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Creators urged to protect content amid blurred copyright lines

Published:Tuesday | June 4, 2019 | 12:31 AM

Greater access to technology, facilitated by the rapid development in the capabilities and availability of smartphones and mobile devices, is resulting in increasing intellectual property rights breaches, a group of journalists lamented during a round-table discussion on ‘Journalism in an Emerging Digital Landscape in Jamaica’.

The media practitioners made the observation during discussions on technology as an area of specialisation for journalists with lecturers in media and communication and representatives from tech company MC Systems.

The event, which took place last Friday, was the precursor to a three-day exchange for journalists organised by MC Systems in partnership with the US Embassy, the Caribbean School of Media and Communication (CARIMAC), and the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ).

MC Systems is a member of the MCS Group, the non-financial arm of The Jamaica National Group.

“Those rules [seem to] have become irrelevant because everybody now has a smartphone, so there are multiple people filming important things,” PAJ President George Davis observed, pointing out that content is sometimes used on several platforms without crediting creators, and it is difficult for someone to claim footage as theirs.

He pointed out that this was in contrast to a few years ago when the rules of copyright and intellectual property rights were rigid.

“This has become a major advantage to some content providers,” he said.

Damion Mitchell, integration editor at The Gleaner, said the practice of breaching copyright online, including on social-media platforms, should be flagged, especially when the abuse is perpetrated by traditional media houses, which ought to know better.

Nationwide Business Editor Kalilah Reynolds, who also has a personal online programme, noted that she has been forced to protect her own work online.

“People are starting to take my content and sharing it without credit. There are advantages and disadvantages, but you have to put your logo on your content,” she said, advising of one option for content creators to protect their work.


Reynolds added that fact-checking has become even more relevant for journalists as digital technology has opened the gateway for information, including falsehoods, to be disseminated quickly.

“You have to make sure that you absolutely have the information correct before you run with it because people are turning to you as the traditional media to legitimise the rumours that they hear on social media,” she noted.

The discussion was moderated by Franklin McKnight, a veteran journalist and adjunct lecturer at CARIMAC. Other participants in the discussion were Alan Deutschman, a 27-year career journalist and professor of journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, USA, who was the guest presenter for the workshop; academic representatives from CARIMAC and the University of Technology, Jamaica; as well as representatives of MC Systems.