R.F. Goggin, Contributing Writer
The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, along with 28 other news organizations, are launching a company which hopes to further profit on their news reporting, by seeking to make paying customers out of websites or blogs which reproduce their content, either in full or in part.
The new company will go by the ridiculous name of ‘NewsRight’, to make it better appear to the general public that these mainstream media outlets have some kind of exclusivity over the very flow of human existence of any significance (or as equally likely, insignificance) taking place anywhere in the world.
With technology available to the media organizations which I have mentioned to clandestinely encode news stories or articles with the writer’s name and date published, NewsRight, will not only know when content is under their watchful eye, has been copied and pasted elsewhere on the Internet, but also the privacy infringing details of just who may be viewing it.
‘More news is available more ways than ever in history. But if reliable information is to continue to flourish, the company’s investing in creating content need efficient ways to license it as broadly as possible,’ Westin said in a statement. ‘NewsRight’s mission is to make sure consumers continue to benefit from the all the original news reporting they want while ensuring those who republish content do so with integrity.
Integrity? If information is to continue to flourish?
Fortunate for me then, I suppose, that I’ve come equipped with enough integrity to know a crock of utter bullshit when it’s sent my way. What if what it is being reported has no integrity associated with it to begin with? This load of tedium (above), is the kind of outdated propaganda that mainstream, big media thinks the general public capable of swallowing hook, line and sinker.
Certainly people like Westin ought to know that most folks who get their news from the Internet are smarter than the average sheep? Or that shrouding complete greed in noble appearance has become predictable enough stuff, indeed, to precipitate a backlash when taking intelligent human beings who spend time occupying the medium of cyberspace for a gullible collection of indiscriminate fools?
According to the US Copyright office on the doctrine of ‘Fair Use’ :
Copyright protects the particular way authors have expressed themselves. It does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in a work. (Source)
Now is there a soul present consuming this article, who can sit there and tell me that other than in some print media op-ed or opinion article of some sort, there is any semblance of ‘originality’ whatsoever in reporting actual or factual news or events? It’s absurd by its very nature to suggest such a propriety, as Westin clearly does, and it would hardly stand up in a court of law, I would reckon, even if said news event were reproduced from one of his clients – word for word.
So, therefore, what we basically have here is a case of good old-fashioned, power-playing, American bullying seeking to take shape. The NewsRight company hopes to dictate the terms of its existence to a publication such as The New World Reporter – being, either you fall in line where we think you belong and pay us for reproducing a factual news story, or we will sue you for copyright infringement, even as we try to banish your site into some bottomless blacklist, or have it pulled from the Web entirely.
Where have I heard something like this before? Oh right, S.O.P.A. (Stop On-line Piracy Act), minus the Congressional kickback.
If a single news organization were to choose to lease out content, which some do, that’s something entirely different, of course, than dozens of large companies banding together to attempt to control both the market, and the content, of Internet news. There are anti-trust issues at play here, which far surpass copyright protection at the heart of such an ungainly collusion, whether or not an individual information outlet could indeed claim copyright to the course of human activity.
Yet, without the backing of a governmental body behind this effort, this new attempt to curtail free speech and/or personal liberty has no discernible teeth worthy of consideration. Consequently, I can do little but laugh whilst I snicker at the very idea of this thing called ‘NewsRight’, and wish them every success in convincing anyone at all that anything I publish via the resources of their well-to-do overseers is every bit as likewise ‘original’ a story, as their own version.
Henceforth, it would be wise of me, it seems, that instead of adding a source link to such material as I was hitherto inclined to do in such case, that this not so humble editor and chief (on such matters), shall simply be obliged to change a few words here and there, so as to be completely sure not to anger whatever gluttonous beast of which copied such news to begin with via perfectly ‘original’ human affairs, circumstances and/or events.
R.F. Goggin – is the editor of The New World Reporter, where he is a contributing author.