Innovation Journalism: Copyright and Creative Commons


Innovation Journalism: Copyright and Creative Commons

Maastricht · 13 November · EJC & Stanford

width="620" height="320" bgcolor="#FFFFFF"



10:00Arrival and Registration
10:30Welcome: Introduction to “Innovation Journalism”
    Wilfried Rütten, European Journalism Centre
    David Nordfors, Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning
10:45Creative Commons and Fair Use Issues:  Copyright, Innovation and the Norms of Sharing
    Anthony Falzone, the Fair Use Project
11:45Coffee break
12:15Intellectual Property - Challenges for the Journalist
    Richard Allan Horning, Fish & Richardson
13:15Lunch at the EJC
14:15Publish or perish: Is the publishers’ indignation selective?
    Evi Werkers and Sari Depreeuw, Flemish E-Publishing Trends
    Jonathan Bailey, PlagiarismToday
16:15Coffee break
16:30The Power of Networks - Media and Copyright History
    Gundolf S. Freyermuth, International Film School, Cologne
17:30Wrap up and conclusions


New styles of music don’t hit the charts very often. It happens now and again,   as with jazz in the 20th century. But for the most part, the same   sounds and themes are daily reinterpreted   and recreated by musicians around the world.

Even when new styles do emerge,   they take time to evolve. So it is with journalism.   Newsrooms, full of journalists daily reinterpreting century-old storytelling   techniques, are today ducks out of water floundering with new technology,   drowning in the debates about copyright and struggling to effectively cover   the process of innovation.  

And that leaves society high and dry, said Stanford researcher David Nordfors   on Thursday in Maastricht.

Nordfors teamed with EJC director Wilfried Ruetten on Thursday to moderate a   one-day free seminar, Innovation   Journalism: Copyright and the Use of Creative Commons. Five speakers from   around Europe and the United States travelled to the EJC’s head office in   Maastricht.

“In order to understand how we relate to music and content in the future, we   must understand the intellectual property,” Nordfors said in his introduction.   “We must know ‘the rules’ for who owns what in trying to innovate.”

The Swede coined the term Innovation Journalism in 2003. Innovation Journalism   is the process of covering innovation. It encourages a break with the   century-old processes of producing journalism in linear fashion, akin to a   production line.

 It is not, Nordfors said, about the process   of innovations within the field of journalism itself.

A most recent story for which Innovation Journalism would be a beneficial   coverage strategy is the most recent credit/financial crisis. The public,   Nordfors said, is by and large unequipped to discuss the crisis.

“Journalism is a mediator of public conversation,” Nordfors said.

Shedding light on horizontal processes – the interplay between stakeholders from different sectors – is an integral   part of equipping the public to understand and discuss daily and long-term developments in more dynamic fashion.   Such stories are not easy to tell in a vertical way, let alone with a horizontal approach. The ecosystems that nurture innovation (or those broken systems, like the financial ones, which cry for innovative solutions) are complex and difficult to map.

But mapping the innovation process is necessary.

We are not going to get to an innovation society unless we have journalism to   moderate and facilitate the discussion, Nordfors said.

“We need a free public debate for how we innovate, just as we have that debate   when it comes to parliamentary, political processes,” he said.

The INJO   Fellowships program, which places midcareer journalists in American   newsrooms to work the innovation beat, is one vehicle to propel journalism’s   ability to moderate and facilitate. Journalists from Sweden, Finland and   Slovenia have participated in the scheme.

Nordfors’ goals, shared by both individuals and groups like the European   Journalism Centre, include bringing “innovation” and “journalism” together as   keywords. Several iniatives are ongoing. A Finnish alumnus of the INJO   Fellowship program has earned a EUR 900,000 grant to research the way in which   journalism mediates innovation in society. Also, discussions are ongoing about   the creation of an association for innovation journalism in the EU.

- K. Clore

- K. Clore




Creative Commons and Fair Use Issues:  Copyright, Innovation and the Norms of Sharing

Anthony Falzone, the Fair Use Project

Sharing: You may not have done it on the playground, but today you can’t get   enough. Especially when it comes to information and creative works.

That’s the crux of American   lawyer Tony Falzone‘s talk, imageCreative Commons and Fair Use Issues:   Copyright, Innovation and the Norms of Sharing. Falzone, who is a lecturer at Stanford   University, was one of five presenters at the EJC‘s free, one-day   seminar in Maastricht.

With inspiration from Sony   Betas and Jeff   Koons, Falzone’s discussion was predicated upon the notion that norms of   sharing drive innovation. The digital age, he argued, has prompted a massive   upheaval in these norms.

“Digital technology cannot function without making copies,” Falzone said.

