Fox News Too Cowardly To Refuse Critical Ad Because It's Critical, Claims Copyright Instead

from the wimps dept

It’s become something of a sport in the past decade for roughly half of America to mock, dismiss, and otherwise tear down the Fox News channel. Personally, I’d rather like to see all of cable news go away, but there are times when I think the criticism is a tad selective and unfair. For instance, it’d be very easy to lambaste the network for the man-clowns they trotted out in the wake of a Pew Research study that showed that mothers currently make up nearly half of American household’s primary wage-earners. What was for me a meh-inducing announcement was a sign of the surely-coming apocalypse for Lou Dobbs, Erick Erickson and Juan Williams. They’re easily targeted as examples of the bad on the station, but if you’re blinded by ideology or party alliance, you probably didn’t bother to shine a light on the absolutely glorious rebuttal by Fox News host Megyn Kelly.

What we have there is an example of Fox News presenting two sides of the debate and among their own hosts to boot. In case you can’t see it, Kelly uses clips from Lou Dobbs’ show within her own to demonstrate her point. I mention this only to demonstrate that Fox News was not sufficiently embarrassed by the dumb things said by some of their commentators to keep from re-airing them on another of their shows. When an advocacy group wants to use those same clips for an ad-spot, however, suddenly the scramble to copyright claims has occurred. An anti-sexism group named UltraViolet submitted the ad to air on Fox’s channel, painting the commentators in a negative light and then asking them to be retired from Fox News. You might expect the channel to dismiss the ad simply on the grounds that they don’t want to denigrate their own programming, but that wouldn’t help in trying to keep the spot off of other networks, would it? So Fox instead relied on the go-to protocol for censoring negative information. Per UltraViolet’s media buyer, Buying Time, LLC:

Team – Just heard back from Fox Business. Unfortunately, Fox has rejected the ad. Due to their copyright rules, they can’t air an ad that uses their material in a spot.

It’s a dumbfounding refusal on its face and is almost certainly being used as an excuse rather than a legitimate claim. Certainly nothing in copyright law would keep a network from airing commercials that use its own footage, valid copyright claim or not. It’s their footage. Beyond that, this seems like a clear-cut case of fair use, the clips being central to a critique which does not seek commercial gain, are not significantly long in use, and in a way that certainly doesn’t compete against Fox’s own programming. Watch the ad for yourself:

Whether you think that women being primary bread-winners is okay, or whether you think that it’s just the first step in the lizard-people’s plot to systematically ruin American families so that children will be easy pickings for their hungry salamander love-children, using copyright claims to put down criticism is an abuse. Thankfully, UltraViolet is savvy enough to still put their spot up on YouTube instead of being too scared to show it.

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Comments on “Fox News Too Cowardly To Refuse Critical Ad Because It's Critical, Claims Copyright Instead”

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out_of_the_blue says:

You have NO idea what you're writing, do you?

I sure don’t. Try to make it easy for readers, Timmy, it’s key to being read.

Your ability to obscure a topic with verbiage is right up there with what’s-his-name, that Irish drunk who blithered on in “stream of consciousness”, accumulating words without ever getting to a point. But where he was knowingly experimenting with a new style, I’m now sure that you’re just a lousy writer.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: You have NO idea what you're writing, do you?

“Your ability to obscure a topic with verbiage is right up there with what’s-his-name, that Irish drunk who blithered on in “stream of consciousness”, accumulating words without ever getting to a point.”

Just to be clear, you’re attempting to insult…INSULT me…by comparing me to James Joyce? Let me tell you something Blue, and I swear to all that’s holy that I mean this, that’s about the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me. So thanks, pal!

Anonymous Coward says:

You Timothy Geigner say you wish cable news would go away.
I on the other hand recall when I was in gulf one watching CNN and being amazed at the real time reporting. I relish cable news each and every day.

Now lets chat about the Main Stream Media.
I don’t recall ABC, CBS or NBC ever airing an ad that was critical of their actions/views.
I have never seen an ad in the New York Times, Boston Herald, The LA Times or for that matter the USA Today.
I would be willing to make a wager that the above have used a similar theme to skirt the publishing of an ad they did not agree with.

Get off your I dislike Faux and fight for things that matter to our liberties.

LivingInNavarre (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Seems all cable news has turned into tabloid stories. I admit if I watch tv news it will be FOX but they are a day or more behind what’s already on the internet.
Since I am a conservative I tend to Drudge. But I have noticed many of the breaking stories are links to local papers or small local tv stations.
I guess I find it funny that when I hear FOX or CNN say ‘breaking news’ it’s a story I already read 3 days ago put out by some small affiliate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Mocking Faux News matters, else people believe that crap is real, at least this way people know that Faux News is a tabloid not a “news” channel, it is entertainment no journalism.

