Monday, March 3, 2008

Associated Press rips off Live Leak video...(update...Snappedshot is back up!)

I'm going to tread extremely lightly here. The AP video now has attribution to Liveleak at the very beginning...something commenter Christoph pointed out. However, I viewed this video four times before I posted it...at the time there was no such attribution. Therefore I was puzzled when Christoph repeatedly mentioned this.

That is not an accusation of deceit. It is possible/probable that someone at AP noticed the ommission and properly corrected it. At the time I posted this, there was no such attribution as I viewed this very carefully bofore posting. Nor was there a red border at the bottom with the location of "Hamburg, Germany". Further, of the many people I emailed this to, nobody pointed out the attribution until Christoph did in the comments section...several hours after the original posting. I am sure that had this attribution been in place at the beginning, someone would have pointed this out before Christoph did. I would not have posted this had the original video had proper attribution


...and calls it their own? Or did they pay for this video of a Lufthansa airliner struggling to land in Hamburg, Germany?

The video from Liveleak:



Now, the same video, with the AP logo on it (video recently embedded reposted at bottom):




Now isn't that interesting? I wonder how much the AP paid Liveleak to use that video...

Meanwhile, Brian Ledbetter at snappedshot.com has voluntarily removed ALL content, including the letter from the AP goon lawyer and the links to the bloggers who are publicizing the thuggery of the AP. Go here for some of that content...

He hopes to be back up soon with a new and improved "AP-approved" blog. Heh. Brian, were behind you 110%!

Update: Shappedshot returns!

Clarification: (and in case the AP is reading again)For the record, this post was tongue-in-cheek. I emailed it to Brian Ledbetter and he caught the irony...

I am pretty sure AP has their butts covered legally...whether they purchased it for distribution or they have some agreement with Liveleak to use their videos and then sell them to news services for profit (which is how I found the video...on an internet news service).

It's interesting...though the "Liveleak" symbol is in the upper right hand corner, the AP symbol is the one anyone would notice. In the AP story (available on AOL and Yahoo), there is no mention of the video being from Liveleak.

Go to comments sections...commenter Christoph makes some good points in defense of the AP...

10 comments:

Christoph said...

I bet you any money they had rights to use that video, given or purchased by either LiveLeak or the original producer. They even had "LIVE LEAK" in all caps for a second at the beginning, giving credit.

In short, your attempt to take the socialist position and say that Brian Ledbetter should be able to publish a dozen or more AP photos in many individual posts to criticize them without paying a penny in compensation, isn't AP's position.

AP is more recognizably capitalist, conservative, and pro-intellectual property rights in this case. Perhaps you should consult AP's sales staff.

Nigel said...

Uh Christoph...we ALL had rights to use that video...hence Liveleak's embed code and the use license we all agree to.

The irony here is that AP captured and used a video from Liveleak...then put their logo on it and re-distributed it for profit (AOL news was one outlet). I was being tongue-in-cheek. I am sure AP did in fact have their butts covered legally...somehow, whether or not they actually paid Liveleak for use.

I am not an attorney specializing in "fair use" aspects of free-speech. It's just interesting that the AP decided to target a blogger who was not making a profit off of his criticisms of the Associated Press. It's not as if he ripped off the photos and claimed them as his own (as AP has done with the Liveleak video)

Other than the well-deserved criticism of the Associated Press, what would be the damages to them if a blog re-posted their photos for the purposes of being critical?

Can I repost an article or quote from the NY Times if I am being critical of them? If not, than how can I be critical of them if I can't show the context of my criticism?

Christoph said...

"It's just interesting that the AP decided to target a blogger who was not making a profit off of his criticisms of the Associated Press."

He was, however, selling ads. I'm not sure you have any proof it was Brian's long term intention to never make a profit. Certainly, with web hosting costs going about $10 or so a month, his odds of making a profit went up dramatically with not having to pay license fees.

In any case, it's not particularly important. I assume some people are OPPOSED to profit. Fine. They still can't steal my work and post it "for free" merely because they ain't reSELLING it: By doing so, they increase supply and hence lower costs.

"It's not as if he ripped off the photos and claimed them as his own..."

You're thinking about "moral rights" (i.e., to attribution) as opposed to the economic benefits of intellectual property rights. As a not-for-profit cooperative whose mission it is to ensure their members, newspapers mostly, succeed, they have a duty to ensure the value of their work isn't diminished in the marketplace.

"(as AP has done with the Liveleak video)"

I'd say you're drifting into libel, but your saving grace is this is so clearly silly. The video says "LiveLeak" at the top left and, if that's not enough, they added "LIVE LEAK" in bold white letters for a few seconds.

"Other than the well-deserved criticism of the Associated Press, what would be the damages to them if a blog re-posted their photos for the purposes of being critical?"

Excellent question. The shortest answer is the lost revenue they're entitled to by Brian Ledbetter for use of their photos. Longer and still accurate answer is having thousands of AP photos out there on a single site, but not paid for, reduces the market value of their photos.

Why would AP's member organizations as well as non-members want to pay top dollar for photos if all they have to do is offer some critique of said photos and get them for free? Who wants to pay for something that other people can decide — on their own — they don't want to pay for?

Supply. Demand. Price.

Using an analogy — and really think about this, please, because I have the feeling your heart is in the right place — ask yourself how much the value of CDs has fallen with illegal music downloads.

Even legal music downloads now cost about a buck. Walmart — a huge retailer — just announced that they're dropping the price of music and video discs and insisting the distributors of those pay a larger share of costs, due to falling demand.

