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Quick Hits…because you asked

Posted by on May 3, 2017 in Blog, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by John Bowen
Because of questions asked on JEA’s listserv this week, the Scholastic Press Rights Committee reposts information and guidelines from earlier content ownership and takedown guidelines.

To repost links to these materials, we will use a new format, Quick Hits, designed to respond to questions, offer suggestions and provide resources so advisers and students can make informed decisions.

Rather than term these approaches as policy suggestions, we like to refer to them as guidelines for ethical decision making and procedures to apply the ethical process.

Here are Quick Hits responses to concerns about ownership of student media content and takedown demands.

Quick Hits: Content ownership
Question: Who owns the content of student media and why should this be a concern?

Key points/action: Advisers asked several questions this week about who should own content of student media, what the possibilities were and what steps are involved in the decision-making process.

Stancec:Deciding who owns content of student media should be an important decisions for all platforms and programs. Contained within that decision are implications for the forum concept, how content can be used and by whom and on takedown demands.

Reasoning/suggestions: Students, with input from advisers, should pick a solution that best fits their situation. The choices are students own rights to content with granting access to student media for its use or student media owns the content with access rights to students.

For multiple reasons it is not a good idea to have the school own student media content.

Resource: Who owns student-produced content?

Quick Hits: Takedown demands
Question: When and why should student media take down content, in print or online?

Key points/action: Source’s remorse, writer’s second-thoughts or other rethinking of existing information accessible to employers, colleges or simply to friends sometimes causes uncomfortable questions for student staffs.

What guidelines should student media staffers adapt or create that fulfills the role of historical-record, forum and source of information.

Stance: We feel there are no quick and easy answers, but plenty  of ethical room for discussion and implementation of workable guidelines (not policy) that can withstand the test of time.

Reasoning/suggestions: Policies are not meant to be easily changeable as are journalistic tools and process. Guidelines give flexibility for changing conditions and room for students to make ethical decisions.

ResourcesTakedown demands? A roadmap of choices

Related: These points and other decisions about mission statement, forum status and editorial policy should be part of a Foundations Package  that protects journalistically responsible student expression.

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Determine content ownership ahead of time: FSW

Posted by on Oct 23, 2016 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

freespeechweek_logo_mainRecent discussions on the Journalism Education Association listserv focused on who owns the copyright of content produced for student media

This group of  links and other material should offer informed choices to advisers and students
.

Who owns the copyright to work created by a student journalist? It’s a fascinating, important — and potentially complicated question. It’s also one that can and should be addressed early on by every student media staff.  Check the link for more.

Scenario: Student journalists have just completed their first converged media assignments and are just about ready for publication across the various platforms. Several indicate they think their work is good enough to share with other groups.Can they legally or ethically do that with repercussion?

The question of who owns the copyright of work created for scholastic media is complex, but at some point, advisers need to answer that question. The sooner that is decided, the better for all. Foundations_main

One thing for certain, Mark Goodman, former executive director of the Student Press Law Center and current Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism at Kent State University, said it is almost impossible for a school to claim copyright in the works students create. Check the link for more.

Copyright law can be both the friend and foe of the student media. While the law protects student journalists against the unauthorized use of their stories, drawings or photographs, it also limits their ability to reproduce the works of others. The following guide, which explains the basics of copyright law, should provide student journalists with most of what they need to know to both safeguard and exercise their rights. Check the link for more.

Scroll down to get  to ownership section

In an email to JEA’s listserv, Student Press Law Center executive director Frank Limonite stressed several points:
• Copyright law is simple. It starts with the proposition that the person who creates a piece owns it. Only two legally recognized ways to lose that – sign it over or receive a salary in exchange for it.
• There is a “persistent myth”  that using the school’s equipment transforms your work into the school’s property. It’s like a school telling a parent to return a picture the child took home that was made with school crayons.
• “What the school has (in the eyes of the law) is a ‘license’ to use the work that is submitted for the publication — and once incorporated into the publication, it then becomes a part of a collective work, over which the individual contributors no longer have exclusive ownership. So the school is free to republish the work in ways that are a direct extension of the original — for instance, re-using a sports photo in a ‘year in review’ of the best touchdown catches of the season — within the terms of that ‘implied license.’ But what the school does not have is ownership.