Search engines have enabled easy, efficient use of the web — a far cry from   the infuriating days of Altavista text searches. Google’s engine relies on its   ability to make and store millions of copies of websites. For Google to ask   website owners for permission would be impossible. This procedure is   successful because of copyright law.

“Google therefore lives or dies depending on the architecture of copyright,”   Falzone said.

From Google to photostreams,   society’s dependence on copying and sharing online is insatiable. Falzone says   this has created a shift toward innovative copyright schema.

Copyright used to mean all rights reserved. Lawsuits, lawyers and lots of   money have been spent on cases, which, thanks to a new understanding of   copyright spreading via Internet, would today never reach a courtroom. Free   use was “complicated, expensive and unpredictable,” Falzone said.

But our endless desire to share and collaborate, has, thanks to the linking   economy of the Internet, prompted and facilitated a new scheme of copyright: Creative   Commons, which Falzone calls “easy, cheap and predictable.”

“The movement toward the Creative   Commons license,” Falzone said, “illustrates a progression toward   maximizing creative output.”

This maximization comes by way of striking a balance between incentives and   restrictions—to both protect creative work and encourage creative   collaboration. Users can now choose how many rights they want reserved for   their material, and under what conditions.

Falzone, an unofficial advocate for the Creative Commons license scheme,   clearly laid out the tenants of fair use and Creative Commons in his talk. He   described the differences between them. His drew on several examples, from Wiki   Scanner to Talking   Points Memo, to show when and how each license is used are helpful and   make the details of what can be a dry subject come to life. But Falzone also   is eager to point out that Creative Commons is not perfect. The definition of   “non-commercial use”, for example, is still somewhat vague. But Falzone’s   closing analogy may help to make sense of CC’s shortcomings:

“Look at it this way: Windows is not perfect, but its a hell of a lot easier   to use than MSDOS.”

- R. Spencer


Intellectual Property - Challenges for the Journalist

Richard Allan Horning, Fish & Richardson

It was Richard Allan Horning’s long hair that got him assigned to his most interesting cases.

Horning, who has been practicing law in Silicon Valley since before Don Hoefler first published the term in 1971, was sent by his law firm to represent Rolling Stone Magazine because he had long curly hair and a moustache. He represented the rock magazine during talks with the Nixon administration when Hunter Thompson’s request for a White House press pass was turned down by then-press secretary Ron Ziegler.

The case never made it to court because Thompson got bored with the process and instead headed for greener cigarettes on the beaches of Mexico, Horning recounted.

Today, with a bit less hair, Horning journeyed to Maastricht, where he gave a rundown of colourful cases which did make it to court, providing an overview of case law relevant to intellectual property and access to information. In m any of the examples, the conflict arose when the government was trying to influence journalism and the news cycle.

But as society becomes more concerned with the process of innovation, there is increased interplay between business law – those stipulations on trade secrets, for example – and First Amendment laws. It is difficult, legally, to decide when the public’s right to information trumps the concerns of a business.



Horning’s firm worked pro bono alongside the Electronic Frontier Foundation to represent the students in MTA v. MIT. Some students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote a report about their ability to hack the electronic “oyster cards” of the Boston public transportation system (the MTA). The students gave MTA a copy of their report, but simultaneously informed the transit authority of their intent to make the report public the following week at a convention in Las Vegas. The MTA got an immediate injunction against the students to stop them from going to Las Vegas. But eventually they were able to go and publish the report. They were taken to court, though, where Horning’s firm assisted them in winning the case.

He also discussed the implications of the findings in Apple vs. Does, DeCSS vs. Bloggers and Online Policy Group v. Diebold, Inc.

Many of the cases in which Horning’s predilection for long hair got him involved illustrated quite colourfully the oft-cited point that government can interfere with the reporting process and news cycle.

He cited several cases on which he worked in the 1970s and ‘80s – including a case involving Rolling Stone journalists who broke the Patty Hearst story.

With his background in the First Amendment, Horning also represented the New York Times. He worked on US v. Earl Caldwell in 1972. Caldwell, who extensively covered civil rights struggles for the Times, was subpoenaed to testify in front of a grand jury in regards to reporting he had done about the Black Panther Party. He refused, citing immunity under the First Amendment. However, as in the Branzburg v. Hayes case of 1972, the courts disagreed with him, giving no First Amendment privileges to newsgathering.

Horning would have also been the Times’ lawyer should it have gone forward in a lawsuit against a Marin County, California, judge who initially refused to let reporters interview controversial activist Angela Davis in jail after her weekend arrest in 1970. Although Horning spent a weekend preparing for a Monday-morning showdown, Davis began making strange requests to the jail and the Times lost interest in the potential suit.

- K. Clore


Publish or Perish: Is the Publishers’ Indignation Selective?

