Posts Tagged ‘American University’

The Changing World of Copyright Compliance

Thursday, April 5th, 2012


Free speech, copyright and the Internet seem to collide, but that’s because they are all still evolving. Dr. Patricia Aufderheide, director of the Center for Social Media, American University, gave guidance on this very topic during the AWC-DC program on March 19. She used an example from the 1860s, when a German translation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin was not covered under copyright law, but now would be covered. At the time, one-third of the country spoke German.

You need to understand how “Fair Use” can be used correctly, says Dr. Aufderheide. If you are “adding value” to the information and using it in a new way, then you are most likely covered under the Fair Use Doctrine. Using the entire work without adding valuable information, would be considered an infringement on copyright.  Generally, sourcing a portion of the information with a link back to the original document would be considered fair use, explains Dr. Aufderheide.

Many journalists say their use of information is covered under the First Amendment of the Constitution. What they need to understand is that First Amendment is a part of copyright law, says Dr. Aufderheide.

The protests over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) lead to more awareness of copyrighted materials on the Internet. Dr. Aufderheide believes the best way to address the issue is to look at business practices. She thinks that blocking domain names, which will work against security, is not a viable answer. She also says businesses need to find a way to let people use copyrighted material legally.

Pinterest and Copyright

Pinterest is fast becoming this year’s social media sweatheart. (Understand Pinterest and Your Audience.) Many PR folks have asked if the social media site is violating copyright. The answer is maybe. In a recent Mashable story, The Copyright Question: How to Protect Yourself on Pinterest, the authors suggest that companies should only pin their own content and only include content they would include on their website. While Pinterest does not own “everything posted on the site […] posting other people’s pictures without permission could be problematic.”

BurrellesLuce has many free resources in the BurrellesLuce Resource Center to help the PR professional do their job even better and offers a turnkey copyright compliance program to help clients remain on the right side of copyright law.

Top Five Most-Read BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Posts in May 2011: Twitter Chat Transcripts, MySpace vs. Facebook, and more.

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Twitter Chat Transcripts twitter-bird-2
BurrellesLuce has made it easy for you to see the latest transcripts from the industry’s top social media chats and community events all in one place.


MySpace vs. Facebook: Which Site is the Current Cool Kid? MySpace vs Facebook: Who is the current cool kid? (A BurrellesLuce Image)
Sometimes it’s not so easy to tell “cool” from “un-cool” – especially when it comes to social networks and professionals who want to be with the “in crowd.” Although Facebook trumps MySpace with their overall number of users, organizations debating on which site to use should research the demographics and lifestyles of the key users they wish to target and focus their message and branding appropriately. Then they can be sure that both their company and clients are “cool” because they resonate with the preferred target audience.



Diane Sawyer, Finding Inspiration: Newseum Reel Journalism, “The China Syndrome,” and Ethics in PR and Journalism

Friday, May 13th, 2011

chinasyndrome011“You need to find what inspires you.” This was just one of the many messages from ABC news anchor Diane Sawyer during a session in the Reel Journalism series at the Newseum (a BurrellesLuce client).

The Reel Journalism series looks at how journalism is portrayed in movies and includes discussions with journalists and others who have insight into the movie. TV personality Nick Clooney hosts the series, which is co-produced by American University.

Recently, the discussion lead to the First Amendment, and how we, as Americans, do not appreciate the rights we have been given. One audience member asked why journalists don’t advocate more on behalf of the First Amendment. Sawyer agreed there is a need for more work from journalists and there is a lack of advocacy. Although no one had a good answer, all agreed it is an issue.

The evening’s movie was “The China Syndrome” starring Jane Fonda as a fluff TV news reporter, who longed to do hard news stories. Sawyer empathized with the character and reminisced about her own time doing zoo stories and birthday parties. She commented on how she was originally hired to do the weather, which she knew nothing about and could barely see the map without her glasses. (She now wears contacts.) Sawyer said she had been lucky to not have to deal with the “old boys club” as she moved up the ranks in TV news. Considering she was the first female correspondent on “60 minutes,” most were surprised by this fact.

Clooney asked Sawyer if she had premonitions since she picked the film shortly before the earthquake in Japan that caused a nuclear power plant leak. She said she didn’t, however,  she did note the movie came out 12 days before the Three Mile Island incident, which she covered for CBS news.

