Glenn Beck Not A Fan Of Fair Use; Claims US Gov't Paying Remixers To Create Anti-Beck Propaganda

from the communists,-socialists-and-fair-use dept

One of the good things about intellectual property issues is that it’s really a non-partisan debate. While, in practicality, this seems to mean that both of the major political parties support bad copyright and patent law, at the very least, it leaves ridiculous political rhetoric out of the debates on things like copyright. But, sometimes, weird things happen. Such as when Glenn Beck seems to think that “fair use” is a choice of some sort. Apparently, in political circles, there was a lot of attention paid recently to a video mashup showing Donald Duck being influenced by Glenn Beck — created by Jonathan McIntosh, who I saw speak earlier this year at the first Fair Use Day in DC. The video, which I had not seen until this, apparently made the rounds in political circles.

But, now, Glenn Beck has seen the video and he’s not at all happy about it. On his radio program, he condescendingly mocks the videos creator for being involved in “fair use activism.” Beck’s enunciation is really bizarre. He reads McIntosh’s bio with odd emphasis, in a tone suggesting something sinister in ideas like “fair use activist” and “open video alliance.” Then he puts on the super sinister voice and says that these remix videos are “getting federal funding to ‘help culture understand culture.'” He promises to investigate further.

Um. Yeah, those evil remix artists are really federal stooges? That must be why the federal government keeps trying to make copyright law ever more stringent to wipe out remixes, huh?

Ah, and then we learn of Glenn Beck’s basic confusion over the concept of fair use. Since the video involved Donald Duck, he starts talking about Disney, and how Walt Disney hated communists, and he finds it odd that they’re okay with fair use:

Of course, it’s all fair use! So they can use Disney… apparently Disney doesn’t have a problem with Donald Duck cartoons now being remixed and politicized…

Um, hey, Glenn: the whole point of “fair use” is that it doesn’t matter if the copyright holder is okay with it or not. That’s why it’s called “fair use.” It’s a situation where the users can use it no matter if the copyright holder has a problem with it or not. It’s part of this thing called Free Speech found in the First Amendment of a document you seem to like, called the Constitution. And, of course, this is Disney we’re talking about, the company that has single-handedly done more to expand copyright than just about any other company in its efforts to protect Mickey Mouse. To suggest that Disney has somehow gone soft on copyright is pretty laughable.

Of course, someone else put together another brilliant remix showing Mickey Mouse reacting the “news” that the US gov’t is using this sinister fair use to create propaganda remix videos:

Filed Under: , , , , ,
Companies: disney

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Glenn Beck Not A Fan Of Fair Use; Claims US Gov't Paying Remixers To Create Anti-Beck Propaganda”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Big Mook (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Sorry, but Song of the South was not “against blacks” as you say, and the story itself makes it exceedingly clear that Uncle Remus is wiser than the white plantation owners to which he is in servitude. Yeah, the situation is bad, and the movie accurately illustrates the abject poverty in which most blacks were living at that time in history, but anyone with half a brain could see that Uncle Remus was the real brains around there.

How about not playing the race card every chance you get.

Anonymous Coward says:

The creator of these cartoons is certainly placing a lot of faith in “fair use” as a defense. I am not at all sanguine that his faith is well placed.

Clearly, his work is a satire of Mr. Beck, and not a parody of the original work(s) created by Disney. As a general rule, under copyright and trademark analysis where one attempts to rely upon some form of a fair use defense, parody holds greater sway in the eyes of the courts than satire. Of course, there is a gray area in between, so to some degree how this would come out if it was litigated may come down to simply the luck of the draw when cases are assigned to judges.

Candidly, I believe that Mr. Beck would have a difficult, if not impossible, time trying to convince a court that he may have a justiciable claim against the creator. Disney, however, is quite another matter.

