On Copyright and Occupying the Wall Street Journal
Susie Cagle interviews the creators of various “Occupy” newspapers to see what reactions they’ve received from established brands. The question is whether appropriation of corporate logos, brands and marks is protected free speech or copyright infringement.
In Oakland, the Oakland Tribune sent the Occupied Oakland Tribune a cease and desist letter. In New York, the Wall Street Journal has remained silent about the Occupied Wall Street Journal.
In Chicago, there appears to be some absurdity going on.
Via The Atlantic:
A source with knowledge of to the Occupied Chicago Tribune’s legal situation who preferred not to be identified said the Chicago Tribune’s lawyer had pushed hard in the company’s demands in informal negotiations.“Occupied Chicago Tribunesaid okay, we’ll use ‘Chicago’s Occupied Tribune.’ The lawyer objected. So they said okay, we’ll change it to ‘Occupied Tribune,’ and the lawyer objected. They said okay, we’ll change it to ‘Occupied Chicago Times.’ The lawyer objected again.”
“Then he allegedly said something like, ‘You cannot have anything that has a T in the name.’ And that’s when finally it had reached such a point of absurdity that they decided to fight back.”
Image: Inaugural issue of the Occupied Wall Street Journal, via Marcus Franklin.
Most newspapers are stuck in the late 20th century formulas, scarcely varied across the country, for section concepts (even names) and types of coverage. These conventions, moreover, carry over into digital forms, and only in the past couple of years have we begun to see new forms made only for digital channels. Amid legitimate struggle in newsrooms to make this outdated formula work with vastly reduced staffs and greatly increased production demands, there’s not enough attention on creative breakthroughs — the kind of conceptual innovation needed today. What should a print edition do in a 24/7 news world? How is it differentiated from other platforms in content, format and organization?
Melanie Sill, Take it from Former Editors: Newspapers Need Bolder Change.
H/T: Kevin Anderson.
A new Pew Internet and American Life Project survey explores how people learn about their local communities.
Our friend the newspaper still leads the way. Most don’t recognize that though.
On the surface, most people do not feel that their local newspaper is a key source that they rely on for local information. For instance, when asked, “If your local newspaper no longer existed, would that have a major impact, a minor impact, or no impact on your ability to keep up with information and news about your local community?” a large majority of Americans, 69%, believe the death of their local newspaper would have no impact (39%) or only a minor impact (30%) on their ability to get local information.
Younger adults, age 18-29, were especially unconcerned. Fully 75% say their ability to get local information would not be affected in a major way by the absence of their local paper. The same was true of heavier technology users: 74% of home broadband users say losing their paper would have no impact or only a minor impact on their ability to get local information.
Yet when asked about specific local topics and which sources they rely on for that information, it turns out that many adults are quite reliant on newspapers and their websites. Of the 16 specific local topics queried, newspapers ranked as the most, or tied as the most, relied upon source for 11 of the 16.
Image: Via Six Revisions.
From Flowing Data: “The Rural West Initiative and the Bill Lane Center for the American West explore the growth of newspapers across the United States:
With American newspapers under stress from changing economics, technology and consumer behavior, it’s easy to forget how ubiquitous and important they are in society. For this data visualization, we have taken the directory of US newspaper titles compiled by the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America project — nearly 140,000 publications in all — and plotted them over time and space.
To see the distribution of papers over the years, simply click and drag the slider on the top. Context for each decade is displayed on the right. Each circle represents papers in a city, and the larger the circle the more papers.”
(via Flowing Data. Growth of newspapers across the United States)