Fairey vs. AP

Cath Madden Trindle

Another controversial copyright case that has come to a conclusion is that of  Shepard Fairey, the creator of the Obama campaign poster in 2008.  Mr. Fairey was sued by AP for violation of copyright when he used a picture taken by an AP Photographer as the basis for his poster.  In this case he argued FAIR USE saying the original picture had been transformed into a work of art.

There are many on both sides of that issue. Perhaps less controversial is the fact the in trying to prove his point he lied about the picture he used.  The second picture included President Clinton and therefore only half would have been used.  But back to the issue at hand.  In using the picture Mr. Fairey made a great deal of money, so definitely not a non-profit use.  He might rightly argue, however, that the worth of the picture increased when he used it for the poster, so perhaps could have won his case on that fact…..IF….and this is a big IF.

IF he had credited AP and the photographer when he released his work.  He did not!!!!

This is a huge issue.  As genealogists, much of what we gather and use might be considered a fair use, but only if you give credit where credit is due.   Even when the material is no longer subject to copyright, use without crediting the source is unethical at best.

Mr. Fairey not only had to pay 1.6 million to AP (over 1 million of that out of his pocket) but he also has to do 300 hours of community service and is on probation for 2 years for tampering with evidence when destroyed information on his computer that showed which picture he actually used.  This large a settlement isn’t likely to happen in the genealogical world, but as we gather information online we are sometimes dealing with ……….


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Poll Results (1)

Over 57% of respondents said they want to use copyrighted material but don’t know how to get permission.

Over 30% said they are concerned with people violating their copyright.

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Internet Archive – TV News

Cath Madden Trindle

Yesterday Internet Archive launched a new service that allows users to search through news stories from every national news program

Screenshot of Internet Archive TV News – searching genealogy

in the U.S. for video clips on a particular topic.  It is then possible to watch 30 seconds of the program.

Additional clicking will allow you to watch the entire program 30 seconds at a time.  TVNews Search . Borrow  makes it possible to borrow the program on DVD from Internet Archive for a fee of $50.  The DVD must be returned.

Internet Archive states that TVNews Search . Borrow is allowed by Section 108 of the copyright code.  17 USC sec. 108 – Limitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction by libraries and archives allows libraries to lend a limited number of DVDs containing news programs to the public.  Internet Archive lends other library materials  online.

Internet Archive has contacted all the news services in hopes that they can partner and provide links to the material directly on the websites of the news services when possible. The news services have not yet partnered and are not yet commenting on it.

In 2008 Redlasso, a for profit site, was sued by NBC and Fox for copyright violation for a creating a video clip search engine without paying licensing fees.  They stopped providing access to unlicensed material.  Redlasso isn’t the only company providing licenses clips today, Critical Mention, Inc. also records TV content and sells it to companies who want to know what the media is saying about them.  Critical Mention has licenses from the content creators, including some exclusive agreements.

In a similar type service for print media, there is an ongoing lawsuit filed in Feb 2012  by AP against Meltwater Group .  For $5000 a year Meltwater clients get, among other things, the ability to “track keywords, phrases, and topics in over 192,000 sources from over 190 countries and 100 languages, monitored consistently throughout the day.”    The AP lawsuit states that Meltwater allows clients to store the complete article on their website therefor violating copyright of the print media.  Meltwater mostly lost a similar lawsuit in Great Britain, but in losing did manage to get the licensing fees lowered by 90%.

It will be interesting to see how the media reacts to the new TVNews Search . Borrow.  Although I am a staunch supporter of Internet Archive and their many wonderful offerings, including the Wayback Machine and their Government Document projects, I’m not sure if they have gone a step beyond this time.  I hope they can work out the issues with the media companies to make it work.

While it might seem that TV news is a stretch from genealogy, every copyright issue and challenge can affect our use of material.  In fact, many of us clip pieces from other websites and add them to our 0wn, convinced that we are staying within the limits of fair use.  Perhaps we aren’t.  It is always better to link to the origin of the material you use if that is possible and getting permission for the usage and even sometimes for the link might be in order.

Also contemplate, what is news?  Do podcasts qualify?  Blogs? Blog Radio?  Just throwing it  all out there for comment.  Check the new poll to the right.  What do you think?

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