Duncan Riley> I stumbled across, nearly by accident (well, in a Google News feed none the less) a site today that doesn’t even bother with partial quoting, but takes full news stories from the MSM and elsewhere and reprints them on their site: MediaChannel.org
What’s different about this site is that it claims to be a not-for-profit organisation (501c) with tax deductibility for donations that aims to reprint the information for the purposes of eduction and research. And yet at the same time it claims to be an initiative of GlobalVision, a for profit media company which shares the same founder Danny Schechter, and the MediaChannel site has numerous links back to GlobalVision.
According to the standard disclaimer at the bottom of each fully-reposted story:
“This article is copyrighted material, the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.”
Now, I don’t know the motives behind the people running this site, but you’ve got to ask the question: why is it necessary to reprint fully copyrighted works if the site is there for research? Certainly a partial quote and a link to an external page would fully fit the criteria, wouldn’t it. This not-for-profit group provides links to a for profit company that has some commercial value in itself, and certainly the links lead to a site that in one instance provides a similar service and has options for advertising.
Now there are plenty of sites around with Creative Commons licenses that allow this, but a lot of the site don’t: Wired, Columbia Journalism Review, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal…to name but a few. If this was a blog we’d all be screaming content theft, and rightfully so. The question remains however, is this fair use? Is it also fair that fully-reprinted articles taken from other sites, seemingly without permission, are indexed in Google News?
As always feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.