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Journalists Ask Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz to Include Question About Open Government in Presidential Debate 


NEW ORLEANS – The Society of Professional Journalists, American Society of News Editors and are leading a campaign asking presidential debate moderators Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz to include a question about open government in an upcoming presidential debate.

As the debate’s moderators, Cooper and Raddatz are charged by the Commission on Presidential Debates to ask about topics of broad public interest “as reflected in social media and other sources.”

Twenty-six organizations that represent many working U.S. journalists ask Cooper and Raddatz to fulfill their roles as watchdogs by challenging each candidate to answer the following question: 

What steps do you believe are necessary and what policies would you implement to guarantee and advance public access to government information and sources?

The groups are asking the public to also persuade Cooper and Raddatz to ask this question by Tweeting at them by clicking on the buttons on the OpenOurGov web page and using the hashtag #OpenOurGov.

The campaign was announced today by Walsh and Seaman during the Excellence in Journalism 2016 conference in New Orleans. 

Read the full story and learn to how get involved here

EU Court: Links to Photos are OK -- Unless You're Making Money 


Can you legally link to a photo without permission? Yes and no, the European Union (EU) court ruled Thursday.  The ruling doesn't have force in the United States, but often, copyright rulings there are predictive of what we will soon see here. 

The EU court said it's OK to link if you aren't doing it to make money.  If, for example, you blog for fun and link to a cute photo.  However, the court also said that if a site belonging to a for-profit business links to a photo without getting permission, that's a copyright violation. 

The ruling went further:  A business must do more than get permission before it links to a photo.  It's also obligated to make sure the site to which it's linking has the legal right to use the photo in the first place.

The case came up because Dutch celebrity sites sued Playboy for blocking their photo link attempts. 

In Europe, business-oriented publications are reporting "Court says photo links are illegal," while those generally read by the public say "Photo links are fine."  To further muddle things, the court didn't specify what must be done to determine a photo is legally used.  Ask one question?  Use a search engine?  See documentation?  

Copyright laws in European countries tend to be updated more frequently than in the U.S., so, as noted, we often look to their rulings to get a sense of "what next?"  Also, all western nations, including the U.S., have signed an international treaty on copyright law, the Berne Convention.  It obligates every country to protect the rights of authors and other creators at least as well as it does their own.

In this instance, the EU ruling may mean we all have the right to be confused.

--- Salley Shannon, ASJA Advocacy chair

More info:

Legal victory for writers is a blow to pirates

August 12, 2016--In a ruling that will make Internet service providers (ISPs) all over the country decidedly nervous, Cox, which operates in 18 states, has been found guilty of the copyright violations of one of its subscribers. 

Over several years Cox received numerous complaints that customers were infringing by downloading works without permission.  Cox did nothing.

ISPs have always held that, given their multitudes of customers, they could hardly be on the lookout for possible copyright infringements.  They've taken the attitude further by tending  not to act even when handed evidence of specific violations, including book pirating.  The case was brought by BMG Rights Management, which said it had given Cox evidence of tens of thousands of violations. The verdict, however, hung on 1,397 individual instances of infringement.

It was that specific knowledge that undid Cox.  Ruling on the appeal of a prior court's verdict, Judge Liam O'Grady of the Eastern Court of Virginia found Cox guilty of infringement and set a $25 million fine. 

This is the first time an ISP has ever been held liable in this manner.  Moreover, because Cox didn't terminate the accounts of reported infringers, the court ruled that Cox wasn't entitled to the DMCA "safe harbor" protection that shields providers without such knowledge.     

The award might have been higher, but a six-person jury decided there was insufficient proof that Cox had itself profited from the pirated works.

--- Salley Shannon, ASJA Advocacy chair

More stories on the decision:

Torrent Freak

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