Reporters want to tell their readers how a story is unfolding as accurately as possible, so eyewitness media is often used for context or to connect the dots, particularly in the early stages of breaking news.
But journalists should not overlook the fact that materials posted by eyewitnesses on social media platforms abide by the same ethical and copyright considerations as traditional newsgathering.
First Draft has published a guide to copyright and eyewitness media for journalists, written by Sam Dubberley, co-founder of Eyewitness Media Hub, which provides case studies, best practices and an overview of copyright law in different countries.
In a post on First Draft introducing the report, Dubberley summarises eight key points journalists should know about copyright and user-generated content.
It includes an explanation of when embedding material without permission could be an infringement, and reminders that social media platforms do not own the copyright, nor does the person who published the content online if she was not the one who created it in the first place.