/ EDITORS SUMMIT: TOPIC ONE: Climbing news in the Internet age

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Michael Ryan - on 09 Oct 2008
This week is the American Alpine Club International Climbing Editors Summit. UKClimbing.com Editor Jack Geldard is there with climbing editors from around the globe discussing climbing media topics. (see NEWS ITEM:http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/older.html?month=10&year=2008#n45366)

We will be publishing some of the topics they will be discussing in our forums so that you, if you wish, can join the debate.

TOPIC ONE:

Climbing news in the Internet age.

What are our guidelines for publishing photos and text found on the Web (copyrights)?

What about fact-checking information, publishing photos with route lines that haven't been climbed, and reporting illegal or unwelcome ascents?

What do we think about “exclusivity” in first ascents, where media sponsors “lock up” information about an expedition until they have reported it first?
Yrmenlaf on 10 Oct 2008 - 213.78.202.62 whois?
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

> What are our guidelines for publishing photos and text found on the Web (copyrights)?

In general, I would have thought that to post anything on the web is to surrender copyright.
>
> What about fact-checking information, publishing photos with route lines that haven't been climbed, and reporting illegal or unwelcome ascents?
>
There is a high degree of "good faith" on the internet is there not? Like any news medium, people will make mistakes or try and deliberately mislead, and readers of the internet accept this.

Not sure about your second point: are we talking, perhaps, about reporting new English routes that involve trespass or climbing on a restricted area? My reaction is that you (UKC) should not. However, if I choose to use this forum to note that I have climbed a new route that involved trespass, perhaps you should leave the report on so that the other users can flame me!

> What do we think about “exclusivity” in first ascents, where media sponsors “lock up” information about an expedition until they have reported it first?

I think if it is my first ascent, it is my news, and I have the reasonable right to try and control it.

Y.

goneforever on 10 Oct 2008
In reply to Yrmenlaf:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
>
> [...]
>
> In general, I would have thought that to post anything on the web is to surrender copyright.

That's not the case, nor should it be. The issue with the internet vs traditional media seems to be one of more outlets meaning less money, which translates to more likelihood of abuse of copyright.

> There is a high degree of "good faith" on the internet is there not? Like any news medium, people will make mistakes or try and deliberately mislead, and readers of the internet accept this.

It's more a case that there is a degree of "good faith" within the climbing community, simply because people reporting ascents, to a certain extent, have to be taken at their word. That means that it is possible for people to pull the wool. However, it doesn't excuse journalists from the responsibility to fact check, or ask for verification of newsworthy ascents before rushing to publication.
>
> [...]
>
> I think if it is my first ascent, it is my news, and I have the reasonable right to try and control it.
>
Control it in what way? You say "I've climbed x, and I propose x grade" - how do you expect to influence coverage beyond that?

Damo on 10 Oct 2008
In reply to Martin76:
>
> Control it in what way? You say "I've climbed x, and I propose x grade" - how do you expect to influence coverage beyond that?

National Geographic, to name just one, do it with expeditions. In 1997 a team climbed a peak in Antarctica heavily sponsored by NG and the info and pics were embargoed for months by NG. Lots of us knew they did something but had no details. The climb was Jan 97 and it was the cover story for Feb 98. NG obviously felt that as they had footed much of the bill, the had first/all rights to everything about it. To be fair, iirc, some info did leak out beforehand (to the AAJ?). The price of sponsorship.

D

Yrmenlaf on 10 Oct 2008 - 213.78.202.62 whois?
In reply to Damo:

That's the sort of thing I meant. Its a difficult one: in practical terms, if something appears on the interweb, it is difficult to control what happens to it thereafter. However, I feel intuitively that if I have some news, then it is mine to disseminate (and profit from) as I wish.

This raises huge issues!

Y.
tlm - on 10 Oct 2008
> What are our guidelines for publishing photos and text found on the Web (copyrights)?

I think that you have to advise sticking to the law. Everything on the internet is copyright, unless it specifically gives permission to use it. If you find something that you would like to use, then contact the owner and ask them for their permission.

> What about fact-checking information, publishing photos with route lines that haven't been climbed, and reporting illegal or unwelcome ascents?

