Conference news
Posted: October 19, 2007 04:15 PM
Tackling the Legal Issues

(Photo by Aaron Roberts)

Journalists brought so many questions to the legal panel at the Online News Association Conference Friday in Toronto, the session lasted an extra 15 minutes.

Most of the conversation focused on law in America and Canada, the countries of the panelists.

Here are a few questions they tackled:

Should Web sites edit comments from users?

Edit, just don't line edit, panelists said. American law says Web sites are not responsible for content provided by a third party and can take down comments, panelist Barbara Wall said.

"That's the law, and it's been very liberally interpreted by the courts," said Wall, vice president and general counsel for Gannett.

But, she added, news organizations should be careful not to change a comment so much it becomes their own. The media is still responsible for the content it produces.

What should Web sites do about copyrighted content posted by users?

American news organizations can protect themselves under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by registering with the U.S. Copyright Office. The organizations also should provide a way in their terms of service for people to contact them when copyright has been violated, Wall said.

Panelists emphasized that when people do contact them, Web sites must be sure to take down the copyrighted material immediately.

What constitutes publication in the online world?

In the United States, something is published online not when it's posted there, but when it's downloaded, said Stuart Karle, general counsel for the Wall Street Journal.

Dan Henry, counsel for CBC, said the same is true in Canada.

What legal issues will journalists face in the near future?

Karle predicted more legal wrangling over privacy.
"I think the world is losing its mind over privacy," he said.

Wall agreed. She also forecast a surge of subpoenas over the next few years to find out the identity of posters in certain situations.

-- Raechal Leone


It seems odd to me that something isn't considered published if it isn't downloaded. I wonder what the reason for that is? With the RIAA getting all over people for downloading thing and filing lawsuit after lawsuit I'm surprised that's the law.

October 22, 2007 11:41 PM by ryan nicholsen (Permalink)

Post a comment


Back to 2007 conference page

8th Annual Conference and Awards Banquet, Oct. 17-19, Sheraton Centre, Toronto

Questions about membership, registration or sponsorship opportunities? E-mail Executive Director Lori Schwab.

Questions about conference lineup or volunteering? E-mail Conference Chair Ju-Don Roberts.

Oct. 19, 2007 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Breakfast Discussion Groups (Sponsored by AFP) 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: The Cutting Edge of Online Data 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Finding Your Voice Online 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Business Workshop: Leading the 21st Century Newsroom 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.: General Session: Membership Meeting 10:45 a.m. - Education Members Meeting, Expanding ONA's educational offerings, Dominion Ballroom 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m: Keynote: Michael Oreskes, International Herald Tribune 12:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Lunch on Your Own (Box lunch sponosred by 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: Broadcaster Strategies for the Web 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Integrating Multimedia in Storytelling 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Business Workshop: Legal Panel 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: Revamping Your Curriculum for Online Journalism 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Integrating User-Generated Content 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Business Workshop: Advertising 2.0 4:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.: Coffee Break (Sponsored by Pluck) 4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Journalism Next: Impact of Aggregators, Blogging and Social Networking on the Industry 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Reception sponsored by 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.: Awards banquet

Register Now:
  • CitMedia Workshop
  • Conference Registration Is Closed
  • Flash Workshop Is Closed
  • Video Workshop Is Closed

    Quick Links:
  • Full Conference Schedule
  • Panel Descriptions
  • Hotel and Travel

    OJA Finalists:
    The 2007 Online Journalism Award winners will be announced at the awards dinner on Oct. 19. See the list of this year's finalists.

    The 2007 Online News Association Conference is the premier conference for those who work in, or have an interest in, online media and news.

    The Online Journalism Awards have become the top awards in online journalism. Each year a distinguished panel of judges selects the very best work in nine different categories to be honored at the awards. The OJA Banquet is the event where the awards are presented, and the winners are honored for their efforts.