After much hubbub, the New York State Police Department has removed from its Web site the news photos of Woodstock '99 that had been posted in hopes of catching rioters and other criminals.| The shots came down last Friday -- only a week after the first set of photos had gone up -- and were replaced by photos taken by state employees.
Last week, the NYSPD's posting of photos from news sources like the Associated Press and Syracuse Online raised the ire of media organizations far and wide, who complained that the police department's appropriation of the shots not only constituted copyright infringement, but also a dangerous blurring of the line between journalism and law enforcement.
But, despite the pressure being exerted by those news outlets, the police department insists that the photos were only removed because they were no longer generating useful leads. "They just outlived their usefulness," said State Police spokesperson Lieut. Jamie Mills, who explained that the shots had generated about forty leads, but that none of those leads had brought about an arrest.
"We're obviously very pleased that the photos have been removed from the Web site," said Vincent Alabiso, Vice President and Executive Photo Editor for the Associated Press. "And we are certainly committed to vigorously pursuing anything where our pictures are used in an unauthorized manner."