NBC, Defender Of All Things Copyright, Copies Blogger's Post Without Permission; Removes Her Name When She Complains

from the those-poor-corn-farmers dept

We'd love to get an explanation from NBC Universal General Counsel Rick Cotton on the following story. Cotton, of course, is the very, very, very strong defender of copyrights for NBC Universal. He was, of course, the main source for the propaganda "oh no piracy is killing the movie business" segment on 60 Minutes, and as we all know, he's been quite concerned about the poor, poor (yet, heavily subsidized) corn farmers hurt by "piracy." He's come out as a supporter of having ISPs spy on users to block the transmission of copyright works (which should be useful once Comcast takes over). And, finally he's also been involved in NBC's attempt to make it more difficult for anyone to watch the Olympics online, even though the evidence showed that the people who watched Olympics content online were more likely to then watch it on TV (ads and all) as well.

So, with all that, you'd have to imagine that if he found out about a company associated with the Olympics copied someone's blog post without first getting their permission, he'd be pretty upset. But what if that company was NBC Universal? Reader JC points us to the news that NBC Universal's Olympics website has been caught copying a blog post and then when alerted to it, rather than removing the content, it just removed the writer's name. It looks like the attention this story has received has resulted in NBC Universal putting her name back on the story, but the story remains on the site. I'm assuming there must be more to this whole situation. According to the link above, the original site, Tourism Vancouver, says this is "an ongoing issue with the NBC Olympic site, and [it] has been battling them for some time over it." Surely, NBC Universal, as such a strong defender of copyright, wouldn't be in the business of copying others' content without permission? Even if it believed it had the right to use her content, removing her name after being alerted to the issue appears really sketchy. Perhaps there's an explanation that involves helping out those poor corn farmers?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 12:53pm

    Hypocrisy, thy name is Big Media.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    The Anti-Mike, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 12:54pm

    Toursim Vancouver terms, interesting!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    The Anti-Mike, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 1:00pm

    Toursim Vancouver terms, interesting!

    13. Linking and Framing this Web Site

    Links to this Web site without the express written permission of Tourism Vancouver are strictly prohibited. To request permission to link to this Web site, please contact djohner@tourismvancouver.com. Tourism Vancouver reserves the right to cancel and revoke any permission it may give to link to this Web site at any time, for any reason, without any notice, and without any liability.

    The framing of this Web site or any of the Content in any form and by any method is strictly prohibited.

    14. Postings and Unsolicited Submissions

    Posting comments, communications, or any other content of any kind ("Postings") to or on this Web site is strictly prohibited.

    Tourism Vancouver does not accept or consider unsolicited ideas, including ideas for new advertising campaigns, new promotions, new or improved products or technologies, product enhancements, processes, materials, marketing plans, or new product names. The purpose of this policy is to avoid potential future misunderstandings or disputes. Accordingly, please do not send any unsolicited ideas, suggestions or other materials ("Submissions") to Tourism Vancouver.

    If you send Submissions to Tourism Vancouver or this Web site you automatically grant to Tourism Vancouver and its assigns a perpetual, royalty-free, irrevocable, nonexclusive right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display the Submissions or any ideas, concepts, know-how or techniques associated with the Submissions for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or otherwise, using any form, media or technology now known or later developed, without providing compensation to you or anyone else, without any liability whatsoever, and free from any obligation of confidence or other duties on the part of Tourism Vancouver or its assigns, and you agree, warrant and represent that all moral rights in the Submissions are waived.


    So by the article appearing there, miss604 granted TourismVancouver a license. Tourism Vancouver thinks it can also control who links to their site, very cute.

    Now, Tourism Vancouver is running Olympic logos, which means they may be a media partner of the games. Potentially, that means that what is on their site might actually be cross licensed to the Olympics. NBC in turn is a American Olympics partner. So you could see how NBC might have gotten the story to work from.

