Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New York Law School: Michael Botein

The biggest challenge in the area of media law right now is figuring out what to do with the digital environment, professor Michael Botein of New York Law School told students Wednesday.

With the digital shift, companies are converging – offering services like phone, Internet and television from one provider.

For news media, the challenge is how to structure their business and technology, particularly for “dying” print journalists, Botein said.

“One of the things that strikes me is that not a single one of them knows how to use their electronic and digital assets,” Botein said. “Nobody is making a nickel off of it.”

With the proliferation of intellectual property on the Internet, copyright becomes increasingly irrelevant, Botein said. He suggested that encouraging people to download and share writing and music is just good business judgment as it will spread knowledge and produce returns in the long term.

“Custom and usage take care of the problem of intellectual property,” Botein said.

Botein also observes a cultural divide online between bloggers and those in the regular “meat and potatoes” media. Many of his friends who work for traditional outlets don’t tend to think of bloggers as real journalists, he said. Some events and states agree, as only some places will issue press credentials to bloggers.

Botein says many of the problems will self-destruct over time, as news sources and traditional journalists will remain relevant by credibility, standards and professionalism – people who can prove they can do good reporting.

-Derek Casanovs and Jasmine Linabary

Want to hear more from Botein? Check out the video below:

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