What About When The Credentialed Media Uses Photos Wrongly?

Many of you remember what happened to snapped shot: the AP sent him a cease and desist order, and demanded that he removed all AP photos from his site. This began a long discussion, with Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee contacting the AP, and coming to the conclusion

According to the AP’s response posted above, however, it does appear—and tell me if I’m wrong—that it is still acceptable to reproduce images that are the direct subject of criticism, or as the AP states it “the commentary or criticism has to be about the protected work.”

Interesting, as we now have all the media lifting photos from Spitzers hooker pall (who is strangely being offered millions of dollars and nude photo shoots, rather then prosecution for being an admitted prostitute), via PDN Online

When a prostitute hired by former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was identified Wednesday, news outlets eagerly published photos grabbed from her MySpace profile.

Can they get away with that?

Three attorneys who specialize in copyright law say media organizations are sailing in dangerous waters if they publish a personal snapshot without permission.

“Whoever took that picture owns that picture,” says New York attorney Nancy Wolff. “It’s either an infringement or they [the news outlets] have to make a fair use argument.”

Of course, there is no copyright on the photos from the hookers MySpace page, but, who owns the photos? And is the Credentialed Media hypocritical for taking them without permission? They are no using them for discussion, instead, simply to pump up their stories with a picture of Spitzer’s paid squeeze.

Personally, I think that the Credentialed Media is going to have to learn that once it is on the web, as long as it is not used for demeaning or defamatory purposes, let it go. Hell, in some cases, it gets the story and photo a bit wider circulation. Obviously, they, and we, have to draw the line somewhere.

I guess the big point of all this is not necessarily legalities, but ethics. We all have done it: snagged a picture from some site. Sometimes we will give credit, sometimes not. And by we, I am referring to pretty much everyone on Al Gore’s Interwebz. Bloggers, the Credentialed Media, forum users, etc. And, we all will continue to do so. So, where do we draw the line? What are the rules? Is it just as bad ethically to snag a personal picture from someones personal website as to snag a copyrighted one from the Big Media, ie, a picture someone makes their living taking?

As far as the answer goes in my mind, it should be ethically wrong. But, I know I will continue to do it, and I bet everyone else will, as well. Do we have new ethics of use for today’s Internet?

Snapped Shot writes: Now this is an interesting development for the wire service that caters to terrorists first.

Jules Crittedon: Great news for people who think they should be able to grab any newsworthy photo off the Internet and use it as they choose.  You know, comment on it, mock it, point out that it was staged, stare in slack-jawed goober amazement at it, etc. The Associated Press agrees with you. Ironically enough, it’s about that hooker.

Ace of Spades: What goes around comes around.

Doubleplusundead: Does Snapped Shot Get To Say, oh snap?

More: Apparently, the hooker is not happy with the AP and others in the Credentialed Media using her photos without her permission. I wonder if the AP realizes that the hooker is not happy with, yes, the AP?

James Joyner: That strikes me as incredibly silly, though, and as a relic of the pre-Internet world. Like it or not, Dupree is a public figure now and the images are indeed newsworthy. People are naturally curious about celebrity sex scandals and, when a high profile figure risks everything to engage in illegal sexual activity, questions arise that can only be answered with photographs.

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3 Responses to “What About When The Credentialed Media Uses Photos Wrongly?”

  1. dupree says:

    […] because that seems to be exactly what he has done. Yesterday, it was reportwww.celebrityrumors.comWhat About When The Credentialed Media Uses Photos Wrongly? Many of you remember what happened to snapped shot: the AP sent him a cease and desist order, and […]

  2. rww says:

    About this statement: “Is it just as bad ethically to snag a personal picture from someones personal website as to snag a copyrighted one from the Big Media, ie, a picture someone makes their living taking?”

    Copyright law states that anything created is copyrighted upon its creation by the creator. It is no longer necessary to use the “copyright” tag. It is not necessary to “register” the copyright. This is usually only done when ownership must be proven before a lawsuit takes place.
    Pictures, etc. are usually owned be the creator. However, “For Hire” can come into play to determine who the owner is.

  3. darthcrUSAderworldtour2007 says:

    The ‘Emperor that wore no clothes the day before Valentine’s Day’ Spitzer, reminds me of the classic comedy FOUL PLAY starring Dudley Moore, Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase. The Pope was supposed to be assassinated and Goldie Hawn was picked up by PERV Moore and his bedroom scene was an all time hillarious classic… !
    “The albino and midgets are coming…?”

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