Yes, I Was Deeked By Two Hoax Kim Davis Stories Today

from the i'm-just-so-happy dept

Mea Culpa: As our comments section has helpfully pointed out, I have been pantsed today by two hoax stories on two hoax sites that performed their hoaxing in a barely noticeable fashion. For what it’s worth, the band has publicly commented that they did not authorize the use of the song and did so in a manner indicating that they were/are planning some kind of response, but the lawsuit claims from Survivor and EMI are fabrications. As our comments section also helpfully pointed out, the state of copyright is such that it can at times be difficult to spot the satire from true stories. That said, it doesn’t excuse this writer getting fooled. We are leaving the full post as originally written below, but striked through, so that everyone can see exactly how thoroughly I was fooled today. I have been internet-ed!

Unless you’ve been living under an insanely large rock these past few weeks, you probably know all about the saga of Kim Davis. Davis is the Kentucky clerk so wrapped up in Christian theology that she decided to defy the United States Supreme Court’s order that same-sex marriages are the law of the land and promptly refused to hand out any marriage licenses to her constituency. This, as you should know, is a wonderfully stupid story that continues to get stupider. Whatever your religion, the United States is a secular nation. A Christian government employee can no more refuse to hand out marriage licenses due to religious views than a Muslim person working for the ATF refuse to inspect a case filled with beautiful whisky, a Jewish person working for the FDA refuse to approve imports of succulent bacon, or an atheist person working for the IRS refuse to grant a religious group tax exempt status. Secular government means religion doesn’t factor into the job of government. Period, paragraph, full-stop.

Davis was jailed for contempt after she refused to do her job and denied the rights of citizens in her district, as she well should have been. After her underlings began actually doing their jobs, the judge released her. Then this happened (WARNING: this video is likely to make you vomit).

Yes, with presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee leading the crowd, Kim Davis was released from jail in a manner so grossly contrived as to be accompanied by music. You know, like a wrestler’s entrance into the ring. The song, sigh, was Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger, best known from Rocky, a movie built on themes of religious expression, government disobedience, and oh my god none of that is true and how is this happening? It’s unclear exactly what hand Huckabee had in putting together this soundtrack to celebrate the release of Davis, who is, hilariously, a registered Democrat. But what is clear is that Survivor band members are pissed.

The band Survivor has filed a $1.2 million lawsuit against Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee over the unauthorized use of its hit song “Eye of the Tiger.” Speaking with Billboard, band co-founder Jim Peterik said he was also not pleased with the unauthorized use of the song.

“The song has motivated thousands through the years to reach beyond their limits. Its use for the release of Kim Davis does not support my views or my politics.”

Now, this isn’t the first rodeo between Survivor and a presidential hopeful using the song. Last presidential election cycle, then candidate Newt Gingrich used the song at a campaign stop. The difference in that case is that Gingrich had paid his ASCAP license and was perfectly free to use the song. It’s unclear just what licensing arrangement Huckabee has, but I doubt that Kim Davis has license to use the song, and I’m equally certain the county jailhouse doesn’t pay for ASCAP licenses for public performances. Whatever Huckabee’s license is, this certainly wasn’t a campaign stop for him, so it seems doubtful it would cover this kind of public performance. Others appear to agree.

NBC News spoke with Harvard Law Professor, Paul Horner, who believes Survivor has a strong case.

“Mike Huckabee and Kim Davis had no permission to use the song, bottom line,” Horner said. “This whole incident is in the national public spot light right now, and Huckabee is running for president; he should have known better.”

Of course, even if it’s true that this was an infringing use, copyright law limits damages to either actual damages or statutory damages, which max out at $150,000 per infringement. It’s not clear how anyone can get to $1.2 million with that. They’re going to have a hell of a time proving $1.2 million in “actual damages” if that’s what they’re planning.

Adding to the idea that the public performance wasn’t properly licensed is that EMI has jumped into this legal dustup as well.

