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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!

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Old February 19th, 2008, 03:07 PM   #16
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Washington State
Posts: 88
Wow. There is a lot of interest in nailing this issue.

I have to wonder how the paparazzi get away with it. And I know they fall under the news collection.

But one could argue that when you step into any sports arena, you have put yourself in the news light as a competitor. That is why newspapers and broadcast news stations have the legal right to collect still and moving images for news. They do not have the right to broadcast entire events. And in many circumstance, especially when I covered concerts in both public and private venues, it was a standard to be told you could only operate your camera for the first (roughly) 10 minutes (often less).

But there are some major differences in many of the arguements being made and what I originally intended.

First: I am covering events from a news perspective. And almost always we are invited to the events via a press release or media contact. I have a legitimate reason to be there, and people in the event have crossed the arena by becomming contestants in what is a public event (no charge, free to public)

Second: If, in the process, somebody wants to purchase video, why can't I sell a copy to them. Now before you start touting what you think you know, please consider how it really work in TV and Print news. TV stations and Newspapers sell copies of the video and photos they collect to the general public. There is no doubt about this. Check it out. See what they charge. We did it at my stations. Now check out what is happening to newspapers across the nation. They are starting to post video of the news events they cover. And because they are online, they can include a lot more video than the standard 90 second broadcast news package. It's an entire new field (actually it's an old field, but with a new arena). Third: News agencies have long been selling the photos they broadcast or publish to the public. What is a news agency supposed to do when it gets a request for a copy of the video it played via it's news website.

Third: Just because someone runs a private video business does not mean they don't gather news. You have to keep in mind what makes your project news and what makes it not news. I could be hired by ABC news to collect video of the migrant camp in my area for a piece they are doing on migrant camps in the Pacific Northwest. Do I need release forms. No. As long as I am on public land or land that is generally open to the pulbic (like a private college), I am collecting news and I am covered. But what happens after ABC broadcasts the piece and then they get about 10 requests across the nation for copies? It happens all the time. Is profit involved"? Yes. The last time I had to get a news package from a national news stations, it cost more than $100.

Fourth: Don't forget documentaries. I bet most of the documentaries coming out of Iraq don't have release forms to go with them. What about the stuff that was done after Hurricane Katrina.

I guess what I am getting at is as news agencies are able to broadcast larger chunks of video, they are going to get more requests for copies. And independent web-casters are just as much news agencies as anyone else.

Don't be so quick to answe with the standard, if you are selling it, you have to get a release. The real issue here is when something is collected originally as news, what are your rights to make money off of it at that point. And there are agencies that do this too.

There is a new website being started at Harvard that may delve into some of these issue:

I am willing to look at other website that are posting the answers to this and other cyberlaw questions. Thanks.

Alfred Diaz is offline   Reply

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