Fox Goes After Republican Presidential Candidates For Online Copyright Violations Over Debate Footage

from the fair-use-be-damned! dept

Earlier this month, we wondered if Fox was going to sue some Republican Congressional Representatives, after they used Simpsons characters in an awful parody press release. A Fox spokesperson claimed it was a violation of copyright, but it seemed unlikely that Fox would actually do anything about it. However, in a somewhat similar issue, it looks like Fox is actually going after Republican candidates for using Fox debate footage on their websites. Apparently, Fox first targeted just John McCain for using debate footage, but after being called out on not treating to the other candidates fairly, sent cease-and-desist letters to all candidates using Fox footage. What would be interesting is if any of the candidates decides to challenge Fox on this one. The specific letter that was sent to McCain apparently demanded that he not use any Fox material on his website -- and that raises questions about whether or not McCain actually needs Fox's permission, as what he's doing could be considered fair use. It could make for an interesting legal challenge -- but somehow it seems unlikely that any of the presidential candidates wants to get wrapped up in a legal battle over fair use right now.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2007 @ 12:28pm

    There isn't a presidential campaign manager out there smart enough to think, "Hm, we should throw a couple cameras at volunteers and have them film all these events so we don't get caught up in any of the copyright snafus that our candidate has helped create over the years..." - I guess there's a good career to be made in running campaigns if you don't want a job that forces you to think...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2007 @ 1:46pm

      Re:

      whoever runs the debate probably doesn't allow anybody else to film it. i don't have much love for some campaign managers, but lets not insult them over things out of their control when there are plenty of other things we can get upset about.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    _Jon, 29 Oct 2007 @ 12:43pm

    And Fox pro'lly wonders why the Dems wouldn't attend the debate they hosted....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TheDock22, 29 Oct 2007 @ 12:47pm

    It's not fair use

    Since one of the biggest parts is not profiting off the use of the materials, which any political candidate would definitely profit from. So, it is not fair use.

    I understand why Fox did this though. They do not want to be tied as supporting any candidate in particular, which is completely fair.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 29 Oct 2007 @ 1:19pm

      Re: It's not fair use

      Since one of the biggest parts is not profiting off the use of the materials, which any political candidate would definitely profit from. So, it is not fair use.

      Actually, I think you misunderstand how fair use is determined. I'm not saying this is definitely fair use, but fair use isn't based on checkboxes, but a combined test on all the different factors. You don't get disqualified for just a single factor...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        TheDock22, 29 Oct 2007 @ 2:06pm

        Re: Re: It's not fair use

        Actually, I think you misunderstand how fair use is determined. I'm not saying this is definitely fair use, but fair use isn't based on checkboxes, but a combined test on all the different factors. You don't get disqualified for just a single factor...

        I could see if this political candidate paid FOX for some of the taping going on for the footage, but to have FOX cover all the costs of taping it and then turn around and use that footage for your own propaganda? I still don't think this is fair use. Now if I took that footage and did something with it, I think that is more what fair use is intended for. I think FOX would come after me anyway though. =)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Murphy, 29 Oct 2007 @ 12:48pm

    What Do CNN, ABC, and NBC Have In Common...That Fo

    CNN, ABC, and NBC agreed to allow reuse of debate footage, but only after Lawrence Lessig and friends pushed the DNC and RNC to make it happen. Presumably, Fox declined.

    @Anonymous Coward: That assumes that Fox and the RNC would let staffers in with cameras, and that staffer-managed cameras would provide adequate quality for the desired purpose. Neither are certain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brad Eleven, 29 Oct 2007 @ 1:52pm

    @Murphy

    I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that FOX had sewn up the rights to film & rebroadcast these debates, e.g., no one can show footage from the debates without the express written consent of FOX Broadcasting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • Fox gets it right this time

    No way should that footage be allowed on a candidates website without permission. Simple and clear. And I agree that no candidate wants or needs a legal battle at this time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe Smith, 29 Oct 2007 @ 6:42pm

    what goes around

    Fox has to be out of its mind. They are threatening to embarrass or sue people most of whom will have continuing political clout in the future and one of whom may be President. Imagine how much sympathy they will get in the future when arguing for the rights of copy-right holders.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 29 Oct 2007 @ 8:07pm

    Re #10, Joe Smith

    They will get the same amount of sympathy they always get, however much they pay for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mike allen, 30 Oct 2007 @ 1:26am

    whoose copyright

    Surely it could be argued that a copyright may not belong to FOX for example here if a candidate has previously stated his/her policy on an issue and that is restated in a debate on FOX then surely that copyright is the candidates not the TV station. therefore the audio track is the candidates copyright the video is a differant matter as FOX toke the footage. simple answear run the audio over your own footage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Uncle Bob, 30 Oct 2007 @ 8:57am

    I can only wait for this to back fire on Fox and the very people they are screwing with get into office and its pay back time! Of course the Republians has such high ethical values that they would never let something like this bring about any kind of retaliation of any kind. Ha!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Matt Bennett, 31 Oct 2007 @ 8:11am

    Like to point out that the FOX that owns the Simpsons, and FOXNews, while technically co-owned, are extremely separate organizations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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