Currently Browsing: Legal + Ethical Issues

Set of Principles for Fair Use in Journalism

fair_use_journalism Cover


As we know, it’s often difficult to know for sure when “fair use” of copyrighted material becomes copyright infringement. This site from the Center for Media & Social Impact tries to help by spelling out accepted community standards and providing examples of where journalists can safely utilize fair use.

Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling



This site from the University of Houston is aimed primarily at educators, but it offers good information about digital tools and copyright and also some nice examples.

Image courtesy of this educational blog.

The Promise—and Threat—of the Internet

Digital LifeAuthor E.L. Doctorow says we need to be careful about giving too much of our lives over to the virtual worlds of the internet. He cautions that government data miners and corporations stand ready to invade our lives and privacy, thus harming Freedom of Speech. Doctorow made this presentation at the 2013 National Book Awards ceremony where he received the group’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

A Dispute Over Who Owns a Twitter Account Goes to Court

New York Times story on an interesting dispute between a writer and his former employer over who “owns” his Twitter followers.

The question is: Can a company cash in on, and claim ownership of, an employee’s social media account, and if so, what does that mean for workers who are increasingly posting to Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus during work hours?

A lawsuit filed in July could provide some answers.

Much of what you know about the “bloggers aren’t journalists” case is wrong

A reaction piece to the recent court ruling that said bloggers are not journalists under Oregon’s shield law. In this American Society of News Editors article, attorney Kevin Goldberg argues that the judge’s ruling was narrow, and the problem is actually the way Oregon’s shield law is written.

So while Judge Hernandez’s decision clearly presented interesting issues, it wasn’t novel. Nor was it so egregiously flawed to merit the widespread attention it received. When we look back in a few years, Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Crystal Cox will be a minor footnote in the development of libel law and its adaptation to the digital era.

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