CITING THE FIRST AMENDMENT, PRSA URGES "FAIR USE" PROTECTION
FOR NEWS BROADCAST MONITORING SERVICES
PHOENIX, Ariz., Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Passage of a U.S. Senate bill that would give broadcast news monitoring services protection under the fair use exception to federal copyright law was endorsed yesterday by the board of directors of the Public Relations Society of America at its National Conference here.
The board encourages the Society's 15,357 members to review the proposed amendment to section 107 of the Copyright Act (Senate Bill 1805), which defines fair use, and to consider expressing their support of the amendment to their Senators and Congressmen.
News broadcast monitoring services, which provide video excerpts of news and public affairs television programs, are widely used by public relations professionals in behalf of their clients and employers.
"Public relations professionals help to keep their organizations and clients informed about issues that affect them and their publics. News broadcast monitoring services are an important means of maintaining information flow vital to the exercise of First Amendment freedoms," said PRSA President Joe S. Epley, APR, president of Epley Associates Inc., Charlotte, N.C.
"Since PRSA, as a founding member of The First Amendment Congress, is celebrating the Bicentennial of the Bill of Rights on Monday, Nov. 4, during our National Conference here, it is particularly fitting that our board took this action at this time.
"It is very important to have a record of what has been reported by news media about an organization, whether it be favorable or unfavorable," Epley said. "The news broadcast monitoring services provide this essential information to government, business and nonprofit organizations."
In recent years, some television stations have sued broadcast monitoring services, alleging an infringement of copyright. These suits threaten the continued existence of news broadcast monitoring services, according to Ed Moser, president of the International Association of Broadcast Monitors, who personally presented an appeal for support to PRSA's board of directors.
IABM maintains that broadcast news monitoring is protected by the Fair Use Doctrine, as defined by section 107 of the Copyright Act, which permits reproduction for "criticism, comment, teaching...scholarship or research."
PRSA is the leading professional organization for public relations practitioners. Its members represent business and industry, counseling firms, government, associations, hospitals, professional service firms, schools and nonprofit organizations.
The PRSA board of directors' resolution follows.
PUBLIC RELATIONS SOCIETY OF AMERICA
Resolution of the Board of Directors
Passed Unanimously, Nov. 1, 1991
WHEREAS, The monitoring of broadcast news, like the monitoring of newspapers, is a necessary and vital activity allowing individuals, corporations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and others to review issues and information of interest; and
WHEREAS, Such review facilitates response to issues in such forms as input, rebuttal, clarification, decision making, scholarship and research; and
WHEREAS, It is physically and financially impossible for many individuals and organizations to perform such monitoring tasks in-house, as is clearly allowable under the Copyright Law's Fair Use Doctrine; and
WHEREAS, Advances in communications technology since passage of the Copyright Act in 1976, and anticipated in future years, facilitate increasingly heavier reliance on broadcast news; and
WHEREAS, Loss of access to broadcast news monitoring services will severely limit the First Amendment interests of individuals and organizations; and
WHEREAS, Broadcast news monitoring falls within the core of activities protected by the Fair Use Doctrine, as defined in Section 107, namely "criticism, comment, teaching...scholarship or research";
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the board of directors of the Public Relations Society of America supports continued access to, and use of, broadcast monitoring services as an essential component of public relations research and evaluation activity; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the board of directors of the Public Relations Society of America encourages passage of Senate Bill 1805, a proposed amendment to Section 107 of the Copyright Act, clarifying broadcast news monitoring as a fair use exception to the exclusive rights of a copyright owner; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, That the board of directors of the Public Relations Society of America encourages membership to review details of S.1805 and consider expressing support of this bill to local senators and/or congressmen.
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/CONTACT: Donna Peltier, APR, of PRSA, 602-252-1234/ CO: Public Relations Society of America ST: Arizona IN: SU: BB -- NYON1 -- 0507 11/03/91 01:08 EST