Fact checking information - I think this should be done where practical - but when not practical, just say what the source of the information is, to make it clear. So you could say "Fred Bloggs claims to have on-sighted a new E14" Rather than "Fred Bloggs HAS on-sighted a new E14"

Publishing photos with route lines that haven't been climbed - why would you be doing this? In order to encourage or suggest a new ascent? What would be the problems caused by doing this?

Reporting illegal or unwelcome ascents - hmmm... I think each case has to be looked at individually. For example, if someone did an illegal ascent, quietly and without drawing attention to themselves, and then it was reported, and as a result, then access to an area was endangered, then that may not be wise. However, if many illegal ascents were threatening access to an area, then reporting on it may help to discourage the illigal climbing and might improve access to an area?

> What do we think about “exclusivity” in first ascents, where media sponsors “lock up” information about an expedition until they have reported it first?

I think it is up to the climbers how they choose to disclose information about their ascent. There may be people who do ascents and never tell anyone about it. That is up to them. If they choose to have sponsorship which involves exclusivity, then once again, that is their choice. They are the ones doing the route - they can choose how to deal with it. After all, without any sponsorship, they may never get to do the route in the first place.

However, I do think that sponsors have a bit of a responsibility to get the information out in a fairly timely fashion - after all, it will lose its interest, the older it is, and these things do have a way of leaking out in dribs and drabs anyway....

sutty on 10 Oct 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

>What do we think about “exclusivity” in first ascents, where media sponsors “lock up” information about an expedition until they have reported it first?

No problem with that, so long as they report things as they happen, and do not tie up members from publishing a book while the leader writes his for years, you know the one I mean.

What about articles from the past in Mountain and Sierra Club mags, should we photocopy them for all to see now that the mag is never going to be reprinted? Some good stuff hidden from view of young people who never saw them and some great pictures. Perhaps ask for consent of the writers and if they do not reply or say no take it they do not object.
Marek - on 10 Oct 2008
In reply to sutty:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
>
> >What do we think about “exclusivity” in first ascents, where media sponsors “lock up” information about an expedition until they have reported it first?
>
> No problem with that, so long as they report things as they happen, and do not tie up members from publishing a book while the leader writes his for years, you know the one I mean.
>

Actually its all down to contracts and making sure they serve both parties fairly. If you want to write a book about your ascent, then its up to you to make sure that the sponsorship contract has a time limit on the sponsor's exclusive right to publish - say 6 months. One day later and your book can hit the shelves. If you give them an unlimited right, then that's what they got for their money. You can't come back afterward an say "that's not fair" - its what you agreed to. Of course there are such things as unfair contracts which are later overturned in court, but you don't want to go there - its better to make sure you sort it out explicitly at the start.


JamieAyres on 10 Oct 2008
In reply to tlm:
> [...]
>
> I think that you have to advise sticking to the law. Everything on the internet is copyright, unless it specifically gives permission to use it. If you find something that you would like to use, then contact the owner and ask them for their permission.
>
> [...]

^^^ something that, in my experience (and that of at least one other user I know of), the people who run this website fail to do.

Then, when you publicly complain in the forums about them taking liberties with your photographs, they delete your posts.

I expect this will be deleted shortly...

Michael Ryan - on 10 Oct 2008
In reply to JamieAyres:
> (In reply to tlm)
> [...]
>
> ^^^ something that, in my experience (and that of at least one other user I know of), the people who run this website fail to do.
>
> Then, when you publicly complain in the forums about them taking liberties with your photographs, they delete your posts.
>
> I expect this will be deleted shortly...

Lower your expectations.

As regards photos uploaded to this site:

"Occasionally we use photos from the UKC database to illustrate News Items and Articles. We do make efforts to contact people for permission first however it isn't always possible before an item/article is made public. If you find a photo of yours being used and don't wish it to be then please contact us and we will remove it."

http://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/newphoto.html?id=454



In reply to JamieAyres: I removed your post about the photo I used due to it being in a sensitive (accident) thread. I then explained this to you in an email conversation and also apologised for not asking for permission to use a photo before I posted the news.

I also explained in that email conversation that I had been planning to use another photo and was waiting for it to be uploaded (which it then was) and ran the news item early to coincide with an already active forum topic.

