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New German law may impose fees on aggregated content use

March 8th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Journalism, Legal, Online Journalism

Germany’s governing centre-right coalition has proposed a new copyright law which would see content aggregators such as Google News paying royalties every time they index search results from news websites.

The proposal, which is available (in German) on the German Press Agency’s website states:

Commercial traders out there, such as search engines and news aggregators, should pay a fee to the publishers in the future for the distribution of press products (such as newspaper articles) on the internet.

Citing the German government’s original agreement, which states that online publishers “are not meant to be worse off” than other industries, the legislators suggest that the fee period should last for one year.

The fee proposals do not cover individuals using the material for private purposes and private users “will not be affected” by the proposal to charge for access.

Google has previously been sued for copyright infringement by French publishing houses Albin Michel, Flammarion and Gallimard, after the search giant scanned nearly 10,000 books for its Google Books site without permission.

The publishers later dropped their case against Google, saying they wanted to seek an “amicable solution to the litigation”.

In a similar copyright dispute in the UK, the Court of Appeal rejected arguments from the Public Relationships Consultants Association and news clippings service Meltwater that exemptions to copyright law could be applied to the content of newspaper websites, according to law firm Pinsent Masons.

In the UK, users of a clipping service must now have a licence from publishers to click on links taking them to a news website to avoid infringing the publishers’ copyrights, says Pinsent Masons.

A copyright tribunal said:

We reject the argument that requiring end user licensing under the WEUL (the Web End User Licence issued by the NLA), and at the same rates as the WEUL, is unreasonable.”

If Meltwater want to offer a headline only service to their end users they are free to do so but the service must be licensed in the same way as the headline plus text extract service.”

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Beet.TV: David Westin on NewsRight, the new online licensing platform for news

Last week, 29 news outlets announced their backing of a new independent rights clearance organisation in the US called NewsRight.

News companies which have invested in the new platform include the Associated Press, Washington Post and New York Times.

In the video below, from Beet.TV, NewsRight’s CEO David Westin (former president of ABC News) discusses the immediate plans for the organisation as well as future goals, such as working with images and video, as well as text-based news.

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Where does Twitpic row leave journalists?

Newspapers, broadcasters and websites are unable to publish Twitpic photos without permission from the person who owns the copyright, according to a media law specialist.

And the copyright is owned by the person who took and uploaded the photo, the founder of Twitpic, a service which allows users to append a photo or video to a tweet, has confirmed in the company’s blog.

“From what I’ve heard of the terms they are describing I don’t think that journalists can use the pictures people have uploaded to Twitpic and print or broadcast them,” media law consultant David Banks told Journalism.co.uk.

The question of the copyright of Twitpics has been answered this week and founder of Twitpic Noah Everett has apologised to users after it faced a barrage of criticism when it changed its terms leading many users to understand that Twitpic would have the right to sell users’ photos.

Twitpic users ditched their accounts in their droves in favour of alternatives, like this (really nice) option, Imgur.

“To clarify our ToS regarding ownership, you the user retain all copyrights to your photos and videos, it’s your content,” Everett said on the blog.

However, by signing up to use Twitpic you agree to allow the company to distribute your images to its partners, which include celebrity photo agency WENN.

Twitpic has said that it had changed its terms to prevent the media publishing and broadcasting photographs of newsworthy events – like this Twitpic of the Hudson river plane crash – without the permission.

Writing on the Twitpic blog, founder Noah Everett said:

Our terms state by uploading content to Twitpic you allow us to distribute that content on twitpic.com and our affiliated partners. This is standard among most user-generated content sites (including Twitter). If you delete a photo or video from Twitpic, that content is no longer viewable.

Twitpic’s full terms of service are at this link.

The BBC editorial guidelines on the use of photographs from social media sites are at this link.

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Techdirt: New York Times lawyers shut down former staffer’s Tumblr

Techdirt has laid into the New York Times for sending its laywers to shut down a Tumblr blog belonging to former staffer Jonathan Paul. Paul was using the account to repost some of the NYT’s “beautiful and unexpected imagery”, with links.

Paul notes that the blog actually had a decent following within the NYT, and his former colleagues had encouraged the project and helped promote it as well, fully realizing that it was helping their own work get more attention and driving more traffic to the NYT. And then the lawyers stepped in.

Full post on Techdirt at this link

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paidContent: Briefing.com settles in Dow Jones hot news case

November 16th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal, Online Journalism

Market analysis news provider Briefing.com has settled a copyright and ‘hot news misappropriation’ lawsuit brought against it by Dow Jones & Company, according to a paidContent report.

‘Hot news’ describes a contentious legal doctrine designed to prevent news organisations from re-reporting or republishing time-sensitive news gathered by others within a certain period.

The sum, which is undisclosed, was reportedly paid following claims the site had published Dow Jones stories without consent.

With such clear evidence of cutting-and-pasting, Dow Jones could have won its suit with a copyright claim alone. But it’s telling that the wire service insisted on suing over—and forced Briefing.com to admit it had violated—the hot news claim as well. It suggests that the news service may be trying to put itself in a strong position to file more hot news lawsuits in the future.

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Creative Commons releases new mark for public domain content

Creative Commons has released a new label for works that are free of known copyright restrictions. The Public Domain mark will make it easier for internet users to find copyright-free material and CC says it will increase the value of the public domain.

