CNN Philippines’ website, social media wipeout opens talk about license rights

February 1, 2024 - 1:27 PM
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CNN Philippines office (CNN Philippines website)

The website of news organization CNN Philippines became inaccessible as it officially ceased its operations on Wednesday, January 31 following financial woes.

This was noticed by Lara Tan, former digital executive producer for the news org, who posted her observation on the X (formerly Twitter) platform.

“Nine years of working for CNN Philippines started and ended on the website and our social media pages to deliver content that is fair, accurate, and balanced. Erased just like that,” she wrote.

“Allow me to grieve this loss,” Tan added.

She accompanied screengrabs of CNN Philippines’ website, Facebook page, X account, and Instagram page with blank content.

“Sa huli, hindi lang kaming mga empleyado ang talo, kung hindi ang taumbayan,” Tan said in a follow-up post.

“Nabawasan tayo ng isang maghahayag nang malaya, magmamatyag nang masinsinan, at kukwestiyon nang walang takot. Karangalan naming makapaglingkod sa inyo,” she added.

Others also lamented the sudden erasure of the news org’s digital footprint, including its YouTube channel.

“The CNN Philippines website is really gone. All those stories, images, art — records of history and products of hard work. Just gone,” former CNN Philippines Life photographer JL Javier wrote.

“Oh, wow. CNN Philippines, gone. The website too? That was one outlet that kept a good coverage of local culture and arts. Sayang,” fiction writer and former CNN Philippines contributing writer Ian Casocot said.

“CNN Philippines’ social media platforms, including its website, disappeared without a trace. All gone. Even their YouTube. There should have been ways to archive the platforms,” anime journalist Serena said.

“As a teacher and researcher, I have long cited content from CNN Philippines for my works. Hence, I am really sad that their its website and digital platforms are now inaccessible. I hope those are not deleted and can be made available eventually when the dust has settled,” another online user wrote.

Journalist Regine Cabato, who also worked on CNN Philippines before, was among those who felt that the erasure did “everyone dirty,” especially “fact checkers, historians,” and “students.”

“Fuming. So many stories lost in an era of [disinformation]. WHY do everyone dirty like that by deleting everything with no public announcement? Why not just let it die naturally?! It’s like, CNN PH never existed. It makes everything worse for fact-checkers, historians, students, EVERYONE,” she said.

In a series of replies to her post, Cabato said that while there were announcements of a closure, it should be “clear” to the public that there would be a deletion and takedown so that there could be a “preparation.”

“That’s part of public accountability,” she wrote.

Another X user claimed the removal is an effect of “licensing issues” following CNN Philippines’ closure.

“CNN Philippines licenses the name and the identity from CNNi (CNN International). Having them not removed means they’re still going to pay royalties,” the user wrote.

A look at another brand, CNN Indonesia, reveals the following phrase in relation to usage rights.

“© 2024 Trans Media, CNN name, logo and all associated elements (R) and © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc. A Time Warner Company. All rights reserved. CNN and the CNN logo are registered marks of Cable News Network, Inc., displayed with permission.”

Trans Media is the owner of CNN Indonesia, much like how Nine Media Corp. owned and operated CNN Philippines, together with Radio Philippines Network (RPN) under license from Warner Bros. Discovery.

It was Nine Media Corp. which secured a licensing deal with the Cable News Network (CNN), an international news channel based in Atlanta, Georgia, and owned by Turner Broadcasting Corp.

It previously used RPN 9’s free TV frequency for its broadcasting needs.

According to CNN’s Terms of Use for its website and mobile apps, “CNN may change or discontinue any aspect, service or feature of the Site at any time, including, but not limited to, content, hours of availability, and equipment needed for access or use.”

Meanwhile, these are its guidelines in relation to copyright ownership:

“The Site contains copyrighted material, trademarks and other proprietary information, including, but not limited to, text, software, photos, video, graphics, music and sound, and the entire contents of the Site are copyrighted as a collective work under the United States copyright laws.”

“CNN owns copyright in the selection, coordination, arrangement and enhancement of such content, as well as in the content original to it. You may not modify, publish, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale, create derivative works, or in any way exploit, any of the content, in whole or in part.”

“You may download copyrighted material for your personal use only. Except as otherwise expressly permitted under copyright law, no copying, redistribution, retransmission, publication or commercial exploitation of downloaded material will be permitted without the express permission of CNN and the copyright owner.”

On the other hand, these are its terms in relation to trademarks:

“CNN, its parent, subsidiaries and affiliates, own all rights to their logos and trademarks used in connection with the Site. All other logos and trademarks appearing on the Site are the property of their respective owners.”

The shutdown 

CNN Philippines ceased its operations on Wednesday after almost nine years of serving the public due to financial losses.

Philstar.com reported that according to inside sources, the news channel had “serious financial losses” which were “worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Another report said CNN Philippines had trouble paying its annual franchise fees of P55 to P60 million after its advertising revenues fell short of its costs as fewer people watched free TV.

The network’s closure was first reported by Media Newser Philippines on Thursday last week, following CNN and Nine Media Corp’s decision to terminate their licensing agreement due to the company’s financial woes.

The predominant English-language news channel on free TV was launched in the country in 2015.

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