The publicist representing the man who shot the video of a North Charleston Police officer shooting Walter Scott in the back, says airing the video will now cost $10,000, reports The New York Times.
The Times says even Feidin Santana, the man who shot the video, seemed surprised by the fee until he remembered a conversation he had with his lawyer. The Australian-based publicity and celebrity management company representing Santana started sending out cease and desist letters this week.
The lawyer, Todd Rutherford, said it was only fair for Mr. 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,” Mr. 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, a collective licensing organization that works on behalf of copyright holders such as The New York Times. The issue could change once the video is played in court during a trial, he said.
After recording the video, Santana turned it over to Scott’s family.
The police officer Michael T. Slager has been charged with murder in the shooting.