Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"INS v. AP" in the 21st century: ABC, CNBC on Obama/Kanye West story

In the context of the Hartford Courant plagiarism matter, IPBiz mentioned the relatively old Supreme Court case of INS v. AP to discuss some of the 21st century issues in the Courant situation. The INS case also has relevance to the Obama/Kanye West matter, because of the shared fiber optic line of CNBC and ABC . The AP discussed the story:

ABC News says it was wrong for its employees to tweet that Obama had called West a "jackass" for the rapper's treatment of country singer Taylor Swift. The network said some of its employees had overheard a conversation between the president and CNBC's John Harwood and didn't realize it was considered off the record.

The network apologized to the White House and CNBC.

Harwood had sat down with the president to tape an interview following his appearance on Wall Street on Monday. Although they are competitors, CNBC and ABC share a fiber optic line to save money, and this enabled some ABC employees to listen in on the interview as it was being taped for later use.

So now, in the 21st century, instead of INS taking stories from bulletin boards (or from newspaper editions published on the east coast), we have ABC taking a story from a shared fiber optic line. Instead of merely re-publishing in a newspaper for profit (as was the issue in INS), we have the "thieves" re-publishing on Twitter. As AP noted:

Before anything was reported on ABC's air or Web site, at least three network employees took to Twitter to spread the news.

One was Terry Moran, a former White House correspondent. He logged on to Twitter and typed: "Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a 'jackass' for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT'S presidential."

And, we have the Sikahema effect in action. AP noted:

When ABC News authorities found out about it, they had the tweets deleted after about an hour

Of course, as the AP story illustrates, doing a Sikahema thing doesn't work well once the genie is outside the bottle.

**Links to earlier Hartford Courant copying business-->

America's oldest newspaper apologizes for plagiarism

News aggregation as copyright infringement?


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