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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 8:43am

    Petty

    "Not only does it make the company look petty,"

    At least in this case, looks are not deceiving.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 8:46am

    So if I see footage of Brokaw commenting on a train accident, I'm to believe he is...approving the train accident?

    And don't news shows use other networks' news footage (with or without newscaster) all the time when talking about past events?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 8:47am

    It's not CBS and NBC news. Fox News sued a few democrats in the last few years for using some Fox News clips of Fox reporters attacking republican candidates in their ads.

    Of course Fox News was totally silent when republican candidates did the exact same thing in their ads attacking democrats.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 8:59am

      Re:

      Isn't fantastic how copyright can be used to censor political speech and get away with it?

      And people wonder why granting exclusion powers to idiots is a good idea.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    NBC Universal are only doing this because they can. if they could be penalised because doing it is wrong, they wouldn't do it.

     

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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Jan 30th, 2012 @ 8:54am

    and also...

    Perhaps they shouldn't allow Brokaw to be a guest on political talk shows...

     

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    Brad C (profile), Jan 30th, 2012 @ 8:56am

    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.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 9:04am

      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.

       

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      Nathan F (profile), Jan 30th, 2012 @ 9:15am

      Re:

      Then it comes down to how much of the article was used? Was it a half hour interview of which they used 30 seconds? Was it a two minute spot to which they used 30 seconds?

       

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      MrWilson, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 9:18am

      Re:

      Not only is it not plagiarism since the source is cited, but plagiarism has nothing to do with copyright law. It's all about whether or not the content was authorized to be used or whether or not the usage of the content needed to be authorized.

       

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      weneedhelp (profile), Jan 30th, 2012 @ 10:15am

      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.

       

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    Vidiot (profile), Jan 30th, 2012 @ 9:11am

    Think of the talent

    Having licensed NBC footage in the past for various projects, the usual refrain involves the on-air talent's rights as individuals: "No problem letting you use that clip. However, we can't give permission for you to use the newscaster's likeness... that needs to come from them." Which means "no".

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 9:30am

      Re: Think of the talent

      Blur his likeness.
      It will be fantastic to see how copyright affects politics if they are forced to do it in public.

       

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        Kevin H (profile), Jan 30th, 2012 @ 10:46am

        Re: Re: Think of the talent

        Its really stupid that it needs to be done in the first place. If Brokaw was willing to do the story in 97, he shouldn't be trying to hide it now.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 9:17am

    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.

     

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    CD (profile), Jan 30th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    Quick shutdown the campaign website, freeze all assets, and delete the data within a week or two.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 9:20am

    Give Mit a break the guy is battered already.

    Bloomberg's amazing -- and rejected -- Mitt Romney cover
    http://boingboing.net/2012/01/26/bloombergs-amazing-and-re.html

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 9:24am

    http://boingboing.net/2012/01/27/in-russia-tiny-protest-sparks.html

    Wall-E supports opposition of Vladimir Putin in Russia!

     

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    jailbait, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 9:53am

    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.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Jan 30th, 2012 @ 9:55am

    Join my Facebook Group Boycott Big Content.
    NBC & The rest of the Big Studios need to be taught a lesson by the people and for the people.
    I hate anything that has to do with the MPAA/RIAA
    This News Story did not surprise me at all.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 10:04am

    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.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 10:10am

    NBC should ask Disney to send the Mickey Troopers.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 10:14am

    Copyright is to democracy what Pedobear is to children.

     

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    AB, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 10:16am

    This is exactly why we need bills like SOPA/ACTA to put a stop to such blatant copyright infringement! How can any hard working artist hope to survive against such piracy of their hard work? Millions of people saw their logo without paying for the privilege!!

     

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    Bt Garner (profile), Jan 30th, 2012 @ 12:39pm

    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.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 1:41pm

      Re:

      Still has nothing to do with copyright, which is the bludgeon they're trying to use. If anyone has a dog in the fight it's Gingrich, not the news organization.

       

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    identicon
    darryl, Jan 31st, 2012 @ 1:53am

    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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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 1:17am

      Re: Who is "US" ??

      Oh, right. Clearly someone who places his name for everyone to see has less balls than someone who conveniently forgets to sign a name that has little more credibility than a pseudonym. What's your full name, "darryl", and what's your stake in all this?

       

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    Gerald Robinson (profile), Jan 31st, 2012 @ 10:09am

    More Lamestreammedia bias

    The Lamestream media supports the as is socialists and don't want any one who has a chance of disrupting their monopoly and comfy relationship with the corrupt government to succeed. Purely partisan politics.

     

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    Snidely, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 1:23am

    Dead men can't endorse...

    It's a shame this wasn't done by ABC news. I would have loved to hear them argue that Peter Jennings was secretly endorsing Mitt from beyond the grave.

     

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