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AP Beginning New Crack Down on Blog Critics? Shuts Down Blog With Legal Threats
Newsbusters.org ^ | 3/1/08 | Warner Todd Huston

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.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: associatedpress; fakebutaccurate; fauxtography; hoaxedphotos; photojournalism; snappedshotcom; waronerror
Well, THIS one will be interesting, won't it?
1 posted on 03/01/2008 8:12:16 AM PST by Mobile Vulgus
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To: Mobile Vulgus

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.


2 posted on 03/01/2008 8:16:29 AM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Mobile Vulgus
It is fair use because it is in an educational context not for profit (correct?) and to discuss the details of an image you must see the image (and even highlight an piece and possibly magnify it).

AP doesn’t like having their work dissected and possibly exposed as fraudulent.

3 posted on 03/01/2008 8:17:23 AM PST by weegee (Those who surrender personal liberty to lower global temperatures will receive neither.)
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To: Dog Gone

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).


4 posted on 03/01/2008 8:19:06 AM PST by weegee (Those who surrender personal liberty to lower global temperatures will receive neither.)
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To: Mobile Vulgus

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.


5 posted on 03/01/2008 8:19:55 AM PST by Domandred (McCain's 'R' is a typo that has never been corrected)
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To: Mobile Vulgus

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...


6 posted on 03/01/2008 8:20:01 AM PST by GOPJ (Do the editors of the L.A. Times realize that illegal immigration is, you know, illegal? Patterico)
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To: Mobile Vulgus

The Associated Press is among the worst of America’s enemies. It should be eliminated as a purveyor of propaganda


7 posted on 03/01/2008 8:22:09 AM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . Never say never (there'll be a VP you'll like))
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To: Dog Gone

.....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.


8 posted on 03/01/2008 8:24:13 AM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . Never say never (there'll be a VP you'll like))
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To: Mobile Vulgus

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.


9 posted on 03/01/2008 8:34:13 AM PST by azcap
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To: azcap

It appears he has put out an SOS..hope he gets it.


10 posted on 03/01/2008 8:42:57 AM PST by CGASMIA68
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To: Mobile Vulgus

Just more “Liberal Fascism” as tremendously detailed in Jonah Goldberg’s new book.

A must read...

http://www.amazon.com/Liberal-Fascism-American-Mussolini-Politics/dp/0385511841


11 posted on 03/01/2008 9:02:02 AM PST by Tamzee (Thomas Jefferson - "Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.")
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To: Mobile Vulgus
"Well, THIS one will be interesting, won't it?"

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.

12 posted on 03/01/2008 9:09:27 AM PST by Mad Dawgg ("`Eddies,' said Ford, `in the space-time continuum.' `Ah,' nodded Arthur, `is he? Is he?'")
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To: Mobile Vulgus

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.


13 posted on 03/01/2008 9:22:21 AM PST by Bob J ("For every 1000 hacking at the branches of evil, one is striking at it's root.")
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To: Bob J
"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?

14 posted on 03/01/2008 9:28:00 AM PST by Mad Dawgg ("`Eddies,' said Ford, `in the space-time continuum.' `Ah,' nodded Arthur, `is he? Is he?'")
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To: Mad Dawgg

How is it being used?


15 posted on 03/01/2008 9:50:21 AM PST by Bob J ("For every 1000 hacking at the branches of evil, one is striking at it's root.")
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To: Bob J
"How is it being used?"

The lyrics to the song would be laudatory in nature and the Song would be for sale for profit.

16 posted on 03/01/2008 9:55:40 AM PST by Mad Dawgg ("`Eddies,' said Ford, `in the space-time continuum.' `Ah,' nodded Arthur, `is he? Is he?'")
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To: weegee

I’m curious what the AP would charge for allowing him to use the photos.


17 posted on 03/01/2008 10:04:08 AM PST by aimhigh
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Here are my thoughts on the subject.

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****

And

GO F*** YOURSELVES!!!!!!!

The mainstream media is a criminal enterprise and needs to be put out of business. It's as simple as that.

Regards........

18 posted on 03/01/2008 10:52:23 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: Mobile Vulgus
This one is interesting.

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?

-PJ

19 posted on 03/01/2008 11:03:05 AM PST by Political Junkie Too (Repeal the 17th amendment -- it's the "Fairness Doctrine" for Congress!)
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To: Mad Dawgg

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.


20 posted on 03/02/2008 8:30:02 AM PST by Bob J ("For every 1000 hacking at the branches of evil, one is striking at it's root.")
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To: Bob J
"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."

Well, I know its done with blurbs from news shows and such (Rush has had several on that are professional recordings with music and blurbs from Al Gore and Jesse Jackson and such.)

I've read several sources on the net that say it is kosher as long as you don't make the blurbs the MAJOR portion of the song and not all from one source either and is either satire/parody or laudatory in nature. But knowing how the RIAA operates it figures the Movie Industry would sue people just because they have the lawyers sitting around waiting for such things.

21 posted on 03/02/2008 11:22:38 AM PST by Mad Dawgg ("`Eddies,' said Ford, `in the space-time continuum.' `Ah,' nodded Arthur, `is he? Is he?'")
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