    Miss604 pretty much gave up at least part of her rights to Tourism Vancouver, so she may have no dog in the fight anymore. Tourism Vancouver doesn't sound overtly upset about it, as a DMCA notice would normally be enough to end the discussion and move it off to the lawyers. I am thinking there are some other connections not being revealed in the story.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Vicki, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 1:01pm

    Oh Gosh. I'm sure it's all just a big, big mistake...
    Idiots.

     

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  5.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 1:06pm

    Maybe?

    Any chance Lily Allen is NBC's new media acquisitions executive?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Toursim Vancouver terms, interesting!

    Links to this Web site without the express written permission of Tourism Vancouver are strictly prohibited. To request permission to link to this Web site, please contact djohner@tourismvancouver.com. Tourism Vancouver reserves the right to cancel and revoke any permission it may give to link to this Web site at any time, for any reason, without any notice, and without any liability.

    So they're saying that trying to link to http://www.tourismvancouver.com/ without express written permission of the people running http://www.tourismvancouver.com/ is prohibited?

    Well, then, maybe I won't link to http://www.tourismvancouver.com/ at all. If http://www.tourismvancouver.com/ doesn't want any traffic, http://www.tourismvancouver.com/ won't get any traffic.

    http://www.tourismvancouver.com/ deserves nothing but scorn and hatred.

     

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  7.  
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    KevinJ (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Toursim Vancouver terms, interesting!

    "Now, Tourism Vancouver is running Olympic logos, which means they may be a media partner of the games. Potentially, that means that what is on their site might actually be cross licensed to the Olympics. NBC in turn is a American Olympics partner. So you could see how NBC might have gotten the story to work from."

    If that is the case then I would imagine a (hopefully) quick explanation of this to the original author would sort this out. But instead of an explanation they removed her name from the article, that seems to imply something else is going on.

     

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  8.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Toursim Vancouver terms, interesting!

    So... Are you saying her work was a long comment, an unsolicited submission?

    Did you even read the stuff you copied from their site??

    Was she paid for her story? Were there any contract terms involving who hold the copyright?

    Hey, if you're into leaping without all the facts--I can provide you with an awesome parachuting experience. Just don't ask me where the parachute is. ;P

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Johnny Canada, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:00pm

    [i]"Now, Tourism Vancouver is running Olympic logos, which means they may be a media partner of the games. Potentially, that means that what is on their site might actually be cross licensed to the Olympics. NBC in turn is a American Olympics partner. So you could see how NBC might have gotten the story to work from."
    [/i]

    So you are saying that CTV (Canadian TV Network that has the Lic. to broadcast the Olympics) can just use NBC feed to rebroadcast as they are "partners"?

     

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  10.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:19pm

    Figures

    "To thee, to thee, but not for me!"
    --Motto of Big Content

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    The Anti-Mike, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: Toursim Vancouver terms, interesting!

    You appear to have failed reading 101, dear Lobo. The first and the second paragraphs are not joined by an "AND". Thus, they don't want unsolicied submissions. However, a submission (which would have to be solicited), you grant them a license.

    If you check her site, she is happy and letting the matter drop because NBC put her name back on the piece. I am thinking (my opinion only) that it would suggest that the licensing isn't an issue, just attribution.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    The Anti-Mike, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:29pm

    Re:

    No, what I am saying is that Tourism Vancouver (which we cannot link to) may have signed an agreement to allow their content to be re-used by other Olympic media partners, but failed to mention this to the authors who have provided them content under license. While Tourism Vancouver seems to be somewhat concerned, they obviously aren't concerned enough to send a simple DMCA, which tells me there is more here than meets the eye.

    It's another nice half story for a Techduh Friday, I guess!

     

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  13.  
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    moore850, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:34pm

    Public domain

    "Even if it believed it had the right to use her content, removing her name after being alerted to the issue appears really sketchy. Perhaps there's an explanation that involves helping out those poor corn farmers?"

    True, it's not like her work was released to the public domain. In that case, there'd be no story because she gave them permission to take it, right?

     

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  14.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Re:

    While Tourism Vancouver seems to be somewhat concerned, they obviously aren't concerned enough to send a simple DMCA, which tells me there is more here than meets the eye.

