Media Apps, Copyright And The Do’s And Don’ts

I, like many of you, have on this very iPad a number of news and media apps that I frequently turn to for audio reporting, video formats and good ol’ fashioned text stories. Though not once have I honestly ever thought of, and cared for, the apps copyright policies and how even the very nature of these policies affect the constant 24 hour news cycle.However there is an unknown world, a dark, legal-worded and trademarked place that covers these areas, determining if I can access a CNN article on the ABC News24 app, or visa versa. We have come a long way from the “hot off the press” world of newspapers and radio bulletins, as I simply have to look at my iPads lock screen to a sea of my news app alerts- from CNNs breaking news of the Crimea to the BBCs coverage of live Wimbledon scores, it’s a home screen away, however what comes shorter and quicker to you has a long, dark shadow of copyright law lurking behind it.

The shadow showed itself in the 2013 case Associated Press v Meltwater U.S. Holdings Inc, where the Associated Group news group sued their once partner Meltwater over the laters use of the APs journalistic work. The AP is a not-for-profit news organisation that receives it’s funds through the sale of work to contract-agreed broadcasting stations and groups for them to use under specific terms in their contract. However, Meltwater had no such contract and agreement with the AP copyright policy when they used and published the APs work, an action Meltwater felt was acceptable under New Yorks common law and the fair use doctrine. The presiding judge sided with the AP as Meltwater “…violated the APs copyright by excerpting it’s articles without a license and redistributing them…”. The case was closed by both parties ability to come to a partnership to strengthen their ability to provide news services to their clients, including news apps.

Thus, in a fast paced world, the need to provide live, new and updated news services direct to the audience includes the race to update and protect copyright laws, and as seen in the aforementioned case, the ease and ability of one group to use another’s is an all to easy and common occurrence. Therefore, the more news apps that are distributed, be mindful that behind these colorful apps is a strict, powerful force by the name of copyright, and it doesn’t ever sleep.

Stay Classy UOW,

Todd Steele


Vaughan, B 2013, AP, news aggregator Meltwater end copyright dispute, Reuters News Company, viewed 23 March 2014 (


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