One Authored Column On Two Websites

Gagik Aghbalyan

On March 25, Epress.am completely reprinted an article by Mher Arshakyan, a journalist who originally published it on Medialab.am on March 24. Marianna Grigoryan, editor-in-chief of Medialab, contacted the editor at Epress, Yuri Manvvelyan and urged him to remove Arshakyan’s article. Although Epress placed made a reference to the original source article, the article had been published in its entirety, which is a violation of copyright laws.

According to Article 22.1 of the RA Law on Copyright and Related Rights, the reproduction of printed media outlets, newsletters, from electronic media and other published media and websites are permitted only in the amount justifying the purpose of the citation, without the consent of the author and payment of remuneration. Reproduction of extracts from news releases, regardless of reproduction, should not disclose the substantial part of the news material. Reproduction should exclude the potential negative impact on the number of potential readers of the news source and the use of the news content. The complete reproduction of the material may only be made if the author (the copyright holder) agrees.

Epress editor Yuri Manvelyan has removed the article, and in the place of Mher Arshakyan’s text, published the arguments of the editor of Medialab.

Marianna Grigoryan did not her messages sent to Epress’ Facebook page to be published, “It was very surprising to me that whatever was written during our chat exchange had appeared on the site. I was not warned about it. I was told that I need to prove why the Medialab column ought to be removed. It was surprising to me that Epress violates copyright. Because it is not a yellow site, they know what journalism is. The material was removed but I was told that the justification was not accepted. It left an impression that I was taking an exam and I didn’t pass.”

Editor of Epress, Yuri Manvelyan, thinks that publishing the justifications written by Mariam Grigoryan on Facebook is not an issue of correctness since the explanations of the editor of Medialab were of a journalistic nature and not personal. For Epress, it’s simply the principle that any material on the site should not just disappear. The reader should know what has happened, was it because of censorship or some other problem?

“What we published after removing the column did not contain any personal motives, classified information and so on. That is why I find it expedient to publish these observations. I have not been able to present my explanation to readers, I have presented Marianna Grigoryan’s explanation. I do not have an explanation for removing the material, this person does. And without the writing anything between the lines, I have presented the reason for the texts’ removal,” said the Epress editor.  

Yuri Manvelian is not familiar with copyright rules.

“Now is the century of free content. When you post something on a website, within half an hour you cannot control who has spread it, who has read it, republished it, and more. You have already reported the information. I am not an advocate for copyright myself. I only see the problem when the material is taken and placed in a different context and adapted to serve their interests. In other cases, if a colleague republishes Epress materials, I don’t see a problem. I do not fight or go to court. That wrestling holds us back,” said Manvelyan.

Marianna Grigoryan finds it unacceptable when Medialab’s articles and columns are reprinted in their entirety. “This is the equivalent of embezzling our jobs, by law it is prohibited. We have put a lot of effort into every article. We found a topic, clarified the angles, spent time and nerves,” she said. Medialab has partners with whom they sometimes exchange materials with. Columns are an exception.  

Grigoryan believes that if there are several lawsuits, the media will understand that it is not possible to steal the works of their colleagues.

Gagik Aghbalyan

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