Copyright Law and Dying Newspapers – Congressional Hearings
Newspapers probably are the biggest victims of copyright infringement and generally they didn’t care much, as that was old news by the time anyone copied it and the new news is today. Yesterday is gone; “That was Yesterday!” like the lyrics in “Foreigner” the Rock Band’s famous song.
Today, however everything has changed. Recently, in the congressional hearings the dying newspaper industry had several of the largest newspaper owners in the country complaining that they were being ripped off, that their content was being displayed on blogs, e-mail newsletters, and copied directly off their websites. In many cases, these so-called electronic copyright infringement violations were completely legal, as only 200 words or less were copied and the newspaper was cited.
Unfortunately, in many Internet forums the posters to discussions, often using only screen names, will copy and paste the entire article into the discussion group. And do this without even citing where it was from, and rather than putting up a link that people could click on to go to the newspaper’s website. The newspapers during the Congressional hearings were considered by many to be “grabbing at straws,” looking for help from Congress to crack down on online media (something they themselves are now trying to break into), and using copyright law as their reason.
Of course, luckily the Internet media was there also during these Congressional Hearings and made their case. It appeared that the legislators did not side with the newspapers. Although many newspapers are having their content lifted, almost in real time, not the next day; and the newspapers admit there is nothing they can do about it, as they cannot chase every single blogger around the Internet. Please consider these issues in copyright law, as they are very much part of our modern information age.