Big Media Once Again Confuses Intellectual Property Protection And Promotions

from the slow-to-catch-on... dept

Honestly, I really hadn’t followed much concerning this Ken Jennings winning on Jeopardy stuff, other than hearing a few months back that someone seemed to be constantly winning. I had no idea he was still winning, actually. However, he finally lost last week (or, rather, a few months ago, but it aired last week) and blogger Jason Kottke apparently had the scoop on many details of what was going on over these months concerning Jennings and Jeopardy. Right before the loss came, Kottke apparently posted an audio file of the losing moment along with a transcript. As any sane person would realize, this must have been great publicity in getting a bunch of people to tune into Jeopardy that night. In fact, I haven’t watched Jeopardy in at least a decade, and I thought about tuning in until I realized I read about the situation after it happened. Instead of being happy with the added publicity (during sweeps week, no less), Sony has sent the lawyers after Jason and have basically been hassling him and making life difficult for him. It’s yet another case of lawyers making legal decisions that don’t make business sense.

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Comments on “Big Media Once Again Confuses Intellectual Property Protection And Promotions”

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William Doane says:

Understanding the law

I always find the rationalizations interesting… Although I agree with the idea that people should be able to use snippets of content freely, one shouldn’t confuse the law with the perceived “added publicity”.

The law does not say, contrary to the implication of your story, thou shalt not copy, unless in so doing you give us good press. Rather, the law protects the content owner’s right to be the ONLY arbiter of reproductions and performances of their work, regardless of the purpose (satire and excerpting for review not withstanding).

What’s more, the law requires the copyright (or patent, if you like) holder to vigorously defend their claim in every instance of which they are aware. Failure to do so may result in a loss of their ability to enforce their copyright in other circumstances (“well, you let them copy it without trying to stop them!!”)

While the hoard of lawyers that seem to come out of the woodwork every time one so much as mentions a copyrighted work are annoying and possibly despicable, they HAVE to act in order to preserve the owner’s rights under the law.

I don’t like it any more than you. My reaction, however, is not to lampoon the lawyers or the copyright holders. My reaction is to scald the American public for not being more aggressive in insisting that copyright laws passed by congress protect the public and ensure fair use.

Lets fix copyrights and patents, rather than blaming people who are only doing their jobs (as distasteful as their jobs may be to us).

Steve Mueller (user link) says:

Copyright Reform

Hear, hear! We definitely should reform the law. However, I think Mike is asking for corporations to allow minor violations of the law and only go after the big violators.

I don’t think “you let them do it” is a valid defense. Tu quoque arguments are logical fallacies. Prosecutors often cut deals with criminals to go after bigger criminals, but other criminals charged with the same offense who have nothing to trade don’t get to use the “you let him off” defense. (Yes, I realize civil law is different than criminal law.)

More worrisome to me is Mike’s statement:

Sony has sent the lawyers after Jason and have basically been hassling him and making life difficult for him. It’s yet another case of lawyers making legal decisions that don’t make business sense.

Why blame the lawyers here? Mike clearly said Sony sent the lawyers after Jason. Shouldn’t Sony be the ones with the business acumen to realize whether or not it’s a good business decision? I seriously doubt the lawyers discovered Jason’s use on their own and went after him without consulting Sony at all.

Another point Mike might be missing is that, while knowing when Ken Jennings would lose might get bigger ratings for that night, it might hurt ratings for every night leading up to that night if people who wanted him to lose decided not to tune in because they knew he’d just win again.

It could be similar to the effect seen when companies preannounce a product. While it can build buzz for the new product, it can also cause sales of their existing products dry up.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Copyright Reform

Sorry if that was confusing. What’s been made clear is that Sony *is* being run by lawyers these days. Much of the entertainment industry is. They’re not doing things because they make business sense, but they make legal sense. So that’s what I was implying. I’m not blaming “lawyers”. I’m blaming the lawyers who are making bad business decisions at Sony.

Newob Det says:


Yeah well I guess Jeopardy should air their shows live, if they don’t want people finding out what happens before a recorded show is aired. When the effort of securing confidential information is greater than the effort of producing the information itself, the information will never be secure. Copyright law will never negate the law of entropy.

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