Evi Werkers and Sari Depreeuw, Flemish E-Publishing Trends  

Corporate giants are tough to topple.

The whimsical decisions of technology companies like Google and Microsoft can change the face of digital culture. And it can be easier to go with their flow than to fight. Especially if you believe they know what’s best.


But what if you don’t?
  Sari Depreeuw and Evi Werkers, two law researchers from the FLEET program in Brussels, told the story of a group of Belgian publishers who fought Google over content included in Google News Belgium.

A case rich with complex technicalities and details unfolded. The publishers won, and the newspapers they represented were subsequently deleted from Google News. The Belgian judge ruled that Google had violated the newspapers’ rights on multiple grounds including: reproduction, integrity and paternity.

The ruling is controversial and has sparked debate. Was it beneficial to the publications and writers? When so much news is consumed online, accessed via engines like Google News, why would it help to be unsearchable? It’s a hot topic with a long future ahead.

Google was granted an appeal.

- R. Spencer



Jonathan Bailey, Plagiarism Today

Jonathan Bailey has not been truly angry since 2001.

That’s when an anonymous AOL Instant Messenger user asked him, “Do you publish another website?”

Bailey, the American author of Plagiarism Today, said no. The anonymous messenger then let fly with:

“But I saw your work there.”

More than 200 of Bailey’s poems and essays had been republished without his permission on a site called Crimson Dawn, he told a group of around 45 journalists, students and academics who gathered in Maastricht on Thursday to discuss intellectual property.

The culprit turned out to be a 14-yer-old student from Michigan. His teenage mug represents the changing face of plagiarists, Bailey continued.

Technology perpetuates plagiarism, he said. “Anyone can find an audience… Everyone is putting out a signal these days.” Gone are the days when a printing press was needed to perpetuate plagiarism.

Bailey, to be clear, does not eschew the value of Stanford professor Larry Lessig’s “remix culture”. Rather, he encourages ‘good copying’ (citations, Creative Commons liscencing a move away from ‘permission-based culture’) and fair copyright policies.

Among modern motivations to plagiarize outright, he said, are profit, as is often the case with spammers; the false security of dodgy writing services charging a mere penny per word for ‘original’ content and the potential benefit to their reputation resulting from posting higher-quality work.

Bailey, who advises victims of plagiarism, says stopping this parasitic practice involves prevention (adding Creative Commons licensing, adding digital rights management or providing truncated RSS feeds) detection (adding ‘fingerprints’ to texts can make plagiarism easier to sniff out) and cessation (takedown notices, lawsuits).

That’s on an individual basis. Governments need to meet to create international laws to address this problem, one which knows no borders. Educating the sometimes ‘media illiterate’ public so also key.

- K. Clore


The Power of Networks - Media and Copyright History

Gundolf S. Freyermuth, International Film School, Cologne  

The only way Gundolf Freyermuth could infuse a new element into Thursday’s Innovation Journalism conference was to talk about “old news.” So the German professor capped the day of presentations with a lively look back at the history of media and copyright.


Aided by a fantastical Keynote presentation featuring CBC clips of Marshall McLuhan from the 1960s, Freyermuth’s hour-long lecture “The Power of Networks” traced the origins of copyright from the Renaissance.

“Once upon a time, only 500 years ago, making a copy was just as expensive as making the original,” Gundolf said. In the mechanical age, it took more than a few keystrokes to copy and paste.

The printing press in the industrial era sparked the copymaking epidemic, a phenomenon which empowered publishers and threatened governments through the free release of unregulated information.

“The solution to this threat was to restrict privileges of copymaking,” Freyermuth said. “Copyright began as a way for the government to control the release of content.”

Today, in what Freyermuth calls the digital age, copying is done instantly. Constantly. Everywhere. Users have usurped power which formerly belonged to publishers - a power which can seem infinite, but isn’t.

“The layout is the limit. Whoever controls networking technology controls what people can do within it,” Freyermuth said. He points to the illusion of freedom user-generated content provides. This illusion is an indication that the digital age has a long way to go in terms of figuring itself out. If the ongoing upheaval of traditional media is any indication, the digital era is still quite a confused one.

Freyermuth offered his history lesson as a opportunity for clarity. He emphasised that through looking back that we can see the future. “Long-term trends can tell us what lies ahead,” he said.

“New technology leads to new socio-cultural uses,” he said. “These uses create a cultural and legal crisis which leads to an imperfect cultural and legal adaptation.”

The financial crisis and drastic shift in media consumption are an indication we’re in the latter half of Freyermuth’s pattern.

But Freyermuth sees a light at the end of the dark tunnel through which we move.

“In the digital age and the near future, there are only winners and runner-ups. I don’t see any losers.”

- R. Spencer