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Intellectual Property Issues in Social Media

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Social media have made sharing information with friends and followers easier and quicker, but federal copyright law is struggling to adapt to the challenges presented by these tools. When hot news breaks, how soon can it be tweeted? If an image is shared via Flickr or Facebook, can it be used for news or marketing purposes? Is it fair use to post portions of song lyrics, news articles, or YouTube videos on your Tumblr? What legal ramifications do mock Twitter accounts face? Will Creative Commons save us all? This panel of attorneys, scholars and media professionals discuss how courts and the industry have been handling these issues and some possible solutions to resolve them.



Daxton Stewart Asst Professor Texas Christian University

Daxton "Chip" Stewart teaches media law and ethics at the Schieffer School of Journalism at TCU. He holds a Ph.D. in Journalism and a Master of Laws in Dispute Resolution from the University of Missouri, a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He has nearly 20 years of experience in journalism, starting as a sportswriter in the Dallas area, working as a city editor and food columnist at the Columbia Missourian, and currently serving as editor-in-chief of Dispute Resolution Magazine. Research interests currently include the intersection of law, journalism, and social media, and he is editor of the forthcoming book "Social Media & the Law."

Kathleen Olson Assoc Professor Lehigh University

Kathleen K. (Kathy) Olson is an associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Communication at Lehigh University. She has a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas, a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, and a law degree from the University of Virginia. She worked as a copy editor at the Tampa Tribune and helped launch the online edition of the Austin American-Statesman.

Her research focuses on conflicts between intellectual property rights and First Amendment values. She co-authored Mass Communication Law in Pennsylvania (2003) and her work has been published in such journals as Communication Law and Policy, Free Speech Yearbook, and Journalism & Communication Monographs.

Riyad Omar VP, Principal Legal Officer NewsRight

Riyad is responsible for NewsRight’s legal affairs. Prior to joining NewsRight, Riyad was Associate General Counsel of Business Governance at the Associated Press. At AP, Riyad’s responsibilities included, among other things, legal oversight of AP’s digital and technology departments. In addition to counseling all levels of management and overseeing a dedicated staff of legal resources, Riyad was actively involved in a wide range of transactions, including strategic investments and partnerships. In 2009, Riyad joined a small team to create AP’s News Registry, the core technology platform for NewsRight. As a key team member, Riyad helped formulate the News Registry’s integrated legal, business and technology strategy and served as the News Registry’s legal director. He also had legal oversight over NewsRight’s spin-off from AP.

Victoria Ekstrand Assoc Professor Bowling Green State University

Victoria (Tori) Smith Ekstrand is an associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Public Relations at Bowling Green State University. She is an affiliate faculty member of BGSU’s American Cultural Studies department.
A former senior executive for The Associated Press, Ekstrand’s research began as an investigation into the hot news doctrine, a part of unfair competition law that protects the facts of news for a limited period. That research resulted in the publication of her book, News Piracy and the Hot News Doctrine: Origins in Law and Implications for the Digital Age (LFB Scholarly, 2005). With another hot news case before the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Ekstrand’s work has been the subject of panels and discussions about the continued viability of the doctrine.
Increasingly, her research examines regulation and policy from the critical legal perspective – and how grassroots activism is challenging intellectual property regimes.
Ekstrand has published in Journalism and Mass Communications Quarterly and Communication Law & Policy. She has worked with the Ohio State Bar Association on the publication of their Media Law Handbook. In 2008, she was awarded BGSU’s Outstanding Young Scholar Award, and in 2009, she was named a Scholar in Residence at BGSU’s Institute for Culture & Society.

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