The lone PR person in the movie, played by James Hampton, is told by the head of the nuclear power plant to “do his job and control the reporters.”  Of course, he then tries to cover-up the true story, but is trumped in the end. It made me sad (but not surprised) to see public relations put in a bad light. I also felt like the character wanted to do the right thing and tried to advise his boss.

The movie is from 1979, and like all movies, there are flawed characters. But, what would a real PR counselor be inspired to do? Would he or she follow the ethics of the profession and go against management? In the movie, the plant employee played by Jack Lemon is the hero we want both the journalist and the PR person to be. He stood by his principles and looked for a way to save others instead of himself. He was inspired.

So, I ask again, what inspires you? Please share your thoughts with the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers.

Catching Up With Social Media In America’s Sailing Capital

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

by Mike Robinson*

Flickr Image: PJM

Flickr Image: PJM

I recently attended a seminar presented by Phill McGowan, public information officer for the City of Annapolis. His discussion was entitled, “Successful Communication in the Digital Age” and was featured as part of the PRSA Central Chesapeake Chapter’s Luncheon Speaker Series. (Annapolis is Maryland’s capital and is known as “America’s Sailing Capital” because the U.S. Naval Academy, the National Sailing Hall of Fame, and the strong reputation of the local sailing community.)

Social media tools are a large part of McGowan’s PR strategy – used specifically to listen to conversations online and then respond and engage. In the past, he worked in the media (The Baltimore Sun) and for a private public relations firm (Virilion). He attended a graduate program at American University, which was specifically focused on digital media, and has gone on to leverage and utilize his past journalism experience, his hands-on social media expertise, and a formal education in digital media to engage and connect with the public as a government communicator.

Here are some books he recommended regarding social media:

  • Web 2.0 – A Strategy Guide by Amy Shuen
  • Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
  • In-Bound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah

One great take-away from the event was his story about a blogger who had interviewed him and then published information that McGowan thought misrepresented the conversation. The way he dealt with the situation was to enter a comment below the story directly addressing the issues he thought were important. This was a great example of how you can monitor a discussion and then take immediate action to help address any shortcomings in that conversation – or even dispute any specific issues.

The experience was a lot of fun and informative and I look forward to my next PRSA seminar in “America’s Sailing Capital!” How are you using social media to listen, respond, and engage with your audiences? If you attended this event, what were some of the other points that you found helpful? How are you applying them to your social media activities? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. 


*Bio: Over the last 15 years, Mike Robinson has gained a lot of experience in business, sales, and marketing.  For the past eight years, he’s worked with BurrellesLuce out of its D.C. office,  advising businesses, organizations, and government agencies of all sizes on effective solutions for measuring press outreach, reputation management, and message analysis. He is passionate about news analysis, politics, and policy. And looks forward to sharing his thoughts and insights on the PR industry and media monitoring and measurement. LinkedIn: mikerobinson1 Twitter: @mike__robinson Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Lessons from College Newspapers

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Valerie Simon

With colleges back in session, I took a moment to catch up on news from my alma mater, American University (AU), via The Eagle, AU’s student newspaper. I was surprised at how much I learned. Beyond articles such as “Campus Preps for H1N1 Virus” or “Official Reminds AU of ‘Neighbor’ Policy,” I realized that The Eagle offers many insights for the newspaper industry at large.

The value of a hyper-local focus:College newspapers provided an excellent example of hyper-local media. Campus life, like any town or neighborhood, includes sports, cultural events and media.jpgpolitics. The community cares about college sports and intramural sports. They demonstrate interest in student activities and elections. For the businesses that serve the campus community, The Eagle offers a valuable opportunity to connect to this extremely targeted demographic.


The value of print and online media:There’s something about a hard copy publication… and no, it’s not an “old person” thing. You’ll find students all over campus flipping through The Eagle between classes and on the quad and in the lounges. The Eagle publishes a print edition every Monday and Thursday during the academic year, except on days when the University is closed. The Eagle Online posts any breaking news between print editions and allows alumni (like myself) to stay connected.


The value of engaging readers via social media: Twitter presence is used not only to broadcast stories (though it does that well), but for communication with readers. Tweets cover the gamut – everything from customer service issues (“Our website should be back now. Thanks for your understanding.”), to editorial issues (“@tonei We’ll look into this and clarify if necessary. Thanks for the head’s up!”). Further emphasizing the importance of social media, The Eagle has a new website and is in the process of rolling out blogs; I’ll be very curious to read them and see the conversation that generates among the AU community.

The Eagle’s

Have you taken a moment to look at your college newspaper recently? What lessons do you see? Please share your thoughts with the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.