How Animal Rights Activists Beat the Rodeos in Videotaping Events


by Jeffrey D. Neuburger, February 27, 2009

As cell phone cameras and palm-sized videocams have become cheap and ubiquitous, there is little if anything that is immune from being documented and displayed on the web, as numerous celebrities and sports stars have learned to their regret. In the realm of hard news, the result is that citizen journalists are able to bypass big media news organizations and go directly to the public with exposes that only a few years ago would have struggled to find an outlet.

One such group of "guerilla journalists" has assisted the animal activist group SHARK ("SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness") in a campaign to videotape incidents of alleged animal cruelty at rodeo events; the videos are then posted on the SHARK website and on YouTube.

The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), the professional group that sanctioned several of the events at which the SHARK videos were made, fought back against the bad publicity with a legal maneuver under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) -- one that appears to have backfired. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which represented SHARK in the matter, leveraged that backfire into a settlement which entails, according to the EFF, "a new model for handling take-down notices" under the DMCA.

To read the rest of this great article, leave a comment, and to see some of the actual videotape, click HERE.

Jeffrey D. Neuburger is a partner in the New York office of Proskauer Rose LLP, and co-chair of the Technology, Media and Communications Practice Group. His practice focuses on technology and media-related business transactions and counseling of clients in the utilization of new media. He is an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law teaching E-Commerce Law and the co-author of two books, "Doing Business on the Internet" and "Emerging Technologies and the Law." He also co-writes the New Media & Technology Law Blog.

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