“As far as I have heard, no one secured the rights to that public performance of ‘Eye of the Tiger’ and as a result they violated EMI’s intellectual property rights today,” adds [IP attorney Paul] Steiner. “It is illegal for someone to ignore IP law and would make the offending parties guilty of infringement under Copyright Law (17 U.S.C. § 501(a)).”

Steiner alleges that he has already heard of the record company executives “taking exception” to the use of their intellectual property to “help a criminal grandstand in front of an audience”.

As Steiner later goes on to note, record companies oftentimes look the other way in situations like this, because the playing of music is free publicity. In this case, however, with Huckabee standing next to Kim Davis, with their collective message being so downright toxic and misplaced in the legal context, I can certainly understand why neither EMI nor the band would want to in any way be associated with this fiasco. That isn’t to say that I think that a million dollar lawsuit is the best approach here. Certainly some action would need to be taken if the band wants to distance itself from Davis’ hate-message.

But we need to always be mindful of the original intent and purpose of copyright law in cases like these. Even for those of us that might detest Davis and her message, or who might equally detest an individual that thinks they can lord over her constituents in a blatantly unconstitutional manner, the notion that copyright might be deployed in a manner that ultimately is a picking and choosing who can use art based on their political messages is somewhat distasteful as well. After all, judging from the band’s reaction, I imagine they wouldn’t be quite so frothy at the mouth if Davis’ political message were one with which the band agreed. That deviates from the purpose of copyright, which was to encourage expression, not insulate a band from political associations.

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Comments on “Yes, I Was Deeked By Two Hoax Kim Davis Stories Today”

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Chris Arterburn (profile) says:

Check your Sources isn’t the same as is a site that literally makes up the news, mostly sensationalist, and because their site looks so much like the NBC site, gets confused. the 1.2 million suit is currently not true, and unconfirmed by any site but this one, though if you search for this you’ll find lots of repeats, but all of them pointing back to this fake site.

Christenson says:

CopyWrong Sickness

Let me cross my fingers and hope this gets so ridiculous that more and more people start asking for meaningful copyright reform.

A public statement from the band (or, say, maybe a donation to the opposition, or flowers for anyone that wants to wed a same sex partner in Kim’s county this month, or one or more band members celebrating a same-sex marriage) should be sufficient to distance the band from the silliness.

DannyB (profile) says:

$1.2 Million for 46 seconds

Even though this appears to be a hoax, I wanted to point out . . .

It seems the song played from 0:36 to 1:22 of the video. That’s 46 seconds. It did not even get to the highly recognizable “eye of the tiger” part of the lyrics.

It should be easy for a copyright holder to claim well past $1.2 million in actual damages. Millions of people heard this story on the news, including the audio fragment of the song. And each of these instances is a lost sail, or sale, or something. That’s how copyright is and was intended to work.

As for it being a hoax, it is easy to overlook anyone, including TechDirt being hoaxed by this. After all, you CAN NOT PARODY or hoax copyright pigopolists without it being completely believable. Just remember the hoax a few years back about the MPAA wanting to charge home users a performance license fee if there was a large screen, more than two viewers, and comfortable seating. After all, such an arrangement approaches or might even exceed the comfort of a theater.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Mea Culpa

all well and good, but might not an ‘investigation’ into the details of how timmah got ‘hoaxed’ be in order ?
(might even make an interesting column)

will he forever forswear to mock reichwing fucktards who let their personal prejudices incline them to believe extremely sarcastic/parody pieces on the onion, et al ? ? ?

methinks he seems a trifle quick to ‘rip and read’ without reflection…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Mea Culpa

All: you should be seeing the new text at the top of the post, discussing how completely fuck-fooled I was by the two hoax sites I linked to in this post. Thank you, as always, to our community for pointing out that these were hoax sites.

Please know that I fucking hate getting fooled like this….

