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Speaker: Scoop.co.nz's Operation Chrysalis - Ask Me Anything

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  • Alastair Thompson,

    Howdy Public Adress Community,

    The Scoop version of this post (with a bit of extra material) is available here.

    Russell has warned me that it may be a little quiet around here today and over the weekend but I will be dropping in regularly to answer any questions you may have about what Scoop is up to.

    Alastair

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Duncan McKenzie, in reply to Alastair Thompson,

    Hi Alastair

    My employee (XXX) sent the following email around. Is this intentional or have we got the wrong end of the stick?

    "XXX is not a licensed commercial user of the Scoop website which means that staff are not licenced to access or use their site.

    Specifically, note that:
    3.3.2. ‘Use’ encompasses, but is not limited to, downloading, sharing, e-mailing, direct linking, copying, reading, extracting, scraping, selling content, by employees, workers, agents or automated devices, or anything else what-so-ever that could be reasonably held to violate Scoop’s copyright pursuant to applicable copyright law and Scoop’s limitations of use.

    Even reading XXX's content that Scoop republishes is prohibited under their Terms and Conditions.

    Therefore, please do not access or use Scoop services (including through Google alerts or similar aggregator systems) until notified otherwise.

    On the bright side, as it is an aggregator of information, the information contained on Scoop – unless created as original content by Scoop or its staff – is generally available elsewhere. "

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 53 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson,

    Hi Duncan,

    Well that is certainly not what we want people to do. Though that reaction has occurred elsewhere.

    Accessing Scoop while at work is not the same as using Scoop for work.

    The former is allowed and fine. The latter is what we are attempting to sell licenses for.

    Practically speaking we would only expect you to pay for a licencse either after you actually hear from us - asking you whether you use us for work (which is only likely to happen if we notice you are a large user in our logs) - or alternatively if you decide of your own volition that your company does indeed use Scoop regularly enough to warrant your paying us a license to access us.

    I hope this clarify matters a little.

    Al

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    If I compile an occasional online newsletter for an NGO or community or voluntary group and include Scoop links would that require a licence?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Hi Hillary,

    Technically yes though we do have special rates for NGOs and community groups (40% off) as part of our community.scoop.co.nz initiative with Comm Voices.

    I have just emailed you a presentation we have just made up to introduce this whole concept to the Community, NGO and Voluntary sector.

    It would be nice to offer the 4th Sector an exemption from this new policy but we can’t afford to do so – and we are now becoming part of that sector ourselves anyway. As you can see from the huge amount of content on Community Scoop I think we are now the defacto communication channel for the sector, both internally and to and from Government.

    Alastair

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Rivers,

    Hi Alastair,

    As you know I'm a fan of Scoop and fully aware of the value it offers. I wrote this piece recently identifying some of the information I was unable to find easily elsewhere (belying the reported comment about content aggregation)

    I'd like to know more about how you see the new governance structure working. What kinds of representatives might be involved and how could they engage with their sector to build Scoop's services? Also what are your ideas about what Scoop could achieve if it were able to raise say an additional $100K or $250k per annum from community supporters?

    Since Apr 2011 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    Hi Alastair,
    is there room for supporters to donate small regular amounts direct to Scoop?

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson, in reply to Jan Rivers,

    Hi Jan,

    In terms of the Governance Structure for The New Scoop that is still very much a work in progress we imagine there being an editor and possibly a commercial manager in the business with a board supervising them.

    Depending how the ownership structure is set up there might also be some trustees involved in appointing directors.

    Beyond that we see roles for two methods of working with the wider community of Scoop contributors, allies and readers.

    At a business level we are keen to form a new kind of Scoop Media Cartel group which would consist of media partners, and media businesses of various kinds which work with Scoop. Some might have sell services alongside Scoop, or like cartel members at present, pool advertising capabilities.

    We also see a role for Guardians/Champions to act as conduits to key stakeholder groups who work with Scoop. This group might meet once or twice a year and respond to a report from the Scoop Board on activity. Each guardian/champion would have a responsibility as a connector to a particular group, for example there might be someone from the PR Industry, someone for the Union Movement, someone from the Community and Voluntary Sector and someone from the business, arts, environment, local body sector. These roles would be voluntary and in some cases might be formally representative of the group that they represent. It would be nice for example to have a member from Parliament on the group.

    The responsibilities and roles of Guardians are yet to be determined but might include a role in setting goals and objectives for the organisation, providing a channel for communication to the editorial decision makers, and perhaps making reccomendations about board appointments. Importantly as the name suggests Guardians/Champions would be expected to also provide support and defend the organisations editorial freedoms if they should come under attack.

