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Police remove news photos from Woodstock web site

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
NEW YORK--State police officials in mid-August removed news photos, which they had used without permission, from a police web site,…

NEW YORK–State police officials in mid-August removed news photos, which they had used without permission, from a police web site, but said the action was not in response to protests from the news organizations, the Associated Press reported.

Instead, police said the fourteen photos, which concerned the Woodstock ’99 music festival and were posted on July 30 to aid in the identification of rioters, had served their purpose, although none of the tips received had resulted in an arrest. Most of the photos were owned by The Associated Press and Syracuse Online, which is affiliated with Syracuse Newspapers.

The two news organizations and other New York media groups had demanded the pictures be removed, arguing that their use violated copyright and blurred the traditional separation between journalism and police work.

Louis Boccardi, president and CEO of the AP, had written that the role of state police was important but that it was equally important to separate police and journalism functions. “If our photographers are to be seen as proxies for state police investigators, they will be placed in danger,” he said.

Police told the AP that they had “revitalized” their web site with new photographs taken by state employees, and would not back away from the argument that it was legal and fair to post them on the web site.