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News reporting, spin, and copyright laws.

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posted on Dec, 11 2004 @ 01:07 PM
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Now, I have nothing against news organizations that spin their material for a particular agenda, but I do have issues when the material being spun infringes on copyright laws by editting articles of other news organizations.

I had recently posted a topic concerning Aljazeera posting editted news stories. There were several mistakes I made in posting that topic, so I was not too concerned when it was deleted.

Prior to deletion the Moderator pointed out that Aljazeera uses "Aljazeera + Agencies" at the bottom of the article to give credit to other sources. This is something I hadn't considered in my orignial post.

However, I discovered that Aljazeera does not use "Agencies" to denote articles that are from another source verbatim.

For example:

Aljazeera: Margaret Hassan mourned in London is clearly attributed to Rueters at the bottom of the page. Which is this Rueters article verbatim.


Now, compare these two articles:

Aljazeera: US soldier jailed over Baghdad murder

Rueters: U.S. soldier gets 3 years for murder of Iraqi

These articles are nearly identical. There are only two "minor" changes to the article. It is plain to see that this editted Rueters article is attributed only to "Agencies".

From AlJazeera:
The convictions stem from an incident on 18 August when Horne's unit came across a suspicious vehicle late at night in the poor Sadr City district of Baghdad.

US soldiers opened fire on the rubbish truck they suspected of being used by guerrilla bombers.

Horne said he acted to put the wounded man out of his misery.


From Rueters:
The convictions stem from an incident on August 18 when Horne's unit came across a suspicious vehicle late at night in the poor Sadr City district of Baghdad.

U.S. military officials have described the incident as a "mercy killing" after U.S. soldiers opened fire on a garbage truck they suspected of being used by guerrilla bombers.


From Aljazeera:
His was the first case of murder to be investigated by the US military in Iraq, where many people accuse US troops of killing civilians through negligence or misunderstandings, notably while pursuing anti-American fighters or manning checkpoints.


From Rueters:
His was the first case of murder to be investigated by the U.S. military in Iraq, where many people accuse U.S. troops of killing civilians through negligence or misunderstandings, notably while pursuing militants or manning checkpoints.

Maynulet says he carried out a "mercy killing".



Does Aljazeera actively edit articles protected under copyright laws and then attributes those articles to ambiguous "Agencies"?

If Aljazeera did not edit the article themselves, shouldn't the source that they are quoting be given credit for the article the way they attributed the Hassan article to Rueters?

Does Aljazeera, as a news organization, have an ethical responsibility to exclude material from ambiguous "Agencies" that are editted material protected under copyright laws?

Who is ultimately responsible for breaking copyright law? The ambiguous "Agency" that is creditted or the news organization that uses the editted material?




[edit on 11-12-2004 by Raphael_UO]

[edit on 11-12-2004 by Raphael_UO]




posted on Dec, 11 2004 @ 01:22 PM
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Apparently the articles came from a wire service of the same origin. Of course the media editor has license to take these stories and edit them for the prospective audience. Are you doubting that Aljazeera does not have some agreement to publish stories from the wire services?

It is plainly obvious the editing they did appealed to their audience and not an American audience. Also, since it is obvious that it was spun, it makes you wonder what the copy of the entire story would be like if you read it right off the wire!!??? I wonder how much information is actually left out of the news other than meaningless facts.

I don't think this is a copyright issue at all. If they did not hold a license to use the wire services, they would not be printing anything but what their staff reporters produced. The same thing happens in US papers reporting on domestic stories.



posted on Dec, 11 2004 @ 01:44 PM
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For some reason the Reuters link won't load for me, so I can't compare it to the Aljazeera article, but I remember I similar thread accusing Aljazeera plagiarizing AP or Reuters or someone like that. A couple of Aljazeera bashing posts later, someone noticed the time stamp on the story, the Aljazeera one came first. So it would appear that Western news agencies plagiarize Aljazeera. Which kind of makes sense, since Aljazeera is actually there, as opposed to the Western news agencies who don't have that access.



posted on Dec, 11 2004 @ 02:15 PM
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Originally posted by curme
For some reason the Reuters link won't load for me, so I can't compare it to the Aljazeera article, but I remember I similar thread accusing Aljazeera plagiarizing AP or Reuters or someone like that. A couple of Aljazeera bashing posts later, someone noticed the time stamp on the story, the Aljazeera one came first. So it would appear that Western news agencies plagiarize Aljazeera. Which kind of makes sense, since Aljazeera is actually there, as opposed to the Western news agencies who don't have that access.


One time stamp was given in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5) the Other in GMT. The EST article was actually posted several hours before to the other.




But... regarding bylines I have found my answer after looking into what was said about editing wire stories. While I was familiar with publishers editting articles, usually even an edited article would require an appropiate byline. Which was my concern-- proper credit for protected material.

However, I hadn't really considered the possibility that the edits were allowed but at the same time required by Reuters to drop the byline.

From a blog concerning a Canadian paper and Reuters:
"Our editorial policy is that we don't use emotive words when labeling someone," said David A. Schlesinger, Reuters' global managing editor. "Any paper can change copy and do whatever they want. But if a paper wants to change our copy that way, we would be more comfortable if they remove the byline."


Based on this Reuters policy and the nature of the changes in the Aljazeera article, I would say this was the cause for my concern.

Now, I just need to find out if other wire services have a similar policy.


Edit to give a talking point while I do more research:

From: Aljazeera Code of Ethics
8. Observe transparency in dealing with news and news sources while adhering to internationally established practices concerning the rights of these sources.


Does the use of an ambiguous "Agencies" in their credit line "observe transparency in dealing with news and news sources"?



[edit on 11-12-2004 by Raphael_UO]



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