Copyright on the Internet

Next week, I have my French exam. So this weekend, I decided to start preparing the exam. I need to read some pages in a French book: ‘Journalisme en ligne’. And isn’t that convenient? Because if you understand French, you know that I’m reading a book about digital journalism.

More specifically, I need to read the part about copyright. As we all know, citizen journalism has expanded since the arrival of the internet. That’s good because now people can give their opinion. But the down side is, that most professional journalists have a hard time protecting their written content. Some people believe that everything’s possible on the Internet, and that the copyright rules don’t apply on Internet content. Well, think again, because it does.

At school, we had a course last year, named Legislation and ethics. In the course, we learned about copyright and about who can be held responsable for plagiarism. But, in the course, we never spoke about copyright on the Internet

I think it’s important that everybody who writes on Internet makes sure to never copy something without permission. first, it’s unethical, but it’s also a criminal offense. Although, the copyright rules on the Internet are much less strict, I think it’s important to know that you can’t copy content from another person.

While I was reading the part about copyright, I started to think about my own writings on this blog. I tried to remember if I had used content from another journalist or writer. The truth is, I don’t know. When I write the articles for this blog, I mostly write about my own opinion. But that opinion is based on things I read. So, then I was confused. And now, I don’t know if I have broke copywright rules or not. I’m guessing I didn’t, but I’m not sure.

I’ve become aware of the fact that most people think the Internet has no rules, but I think it’s important that people know that rules are everywhere, also on the Internet. You can copy content from another writer, and you can post it on the internet and you may not get punished, but it’s just unethical. Keep that in mind!

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What NOT to do online

I was looking for a subject for a good, solid, and great written… Ok, an article. Just that, no more bragging. Then I read this article, from machable.com. I like that angle, so I decided start from there. So here it goes: What NOT to do online.

Quote from the article I mentioned previously: “Ethics rules vary from newsroom to newsroom and country to country” End quote.
I think this is true. When I read this, I realized that indeed every country has these rules for their media. But the internet isn’t bound by the borders of the land. It’s endless, infinite and will continue to exist for as long as our servers keep working. This means bloggers have a massive responsibility. And maybe we don’t always appreciate that responsibility.

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My first point when we don’t appreciate the responsibility and ignore all good manners, is found on youtube. I now look to all those youtube-comments that are just there to piss you off. I’ll give you an example. I’m ShanghaiForever by the way.

It was a great improvised song from the Tv show Improv A Ganza. I commented this:
Schermafbeelding 2013-12-14 om 11.17.53

It’s a funny song! And some stupid Emma-person replies:
Schermafbeelding 2013-12-14 om 11.17.20

It’s rude, I don’t know her, the comment is pointless and doesn’t make sense. Good thing I don’t know how to reply back yet, otherwise this might have become some stupid argument. Good thing… So internet-users, don’t forget your good manners!

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Next thing bloggers need to remember, double-check your sources. There’s a great example of this in Belgium and The Netherlands. A Dutch journalist had created the Twitter-account @Monarchie.be, when our prince was about to become king. He then sold this account to our Royal Palace. Very smart move, he made some easy money. Our Royal Palace tweeted away, but the journalist was still able to tweet with this account! The Royals hadn’t changed the password and such. The journalist even tweeted this, in the name of our King:
Twitter Koning
It says: I feel good as your King! God Bless Belgium!

This tweet has now been deleted, and the journalist has closed off the account for himself. There is proof in the form of video footage for that. So, double check even your most reliable sources, such as our Royals. Hackers are everywhere…

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Also, my last point of advice. Things get outdated on the web. So be sure to check the date of when this article was written. You don’t want to copy some information that matches your opinion, but is completely outdated. Makes you look like a fool, like a fool! (Sorry, a little Phoebe from Friends came through there… Been watching it to much. See what I mean here, @3:15)

Anyway, so, things get outdated, beware! Here is a great example, Nelson Maldela (God Bless His Soul) has recently passed away. Now, this should appear on his wikipedia-page, right? It does, don’t you worry. But you can see at the very bottom of the page when a page was modified, can be very useful to see how up to date a page is.
Schermafbeelding 2013-12-14 om 10.51.36

That is the latest date it was modified up to today, the 14th of december of 2013. Wow! It’s been modified today! Just realized 😀 Nice!

So, summary:

  • Never forget your good manners. My youtube-example.
  • Always double check your sources, even the reliable ones! Our King’s mysterious Tweet-example.
  • Always make sure the page you watch is up to date. Be sure to see when it was modified for the last time. Mandela-example.

Now, blog away and be nice!

The 7 sins on the internet

I have found a nice article on the web today. It applies the 7 sins to the social media. I find this an excellent idea for an article. Later on I will give the site that gave me the idea, but I didn’t copy anything. Just saying, in the original article the author gives suggestions on how to avoid these sins. I don’t. I will just point out the problem.

The seven sins are of course vanity, gluttony, sloth, lust, greed, anger and jealousy. I could indeed find all of them in the social media.

Vanity

Well, this is like kicking in an open door. A lot of things people share are really out of vanity. Look at my new car. Don’t you think my legs look so very nice in this picture? Please delete that, I look horrible!

Gluttony

If you have a stiff neck after a day staring at that small screen, you should really slow down. If you don’t read your tweets or status-updates, the world won’t stop turning. It will even be a little better, ‘cos you will be able to see the faces of your friends moving. They won’t be still like all those pictures you’ve been staring at for way too long.

Sloht

Everybody tells me that they are on social media, because they are bored. Being lazy means having nothing to do, but planning being lazy ahead is a bad habit. I find it sad that we can’t be a little bored and lazy  anymore, without turning our smartphones on.

Lust

Well… I’ll just let you do the thinking here. Lot’s of things on the world wide webb are…not very suitable for children. You take it from there…

Greed

Some people are not very caring and giving on the web. For instance, if you would give them some vegetables from Farmville, they will never give some back. They will play the game, they will take your stuff, only to have the best farm in all the land. (Snow White-reference)

Anger

Have you never found a youtube-conversation that just went to far? One that should have ended like 5 comments ago? That means you have never even read the comments, have you? People always find new things to argue about, sometimes you wonder just what those people do when they are not in front of the computer

Jealousy

Think about this, you never really put up something bad about yourself on Facebook, do you? Seeing all these positive things about other people’s lives, ofthen makes us jealous. This isn’t something I made up, I read it somewhere in a study.

For the article that gave me the idea, click here. It’s in dutch, I’m sorry about that!

Digital Media and Ethics

How does a professional journalist use the new media, e.g. Facebook and Twitter, to research and publish and can they use texts or images published by social media users? I can see you think, you’d like to know it, don’t you? Well, I’ll tell you what I think.

But first I need to tell you the following:

There are tensions on two levels. The first level contains the difference between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ media; the traditional and the online media. There are also tensions between local and global journalism.
The question is: can we untangle these conflicts to set rules?

You need to take these things clear for yourself as well:
– Who is a journalist?
– What is journalism?
– Anonymity
– Speed, rumour and corrections
– Impartiality, conflicts of interest and partisan journalism
– Entrepreneurial not-for-profit journalism
– Reporters using social media
– Citizen journalists and using citizen content
The question is: Do we have to set standars for each subcategory?

The next topic we need to discuss is photos and videos. You can make them, but you can also manipulate them easily. Another way to fake the picture, is to add something or take something out before you take the photo are shoot the scene.
The question is: Can we trust images on the internet?

I think you already noticed: setting ethic rules isn’t an easy job. In the beginning of this post, I promised you to tell how a journalist should use the new media in my opinion, but I can’t. But… Can you?