Columbus Dispatch Issues Takedown On Famous YouTube Video Of Homeless Guy With Great Radio Voice

from the dumb-takedowns dept

Unless you’ve been under a rock the past week, you probably have heard about Ted Williams, the homeless guy in Columbus, Ohio, who panhandles off of a highway, but whose panhandling sign noted that he had an amazing radio voice. Someone from the Columbus Dispatch shot a short video of the guy showing off his voice, and after it went up on YouTube it went viral. Within days there were over a million views, and people were talking about how the guy really deserved a voice over job. The Cleveland Cavaliers offered him a job and apparently MSNBC has hired him to do some voiceover work. All that sounds good.

And then… despite the tons of views and positive attention… Mathew Ingram points us to the news that the Dispatch has issued a takedown on the video:

It’s difficult to understand what the Dispatch is thinking. It had such a great story here, all of which was credited to The Dispatch, and its response was to remove all of that goodwill by forcing the video offline.

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Comments on “Columbus Dispatch Issues Takedown On Famous YouTube Video Of Homeless Guy With Great Radio Voice”

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Scott Skibell (user link) says:

Another example of traditional media failing

This is a real shame. They had nearly 12 million views and then somebody makes this bonehead decision!? They won’t get nearly the views on their own homepage and it defeats the purpose of what sharing is all about.

It’s just another example where traditional media fails to understand the new world?a world where they don’t control the message.

mosaic user says:

misunderstanding the presentation platform

I believe it is about misunderstanding what YouTube is. Some organizations think “That’s a hit! Bring it home!Everyone will come here!” They don’t understand the magnitude of what YouTube does in terms of reach, and variety of clips it offers. It is the variety that brings folks there. It’s like browsing a library,just to see what’s available,and when something is good,it’s easy to share because people know where it’s located.The Dispatch should have just added a tag line “For more on this story…” and a link to their homepage.

I agree about the toolbar.

Huph (user link) says:

Methinks You Should Wait...

Isn’t Ted Williams currently in all kinds of talks with employers about voiceover work? Does anyone know if he signed a contract yet? Considering his “story”, I imagine he’s going to sign an exclusivity contract that for all we know may be retroactive in nature.

Perhaps the Cleveland Cavaliers want to buy the video as a promotional tool. Who knows?

This knee-jerk reaction to what may just be a negotiation tactic is silly. The damn Dispatch put the video on Youtube themselves, I imagine they understand what Youtube is “about”.

Randy Ray (profile) says:

Ted Williams You Tube Removal

How sad for the Columbus Dispatch! As a former journalist I am disappointed in this papers action against Ted Williams.

You took what might be the widest coverage your newspaper has ever had and flushed it down the toilet.

I feel sorrow for Ted Williams plight and I am glad he has “found his way back!”

Unfortunately all I can feel for your newspaper is shame.

I send this letter to encourage you to rethink what you did and learn from it. Learn that “You serve the public good. You serve the public every day. You serve to protect the public citizen in every way.”

Quit competing and start serving!


Anonymous Coward says:


Yeah and someone else puts up their own video of Ted Williams and gets all the hits.

What is really unfathomable is that the video linked by Larry Keltto had the newspaper’s logo at the beginning and the end of the video. Until they shut down the original video, they were going to get traffic their website from that alone…perhaps from people looking for more videos of Ted Williams.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

I like it

I actually like it when large companies issue takedowns of stuff on YouTube. I know this sounds odd from somebody like me who highly dislikes copyright and other “IP”. Really though, actions like this help drive the public’s recognition of how copyright is wrong, and evil. The more often takedowns happen the more chances of the public seeing copyright for what it is, evil.

RobShaver (profile) says:

Dear Old Media Company

Here’s their reasoning, such as it is:

I left this comment on that page:

Dear Old Media Company,

Copyright as currently practiced in the USA is stifling innovation, communication and, in some cases, free speech. Everything is copyrighted. Copyright lasts (effectively) forever now. Fair Use is only a defense after you are sued (which means you’ve already lost if your’re the little guy).

The “unauthorized” posting of this video to YouTube did you nothing but good. Your take-down order did you nothing but harm.



Anonymous Coward says:


But copy’right’ is for the artist, it’s not for the big corporations. Yes, the big corporations own everything the artist and recorder does while employed regardless of where or when they do it (because as long as they’re employed they’re always on the clock and working for the corporation, even when asleep at night in their own house their actions belong to the corporation) but who cares, copy’right’ is still for the artist and not the corporation.

Anonymous Coward says:

What I really love about this story is how appreciative of what he was given he seems to be. Hard times are awful I know from experience but they also are some of the best thing that could happen to anyone, it makes you appreciate of life and what you have, no matter how little it is, it all becomes a blessing.

Most people forget what it was like to have nothing, I hope that for this 53 years old that lesson is now engraved in his soul, it makes us better, we do better by others and they in turn do better by us.

About the Dispatch reaction “Shame on you people”.

Bryan Price (profile) says:

I'm not surprised

The Dispatch was one of the first to take up the web in Columbus, they started using (working as of about a year ago, now defunct it seems), and supported the Freenet there as well. But they still don’t get it.

Their FM station carries the Buckeyes games, but you have to pay for it. Of course, there are other sources that work just as well that are free. Their TV website used to run play by play live until recently. Why would you stop that mid-season? Especially if I was still living there and just had to turn the radio on?

I’m completely baffled.

It still doesn’t affect that I’m very glad and happy for Ted Williams.

Smile And Repeat (user link) says:

How Lame The Dispatch Is:

1. The Dispatch is lame

2. The Dispatch is extra lame for trying to defend its stupid move

3. The Dispatch is super lame for thinking that youtube would put up a link to their site – Ha!

4. The Dispatch is extra super lame for only having a few thousand hits while the AP and RT have 100s of thousands of hits and there are still copies with millions

Say Thank you to “User/Ritchey” for the best viral video of 2011 and Thanks to “The Dispatch” for killing it with these T-shirts: – The one with the Broken video is cute.

Shame on you Dispatch – you gained nothing and lost everything.

Oh did I mention how lame The Dispatch is?

PS: Could you picture the guy at Youtube who had to take down the video? I bet he cried and then said something like “Damn you Dispatch!”

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