Archive for the ‘Legal Issues’Category

Can Pinterest survive without copyrighted content?

Rapidly growing  social media website Pinterest has bowed to pressure from photographers and copyright holders who complained that the “sharing” site had allowed its users to post content that did not belong to them.

Pinterest is reforming its terms of service, asking users to only post content they created, or content they have explicit permission to publish according to The Week.com.

Read the full story on The Week.com website: http://theweek.com/article/index/226141/can-pinterest-survive-without-copyrighted-contentnbsp.

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01

04 2012

Journalists arrested during public House hearing

Current shares this account of a documentary crew filming public hearings of the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress. Republicans didn’t like documentarian Josh Fox’s crew filming there and had them arrested.

‘Gasland’ Journalists Arrested At Hearing By Order Of House Republicans (Current)

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02

02 2012

‘Twitter censorship’ raises concerns from press freedom group

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Head of new media at press freedom group Reporters Without Borders says Twitter’s ability to ‘withhold’ content from users based on local restrictions could have ‘real consequences’ for journalists.

They are preparing an open letter to the chief executive of Twitter, to raise concerns about an announcement that the social media platform now has the power to “reactively withhold” tweets from users to meet country-based restrictions.

Read the full article on UK website Journalism.co.uk.

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Prison Time for Saying It was Too Salty?

A food blogger in Taiwan was ordered by a judge to spend 30 days in prison and pay NT$200,000 in restitution for saying a restaurant’s noodles were too salty. A handful of countries still have these kinds of draconian libel laws on the books. Even though they may sound neutral on paper, they are frequently used by businesses to stifle the speech of consumers, thus creating a one-sided marketplace where businesses can use their free speech (advertise) but consumers can’t. One of the premises of a free enterprise system is that consumers must be informed in order to make fair purchases. That way the businesses that do good jobs thrive while the bad businesses and swindlers die out.

If citizens can’t publish their experiences online, nor their opinions, then there’s no free economy. For further reading, check out what a writer on one of my sites says.

Food critic jailed after blogging that restaurant’s beef noodles were ‘too salty’ (The Daily Mail)

How to Avoid Jail Time Over a Restaurant Review (ZenKimchi)

 

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27

06 2011

Protecting Citizen Photojournalists

Starting from the Zapruder JFK film and the Holliday video of Rodney King, columnist and veteran newspaper editor Edward Wasserman in The Miami Herald argues that all photojournalists need protection, professional and citizen.

Suppose the difference between the news photographer and the vacationer who filmed a spectacular drug bust is that the photojournalist has the title but the tourist has the pictures. Why treat them differently?

He then goes on about a recent case of Miami Beach police officers arresting a bystander who took cell phone pictures of officers shooting a man to death and comparing him to the citizen photojournalists covering the revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East.
Should shield laws cover citizens as well as professionals?

Protect practitioners of ‘citizen journalism’

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23

06 2011

Do all Citizen Journalists Deserve a Paycheck?

The debate rages on over whether citizen journalists and bloggers should get paid for their work.

The most recent salvos come amidst AOL’s $315 million purchase of The Huffington Post and a class-action suit filed by a former HuffPost contributor and activist.

Jonathan Tasini believes bloggers who have contributed to the HuffPost for years should receive back pay – to the tune of $105 million, according to the suit he filed April 12 against AOL, TheHuffingtonPost.com, and Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer, the news website’s founders.

“In my view, the Huffington Post’s bloggers have essentially been turned into modern-day slaves on Arianna Huffington’s plantation,” Tasini was reported to have said in a telephone press conference. “This lawsuit is about establishing justice for the bloggers of the Huffington Post and establishing a standard going forward.”

He also said is he urging other bloggers to stop contributing to the HuffPo.

“Anybody blogging for the Huffington Post now is a scab,” he said. “They’re a strike breaker. They’re producing content for somebody who is attacking workers.”

He’s not the only one suggesting that contributors stop writing for free. On March 16, the Newspaper Guild of America joined the Visual Arts Source in urging unpaid writers to stop contributing to the website.

“We are asking that our members and all supporters of fair and equitable compensation for journalists join us in shining a light on the unprofessional and unethical practices of this company,” the Guild said in its press release.

Of course, Huffington sees things differently, reportedly saying the lawsuit is “utterly without merit.”

The UK Telegraph reported that she accused Tasini and other bloggers of changing their tune after AOL purchased the site.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, Tasini understood and appreciated the value of having a post on HuffPost – and was only too happy to use our platform’s ability to get his work seen by a wider audience and raise his profile when he was running for office,” she reportedly said.

“Until years later, when he suddenly decided that he’d changed his mind… and that instead of providing a boost to his career and political aspirations, posting on our site was actually just like being a slave on a plantation.”

As the verbal attacks fly, I have to say I can see both sides. Sure, there are some citizen journalists and bloggers who work very hard at their craft and should be paid. At the same time, there also are those who call themselves citizen journalists, but they are only out there writing to promote a cause or issue.

I have to admit that I’ve contributed both ways. I’ve been paid to contribute to a community publication when it needed help. I’ve also blogged for free about citizen journalism. Why? Because I want to promote the National Association of Citizen Journalists. Like I said, I understand both sides.

Susan Cormier is the head coach in charge of training at the National Association of Citizen Journalists (http://nacj.us/) and co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/).

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Human Rights Watch defends Egyptian blogger

An Egyptian blogger was sentenced to three years in prison this week. The Human Rights Watch issued a statement that can be read here. Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said this in response to the sentencing:

“Maikel Nabil’s three-year sentence may be the worst strike against free expression in Egypt since the Mubarak government jailed the first blogger for four years in 2007. The sentence is not only severe, but it was imposed by a military tribunal after an unfair trial.”

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15

04 2011

Trump-ing Press Freedom?

Oh, we won’t see the end of that pun.

A case is going on now involving two award-winning documentary filmmakers being accused of filming one of Donald Trump’s properties without permission. The police confiscated their equipment for five days, and the filmmakers say that their video proves that they indeed have permission.

They were investigating events like the water being shut off by Trump contractors, which sounds like a classic example of journalism for the public interest.

This will be an interesting case to watch to measure the temperature of press freedom these days.

Film-makers arrested on site of Donald Trump’s Scottish golf resort (guardian.co.uk)

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13

09 2010

The State of Press Freedom – September 11, 2010

Here are a few stories relating to freedom of the press this week.

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11

09 2010