Skip to comments.AP Beginning New Crack Down on Blog Critics? Shuts Down Blog With Legal Threats
Posted on 03/01/2008 8:12:13 AM PST by Mobile Vulgus
AP Shuts Down Blogger With Threats of Legal Action
Well, here is what might be a landmark case for the blogosphere, for the Internet, and for the future of our new media, citizen journalism. The AP has just sent a cease and desist letter to Brian C. Ledbetter telling him to stop using their copyrighted images on his website, snappedshot.com.
Snappedshot.com is a site predicated on criticism of photo-journalism. In pursuit of his criticism, Mr. Ledbetter uses photos from across the web that he thinks are doctored or misleading in some way. He then reports his opinion on the bias he sees therein.
Because of this pending legal action, snappedshot.com is now been placed on hiatus until the situation can be cleared up.
So, here is the issue facing us, folks: can we use copyrighted material under the commonly observed fair usage rules without getting hauled into court? After all, Mr. Ledbetter was not making money from his website and he used those photos in order to critique them, not to enrich himself. That would seem to be the very definition of fair use, would it not?
Now it comes down to whether use of the AP's photos in order to do social commentary and criticism is fair enough to be considered fair use?
Worse, if this tactic works, can it not be used by every mainstream news source out there to silence criticism of them?
I say we have the makings of an important ruling on whether we bloggers are free to criticize the MSM without being dragged in to court at the whim of any MSM bigwig.
We'll try to follow this story and see where it goes.
Read more at Newsbusters.org.
The problem is that there is no way to prevent being hauled into court for any or no reason.
You can capitulate in hopes of avoiding it, but if I want to file a suit against you, and am willing to pay $75 or so to do it, you’re going to court.
AP doesn’t like having their work dissected and possibly exposed as fraudulent.
In copyright disputes, the monied interest almost always wins, they can drag out the fight for 10 years and most people will surrender by then. Especially when there is no financial “gain” (as in this case for the blog).
The tactic works because people just cave in to the lawyers without ever going to court because of the expenses involved. Even if the defendants win in cases like this they are still probably going to be out a crap ton of money so they just shut down and go away. Fox was famous for this during to television show fan sites.
Because of the likelihood of people just caving to lawyers without a legal fight I am a HUGE supporter of any loser pays all expenses legal reform. The reform alone would cut down on a tremendous amount of frivolous lawsuits as well as protecting the little guy in cases like this.
Railroads were successful in keeping Airports far away from connecting trains - Train companies tried to kill the new fangled flying craze. This will work the same way - or “not work” the same way...
The Associated Press is among the worst of America’s enemies. It should be eliminated as a purveyor of propaganda
.....The problem is that there is no way to prevent being hauled into court for any or no reason......
There is but so far no one has gone to their office and opened fire with a shot gun. The tight shhinctered twits who are scattered around the country have not been picked off one by one.
Loser Pays might do more to correct America’s course than just about any other reform. This is a perfect example. Unless this blogger finds a rich patron or a special interest group that wants to fund his defense he will have to cave despite the obvious strength of his case.
It appears he has put out an SOS..hope he gets it.
Just more “Liberal Fascism” as tremendously detailed in Jonah Goldberg’s new book.
A must read...
A couple of years back I saw a piece on TV about a ship anchored in International waters that was connected to the internet and they ran Websites from it that critiqued politics as well as ran Gambling sites and Porn sites.
Maybe that is what is needed (Sans the porn and Gambling) just set up such a site to keep Big Brother in check.
Having some involvement with fair use issue (FR), my opinion is this as fair use would more than likely be upheld. The hanging issue may be the “completeness” of the use in that he used the whole pic but the lawyer should argue it is impossible to use unless the entire pic is reproduced. Other than that I think he satisfies the other 4 major points on fair use.
Not to hijack the thread (because this issue is close to my heart) but what is your view on fair use and a NEW song/recording which takes a few sound bytes of movie dialog (say maybe 5- 10 quotes no longer than 5 seconds each) and mixes them into a new song.
Is such, in your opinion, kosher under "fair use" doctrine?
How is it being used?
The lyrics to the song would be laudatory in nature and the Song would be for sale for profit.
I’m curious what the AP would charge for allowing him to use the photos.
The AP by this action is showing themselves to be abunch of thugs and goons.
It's obvious that they are doing some unethical things and are attempting to cover up those acts by resorting to bullying and intimidating tatics.
If this were my blog I'd say these words to the sorry, lazy miserable good-for-nothing thugs and goons at the AP.
GO TO H****
GO F*** YOURSELVES!!!!!!!
The mainstream media is a criminal enterprise and needs to be put out of business. It's as simple as that.
I always thought that Fair Use allowed for use of an excerpt of a copyrighted work for the purpose of criticism or education, but not use of the entire work.
How does one excerpt a photo?
If it’s for profit then you may have a problem. One of the tests of fair use is the nature of the use. Generally this means it should be for an educational purpose although there have been some exceptions for things like satire. I thought this was one of the Jim’s problems because although the site is free he supports it through donations which could be construed as a non mandatory “fee” from users.