LMAO at your epic stupidity. Could this site be any more of a joke? Before you grab your pitchfork, maybe do your homework. I know, I know. Not your style. You guys are aiming for the morons anyway.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Mea Culpa

Well, the thing is, you wrote it but kept in touch with your work and issued a correction afterwards while leaving the original up. How many journalists or news outfits are humble and honest enough to do it?

And amusingly, as others pointed out, most of the readers have come to expect such kinds of absurdities these days, it is easy to believe them given what we’ve been seeing for a while now.

So, really Tim, don’t be too hard on yourself. If anything you got more respect because even if you do err we will get informed about the err. Cheers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Mea Culpa

Well, the thing is, you wrote it but kept in touch with your work and issued a correction afterwards while leaving the original up. How many journalists or news outfits are humble and honest enough to do it?

A real journalist would not have done this. Only a dipshit like Timmy, who jumps to conclusions quickly why trying to get out the latest anti-artist hate piece.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Mea Culpa

Oh you’re saying “real” journalists don’t get stories wrong? hahahahaha!!!

Real journalists follow ethics and standards. Techdirt and its dipshits do not. Mike wants the respect of a journalist, but without doing the work and following the ethics and standards necessary to earn that respect. He and Techdirt are the poster children for wanting what they haven’t earned. No wonder he loves piracy so much. Fits right in with the ethos of demanding and expecting what hasn’t been earned.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Mea Culpa

Are you really claiming that Mike et al. follow widely-recognized journalistic standards? They don’t. This isn’t even a close call.

First off, Mike has always claimed Techdirt is an opinion blog that sometimes does journalism, so I’m not sure why this is an issue for you.

Secondly, based on my personal observations, Techdirt holds itself to higher standards than most of the mainstream media outlets. For example, if a MSM outlet published an incorrect story that came off the AP wire, they would simply disappear the article and act like it never happened. Mike, at the very least, has the testicular fortitude to leave the article in place and face up to the mistakes.

And lastly, I don’t believe that MSM holds itself up to these “journalistic standards” you speak of and haven’t for the last 30 years or so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sure about that?

“A Christian government employee can no more refuse to hand out marriage licenses due to religious views than a Muslim person working for the ATF refuse to inspect a case filled with beautiful whisky, a Jewish person working for the FDA refuse to approve imports of succulent bacon, or an atheist person working for the IRS refuse to grant a religious group tax exempt status.”

Really? Are you sure that the ATF wouldn’t ‘accommodate’ a Muslim employee, or that the FDA wouldn’t be ‘sensitive’ to the Jewish employee, or that the IRS would ever grant a religious group tax exempt status (since they must be conservative)? (OK, two out of three of those examples, anyway)

DCL says:

Re: Sure about that?

Yes they would probably have a reasonable accommodation such as assigning a different person to the task.

But they wouldn’t/shouldn’t say: “oh you don’t like X for personal reasons.. then just deny/dispose/prevent it”

There is a major difference between the two since one affects a few individuals in the org… the other affects the public.

and for the religions group tax exemptions… well you may want to check out John Oliver’s lasted scheme on “Last Week tonight”:

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Sure about that?

A devout Jewish person should have no problem inspecting bacon or other pork products, they just wouldn’t want to eat them. IANAM, but I think similarly most Muslims wouldn’t have a problem inspecting ‘beautiful’ whiskey (isn’t that usually graded by taste?), they just would not want to drink any themselves. Of course there are extremists for any group who think that no one should do what they themselves don’t want to do, i.e. the plus-sized sack of crazy this article is about.

