Those of you who are familiar with Leo Laporte’s TWiT netcast (Leo has eschewed the term "podcast" in favour of "netcast") network will have noticed the addition of a new podcast called This Week in Law. It is hosted by the famed legal blogger and podcaster, Denise Howell, and her regular panel of legal experts. The first episode of the podcast was published this last week and while the sound quality was a little rough, I was not disappointed at all.
While the podcast has a definite focus on legal issues arising in the United States, it raises a number of issues for consideration in our context as well. One of the issues that came out of the first episode was largely a copyright issue. Consider you are on holiday somewhere and you take a photo of the place you are in or perhaps film your environment for posterity. When you get home you upload your video and/or photos to your computer and then again to your favourite photo/video sharing site for friends and family to view. Sounds normal enough, desirable even (no need to pass around photo albums, negatives or copies of your home movie on DVD) but have you considered how you intend dealing with the multitude of claims that by publishing your photos and videos that you may be infringing on the copyright held by the various companies and entities featured in your media? This becomes an even bigger issue if you happen to have sound bytes from a music track or movie in your video.
Another topic for conversation was Creative Commons which is an alternative licencing scheme for content published to copyright. It is based largely in contract whereas copyright exists by operation of law and is variable so publishers who publish under Creative Commons licence can specify how their content can be used and by whom. Creative Commons is starting to be used by artists who want their media to be available to their audience under a less restrictive regieme than traditional copyright.
It is also really interesting to check in on trends in media law in the United States which has to deal with a range of issues that have not yet entered our mainstream consciousness. It will be very interesting to see how Parliament deals with these issues as they come to the fore. If this interests you as well, I recommend that you subscribe to the TWiL podcast. I also recomment Denise’s blog, Bag and Baggage for those interested in these issues.