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First Draft News releases guide to eyewitness media and copyright law

First Draft News released a handbook Thursday with guidance for how journalists should deal with images, videos and information captured by people who witness news.

“A Journalist’s Guide to Copyright Law and Eyewitness Media,” by Sam Dubberley, includes country-specific advice for journalists in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Austrlia and Finland. It also looks at some common misconceptions.

Here are a few of them:

Terms of service don’t trump copyright. While you can reshare and embed from platforms including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, that doesn’t mean you can use the content in them off platform without permission of the copyright owner, according to First Draft’s guide.

As a case in point, Twitter’s Terms of Service state that, as the uploader, ‘You retain your rights to any content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. What’s yours is yours — you own your content (and your photos and videos are part of the content).’

Embedding might be OK. But is it ethical?

Legally, you don’t need permission from someone to embed their content, but consider the ethical implications, the report recommends.

For instance, moving a piece of content from a social platform (where someone might only have 100 close friends and family members as followers) to the front page of a news website significantly changes the potential impact for the person who uploaded the content because their username is viewable and clickable.

Fair use isn’t a blanket.

Aside from how fair use varies from country to country, there are three things to be clear about. 1. Fair use is applicable when an event is newsworthy. 2. What space was it shared in? There’s a difference between public social media and private social media, such as WhatsApp. And 3. Do everything you can to give the proper credit.

However, in doing so you should also bear in mind the ethical considerations and legal privacy issues of publishing an individual’s name without their consent — especially if doing so could put them in danger or compromise them in some other way

You can read the full report here.

(via Poynter)