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Copyright and the Internet
April 16, 2009, 4:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Does the AP have a coherent legal case? Is this the key to its survival? If yes, how can the AP evolve to meet the demands for digital content? If no, how should the AP be addressing this challenge?

On April 6, the AP said it would “launch an industry initiative to protect news content from misappropriation online.”  Basically, the AP plans to hunt down Web sites that post its content without paying and pursue legal action.

To me, this seems like a ludicrous way to try and solve journalism’s problem of profiting, or simply surviving, in the Internet age. 

Whether they have a legitimate legal case or not is irrelevant.  While Web sites that use AP content without permission are walking the dangerously fine line between fair use and copyright infringement, there is no way that the AP can effectively and efficiently police every Web site on the Internet.  Right or wrong, the AP is fighting a losing battle.  That’s just the bottom line.

In the end, the AP’s futile attempts to stop unauthorized use of their content could actually alienate its audience.  People have become accustomed to getting fast, free information, and they will inevitably reject any organization that tries to take this privilege away from them. 

Journalistic organizations that don’t embrace the Internet’s free flow of information will eventually die, so if the AP wants to survive, it should start using its resources more judiciously.  Instead of ignoring reality and desperately hanging on to the increasingly obsolete top-down media model, the AP should concentrate on creating a new model that makes most of the possibilities presented by the Internet. 

First and foremost for journalism, the ease of access afforded by the Internet creates the potential for more people to see news content.  Since the journalism industry strives to inform the public, it seems to me that journalists should logically view the Internet as a tool that allows them to to their job even better.  

While I will concede that the Internet creates profit problems that still need to be addressed, the answer is not to limit access to content.  This goes against one of journalism’s core values.  

Plus, the AP comes of looking like a stingy gatekeeper, and with the rise of citizen journalism and user-generated content, this is no longer a look that the AP can afford.  

I don’t know how the AP can effectively address the problem of pirated content.  It is a moving target that may never be fully resolved, but one of the first step could be to shift the tone of the conversation from threatening to informative.

Many people simply copying and pasting AP content probably don’t realize what they are doing.  I know that educating the public on copyright laws won’t stop everyone, but a significant portion of people probably would start linking to AP content, something beneficial to everyone. 

 

 



The State of the News Industry Blog
March 20, 2009, 7:09 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

When my dad was a child, he liked to play with paper.  He would cut it up and organize it into stacks.  I know this because my dad firmly believes that people should look to their childhoods for career inspiration.

That is how I ended up as a journalism major at the University of Colorado.  As a child, I was a fanatical storyteller and a voracious reader.

My dad’s affinity for paper led him to a career in printing.  He has owned a printing company for the last thirty years, and he has relished every last minute of it.

I never quite understood my dad’s obsession with printing, but it defined me nonetheless.  Until recently, I wholeheartedly believed that hard working people could make a stable, secure living pursuing their passions. 

Unfortunately, the bad economy and the Internet are driving my dad out of business. While he has not officially closed up shop yet, it is only a matter of time.

My parents are now close to bankrupt.  They have lost all of their retirement savings and have recently put our family home up for sale, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

These changes have rocked me to the core, and as a result, I have lost my sense of self.  When expressing my fears and frustration to a former professor, he gave me an invaluable piece of advice: Crises are nothing more than new opportunities.

This piece of advice immediately came to mind as I was reading Clay Shirky’s blog post and Stephen Johnson’s speech.

The crisis that the journalism industry is currently facing is really nothing more than an opportunity to improve its increasingly outdated and inefficient model. 

The cornerstones of journalism, such as informing the public, will never disappear.  Throughout history, enterprising minds have found ways to fulfill the watchdog function, and I have no doubt that they will continue to do so in the future. 

No one knows what the future of journalism will look like.  When it is all said and done, the new model may change the industry so drastically that stodgy traditionalist no longer consider it journalism.

Personally, I am excited by the prospects.  I am not afraid of the changes that are coming because I know that I have the skills necessary to produce creative, innovative content, whatever it may be.  In this regard, my fellow journalism students and I actually have a leg up on many seasoned journalists.  

I admit that not knowing what the future holds makes me a bit apprehensive, but ultimately, we have a unique and exciting opportunity: the opportunity to mold the future of journalism.

 



Painting With Ketchup and French Fries
February 12, 2007, 7:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


Hello Everybody
January 22, 2007, 12:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

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I got to spend some time this spring and summer in New Orleans and have a ton of pictures, but before I put more up I was wondering if anyone knows the best way to protect my images.

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