The Public Domain Mark is a further step on the path towards making the promise of a digital public domain a reality … Marking and tagging works with information about their copyright status is essential. Computers must be able to parse the public domain status of works to communicate its usefulness to the public. The metadata standard underpinning the Public Domain Mark and all of CC’s licensing and legal tools are what makes this possible.

Full post on Creative Commons at this link…

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Photography campaign group launches new copyright proposals; ‘National Cultural Archive’ among plans

Earlier this year the stop43 campaign successfully campaigned against the introduction of Clause 43 in the Digital Economy Bill, arguing that the legislation would take away the rights of photographers and artists.

Campaigners, which included members of the Association of Photographers, the British Institute of Professional Photography, the British Press Photographers’ Association, Copyright Action, EPUK, the National Union of Journalists and Pro-Imaging, were worried that proposals to collect a fee for commercial use of works whose creator could not be identified (so-called “orphan works”) were in the interest of commercial publishers rather than the original producer.

They got their way, and Clause 43 was removed from the Bill, before it became an Act.

While Clause 43 may be dead, Stop43 isn’t and it has been developing a ‘New Thinking’ proposal, to take to the new coalition government.

Stop43 supporter and photographic consultant Pete Jenkins told Journalism.co.uk that parliament will again be looking at orphan works and copyright, after the summer. “[W]e need to ensure that they are working on the right models – that is models that are creator friendly rather than publisher friendly as witnessed in the past,” he said.

The campaign has now unveiled its new proposal, which lays out plans for “cultural use” of orphan works, “and for this cultural use to switch all other uses and users to “known” works, to stimulate cultural and economic activity to the benefit of everyone”.

To enable this we propose some changes to current copyright law and the establishment of a National Cultural Archive, which must be free to use.

The group will continue its efforts to replace “inequitable and unworkable proposals” in the failed Clause 43, says Paul Ellis, co-founder of Stop43, in the latest announcement. The New Thinking proposal, he believes, “should benefit everyone”.

The Conservatives promised in their manifesto to introduce an Intellectual Property Act and we would like our proposal to be incorporated into that Act.

Although our proposal concerns itself with photography we believe it could easily be extended to all media types to create a massive cultural and economic resource of immense value, and Stop43 is eager to work with creators active in other media to achieve this.

This proposal was first introduced at the 2nd National Photography Symposium at the beginning of May, and was received well, with almost unanimous support, says the group.

The proposal has three parts [PDF at this link]

Jenkins is optimistic that the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat government will listen. “[P]ersonally I am hopeful that we (photographers) will get a better response from the new government than we did with the old regime,” he said.

But there are challenges, Jenkins warns, citing the British Library’s recently announced partnership with DC Thompson’s brightsolid, as an example. Plans to digitise newspapers and make the British Newspaper archive available to the public for a fee, trouble him.

Whilst their initial efforts involve out of copyright material, if all goes to plan it will not be long before the partnership is digitising work which is in copyright. Although questions have been asked of the British Library as to the clearance of copyright they have refused to answer any of them.

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Freelancers step up campaign against Bauer contracts

Freelancers at Bauer Media are continuing to protest against new contracts which they claim remove copyright from contributors.

The freelancers say that Q and Kerrang! started enforcing the contract yesterday. “Freelances who haven’t signed can’t get work from either title as of now,” the group said, via Twitter.

Tonight (5 May) there will be a meeting for all Bauer contributors in London. Details can be found at http://www.londonfreelance.org/fl/1005grab2.html.

Last week the National Union of Journalists, which is supporting the campaign, said that over 200 freelance journalists are challenging the new contracts. “The impasse has reached crisis point,” says the NUJ.

For the back story and Bauer’s own statement, issued last month, follow this link.

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AP to launch copyright tracking system on 14 July

May 4th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Legal

The Associated Press will launch its news registry on 14 July, opening it up to all members and publishers who want to sign up before the end of 2010, the agency has announced.

The new system will automatically notify the agency and members about how their content is used beyond their own websites. It also stores information identifying each piece of AP content distributed and its terms of use.

The registry will make use of the new microformat for metadata introduced by the AP earlier this month, which has been added to all its news stories online to encourage an industry standard for tagging.

“Beyond analytics, the registry also will set the stage for a new way of doing business as a cooperative,” says Tom Curley, AP president and CEO, in a release.

“Every content creator who uses the registry will be able to set the rights for the use of that content, so that it can be copied legally or used in new products that the industry or others create with proper permission and compensation.”

More than 200 AP member newspapers have signed up as beta testers of the system and the agency expects this number to reach 600 by the July launch date.

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paidContent:UK: Times Online blocks news aggregator Meltwater

March 17th, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Search

Following its decision in January to block the NewsNow news monitoring site, Times Online has blocked fellow news aggregator Meltwater.

Meltwater is the only aggregation service that has not complied with a new system introduced by the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) at the start of 2010, which includes charging sites that crawl newspaper websites and use this information as part of a commercial service to clients.

Meltwater is taking the NLA to a copyright tribunal and on Monday was told its challenge would go ahead with a procedural hearing in June 2010 and a trial in February 2011.

Full story at this link…

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