NJ Gubernatorial Candidate Using Monty Python Video Without Authorization In Campaign Commercial
from the double-standards dept
Politicians almost always push for stronger copyright laws or copyright law enforcement — and yet, time and time and time again we see that when it comes to their own use, they often violate copyright law themselves. I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt: most people who don’t pay attention closely simply buy the industry’s line about copyright: that it’s property and that it’s important to keep the industry functioning. Neither is true, of course, but if you don’t think about it or pay attention to how copyright really works, you can see how people would believe that.
So here we are again, with yet another politician — this time US Attorney and current New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie — caught red handed making use of content he most likely had no permission to use. In this case, he used clips from old Monty Python skits in his television commercials (which were also placed online). The chaps who make up Monty Python insist that Christie had no permission to do so and they don’t like it (they’re considering suing). Now, I tend to think that using a clip in such a manner should be perfectly legal, but given that it is not, it does look pretty bad for a long-term lawyer, current US Attorney and now candidate for governor to be caught flat-out ignoring copyright law.
One could hope that this would be a “teachable moment” to a politician, letting him know that copyright is an issue that isn’t quite as clear cut as many politicians make it out to be. And yet, somehow, I doubt that will happen. It’s not yet clear if Christie has much of a record on copyright issues (I can’t find much), but somehow I doubt he’ll suddenly become a fair use crusader.