RemixThis says:

Re: Disney shorts

I would argue that the remix is also a commentary and criticism of the original Disney cartoons. Notice how well Beck’s xenophobic rhetoric mirrors some of the racial stereotyping in the Disney shorts. Also the commentary on comparing the depression era cartoons to the economics of today should be obvious. Plus many of the shorts used were actually funded by the State and Treasury Departments as propaganda during and after WWII (even Panchito Pistols from The Three Caballeros).

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Then you’ve never actually listened to or watched enough Beck to have a good sample size. I don’t particularly care about or agree with what he has to say but it’s extremely obvious that it’s what he genuinely believes and has put significant thought into. Usually. This particular instance I’d chalk up to a typical human’s first reaction to being made fun of.

But hey, it’s easier to give someone you disagree with a label that allows you to dismiss them without having to listen to or think about what they say. Hence the entire two party system, racism, and every other unreasoned prejudice throughout history.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: Glenn Beck: Idiot Or Evil?

If he genuinely believes what he says, then why wouldn’t he answer when asked whether he’d vaccinated his children against swine flu or not?

After playing up the fears on both sides, it was quite clear he would lose credibility either way. We have a name for people like that…

MrWilson says:

You know who else was persecuted by the government? Jesus Christ.

Beck’s emphasis on particular words in McIntosh’s bio seemed to highlight words that Beck has previously scorned in regards to Obama and his other targets like ACORN; words such as “activist,” “social justice,” “alternative,” “community,” and “Chicago.” He’s drawing a parallel between McIntosh and other “bad people” using the vocabulary of “bad words” that he’s acquainted them with over the years.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Satirist's Union

The Union of Professional Satirists has recently advised its members to stop making fun of Glen Beck. Their professional rules of conduct prohibit shooting fish in a barrel, carrying coals to Newcastle, or making fun of the the criminally insane. Apparently, making fun of Glen Beck violates all three guidelines.


Hulser (profile) says:

Re: What if Glen Beck is Right

many groups are going to great lengths g to silence him

Since when is making fun of someone the same as trying to silence them? Freedom of speech cuts both ways. You can support the right to publicly ridicule someone without wanting to remove their right to publicly say things that are worthy of ridicule.

Y Draig Goch (profile) says:

Re: Re: What if Glen Beck is Right

…And Beck gets to ridicule the guy who made the videos just as most of the comments to this blog ridicule him. That’s not the point.

I think the discussion started out about his lack of knowledge about “fair use”. If he’s right (and quite often he has his facts right, it’s just that his conclusions are often not on target) about federal funding going to an organization that promotes videos such as this, that would be bad, regardless of the argument about “fair use”.

It’s not only Beck. From Rupert Murdoch on down, News Corp (and it’s Fox subsidiaries) seem to have a problem understanding fair use, copyrights, trademarks, etc…

WimpyCollins says:

Re: Re: Re: What if Glen Beck is Right

“A concerted effort by a political party to ridicule/marginalize one person…is… extremely underhanded and distasteful”

What’s good for the goose…

Substitute “political party” with “media organization” and “one person” with “President Obama” and see how that sentence reads.

Substitute “political party” with “Glenn Beck” and “one person” with “anyone who disagrees with him” and see how that sentence reads.

Glenn Beck is all about “underhanded and distasteful” methods. As soon as he adopts a respectable approach to voicing his opinions (and subsequently loses his audience since they’re looking for fiery commentary from a guy who shares their persecution complex), I’ll agree that his treatment by his critics is unfair.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 What if Glen Beck is Right

Substitute “political party” with “media organization” and “one person” with “President Obama” and see how that sentence reads.


“A concerted effort by a media organiztion to ridicule/marginalize President Obama isn’t illegal and is protected speech. It’s still extremely underhanded and distasteful though”

Was that supposed to somehow make the quote objectionable?

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 What if Glen Beck is Right

Says the person who does not watch/listen to Glenn Beck and has no idea what he actually says day to day. When you know not whereof you speak, your mouth is best used for chewing.

And yes, I would find it extremely underhanded and distasteful if all the media organizations went on an anti-Obama crusade, exactly as I did when it was Bush in that position.

