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The Beaver Countian has refused a request by WBVP that it remove a quotation, a screenshot, and an image that were published as part of a recent article about the radio station and its social interactions with the Beaver County Treasurer. While WBVP has accused the Beaver Countian of violating its copyright when reporting about the things it posted to its Facebook page, the station has at the same time been taking original photographs by the Beaver Countian for use on its own website without any attribution at all.

WBVP Station Manager Mark Peterson sent an email to the Beaver Countian alleging it committed copyright infringement by including certain materials in a news report published on Thursday, titled, WBVP Programming Director Takes Treasurer Connie Javens Out For Her 80th Birthday.

The Beaver Countian has been documenting the apparent close ties that the FCC licensed radio station has with certain elected officials who they cover; previously reporting on an offer by the station’s then-Programming Director Mike Romigh to help Democrats regain majority control of the courthouse.

“Please remove the photo of Connie Javens and [WBVP Program Director] Frank Sparks, along with the screen shot of Frank Sparks’ Facebook page, and Frank’s quote from his Facebook comment, that you published earlier today in a story,” wrote Peterson in his email to the Beaver Countian.

Peterson went on to explain his understanding of the “fair use doctrine” under copyright law, which he claimed primarily consisted of two exceptions for when a news organization can utilize such information in its reporting: “There is a huge breaking story with imminent impact, and public safety might be in question,” or, “The story is about the story itself.”

“It is neither big important breaking news, nor is the story about our publication of it,” concluded Peterson. “Therefore, it does not fall into either category.”

Under U.S. copyright law, there are limitations on exclusive rights of copyright holders, which include exceptions for “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.” The courts weigh a totality of four factors when determining whether a republication falls within the fair use doctrine, including the “purpose and character of the use,” the “nature of the copyrighted work,” the “amount and substantiality of the portion used,” and “the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”

As part of the Beaver Countian’s reporting, it quoted a short birthday greeting publicly posted to Facebook by WBVP Program Director Frank Sparks, and included a photograph of Sparks celebrating with Connie Javens which WBVP posted to its Facebook page — touting the fact its staff was with the elected Treasurer for her 80th birthday. Proper attributions were given in each instance, and the photograph was republished in a lower resolution than the original.

The Beaver Countian responded to Mark Peterson’s letter by informing him it believes the materials as used fall within the fair use exceptions for news reporting, and its republication as part of a news article in no way diminished whatever economic value may exist for a two-sentence greeting by Frank Sparks, or a photograph of Sparks and Javens as posted by WBVP to social media.

The Beaver Countian notified WBVP that it is prepared to aggressively defend this position in court should the need arise and is confident it would prevail if any claim were made.

“While I appreciate the publicity and your efforts to help keep the public informed, as a journalist, I need to ask you to follow the same rules that everyone else has to and not use content, photos, etc without permission,” wrote WBVP’s Mark Peterson in his email. “Simply ask first the next time, or create your own original work, i.e. take your own picture and use it.”

A brief examination of WBVP’s own website and Facebook page reveal them to be littered with content lifted from the Beaver Countian. Among the Beaver Countian’s original works being used by WBVP without permission include photographs of the Beaver County Courthouse and of various county officials.

The Beaver Countian’s images were published by WBVP to its website and Facebook page without any attribution at all, as if the radio station had taken the photographs.

Mark Peterson did not respond to an email from the Beaver Countian asking under what legal theory WBVP believes it can adopt the Beaver Countian’s original photography for its own purposes.

Photographs taken by the Beaver Countian in use by WBVP without attribution


    • Come WBVP, the real reason you want this to be taken down is because after seeing the public’s reaction to this, you’re embarrassed by your affiliation with this 80 year old, no class, lowlife hillbilly. Admit it.

    • Who? A petty “journalist” who needs donations to run his website? A guy playing armchair lawyer who in all likelihood could not afford the cost of litigation. Right, formidable person to mess with.

  1. So much for transparency in Beaver County! One cover-up after another. Our county gov’t has been this way for decades. I can’t understand why anyone is surprised. They’re happy to use taxpayer money for lawsuits, but if someone attempts to expose the corruption, always ready to demand we continue to support the inherently crooked status quo. There is something called the First Amendment that allows freedom of the press, in place for 216 years now …The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring that there is no prohibition on the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.

  2. Nobody listens to WBVP or looks at the website. I wouldn’t worry about it too much Mark. You should be out looking for employment and be ready for when those old radio tubes go out. To be honest, until recently, I thought WBVP was gone long ago.

  3. I live just outside Beaver Falls and can’t receive WBVP or WMBA clear enough to understand the broadcasters during their football broadcasts. Juice up the tubes Mark!

  4. I cannot remember the last time I listened to WBVP or any AM station. Usually listen to FM and also downloaded Streema which enables me to listen to online radio stations anywhere in the US and the world. Wonderful listening to Australian talk shows.

  5. WBVP will do down the drain along with the BC Out of Touch Times very soon. Sunlight is shining on their piss poor operations and lack of journalistic ethics or capabilities. They couldn’t find a relevant story if it bit them in their over the hill asses. The old hacks running these two operations are so out of touch that they haven’t grasped that the world has flown past them at least 10 years ago. They’re clinging to old turds like Queen Connie and some of the other court house losers to keep the over the hill gang listening. If they had a f-cking brain they’d realize that by demographics their aren’t going to be any old AM people left in about 2 years, let alone now. Typical Beaver County bullshit. Threaten, cover up and try to intimidate/cowl the low IQ people into submission. Neither operation should even think about calling themselves professionals unless it is professional shit shovelers and grovelers of over the hill washed up political whores. Sooner they are gone the better off this county will be. I can hear the fat lady singing now. Turn out the lights the fake journalists & wannabe radio celebrities are done.

    • Well, don’t get too excited. Unless you consider “news” to be the latest developments on the GREAT BEAVER DOGBITE CASE or who is banging who to get a job at the Courthouse, this site won’t carry the day, either. We have a newspaper, a radio station and the Beaver Countian. The Pittsburgh stations treat the county like it’s an asylum with weird dope and hoarder stories and little else. So, go with what we got. Peronally , I enjoy Roy Masters at 2 AM. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHA

  6. Back in the day, early 1960’s, every Friday the “WEEP sheet” was given out at the local record shop listing the Top Tunes of the Week, when 45 RPM records were popular. In those golden days, so long ago, one of the jokes was WBVP, referred to as “We Broadcast Very Poorly”. Some things never change.

    As far as the politics and pics, tell them to stuff it JP, and catch you on the flipside (for those who know what that means).

  7. This lunch date apparently was showboating for opportunistic advertizing and a photo op with the octogenarian Treasurer. It backfired. Now everyone is embarrassed. Next time, take her to the movies, at night, then to McDonald’s for some Chicken McNuggets. Make sure no one takes damning selfies to expunge. Simple.

  8. I don’t know how she got into that restaurant. The Health Dept is very specific about animals of a barn yard nature being in a public eatery.

  9. Yeah, um WBVP? That’s not how fair use works.

    FYI: it WBVP decides on court action, see Ken White at Popehat.com. He’ll send up the Popehat signal for pro-bono legal help. He’s a staunch defender of the 1st.

  10. Well, now….that explains a lot.
    We always wondered why Michael Rossi was pushing that station at all of the Central Valley games. He announces them at least once during the game.

    Rossi ran as a Democrat for State Representative…….needs the WBVP!



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