Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fox News, CBS, Jump On Citizen Journalism Content Harvesting Bandwagon

Red Herring reports that both CBS and Fox News have decided to start the push to harvest more "citizen journalism" for their channels. So, what does this mean to you, the citizen, who might want to send your vidphone shots of your dog jumping through a flaming hula hoop??

First, both networks have signed up with Neighborhood America to create the infrastructure. Red Herring sez:
The deals with CBS and Fox will allow the company to gather user-generated video news reports from on-the-rove viewers who want to send in the videos they take with their digital cameras, camcorders, and camera phones.

Okay, so we know what CBS and Fox are looking for, and where you can send in your stuff, but, more importantly why do they want it and will you get anything other than a pat on the ass for giving it to them??

At Fox: Fox News’ UR Report service debuted Monday and will allow viewers to send news reports to the Fox site that will be featured on shows such as Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, and On the Record with Greta van Susteren. “Each will have user-generated content daily,” said Neighborhood America CTO David Bankston. “It will tie into the script and the show

Oh great. More Sean Hannitys. I have my own theories about Sean Hannity...but let's not go there...

It's one thing to read someone's stuff on their own blog. Another to see it as a vid on YouTube. Doesn't mean it should be part of Fox News.

Then again, maybe this is Fox News' way of trumping the Daily Show or the Colbert Report?

CBS plans to cover their ass a bit differently: CBS had an existing bare-bones citizen journalism service, but Neighborhood America has been improving it with categories, mobile access courtesy of its recent acquisition of Movo Mobile, and the ability to approve videos before they’re allowed to run on the site, unlike Google’s YouTube.

And they're running a contest for Katie Couric's summer intern! Why don't they run a contest for Katie Couric's new make-up stylist?? IMO, she just doesn't look well...

Both of these plans really trivialize the importance of citizen journalism in cases of bombings, floods, and other disasters. Why might these very rich networks want to rip content from the citizenry on a regular basis? "Social networking will be increasingly competing for advertiser dollars,” said Rachel Happe, IDC’s research manager for the digital business economy. “A lot of old-line media companies, particularly news companies, are struggling to keep an audience. It makes sense for them to move to a collaborative news environment, to make people feel they’re invested in the news at some level.”

Sure, it makes sense for really big monied companies to compel people to give them their stuff just for the heck of it. But, as I've said, what will the citizenry get--or more likely, what will they lose??

CBS has an explanation of its Terms and Services which has this to say about "Creative Submissions/Communications":
CBS does not accept or consider creative ideas, suggestions or materials other than those CBS has specifically requested. This is to avoid the possibility of future misunderstandings when projects developed by CBS's staff might seem to others to be similar to their own creative ideas, suggestions or materials.

If you do send us any creative materials, including creative suggestions, ideas, notes, drawings, concepts or other information or if you transmit to the Site by electronic mail or otherwise, communications including any data, questions, comments, suggestions, or the like (collectively, the "Information"), the Information shall be deemed, and shall remain, the property of CBS. None of the Information shall be subject to any obligation of confidence on the part of CBS and CBS shall not be liable for any use or disclosure of any Information. CBS shall exclusively own any now known or hereafter existing rights to the Information of every kind and nature throughout the universe and shall be entitled to unrestricted use of the Information for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or otherwise, without compensation to the provider of the Information.

Hmm.....sounds like the citizen loses once again! no money, and they own your content forever and ever across the universe! (somewhere I hear maniacal laughter)

This may change if they establish an entirely separate social network to take video submissions. But I'd bet that it's not going to change all that much. Esp. the part about the no money...

In Fox's Terms of Use, it's a similar story:
The Site may provide you with the chance to upload or provide messages, photos, videos, clips, ideas, feedback, comments or other content (“Content”). You understand and agree that FOX has the right in its sole discretion, but not the obligation, to monitor, edit, and remove any posted Content, and assumes no liability for any such Content. You warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to such Content, that it is accurate, and that its use does not violate these terms and will not injure any person or entity. You further agree not to upload, post or otherwise make available Content that is protected by a third party’s copyright, trademark or other proprietary right without the express permission of the third party owner of the copyright, trademark or other proprietary right. You shall be solely liable for any damage resulting from any infringements on third party rights resulting from your submission of such Content.

You agree that your uploading and/or transmittal of Content does not violate any of provisions set forth under the “Bulletin Boards and Chat Rooms” section of these terms. If you upload or transmit Content, you grant to FOX a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, publish, translate, create derivative works (including products) from, distribute, and display such Content, in whole or in part, throughout the world in all media. You grant to FOX the right to use the name that you submit in connection with such Content.

You agree that any Content that you submit shall be considered non-proprietary and non-confidential. FOX shall have no obligations of any kind with respect to any Content and shall be free to reproduce, use, disclose and/or distribute any Content for any purpose whatsoever, without limitation. You also agree that FOX shall be free to use any ideas, concepts or techniques embodied in the Content for any purpose whatsoever, including, but not limited to, producing, developing and marketing news stories, shows, content of any kind, products or services incorporating such ideas, concepts, or techniques, without attribution. In addition, you hereby waive all moral rights you may have in any materials uploaded or sent to us by you.

Well. I guess that says it all, doesn't it? Fox holds your video, can use it to its heart content...the odd thing though is that Fox doesn't really want you, the citizen, to touch its content:
You are also strictly prohibited from creating works or materials that derive from or are based on the materials contained in this Site including, without limitation, fonts, icons, link buttons, wallpaper, desktop themes, on-line postcards and greeting cards and unlicensed merchandise. This prohibition applies regardless of whether the derivative materials are sold, bartered or given away.

But I imagine if a particular image Fox has "harvested" really catches on, they'll make a postcard of it, and not give *you* any portion of the profits from said postcard...

To a greater or lesser degree, these networks are looking to rip-off citizen content--and not paying for it as well as keeping the rights, makes sure that you the citizen stays an amateur.

And what about the professional videographers? Well, that's a crapshoot at the moment. who knows....

Still, I keep coming back to *why* if there are no compelling emergencies, should The People provide the networks with free stuff they can hold in perpetuity and eventually make money from? When there's an national emergency, then we are doing major networks a very big favor by providing images that they may not be able to attain any other way. But on a regular, daily basis? What's the point of that? Is it merely to pad out their already-lame news programs?

It may be the job of the people to help get the message out when there's an emergency...it is NOT the job of the people to provide free content so that a multi-million dollar corporation can keep making multi-millions of dollars.

Then again, as some wise person said in the last century "There's a sucker born every minute..."

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iamnasra said...

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Anonymous said...

fox news is allowing its cable signal to be recieved for free in many strategic areas. seems a bit like the 25 cent Ny Post.