    In answer to your second question If we were able to raise $100,000 in the short term it would enable us to refresh the front end of Scoop and mobilse the website. Raising this sum would also make the transition process to new entrepreneurs significantly easier. With $250,000 we would be able to add additional functionality to our subscription products and thereby make them more attractive to paying clients. Currently on the drawing board is the idea of adding features like:
    - the ability to send releases from Scoop to media organisations in a targetted manner;
    - the ability to curate releases, link them to related content and add images and multimedia files to them;
    - adding anlalytics telling people about the level of exposure their content is receiving - who is linking to it, how much social media impact it has had;
    - and ultimately the ability to track the pickup of releases.

    Alastair

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson, in reply to Angela Hart,

    Hi Angela,

    We will be setting up that facility after out current crowd funding is complete.

    Thankyou for asking :)

    Al

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • elmer homofeld,

    Hi Al

    What happens when someone refuses to pay the license fee?

    Elmer

    Since Aug 2014 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson,

    Hi Elmer,

    It depends. ATM Auckland University doesn't seem very keen to even discuss it. What do you think we should do?

    Al

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Alastair Thompson,

    What do you think we should do?

    Drag them, kicking and screaming, out of denial and into the 21st century!
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson,

    Hi Ian,

    Seriously though it is time that the issues facing the news media - in particular- how to equitably share the cost of providing news services of the quality that a modern digital democracy needs in order to function - be considered by NZ's leading institutions.

    All news media in NZ are bring disrupted by the same global industry trends. Advertising can no longer be expected to pay the costs of news production in a small news market like NZ.

    Al

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Out of interest, and I’m not attacking you here, have you had this lawyered at all?

    I’m wondering how you expect anyone using your service to be bound by the license agreement. My very rough understanding around “click-wrap” license agreements is that they take effect by swapping adherence to the agreement for a license to use copyright material in a manner that would otherwise be infringing. But viewing a web page isn’t a copyright infringement (transient reproduction).

    IANAL, so I'd be really interested to hear another view.

    I’d be a bit concerned that if a large number of websites and newspapers did this (and if it works, why not?), the reaction of Gradgrind and Gradrind Limited (as in nearly all NZ employers) would be to truncate internet access at work.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson,

    Hi Rich,

    Good question and no offence taken. IANAL also and at the risk of getting out of my depth I will do my best to answer your question in lay language.

    First. Yes we have had the idea lawyered and in fact the idea originated out of the law an a paticular case, NLA vs Meltwater - from the UK Court of Appeal. We wrote about this in July 2012 when we changed our terms and conditions of use in a manner which made our claim effective (we believe).

    The Meltwater case relates to media monitoring companies and effectively extended the scope of print media copyright licensing to the digital realm.

    While a similar licensing regime is not yet in place in NZ for NZ's news websites - where businesses and organisations will have to pay PMCA [Print Media Copyright Agency - a subsidiary of the Newspaper Publishers Association] licenses for the re-use of digital content internally - my undestanding is that this will be introduced in the next 12 months. A form of digital licensing of business reuse of content is now in place in Australia.

    The Meltwater decisions - which are highly persuasive in NZ law as NZ's copyright law is very similar to the UK's - held that not only did Meltwater have to have a license to scrape and send links to its clients - but that clients had to also have an "End User License" to allow them to purchase the services of Meltwater.

    The cases place an emphasis on the wording of the terms of use which are in place on the website in question. It is worth noting that the NLA digital licensing fees are considerably higher than the old print copyright fees - which possibly reflects the revenue issues all news businesses are facing as we enter an age of digitial news.

    While simply reading a web page is not a copyright infringement in ordinary circumstances as you say - routine use of a website in circumstances which breach the terms of use of the website when you have been notified that you may be in breach - may well be. And that is what we claim.

    Certainly any other use of the content. Saving a file to your desktop - emailing a segment of a page to a client or colleague or a link - printing out a copy of an article etc. arguably is.

    Scoop has set the fee it is seeking to charge for organisational use of Scoop fairly low in order to make compliance a low barrier for organisations who on reflection consider that they do routinely use Scoop as part of their work activity .

    Another way of looking at what we are doing is to consider the counterfactual.

    If Scoop imposed a paywall and charged for access would we have a claim of copyright breach against someone who accessed Scoop by circumventing our paywall or in some other way breaching our terms of use? Unquestionably I think we would have a claim.

    Given that this is the case why must we physically place a barrier of access in place in order to have an enforceable claim?

    Alastair

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Alastair Thompson,

    issues facing the news media

    Any intimation of how a signed TPPA will affect your new model approach and modern news 'ownership' and subsequent enforcing any property breaches within the signees and beyond?