Specially since it is part of the Murdock empire, which reminds me of MacGyver where one of his archenemies was a Murdock too, coincidence?

JWW (profile) says:


Story. sucks.

This is the kind of vile scummy attack ad that substitutes for political “debate’ nowadays. I may have concerns about copyright, but I’m not concerned enough about it to fight for the assholes that are dragging our political discourse into the gutter.

If you disagree with someone then make your case and back your argument. This whiny, “so and so’s opinion differs from mine, the need to lose their job” crap is just another spin on character assignation.

It seems to me that too much now, people go to the personal attack first and argue their case, well, never.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: This

but I’m not concerned enough about it to fight for the assholes that are dragging our political discourse into the gutter.

Whatever the “quality” (or not) of the ad, if you don’t fight for the assholes’ rights to free speech too then you don’t have free speech period.
If you want free speech, it can’t be “free except for the stuff I don’t like”.

“You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.
“Andrew Shepherd” – The American President by Aaron Sorkin

Just another Lib Media buy says:

Oh, no! don't ask Faux to reform!

Face it, Faux “news” is nothing more an episode of Maury Povich, Jerry Springer, or Rikki Lake. There’s no real news here, just titillation of base prejudice and blatant push polls disguised as “news” directed at the most powerless in America – bigots, angry old white men, the KKK, and those afraid of anyone that isn’t white. Tea Party whack’os seems to be a large target audience. (As opposed to the thoughtful and intelligent Libertarians.) The type of people that can say, in one breath, “Get Big Government out of healthcare but don’t you DARE TOUCH Medicare!”

Fox recently said they would pull their programming from public airwaves if Aireo wasn’t stopped from re-distributing their programming. I can’t think of a better public service they could do, other than shutting down completely.

I used to listen to William F Buckley. Such a intelligent conservative, and while I could grant that he had valid points, I never once agreed with his conclusions. But I never ONCE thought of him as an asshat. This current crop of Faux News talking heads, almost without exception, would be an insult to asshats everywhere.

Tehrm (profile) says:

A blemish on the Techdirt brand

Ironically, the author has intentionally misused copyright to address an unrelated topic.

As to trotting out copyright in order to undermine criticism- this article doesn’t seem to suggest that such a thing has happened. According to this article, Fox News did not seek to universally remove or prevent from publication works containing allegedly infringing content. According to this article, Fox News did blatantly confuse ‘copyright rules’ with internal marketing policy. Or perhaps the quote from UltraViolet indicates that Fox News misunderstands that ‘copyright rules’ are not subject to in-house edits.

This article does seem to mix topics intentionally. The summary paragraph tailors the focus significantly toward applying a hatchet to Fox News. The crux of this article isn’t about copyright abuse. If it deals with copyright at all, it reveals the rampant ignorance of the general public concerning copyrights through Fox News’ obvious misinformation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: A blemish on the Techdirt brand

No it did something more repugnant, it used copyright to justify its censorship ways.

Don’t giving a reason could fuel commentary and telling the truth would be embarrassing, so they used copyright as justification for abhorrent conduct that would be criticized otherwise, showing that copyright is not used to protect distribution channels but is being used also to shield parties from criticism, which is misuse at beast or downright abuse depending on how you chose to look at it.

Anonymous Coward says:

when you have an empire run by one of the biggest, two faced arse holes on the Planet, someone that doesn’t, apparently, know what the most senior managers of his staff are doing for/to his business and lets those people then take the blame for everything that the business has been accused of, do you really expect anything else? Fox is supposed to be a News Channel’. to me, that means it is supposed to report ‘the news’. if you dont agree with the news or what has happened, it should still be put out. when the news is changed simply to line it up with your beliefs, that isn’t reporting its being bias. not good!!

horse with no name says:

Re: Re: one day

I am using the horribly non-standard, non-compliant Chrome browser.

What happens is that when you place the video in the wrong part of the story, it covers up the “EXPAND” tab, except for a very few pixels to the side. So there is no simple way to click the expander, as clicking anything else is considered a click on the video.

Anonymous Coward says:

People just need to stop watching FOX ffs

I hate attack ads like that, so no tears over it being blocked. Calling for someone being fired for expressing a different opinion than you is just the ultimate sign of liberal bigotry.

That said, people just need to stop watching the train wreck that is FOX news. I know its so awful its funny, but please stop and let it die.

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