Copyright, Investigative Reporting Online… And Domino's Pizza Grossout
from the putting-it-all-together dept
People have been submitting various versions of the infamous Domino’s Pizza employee grossout video of two employees doing… er… bad things to food, that’s been the talk of the social media world all week, but there really didn’t seem to be that much of real interest to talk about here — or at least nothing that hadn’t really been discussed to death elsewhere. As plenty of folks have pointed out, the whole event and Domino’s reaction (who knows how successful it will eventually be) will certainly become a regular case study concerning “social media” and how companies can and should respond to certain events. On the whole, I think Domino’s has made the best of a really awful situation which has no really good response.
That said, there were two interesting side stories involved in all of this that haven’t received much additional attention, but both seem to fit into themes we discuss here on a regular basis. The first is that, in the NY Times’ coverage of the story, it notes that the woman involved, Kristy Hammonds, eventually used a copyright claim to get the video taken down from YouTube — though, of course, they’re now available in many more places. It seems like an odd sort of thing to try to pull down via a copyright claim. After all, she had put the video up on YouTube in the first place, even if she later came to regret it. And, by this point, the video is clearly part of a larger news story, so it’s not clear if there’s really a legitimate DMCA takedown to be issued over the video… Of course, in the end, it’s really a meaningless gesture. The video is spread so far and wide that no takedown is going to make it disappear.
The second issue of relevance is the fact that it was folks online at the always excellent Consumerist website who were able to take the original video and track down the actual location of the Domino’s franchise in question, and to alert Domino’s corporate execs. While we keep hearing old school journalists whine about how no investigative reporting gets done without newspapers, this situation shows exactly how a group of motivated, interested folks, can do plenty of sleuthing and exposing of malfeasance themselves. That’s not to say, of course, that this is “the model” for investigative journalism — but to show that the whole space is changing these days, and it no longer requires a classically trained journalist in every situation. If an investigation needs to happen, there are ways to make it happen.