The video of a North Charleston, S.C., police officer shooting an unarmed man in the back will now cost news outlets that want to run it $10,000, says the New York Times. Cease-and-desist letters went out this week to news outlets around the world from Markson Sparks, a publicity and celebrity management company based in Sydney, Australia. The April 4 video showed officer Michael Slager shooting Walter Scott, a man who ran from him after a traffic stop. Bystander Feidin Santana took the video and turned it over to Scott’s family. The video was viewed more than one million times on YouTube.
Santana’s attorney, Todd Rutherford, said it was only fair for Santana to start getting paid for something that news outlets benefited from. “The search for justice is served by turning the video over to law enforcement,” Rutherford said. The news media, he said, appeared to be in the “search for revenue.” Copyright experts agreed that although news agencies are allowed to use even copyrighted material under what is called “fair use” clauses in the law, that time period has passed. “At some point it's not newsworthy anymore and you are using it for commercial benefit,” said Frederic Haber, a vice president and general counsel of the Copyright Clearance Center.