Jeannette Carmadella Speaks on Copyright and Social Media at American University

I had the pleasure of being a guest lecturer in Professor Laura Pohl’s graduate journalism class at American University, on February 19, 2011. The class was on Multi-Media Storytelling and so the topic of copyright and social media was ripe for discussion. I gave a presentation and answered questions on copyright basics and discussed specific issues and recent case law involving the use of content on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and blogs. The students, all working toward their Master’s degree as part of AU’s Graduate Program in Interactive Journalism, were very engaging and asked a lot of great questions! We had a lively discussion of fair use, using hot topic examples such as artist Shepard Fairey’s use of a 2006 Associated Press photo of Barack Obama to create an image that appeared on posters and stickers; the use of a 29-second clip of Prince’s song Let’s Go Crazy on You Tube; and photographer David LaChapelle’s recent suit against Rihanna claiming her new music video for her song “S&M” infringes his copyrights. As part of the course curriculum, the students maintain personal blogs, and so it was a great opportunity to go over some do’s and don’ts to help them avoid infringement problems. A few brave students allowed me to review their blogs during the class, which helped highlight specific issues regarding proper use of images and other content online.