NBC News Doesn't Understand Fair Use; Demands Mitt Romney Remove Ads That Use TV News Clips

from the oh-please dept

Here we go again. Four years ago, during the presidential campaign, we had CBS News threaten the McCain campaign for using some news footage clips in a campaign ad. And here we are, four years later, with NBC Universal demanding that the Romney campaign remove an ad it’s using against Newt Gingrich, making use of old TV news footage. This strikes us as bizarre (and ridiculous) as it did four years ago. In many cases, these ads are likely to be considered fair use. But, secondly, is it really any harm to NBC News if Romney uses classic footage? I mean, the news reports are what NBC News had reported in the past. Essentially acting like it hadn’t — by trying to block the use of the footage — just seems silly.

NBC, of course, wants to claim that this is about not having its newscasters be seen as “endorsing” a candidate. Again, however, that’s ridiculous. No one is going to see these reports and think that the Tom Brokaw from the 90s was magically endorsing a candidate running for President today. I just can’t see how or why NBC Universal would make this move. Not only does it make the company look petty, it also calls that much more attention to the ad that they thought they were going to kill.

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Companies: nbc universal

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Comments on “NBC News Doesn't Understand Fair Use; Demands Mitt Romney Remove Ads That Use TV News Clips”

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Brad C (profile) says:

I think I’m with NBC on this one. Fair use would make sense if they were just showing a few seconds of a news clip and then commenting on it or adding to it in some substantial way. This commercial is nothing more than content taken from NBC and the federally required endorsement from the candidate. If I turned in a college paper that met the same standards I’d get kicked of of school for plagiarism.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It’s only plagiarism if you don’t provide citation for the facts that were used. The clip is clearly credited at the beginning of the ad, so there’s no plagiarism occurring here.

Here’s the thing – the context was to demonstrate that in 1997, Gingrich was accused of some heinous crimes – showing the actual *NEWS* clips of the event is a powerful way to demonstrate that fact.

What’s missing is that he was eventually cleared of the charges, but that’s just petty political ad bullshit there.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sorry Brad but when the only historical evidence of someone saying something, especially politicians, is a news clip, then I believe it becomes more than a news group owning something. Its benefit to society greatly outweighs ANY profit, or profit loss, claimed by said news co. and should not be copyrightable.

“If I turned in a college paper”
This isn’t school, its life.

Anonymous Coward says:

The use of the clip in Romney’s political ad here in Florida is undoubtedly fair use.

The title of this article is undoubtedly poetic license stretched to its elastic limits.

“Request” and “demand” are not at all synomyms, and yet you use them as such.

By the way, there is no mention of a DMCA takedown notice. It seems to me this should have been a clue to you that this is a private matter, and not a legal one.

jailbait (profile) says:

I’m not sure I agree with you on this one…

Newt was eventually vindicated against all of the issues brought up by the newscaster… by only showing a newscaster talking about charges (without fully stating that Newt was later found innocent) – this should be considered misleading and/or libelous. I’m no fan of Newt’s, but I would have to agree that this charge is unfair and sneaky.

Anonymous Coward says:

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

I’m trying really hard to think of a way in which this applies to archived news stories from 15 years ago; but I can’t. I guess that means I’m not smart enough to be a member of Congress.

Bt Garner (profile) says:

I can certainly understand why NBC news would have issue with this. The way Romney is using the newscast, could be perceived as NBC news attacking Newt and endorsing Romney. To maintain a non-bias news perception, NBC wants to ensure that they are not perceived as favoring one candidate over another.

I understand the whole fair use side of the argument, but I can also see a strong push to keep the News in a non-biased position, and Romney’s use of this news cast could certainly bring that into question, even though NBC and Brokaw had nothing to do with the ad.

darryl says:

Who is "US" ??

This strikes us as bizarre (and ridiculous) as it did four years ago.

Who is “US” ??? Masnick, dont you have the balls to use ME

It is typical of your type of personality, the use of “US” means that you can defer responsibility to ‘someone else’.

It is a shame that you are willing to make claims and accusations (usually false), but do not have the balls to put your own reputation and personal mark on those statements.

Or is the use of “us” some kind of assumption that we all believe everything you say as accurate, balanced and/or true ?

The constant use quotations from others is another example of your clear lack of balls. You simply do not have to balls (or intellect) to form your own opinions, so you constantly have to steal the opinions off others to make your ‘case’.

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