The topic had gone live without me knowing and I had to react quickly.

We use photos from the galleries if we don't have an alternative. There are lots of stunning shots on UKC and it is a great resource. We email people to ask, sometimes before, sometimes just after. Sometimes (but not often) I forget to ask, which is out of order, but it is rare. Most people are happy to have their images used. Sometimes they ask not to, particularly if they are hoping to sell the image to a magazine or similar. We always remove photos straight away when people ask us to.

I kind of hope it is like a community thing.

Jack
Damo on 10 Oct 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
> ( Sometimes (but not often) I forget to ask, which is out of order, but it is rare. We always remove photos straight away when people ask us to.
>
> I kind of hope it is like a community thing.
>
> Jack

You mean you kind of hope it is easier to seek forgiveness than to ask permission. Bloody right it's out of order.

I appreciate the fact that you apologised and resolved it, but you're offering an excuse, not a justification. Do it right or don't do it at all.

And before anyone says 'promoting the site keeps it going so we can all enjoy it', if you can't sustainably operate what might be the world's most popular climbing site - a commercial entity - without infringing copyright, you need to have a serious re-think about yourselves.

D

Simon Caldwell - on 11 Oct 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
Could I just say, you have permission to use any of my photos in this way if you wish. If there's anything I want to keep tight control of, I won't post it to any site other than my own anyway.
I'm slightly surprised that not everyone else thinks this way, since as you say, it's like a community thing.
chris_j_s - on 13 Oct 2008
In reply to Damo:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)
> [...]
>
> You mean you kind of hope it is easier to seek forgiveness than to ask permission. Bloody right it's out of order.
>
> I appreciate the fact that you apologised and resolved it, but you're offering an excuse, not a justification. Do it right or don't do it at all.


What absolute twoddle!

The conditions (as Mick quoted) are quite clear when posting photos and, as is the norm with these things, by posting the photo you agree to those conditions.

The only person who is wrong here is JamieAyres who tried to pull the wool over our eyes by not telling us the full facts, i.e. his post was pulled for good reason and he was contacted and apologised to by email!
chris_j_s - on 13 Oct 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

> What are our guidelines for publishing photos and text found on the Web (copyrights)?

I think for websites 'information sharing agreements' have to be the way to forward. Others allow you to reproduce portions of their reports and in return you allow them to do the same. I don't think you should just rip content from another site and publish it without a) clear credit as to where the info came from and b) permission from the website in question to publish their report.

I think UKC usually do a) well enough, but I'm not aware whether b) happens or not.

However, what I think you certainly should be able to do without permission is report the news succinctly (i.e. not a full report) and provide a link to the original news article.

> What about fact-checking information, publishing photos with route lines that haven't been climbed, and reporting illegal or unwelcome ascents?

I think this really depends on the source. It is probably appropriate to judge on a case by case basis whether the source is relible or whether further research may be required to establish all the facts.

> What do we think about “exclusivity” in first ascents, where media sponsors “lock up” information about an expedition until they have reported it first?

A very sensitive issue. I am all for exclusivity at some level because it enables individuals to earn the money to continue their work. However, I agree with a post further up which states that there ought to be a time limit within which the exclusivity is retained so that others can benefit from it later on. It strikes me in the modern Internet age that 'exclusivity' is actually less acheivable anyway due to the way that information can spread by word of mouth.

I think climbers like Dave MacLeod and Sonnie Trotter deserve some praise for running their blogs very publicly too. They both managed to keep me on the edge of my seat during the lead up to their very hard recent climbs.

It was a notable contrast with James Pearsons recent (and stunning) ascent which I had heard nothing about until it was done. Even so I was still clamouring for glossy reports and pics of Sonnie and Daves ascents just as eagerly as I will be for reports on James' so maybe my hunger is for exciting news and images rather than 'exclusives' specifically.
peter beal on 17 Oct 2008 - 71-33-173-26.hlrn.qwest.net
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Hi Mick,
PLease visit my blog at http://mountainsandwater.blogspot.com/2008/10/climbing-and-media.html
for thoughts on this topic.
Peter
ads.ukclimbing.com
Michael Ryan - on 17 Oct 2008
In reply to peter beal:

I agree Peter.

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