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Roy Ockert 11-03-07 10:46 AM

AAA policy
The amendment still seems to claim our copyright, or it certainly could be interpreted that way. Below is a copy of a letter we sent to the AAA earlier this week.
Roy Ockert

Oct. 29, 2007

Mr. Lance Taylor
Executive Director
Arkansas Activities Association
3920 Richards Road
North Little Rock, Ark. 72117

Dear Mr. Taylor:

Please consider this letter an official objection from The Jonesboro Sun as to the conditions of the policy adopted by the Arkansas Activities Association Board of Directors on July 20, 2007, under the heading 2007-08 Media Credential Policy.

Although the introduction to that policy in the AAA’s September bulletin says the intent of the policy is to control “the sale of certain action pictures and video clips on the web,” the policy itself purports to gain control of all still photographs taken at AAA events.

Under the federal copyright law The Jonesboro Sun is the owner of all rights for the distribution of work products of our newspaper’s writers, editors and photographers. Only The Jonesboro Sun has the right to transfer the use of those work products. The AAA’s policy would constitute an unlawful and unconscionable appropriation of the copyright rights of The Jonesboro Sun, and we do not agree to this transfer.

Furthermore, to deny our employees the right to media credentials for AAA events, which are open to the public and are financed by taxpayer funds, because of failure to abide by this unlawful policy would violate our First Amendment rights.

While your bulletin said the policy stems from a poll of AAA member schools, resulting in 90 percent “strongly suggesting” such a change in policy, we would question whether those AAA member representatives participating in the poll had full information about the applicable laws and the implications of trying to enforce such a policy. Furthermore, no membership endorsement gives the AAA the right to override federal and state laws.

The purpose is obviously not to control media access at AAA events but rather to appropriate money from those covering the events, or to limit access to an AAA-contracted photographer, or both. Non-press people attending these events are apparently not being asked to give up their rights to photographs, audiotapes or videotapes they produce from the stands or other vantage points not requiring an access pass.

We would encourage you to rescind this policy immediately, or at least to seek an attorney general’s opinion about its legality. Until then, our representatives, if they attend AAA regional-state events, will carry a letter saying they do not agree with the unlawful appropriation printed on the back of the access passes.


Roy Ockert Jr.

Scott Faldon 11-06-07 04:55 PM

The Stephens' LR bureau did a story on this mess ...

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