Stories for free, no attribution required

I recently blogged on some ‘citizen journalism’ that was contributed to the irishrepublican.net discussion forum, photographs from that forum entry subsequently appeared on an ATN article by Ciaran Barnes without attribution to the original source or any contact with the person that took them.

Recently Belfast Gonzo and I attended the protest over the Israeli violence in Gaza and I uploaded video taken by Belfast Gonzo and some photographs as part of my blog. The video later appeared on a BBC News report attributed to a ‘passer-by’ and quotes from the blog were attributed to a ‘bystander’. This was all amicably sorted out with the BBC journalist involved, not with the refused offer of payment but a promise to have an editorial discussion on attribution of content taken from online sources. It seems a local newspaper also lifted a photo from the same blog and included it without attribution.

While most of the time this and many other blogs rely on the MSM for sourcing content, they’re generally good about giving the source (and can get grief if they don’t or lift too directly) and while some media outlets like the main BBC actively seek out and attribute online content to bolster their coverage it seems our local media outlets are a little behind the game in accepting if you want to use content generated by others online the very least you should be considering is the common courtesy of saying where it came from.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Mark ,
    I believe in credit where it is due,you’re right to be pi**ed off about it.

  • ArchiePurple

    From memory the video was of such poor quality…e.g. out of focus…the cameraman shouldn’t worry about not being credited. The journo did him a good turn by not flagging up his poor quality work!!

  • jone

    As I recall Talk Back was an honourable exception in giving Mark a credit.

  • Brian Walker

    Mark,
    You make a very fair point. We have to remember too, though, that it’s very much a two-way track with much tolerance shown over copyright and other forms of intellectual property by the other side, the MSM and specialist organisations. with the dramatic decline of news papers I often wonder for how long this will go on..

  • mocchin photoman

    i know of at least one flickr user that has had a photo printed (slightly cropped) without permission and unaccredited by a local paper.
    He is sueing them and rightly so as his worked is clearly marked with his copyright.
    If they had asked it wouldn’t have been a problem.

  • Claudius Pulcher

    I think BW hits on a good point. Blogs consistently use links to MSM to at least illustrate their arguments. If the more successful blogs begin to make significant amounts of money using that as their main modus operandi, then they will be stopped. It’s a bit like a newspaper consistently and continually quoting from another newspaper rather than going and getting the quotes themselves. Eventually the debate over attribution becomes a side issue and any sensible news organisation will realise that their capital investment is being used to consistently generate income for another organisation, which, if it aims to make money, is a rival, whatever guise its output takes.

  • Claudius Pulcher

    Indeed, this blog is covered with adverts, to make money for its owners. Pray tell the difference between this blog using footage from Hearts and Minds for its own commercial gain and UTV lifting bits of the same and running them in one of its own current affairs programme, bookended with adverts. The argument about this site actually adding value to BBC, UTV, Belfast Telegraph content will only stand up as far as sites like this are small enterprises run simply to cover their costs. As soon as they become more commercially successful, they’ll be stopped from using such material, or forced to pay for it.