Not quite a man bites dog story, but close. While large media organizations have long complained about new media and citizen journalists ripping off their intellectual property, there are growing cases where big media is accused of ripping off the intellectual property of citizen media. Bil Browning at Bilerico Project has lodged such a complaint against MSNBC and the Rachel Maddow show:
We get lots of requests to use that picture. Just this week a documentary maker wrote and asked permission to include it in the film. We said yes. We’ve given permission to anyone who has written to ask and we’ve even offered to send publications or filmmakers the version of the photo that doesn’t include the watermark in exchange for a note that says where the photo originated or a line in the credits.
But the Maddow Show didn’t even bother to write and ask permission from either Bilerico Project or the photographer. They just lifted it off the internet, cut off the watermark, and included it on the program.
Bil’s commenters are being protective of Rachel, but Bil raises an important point about appropriating the intellectual property and work of others. Just as there is a problem with copying someone’s story completely or running video without acknowledging the source, there is also a concern about using copyrighted art for commercial purposes, like an MSNBC show.