    Interesting times....

    ps Hi Al - I think we met through your cousin (and my old mate) GT at the Silvan some years ago...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson,

    Hi Ian,

    Ah tis a small nation. yes GT and Debs are my uncle and aunt in-laws - and the Silvan of course like so much of your fair city is sadly no more!

    I shouldn't think the TPPA would have any impact on what we are proposing. What we are trying to do involves fairly standard copyright ideas interpreted in light of new technologies and circumstances.

    That said the question that you raise by referring to the global context of our legal innovation is interesting.

    News media throughout the English speaking world in particular face the same difficult disruptive conditions. In other language groups the idea of state funding of news media and subsidies for news media organisations is not so staunchly resisted.

    I therefore rather hope that Scoop's lead in asserting a new kind of copyright to its work will be followed by other news media both here and elsewhere. While it won't immediately resolve the challenges the news business faces - I think it is a logical place to start looking for solutions.

    I find it interesting that young people appear to have picked up on the idea that access to news ought to be a right. Just as they believe they should be able to share news and information without fear of copyright infringement. While it may seem contradictory for me to say this - to my mind the "invisible paywall" idea - which marries something like "Creative Commons" for the general public - with rights which are enforceable against commercial users is an elegant solution.

    As you will pick up if you take the time to read my rather extended treatise on the subject I am approaching the issues that Scoop is facing from a fairly expansive POV.

    As a bit of an old-school journalist I am very troubled to see the impacts of the decline of media not so much on my own - and Scoop's livelihood - but on the wider industry and beyond that the health of a democracy as a whole, which we news media are supposed to inform.

    I am also rather distressed to see how the mainstream news publishers are spectacularly failing to both acknowledge and deal with the challenges that they face. The opportunity for the major news publishers to save or preserve what is most valuable in the news industry is rapidly disappearing.

    Within this context Scoop sticking its hand up and saying, "look this entire enterprise is broken, lets think laterally and find new solutions," is a response which we are driven to pursue.

    Alastair

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Alastair Thompson,

    Attachment

    Snap! NZ = 2 degrees of separation...

    the Silvan of course like so much of your fair city is sadly no more

    The building is still there though,
    looking much the same as it did after Feb 22+...
    But you know how those two roll
    when yer served lemons make lemonade
    they've gone back to the niche demo business
    one of the few people actually reusing rather than dumping elements of old houses.

    I recycled the feel of the original Ferry Road Demolition logo I did for them decades ago in the new endeavour's signage & logo - they also recycle interesting wood into great frames for Riccarton Market.

    ...and yes I know deconstruction is about concepts and critique not buildings, but what better word to evolve and weather the erosion of language that has accompanied the post-quakes environment...

    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Rivers,

    I don't think lawyering up is the issue here. The institutional users of Scoop get huge benefits from posting their information and having it available - curated and linked to similar information on Scoop - as well as the ability to use Scoop as a research resource. Councils, universities and polytechnics, political parties, NGO's large and small, professional bodies, corporates and unions all benefit from having an 400,000 + monthly audience for their stories. This audience importantly includes politicians and public sector officials who read and note the issues raised.

    With the demise of TVNZ7 & Heartland TV and the inability of Triangle TV to broadcast nationally NZ has lost 3 important news channels in the last few years. The corresponding crisis in the print media - a case of market failure if you will - cries out to be addressed by large public institutions recognising that they have an interest in paying what is essentially a very small amount of money to Scoop - as they do to the other news media through the PCMA.

    That the delivery model is a public good one - rather than a solely commercial one - should not undercut the moral case for paying to use it.

    Finally although the invisible firewall is innovative in publishing there are similar models. Institutions typically pay more for a journal to reflect the multiple usage than an individual subscriber does. In the software industry there are many examples where licences are free or low cost to 'not for profits' but other users are charged more. The question is would a university library buy a single user licence for the New Scientist (http://www.newscientist.com/projects/misc/institutionalsubs) or a government department choose to pay the not for profit fee for a software tool. If the answer is no then the situation is pretty clear what the right action is for institutional users of Scoop should be without an expensive court case to prove the point.

    Since Apr 2011 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson,

    Hi Jan,

    VERY WELL SAID!

    al

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson,

    Any more questions?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Alastair Thompson,

    hey some of us is busy.
    give us a chance to catch up, sah

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson, in reply to Sacha,

    . . . . . . * twiddles thumbs * . . . . .

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Alastair Thompson,

    this full-time job is cramping my style. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Rivers,

    There's just over 24 hours to help Scoop renew and refresh it's governance arrangements into a social enterprise/community ownership model. Another $15,001 will see a mobile version on it's way.
    You can help too.

    Since Apr 2011 • 18 posts Report Reply

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