CNN the Latest Corporate Thug to Use Copyright As a Weapon to Eliminate Embarrassing Clips from YouTube
I’m sick of people knocking embarrassing videos off YouTube with bogus copyright violation claims.
The latest culprit is CNN, a network that was recently embarrassed by a video of reporter Susan Roesgen cutting off tea-party protestors in Chicago, and assailing them with silly liberal talking points. The blog Founding Bloggers showed up on scene and caught her in further arguments with angry citizens who noted her biased coverage. I posted the Founding Bloggers video on Thursday.
But guess what happens when you click on it now?
That’s what happens.
As to the validity of the copyright claim, let me turn over the megaphone to Ben Sheffner of Copyrights and Campaigns:
CNN does own copyright in its own news footage and, as a general matter, has the right to demand its removal from YouTube. However, as to this particular video, I think Founding Bloggers has a very strong fair use defense. The purpose for Founding Bloggers’ posting of the CNN footage is crystal clear: to comment on and criticize CNN’s reporting on the “Tea Party.” Such a use is right in the heartland of the fair use doctrine; the statute specifically mentions “criticism, comment, [and] news reporting” as protected uses that are “not an infringement of copyright.” 17 U.S.C. § 107. To quickly run through the four fair use factors as they apply here: 1) the use is transformative (for critical comment); 2) the CNN footage is factual, not fictional, and was previously broadcast; 3) the amount used is small in relation to the whole CNN broadcast; and 4) any effect on the market is minuscule (and if fewer people watch CNN because this video causes them to think less of its coverage, that’s simply not cognizable harm). Many fair use cases are difficult, close calls–but, given the facts as I know them, this is an easy one.
That’s a very refined way of saying CNN is full of crap.
So what can be done? Well, Founding Bloggers reports that another blogger grabbed a copy and posted it to YouTube. Time to repost it:
And if they take that one down, well, I happen to have my own copy sitting around here somewhere. I have posted it on YouTube as well.
They’ll probably take our copies down, too. If they do, I’ll look for other sites to upload it to, or perhaps try to embed it here on the blog. And I may take Ben Sheffner’s advice and file a DMCA counternotice. If CNN wants to sue me, we can make this a test case.
In the meantime, I encourage every reader with a YouTube account to upload this video to YouTube. I encourage every blogger reading this to embed this same video to your own site.
We have to stop these thugs from reading fair use out of the law whenever they’re embarrassed.
FLASHBACK: Roesgen was one of the reporters primarily responsible for spreading myths about the racially charged “Jena 6” case. More on that here.