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The Democrat National Committee is absolutely right

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It’s bad form to kick people when they’re down- though it can be very gratifying. Still, it makes one look more noble to come to the defense of the downtrodden.

Also, it tickled me to have a good reason to give a column a title like this. It doesn’t happen every day.

Anyway, I’d like to say a few rare words in defense of the Democrat National Committee regarding this current flap with a couple of news networks:

Late Thursday afternoon, NBC News and CBS News requested that that the Democratic National Committee pull the campaign video in question. The DNC, through a spokesman, says that the matter is under consideration.

NBC released a statement Tuesday afternoon. “The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has included an edited excerpt from a Meet the Press interview with President Bush that was broadcast on February 8, 2004 as part of their promotional campaign to be used as a web video and shown in battleground states. NBC News does not authorize its copyrighted footage to be used for partisan political purposes. NBC News did not, and does not, license use of our material for these purposes and we have asked the DNC to cease and desist immediately from using the excerpt.”

Screw the networks. The DNC are absolutely within rights here. Generally, quoting a news source is fair use. Further, this is right in the middle of that. The president of the United States says something publicly, then expect to have it quoted.

Indeed, this doesn’t even look halfway close to a copyright violation, and it doesn’t make sense that these networks are pushing this.

Perhaps CBS in particular would be better served to expend this energy instead into just trying to make sure that their broadcasts are factual to start with.

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  • Doug

    Al,
    You totally screwed the pooch on this one. You are correct in that the DNC could use the quote, but what NBC is objecting to is the use of their footage…ie actual video. What the DNC is doing is similar to a company (say P&G) using footage from an NFL game in a commercial for one of their products. Just because something has been broadcast on television doesn’t mean that everyone with a VCR (or TIVO) can just rip that footage off and use it any way they choose.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    DNC are quoting video rather than text. I don’t see the difference. Also, there’s a big difference between footage of a commercial NFL game for which the network has paid big bucks versus the indisputably newsworthy quoting of the president.

  • Doug

    Ummm, have you watched the video? That’s why NBC (to quote from your post) says:
    “NBC News does not authorize its copyrighted footage to be used for partisan political purposes”. Note the use of the word “footage”…that means video or film. Again, the point is if it was just quoting a broadcast then NBC wouldn’t have issued the statement. The problem is that the DNC has used actual footage…which is CBS’s beef with them also.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    The DNC does not need the networks permission to quote them.

  • Doug

    Are you intentionally hard headed? The DNC is NOT quoting anybody, they are using acutal footage. Which is what both NBC and CBS are objecting to…read your own material.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    Doug, what are YOU having trouble understanding? They’re quoting video rather than text. Same thing legally, from anything I can tell. Quote a paragraph from a written text, or show 10 seconds of the president’s statement on Meet the Press.

    The network might not LIKE it, but what they like doesn’t much concern me.

  • Doug

    Al, or should I call you Dan or Bill? Both NBC and CBS state that the DNC video uses “footage”. Look it up, it’s really not that hard. NBC and CBS are asking the DNC to pull the FOOTAGE from the ad they say nothing, NOTHING about QUOTES. Your ignorance and intransigence are amazing…you are truly suited for politics.