    Isn't this Canada? The DMCA is a US law.

     

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  15.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Public domain

    True, it's not like her work was released to the public domain. In that case, there'd be no story because she gave them permission to take it, right?

    Yes. If she had released her work into the public domain, there would be no story. That is correct.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    D Johner, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:45pm

    NBC Olympics

    NBC Olympics did not use any articles without permission. There was a problem with some content not being correctly credited, however that is being addressed.

     

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  17.  
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    mike42 (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Toursim Vancouver terms, interesting!

    You don't deserve the name "Mike".

    If you bothered to look at the site, you would see that she wrote an article. She did not submit a comment. She has a contract with Tourism Vancouver, which she says would be violated by handing the article to NBC. (check her comments in the link above.) RTFA, THEN comment.

     

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  18.  
    icon
    mike42 (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:52pm

    Re: NBC Olympics

    "...Because the force has power over the weak-minded."

    Seriously? You post this two-liner and everything is all better?

    Oops, I'm probably offending the Imperial Leadr.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Mike, NBC is in the US. Canadian companies can issue DMCAs to US companies!

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    The Anti-Mike, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Toursim Vancouver terms, interesting!

    Yet, on her same website, she is now happy and case closed because her name is back on the article.

    It seems that perhaps there is more to the story, right?

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    reaperman0, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re:

    Man, the smugness just rolls off of you in waves as big as tsunamis. My favorite part is how you love to accuse Mike of twisting stories to fit his ideals/propaganda, yet you follow the exact same style.

    Hilarious!

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    moore850, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re: Public domain

    But you said:

    "Look, even if the content is public domain, as it is, it's still *socially* the norm to properly credit it. We work on that assumption that most people would do so. And if they don't, we highlight that they're socially deviant. And that's a news story. A big one."

    How is it not a story if this lady had released her content to public domain and someone used it this way, but it is a story if it happened to you?

     

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  23.  
    icon
    mike42 (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Toursim Vancouver terms, interesting!

    If that was the entire problem, she wouldn't have contacted them in the first place.

    Your logic remains flawed.

     

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  24.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 3:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Public domain

    How is it not a story if this lady had released her content to public domain and someone used it this way, but it is a story if it happened to you?

    Ok, let's try again, from the beginning, since I still can't quite figure out your complaint here.

    1. If the content is released in the public domain, anyone can do what they want with it.

    2. Still, it is *socially* expected that you would properly credit it.

    3. I responded to your question as to whether or not there was an issue if NBC had used her content without *permission* and noted that, yes, it would be fine.

    4. The issue of whether or not NBC gave her credit was separate.

    Got it?

    Either way, if the content were public domain, NBC would still be able to use it, but it would be socially expected that they would properly credit it. Given NBC's position on content "ownership" this story was how they did neither. The story isn't in how they used the content, as much as it is how NBC use of the content went very much against NBC's own stated position.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Public domain

    You insisted that it was a big news story and that was your whole defense for if someone did this to you, how you would be able to generate press from the event by calling it socially deviant behavior, etc. Then, you said here that if someone took her 'theoretical example' public domain stuff, it would not be news. It's news that NBC did this without permission. If they had any kind of permission, then you will have a hard time making it into news, don't you agree?

     

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  26.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Public domain

    Then, you said here that if someone took her 'theoretical example' public domain stuff, it would not be news. It's news that NBC did this without permission. If they had any kind of permission, then you will have a hard time making it into news, don't you agree?

    Sure it would be news. Posting content that someone else wrote, and removing their name from it, even if legal, when done by a large company, is something that would certainly be story worthy. Not sure why you think it wouldn't be.

    My only comment on it not being news was if it were done AND properly attributed, as was the original case.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 4:13pm

    Re: NBC Olympics

    "NBC Olympics did not use any articles without permission. There was a problem with some content not being correctly credited, however that is being addressed."

    Umm, since the credit was there to begin with, and only removed after the complaint...what was the complaint over?