Glenn Beck, or any individual for that matter, spouting opinions against something much larger than themselves, I have zero problem with. One trash talking a million is insignificant, a million trash talking one is pathetic.

Free Capitalist (profile) says:


Beck is an interesting entertainer, in an infomercial kind of way. I see what he’s trying to sell and his compelling-in-a-way emotionally pitched delivery, yet I pity the poor souls who actually buy it.

Actually.. I guess that’s how I view all so-called partisan discourse these days.

Point: “You’re gonna love my nuts.”
Counter-point: “No way.. they’re activated by the water that you and I drink!”

out_of_the_blue says:

It's foolish to analyze Beck.

He’s an over-the-top clown intended for distraction and to put over a few key points. A shock-jock from the 80’s who admits to heavy cocaine use. Frankly, it amazes me that *anyone* watches his show, let alone believes that even he believes what he says; just a small part of his random hypocrisy is that he appears to be against the gov’t, while believing every lie in the “security” theater that the gov’t puts on, that’s a crucial area that fingers him as a neo-con tool.

Oh, and he uses some trick to cry on cue, too.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Left lives up to expectations

Did I miss something? Sorry, my Marxist brain was focused on controlling everything…
Read the post again… it’s about Beck’s misunderstanding over the ‘choice’ of fair-use and the fact that it applies even, as Mike states, “…if the copyright holder is okay with it or not…”

Yes, Beck mentions that this guy is receiving federal funds (without providing evidence and then saying he’ll ‘investigate further’), but that’s a minor point that Glen (known for having a conspirator’s bent) wove in. Again, all without any evidence. After a brief (and by NO means exhaustive) search, I was unable to find anything to backup this federal funding. Although to Glen’s credit, perhaps the government did a great job in covering it up. /sarcasm

So, Glen puts on his tinfoil hat to attack someone who’s mocking him (very successfully) by saying it’s a federal government conspiracy and WE’RE the ones missing something? Honestly, I’m surprised he didn’t cite a Nazi involvement… he does have Nazi-Tourettes’, you know.

nonanonymous says:

Re: Left lives up to expectations

Once again the marxists live up to expectations, totally missing the point. It’s about who PAYS. The govt should not be PAYING for this

But it’s okay to pay for puff pieces praising own efforts as they did during Bush administration? You might want to pick a standard that’s not going to backfire at you on the spot.

JonesSmithHarris says:

Re: Re:

He’s a right-wing tv and radio show propagandist who tries to seem patriotic and grass-roots despite the tens of millions he makes in income from large corporations.

You could google Glenn Beck or read his Wikipedia entry, but for a hilarious sample of his craziness, check out the Daily Show’s clips (hopefully they play in the UK):

Jay (profile) says:

Isnt one of the fundamentals of free speech not being forced to endorse something. Hardly free speech if my brand can be freely used to endorse something I dont agree with. I support fair use, but in the cartoon mash up with Mickey and Pluto that would fly pretty close to implying Disney supports the message being told… maybe not close enough… but surely thats a fair argument to limit fair use in some cases…

Mark Liedtke says:

Beck is popular

And here we have another point in his popularity, he gets a post on a blog that rarely posts anything political. I don’t care if you like him or not, you must admit that if his goal is to get as much exposure as possible, he is a master at that.

He gets the fair use angle wrong, but for some reason I think Disney will be legally entangled in this some way.

Beck doesn’t care about restoring our country to economic prosperity or the US being a world leader again or living up to the lofty principals set forth by the founding fathers, he is just in it to make a buck like the D.D. remix says.

Wolfy says:

Just like they morphed the concept of sharing which used to mean an act of kindness to friend, into a criminal act that demands punishment because of it’s obvious utter depravity. You repeat the lie often enough and my idiot fellow countrymen and women swallow it hook, line and sinker. What’s worse, they forget they ever thought differently.

Now come the rethuglicans with a new definition for fair use. Beck is certifiable in my opinion… he seems to have a very pronounced thing for nazi’s.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...