I would like to explain why The Denver Post asked the Aurora Police Department to remove one of our photographs from its social media posts seeking help identifying suspects from a Friday night protest at the Aurora ICE detention facility.
In the course of photographing the protest, we captured an image of a person with his face partially covered holding a flag that appears to be the one taken from the facility’s flagpole. We have since published the photograph in question no fewer than seven times on our website and social media, including on an editorial denouncing the protesters who removed the American flag.
We have certainly not tried to hide the photo from the public.
Officials at the Aurora Police Department never contacted The Denver Post about using the image. Instead, they posted the photo on their social media accounts superimposed with an image of the Aurora city seal, suggesting that it was either Aurora’s property or that The Denver Post had provided the image to police.
This concerned us for multiple reasons.
First and foremost, we are not a tool of law enforcement. Our independence from any other institution is critical to our ability to be a trusted news source. We believe that Aurora’s use of the photo suggested that we acted in partnership with law enforcement. Our job is to report the news and remain an independent voice. How can the public believe we will ever be critical of the Aurora Police Department if they think we have a partnership with them?
Additionally, the Aurora Police Department’s use of our photograph is a clear violation of copyright law and The Denver Post’s terms of fair use. We defend both vigorously.
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