effort from the AP to crack down on copyright infringement and to track where content goe on the web. They are using it only with AP content.
Stephens: Says AP is a “collective.” As a result of that, there’s a real problem. When members of the AP rip off work, then there’s a reluctance to sue your own member. The people who are ripping off outside of that are people who can’t pay.
Panelist who’s on general counsel of LA Times: I don’t think copyright law has to change. I think that enforcement is an issue — we’ve seen terrible ideas from that, like RightHaven, she says. “I do believe technology will be the solution.”
Question from David Ardia (the moderator): Is stronger copyright the solution to what ails journalism?
No, says Jon Hart. He says the reason it’s declining ad revenue. Another panelist says it’s about attention — where you spend your time consuming content (it’s spread across lots more platforms).
Mark Stephens: People are infringing far more readily. If you take the Daily Mail in London, which rips off copyrights, he says. “Virtually every newspaper in America has been in contact with me over the Daily Mail.” Then there’s the cost of enforcement. Is it even worth it? There’s a lethargy in enforcement and so there’s less money in the system.
Jon Hart: Journalists often confuse that there’s no difference between copyright and plagiarism. There is a difference.
“Journalists are usually not a source of information themselves — they create information from other sources.”
By the way, sorry for lack of names. Apparently the flu ran through a few people on the panel, so some are not here,and they don’t have visible name tags.
Question: Journalists tend to rely extensively on fair use to do the reporting they do. How does that play out int he questions you get in the newsroom, and how do you advise on it?
Often the answer for questions about fair use are … “it depends.” Fair use itself is “clunky.”
Panelist argues he would take flexibility over a more rigid interpretation.
Mini law school for digital journalists is about to start. Several dozen people have filled the room.