    Oh, right, you're just lying.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    The Anti-Mike, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Toursim Vancouver terms, interesting!

    Her logic, not mine. Address your complaints to the author, not me.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Rasmus, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, since they are Canadian they probably don't know about US law.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    raincoaster, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 5:27pm

    It's not all over yet

    The issue isn't public domain...the article has never been in the public domain.

    The article was written under exclusive contract to Tourism Vancouver. There was never any question of it being bundled and re-posted anywhere, because that was specifically excluded by contract.

    Even if you were going to go by social norms, the social norm is to snippet the post, credit it, link it to the source. But that (again) is not what happened here; it was wholesale theft of copyrighted intellectual property, whether the copyright belongs to Rebecca or to Tourism Vancouver.

    The name is back on the article, but it's not linked, which I think is heinous and again indicative of systematic bad faith.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 5:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hypocrites do not see their reflection in a mirror

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Dah Bear!, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 6:07pm

    Re: It's not all over yet

    Umm, tourism Vancouver specifically requests no links without permission. I guess NBC didn't send them a request yet.

     

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  33.  
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    slander (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They just sparkle...

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Alain - Edmonton SEO guy, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 8:13pm

    Links

    Looks like typical meaningless website boilerplate terms of use. They've got in excess of 13,000 links to their site, not sure how many are unique, but I'm sure next to nobody asked permission to link to the site. Good luck trying to get anyone to unlink to their website though.

    Notice how old those terms of use are? From May 2001. The early days of the Intertubes.

    I wonder if they do the same courtesy and actually ask those sites they link to if they can have permission to link to them. I somehow doubt it.

    They have a nice pagerank of 7, so they don't need to ask my permission if they want to link off their front page to any site I'm working on! :D

     

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  35.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 9:04pm

    Re: Re:

    No, what I am saying is that Tourism Vancouver (which we cannot link to)

    http://www.tourismvancouver.com/(Are Dingbats) http://www.tourismvancouver.com/(Are Dingbats)
    http://www.tourismvancouver.com/(Are Dingbats) http://www.tourismvancouver.com/(Are Dingbats)

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    ken chicago, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 8:58am

    state run news media

    The state run news media can do anything it wants as long as they make Obama look good. No matter that the intelligent public knows that NBC is a biase bunch of news morons. Even Leno insults the jerks on his show! You'd think someone would figure out that biased lies don't sell viewership. But these are news journalists who lack any form of intelligence and are likely to be unemployed in the near term.

     

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  37.  
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    jd2112 (profile), Dec 19th, 2009 @ 9:27am

    Hurting popcorn farmers?

    I bet it never occurred to these people that you can eat popcorn outside of a movie theater. I would imagine that "pirates" regularly eat popcorn while watching illegally downloaded movies, and probably do so more frequently as they don't have to pay $15 for a large popcorn tub that probably cost $0.15 to make.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Public domain

    It's also news because NBC doesn't like people copying them yet they think it's OK for them to copy others. Why is this so hard for you to understand?

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    DB, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 8:18am

    Lessons from the Past

    ABC did a similar thing 30 or 40 years ago when they had the Olympics. They wanted to do a spot on wrestler Dan Gable and used a college bio documentary done by students at Iowa State. They negotiated a license of a couple of hundred dollars, but then told the students they couldn't pay because it wasn't in the budged. They used portions of the documentary anyway. Same attitude different medium?

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    review, Oct 4th, 2010 @ 2:58pm

    copyrights

    A very serious issue, as bloggers we have nothing protecting us really and this needs to change

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    atv rental, Oct 4th, 2010 @ 3:00pm

    rights

    Yeah I have heard that this is on the rise from a few fellow bloggers, it funny these people cannot come up with their own material

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    atv rental, Oct 4th, 2010 @ 3:01pm

    rights

    Yeah I have heard that this is on the rise from a few fellow bloggers, it funny these people cannot come up with their own material

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    mark, May 26th, 2011 @ 4:34am

    shame on NBc

    well done NBC..shame on u guys

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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