The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Soundbite: use of tragic photo shows newspaper’s indifference to decency

    Last week the Arizona Daily Star filed a civil suit against the local band Awful Truth, alleging copyright infringement. The band’s album, Kill a Cop for God, features a copyrighted photograph that shows a badly injured police officer lying on his back while fellow officers attend to his most pressing injury – a gunshot wound to the head. The injured officer, Erik Hite, died the next day in the hospital.

    Now, there’s no doubt that the band’s use of the photograph is despicable and tasteless. But the same is true for the Star, a news organization that apparently checked its decency at the door and succumbed to sensationalism. The decision to print this photograph on June 2, 2008, the day of Officer Hite’s death, demonstrated a lack of respect for Hite’s family.

    Yes, the band violated copyright laws in order to promote its work. But is it any better that you can still purchase a reprint of this photograph from the Star’s website for anywhere between $20 and $270? To me, it appears the central question is one of decency. With that in mind, both parties are in the wrong.

    -ÿJustin Huggins is a senior majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology.

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