Anonymous Coward says:

You should talk to Google

About their wonderful program to wipe embarrassing stuff like this from the internet.
Or just DMCA the living crap out of the article.
If all else fails, patent a “Method for being the victim of hoaxes, parodies and jokes on interconnected computer systems” and sue for infringement.
In this day and age, there is no need to have this follow you for the rest of your life.

jakerome (profile) says:

Anyone can get duped

Anyone can get duped, that happens. What baffles me is that Techdirt would publish an article giving any credence to a lawsuit (at $150k or $1.2M) for playing a song in public even with Huckabee paying a license. I was expecting this t show up on Techdirt with an explanation of why the copyright suit would get thrown out.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Jailing

I’ve never heard of a county clerk being elected. Is that common in the USA? My understanding was that clerk was an administrative role with no real autonomy or discretion (and the court decision supports this view), so what’s the reasoning behind electing them? What kind of things do they campaign based on, to differentiate themselves from other candidates?

Rekrul says:

Watching the video, it seems pretty obvious to me that the music was added to the video afterwards, rather than being played at the actual event. It had been played “live”, I doubt they would have started it while Huckabee was still talking and at such a volume as to almost drown out what he’s saying.

That then leaves the question of who added it to the video. I doubt that MSNBC would do it, or that they would add it at Huckabee’s request. Given that it has a logo from someone else at the start, I would just automatically assume they did it. Probably half of the videos on YouTube have unrelated music added to them by the uploader.

Besides, the addition of a portion of a song doesn’t change the rest of the video, which shows Huckabee holding up Davis as some kind of good example for refusing to do her job. Apparently this idiot (along with a bunch of other idiots lately) has never heard of the separation of church and state. As I posted in the video comments, I wonder how supportive he’d be if it was a Muslim clerk refusing to issue marriage licenses to Christians?

Whatever (profile) says:

Wow. Just Wow.

This is one of those cases that makes me think you are trying way too hard to find ways to slam copyright. You thought a .CO site was actually NBC’s site, without the logos and just “NBC” on the top? A cheap templated wordpress site?

I know you hate to be caught out, so here’s a tip for you: Next time, actually LOOK at the sources and see if they are real. A quick check of this one would have found as the DNS servers, and their site looks TOTALLY LEGIT, right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Yes, I Was Deeked By Two Hoax Kim Davis Stories Today, more than usual.

You boy-clowns are SO set in your anti-copyright notions, so SURE that you’re right and can’t be fooled!

I commend you for keeping this up, just as do for obeying the law of gravity. But it’d be even more funny if tried to hide this IMMENSE FLOP.


By the way, there’s no actual law that compels Kim Davis to act. Nope. Not in Kentucky. This is dangerous federalism. You’re against “states rights” when you agree with the feds, eh? She asked that, and got no answer. This is more complex than your pro-gay vitriol makes it.

Late! 15 or so tries failed between 3 and 6 PM PST, most difficult times for me to get in. Just as if Masnick had at last got in to office and was okaying every comment because knew this huge flop would attract snark.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Yes, I Was Deeked By Two Hoax Kim Davis Stories Today, more than usual.

By the way, there’s no actual law that compels Kim Davis to act. Nope. Not in Kentucky.

What the hell are you yapping about here? Separation of church and state has been binding legal doctrine for quite awhile now.

Ms. Davis has every right to hold the beliefs she does, but on the other hand, she cannot use her position as a representative of the government to impose those views on others, which is exactly what she is doing. The highest court in our land has declared same-sex marriages legal and as a representative of the government she MUST grant those licenses, as per her job description. If she cannot do that with a clear conscience, then she must resign her position because she is unable to carry out the duties she was elected to perform.

One other thought to mull over: Would we allow Ms. Davis to deny marriage licenses to multi-racial couples because of her beliefs?

Chris Meadows (profile) says:

Fake news is an epidemic

It’s gotten to be so you simply can’t believe any story that’s “too good to be true,” because there are just so many fake news sites out there. Some of them pretend to be “satire,” but others exist solely to troll the unwary. Always pay attention to the domain name of the news site, and if you don’t recognize it, google it. ALWAYS.

Remember, every day is April Fool’s Day on the Internet. It should remind us not to be so credulous.

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