Monday, July 24, 2006

Who Owns History?

The LA News Service is suing YouTube over footage of the beating of truck driver Reginald Denny during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. The stock film company is claiming copyright infringement by the video service that solicits content via a distributed network model. (If you have questions about their user agreement, this shirtless man in a cowboy hat will explain your rights as a YouTube user.)

The Denny beating is a tumultuous event that I feel connected to as a witness to history, because I was only a few city blocks away while it was happening, and rocks were even thrown at my car (luckily by kids with either lousy aim or sympathy for my bumper stickers).

The problem is that if one wanted to show the Reginald Denny beating in a university classroom legitimately -- perhaps to talk about "digital evidence" or to contrast it with footage of the beating of Rodney King by police officers, which was one of the events that set the fuse of the civil disturbance -- it would be hard to do. The LA News Service just has a provisional lorum ipsum dolor site up at the moment.



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