Celebrate newspaper journalists on World IP Day
By Paul Boyle, NAA senior vice president of public policy
On April 26, the World Intellectual Property Organization will celebrate “World IP Day” to raise awareness about how copyright impacts daily life. It is a time to celebrate the contribution of creators – artists, musicians, actors and, yes, journalists.
Newspaper journalists inform citizens about everything from high-profile government waste and corruption to the day-to-day activities of the community: the victories of the local school sports team, the votes of the town council, and the opening of new local businesses.
In Washington, NAA works hard to protect the interests of journalists. Whether we are fighting for a federal shield law to protect confidential sources or championing reforms to the Freedom of Information Act, we aim to defend the vital role that journalism plays in local communities and in our nation’s democracy. We not only fight to ensure that the newsgathering process is free from interference, we also work to protect newspaper media content so that newspaper journalism is sustainable for years to come.
Last January, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Copyright Act, NAA cautioned Congress against weakening copyright protection in a way that would undermine the Constitution’s goal of promoting “the progress of science and useful arts.”
Copyright protection is particularly important in today’s digital world where news aggregators, search engines, and social media sites are building audiences and generating revenue largely from the content that has been created by newspaper journalists. Newspaper content, for example, makes up 66 percent of the content on news aggregation platforms such as Google News, and more than half the content on digital publications such as Huffington Post and BuzzFeed.
Many view the use of newspaper content as “fair use” under the Copyright Act that facilitates the flow of information and ideas that are valuable to our society. Some of this use certainly qualifies as “fair use,” but some of it clearly does not. Regardless of this legal issue, public discourse in cyberspace will be diminished overall if revenue is not brought back to those who create high-quality and professionally edited journalism.
So as we celebrate “World IP Day” NAA would like to tip the hat to those creators – newspaper journalists – who start the conversation in their local communities and the broader digital community.
To learn more about World IP Day, please click here.
First Published: April 23, 2014
About the Author
Paul J. Boyle is Senior Vice President/Public Policy at NAA and manages the legislative and regulatory affairs operation of the association, covering issues such as: tax policy, copyright, postal affairs, media ownership rules, advertising regulations, and the First Amendment.
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