People in the blogosphere are reacting to YouTube’s disappearing of our clip at CNN’s demand.
It is hard to avoid the inference that in this case, CNN was motivated not by a desire to protect its intellectual property but by a desire to avoid embarrassment caused by the unprofessional performance of its reporter. In today’s world, though, it just isn’t possible to track down all copies of a video and suppress them, when the video relates to a matter of broad and legitimate public interest. That CNN is willing to make the attempt reveals something, perhaps, about its attitude toward the public’s right to be informed.
We have to stop these thugs from reading fair use out of the law whenever they’re embarrassed.
From our comment section:
I believe Founding Bloggers’ use of the CNN footage was fair use, and that CNN’s takedown notice to YouTube was improper.
And From Ben’s own site
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.
We are in the process of consulting our Founding Bloggers legal team to decide if we are going to file a counter claim against CNN. We believe that we are well within our rights under fair use, but we are not attorneys so….we’ll see.
In any case, it is hard to understand why YouTube also took down the 3000+ comment thread from the video. Does CNN own all discussion of this clip???
In the meantime, we want to thank everyone that has expressed their support on this issue! From the bloggers listed above, to our readers who have commented and written us. We truly appreciate it!
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