"Can I repost an article or quote from the NY Times if I am being critical of them?"

Repost, probably not, except in certain rare cases where it's absolutely necessary for an understanding of your criticism and there's no other way of your reader getting it from the copyright holder. I'd guess one such example would be where a media company publishes something online, then denies they published it.

Or the Ron Paul newsletters. Maybe there's a real nasty one out there, but only a few copies, in the hands of unsavory people If they were denying its existence, the news value of publishing it may exceed their rights to copyright. Maybe. It's an affirmative defense, something you'd have to prove if sued. Their copyright is presumed valid until you prove otherwise.

The amount of a work republished is one of the four part test used to determine if its Fair Use or not.

So publishing, say, over a dozen full photos in a single blog post to criticize them is pushing it. A lot. Charles Johnson at LGF said Brian did this often.

For more info:

Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered “fair,” such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
3. amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The distinction between “fair use” and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

Nigel said...

Fair enough Christoph. I agree...this is silly...and so is my treatment of it.

But that is intentional...

I think what got everyone so hot about all of this is the heavy-handed way in which the AP went after Brian. The letter that the AP attorney sent was clearly threatening...and not in the spirit of extending a suggestion of how Brian could comply with AP's requirements for use. And I would suggest that if they went after Brian, they will almost certainly go after other bloggers as well...

But why Brian first? Could it be that he has been rightly critical of the Associated Press for its "journalism" (especially its "photo-journalism")? With so many other high profile bloggers that have not paid for the AP's photos, why not target them?

Your point about the reposting of the New York Times article "where it's absolutely necessary for an understanding of your criticism..." should apply to photographs, should it not? How can you criticize a photo being portrayed as "journalism" without showing it?

Christoph said...

"How can you criticize a photo being portrayed as "journalism" without showing it?"

Linking to it and letting AP get the page views they're entitled to because it's their photos.

Or... buying reprint rights.

Christoph said...

Or an even better answer is linking to one of AP's 1500 members who pay huge license fees for photos. They have for profit-advertising and benefit financially when viewers see their websites.

Nigel said...

Your solutions are good ideas. Of course when we repost or reprint from a newspaper, we always link to it.

I will cede that there is more to this than originally met the eye. However, the AP certainly could have handled this in a less heavy-handed way.

For example, instead of threatening Brian legally, they could have brought right out in the first paragraph in their letter that they were offering a solution to help Brian meet their requirements. That offer did not come until the very last sentence.

Instead, they threatened his very livelihood...and it worked. As Brian has much to lose, he had no choice but to comply instead of researching his options.

Of course, many lawyers don't know any other way. Their most tactful legal manuever is to threaten, threaten, threaten.

Of course had they not taken this course, there would have been no story at all. Brian's reprinting of their letter for all to see showed what an insensitive dolt the AP lawyer was.

My suggestion would have been a simple letter to the effect of:

"We have reviewed the content of your website and have determined that you are in violation of our license to use images from the Associated Press.

"To avoid further legal action, please contact us at XXX-XXX-XXXX or XXXX@ap.com. We can discuss ways in which you may legally use our material."

Or something to that effect (I'm not an attorney, so I don't speak "Thug"...with all apologies to our good friend Murphy Klasing)

Christoph said...

Off topic, Nigel, but do you want to see a LAWYER'S letter?

I'm from Canada (we, Britain, and Australia call the whole area of law we were discussing "fair dealing", so if you ever hear the term, that's what it is).

In Canada, there's a scandal going on where the wife of a Member of Parliament -- who denied this ever happened before he died of cancer -- says he was offered a $1,000,000 life insurance policy just before he died.

On its face, this is fairly incredible, because what company would issue it? What makes it stranger is that the wife is now a Conservative Party candidate and she denies the Prime Minister would have known about it.

This was allegedly in return for the Member of Parliament voting to prop the old Liberal government up in a confidence vote when they were sagging in the polls.

Stay with me. You'll actually have fun reading the lawyer's letter and it'll be worth it.

So the Liberal Party of Canada has accused Stephen Harper, the Conservative Prime Minister of knowing about a bribe, etc. They put these accusations on their website.

Today, the Prime Minister of Canada with an intellectual property lawyer par excellence fired back with this letter to the Opposition leader et al. warning them of an impending lawsuit.

Read it. Enjoy it. Savor it. (It's better if you know the participants, but in this case, suffice it to say the letter is written on behalf of a Conservative Prime Minister against a Liberal Opposition Leader.)

After reading it, note the complete absence of niceties and the very heavy handed domination of our hapless Opposition Leader.

Then ask which would be more effective.

Christoph said...

Sorry, just for clarity, I misspoke. The Independent Member of Parliament voted with the Liberals on the confidence vote, but the alleged bribe would have been for him to vote with the Conservatives to bring down the government.

Anyway. It's the style of letter written by Canada's top lawyer in this area I like. A staunch Liberal pointed out earlier today he articled under this lawyer decades ago and he hasn't lost a libel case in decades.

Nigel said...

Oh gosh, Christoph...that was a heavy read...

I think you understand why people don't appreciate lawyers in general.

BTW, I chewed on what you said when you noticed the attribution to Liveleak in the video. I kind of glossed over it, and thought to myself "what the hell is he talking about".

Then I went back to the source (AOL news) and watched the video again.

And sure enough...there was the attribution.

Suddenly this post loses its legs. But I think enough people noticed the original lack of attribution...otherwise, why would Ace (and several other sites) have linked it.

I just don't want you to think I was being a crackpot conspiracy theorist. With the attribution the irony is now gone...