posted on Apr, 10 2005 @ 06:15 PM
The Associated Press has applied for dismissal of a lawsuit brought against it by several Navy SEALs for alleged violation of copyright and privacy
laws following the AP's publication of photographs of the SEALs allegedly abusing Iraqi prisoners. The photos, which reveal the identities of those
involved, were originally posted on a commercial photo-sharing Web site by the wife of one of the SEALs. According to the prosecution, the woman
mistakenly believed that the photos were protected from unauthorized access by user password.
The AP argued that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs cannot demonstrate a probability of winning and that the lawsuit is an attempt
to punish the news organization for "truthful, accurate and balanced" reporting.
The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages and want the court to bar the AP from further use of the photos and to require the news agency to
protect the SEALs' identities.
In its motion to dismiss the suit, the AP said that the photos were freely available to the public on the Internet, despite steps the wife could have
taken to limit their accessibility. In addition, the news agency noted, the Navy never asked the AP not to publish them.
The AP also argued that the one federal claim of copyright infringement lacks merit, in part, because the agency's use of the photos for legitimate
newsgathering purposes is a "fair use" allowed under federal copyright law.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
The writer has obscured the face of the soldier depicted in the above picture to protect this site from legal action. The original story (via proxy
news site) and photos may be found here.
Navy probes new Iraq prisoner photos: AP
I agree that the identity of special operations personnel should be kept secret. The Associated Press and other news agencies have a moral obligation
to ensure such, whether those identities are accidentally made public or not. "Because we can" is no justification for actions that may endanger the
lives of servicemen. If the SEALs are guilty of prisoner abuse, then they should be tried in a military court. Trial by media is not the way to
process such a situation. However, I feel that in this case, it should be the Navy initiating the lawsuit rather than the SEALs themselves.
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