 

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Who owns student-produced content?

Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

sprclogoScenario: Student journalists have just completed their first converged media assignments and are just about ready for publication across the various platforms. Several indicate they think their work is good enough to share with other groups.Can they legally or ethically do that with repercussion?

By Mark Goodman

The question of who owns the copyright of work created for scholastic media is complex, but at some point, advisers need to answer that question. The sooner that is decided, the better for all.

One thing for certain, Mark Goodman, former executive director of the Student Press Law Center and current Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism at Kent State University, said it is almost impossible for a school to claim copyright in the works students create.

“Absent a written assignment of rights signed by both student and parent (if the student is a minor),” Goodman said, “students retain the copyright to works they create.”

That’s not because public schools can’t own copyright, he said, it’s because students are not employees and the works they create are not “works for hire.” The fact they may be getting credit for a class does not change that. 

If I were advising a student publication about dealing with its copyright ownership issues from this point forward, I would say the best tactic is to have every staff member (and a parent/guardian if they are a minor) sign something at the beginning of the year that says they are assigning the copyright in the works they submit to the publication to THAT PUBLICATION, or giving a permanent license to the student publication to use those works.”

In addition, there are real downsides to a school owning the copyright to student works, Goodman said.  For example, if a school owns it, it can control how it is used.  That inherently includes extensive censorship rights.

“If I were advising a student publication about dealing with its copyright ownership issues from this point forward,” Goodman said, “I would say the best tactic is to have every staff member (and a parent/guardian if they are a minor) sign something at the beginning of the year that says they are assigning the copyright in the works they submit to the publication to THAT PUBLICATION, or giving a permanent license to the student publication to use those works.”

He said it is possible for an student publication to own a copyright but that doesn’t make it belong to the school.

“Insert in your publication handbook or policy document a statement that states your student publication staff has authority over the copyrights owned by or licensed to the publication,” Goodman said.  “If someone ever uses your publication’s contents without permission in violation of the copyright, you’ll have clear authority for asking them to stop.”

If student work is already distributed and others use it without permission, Goodman said he would recommend advisers and students act as if the publication itself owns the copyright, whether there is written documentation or not.  A letter to the infringer requesting they take the material down immediately would be appropriate.

Goodman developed a model statement of who owns student works.

Goodman also said the SPLC’s Mike Hiestand wrote an excellent piece on copyright ownership on the SPLC blog .

For additional ownership resources:

• Now that it’s online… is it still mine
http://www.splc.org/news/report_detail.asp?id=1560&edition=52
• The editors’ checklist (se section of copyright and ownership of work)
http://www.splc.org/pdf/editor_checklist.pdf
• Your questions answered: Ownership of content
https://vimeo.com/11841801
• Model yearbook copyright warning
http://www.splc.org/knowyourrights/legalresearch.asp?id=122
• SPLC model yearbook staff member license
http://www.splc.org/pdf/yearbook_license.pdf
• Prince George’s considers copyright policy that takes ownership of students’ work
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/prince-georges-considers-copyright-policy-that-takes-ownership-of-students-work/2013/02/02/dc592dea-6b08-11e2-ada3-d86a4806d5ee_story.html
• Maryland advisers react to school district’s proposal to control copyright of student work
http://www.splc.org/news/newsflash.asp?id=2522
• Protecting your yearbook: How to register the copyright to prevent piracy
http://www.splc.org/news/report_detail.asp?id=1694&edition=62
• Registering your yearbook’s copyright (directions)
http://www.splc.org/knowyourrights/legalresearch.asp?id=121
• Reddit’s press guidelines: Get permission from Reddditors before using their content in a ist
http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/263067/reddits-press-guidelines-get-permission-from-redditors-before-using-their-content-in-a-list/#.U-vbWISkdm0.twitter
• Handle your yearbook copyright issues before you find the book for sale online
http://jeasprc.org/handling-yearbook-copyright-issues-before-you-find-the-book-for-sale-online/
• Principals, advisers and students face misconceptions about who ‘owns’ student work
http://www.splc.org/news/report_detail.asp?id=1584&edition=54
• Back to school checklist: who owns what?
http://www.splc.org/wordpress/?cat=13

 

 

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