WHAS11 Fair Use Update: Day 7

We were informed last evening, October 31 at 6:31 P.M., that our counter-notification to WHAS11’s wrongful copyright infringement claim has been forwarded to the station.

Oct 31, 2007 6:31 PM
Dear Jacob,

Thank you for your counter-notification. It has been forwarded to the
party that sent the takedown notification. If we receive no response, your
material will be restored between 10 and 14 days from today.

Sincerely,

Harry
The YouTube Team

Page One and The ‘Ville Voice for updates to this story.

WHAS11 Fair Use Update: Day 5

There are over 2,000 WHAS11 videos on YouTube and more than 45,000 Google results for “WHAS11 video.” Surprising, isn’t it? If so much of that station’s footage is allowed to virally spread across the internet, why on earth would anyone at that station single us out for a mere ten video clips? What’s with the hypocrisy? What could possibly need to be covered up so badly? This behavior is obviously in retaliation for our criticism. And we must have struck a chord.

Over the past 24 hours we have heard from numerous reporters, producers and employees at WHAS11 and BELO both expressing outrage at the situation and supporting our right to use video clips under Fair Use. Two other local television stations and one in Lexington have offered support.

We fully expect the individual at WHAS11 responsible for the copyright infringement claims to continue to deny our right of free speech. We expect them to spout off in an accusatory fashion or in some way to say the use of a news segment or clip (not an entire show!) is illegal. But we are hopeful new General Manager Mark Pimental will recognize that Fair Use is critical to freedom of speech in the United States of America and to the future of media in Kentucky. If we’re unable to talk about the news and share portions of it (as any other outlet would do) to tell our story– then how can we reasonably expect truth and reality to be a part of the news these stations air?

When critics are allowed to be freely targeted and silenced we move further and further into an Orwellian society. When sites like ours, Media Matters for America, Crooks & Liars, or any number of publications featuring video segments from news broadcasts endure censorship– our readers and the general public suffer unjustifiable harm.

We recognize that WHAS11 has seen their fair share of tough times recently. And we have pioneered the system for reporting those woes. But that’s no reason and no excuse for vengeful behavior.

Update: WHAS11 Shuts Down Page One/’Ville Voice Videos

Four days ago, WHAS11-TV (“WHAS11 News”) filed a complaint with YouTube regarding the posting of video comparing, contrasting, discussing and criticizing reports and incidents from around Kentucky. At 7:10 P.M. that evening we received notice that YouTube removed our content.

We believe our use of WHAS11’s video falls under the “Fair Use” doctrine. The same doctrine under which WHAS11 presumably operates when they use video from other sources in their newscasts without express permission. The same doctrine under which thousands of other outlets like ours do the very same thing with the very same content.

Additionally, a number of stories have been broken and first reported by our websites only to be run as news on WHAS11 without any credit being given. Meaning the station looks to our web outlets as sources of major news which the station then reports as its own.

WHAS11 has never contacted us to request that we remove the content. (Though, one employee has contacted us in the past in a less than adult manner, we remind you.) The station’s decision to label us as copyright infringers is not only wrong and demeaning but it has resulted in a major inconvenience to us and our readers.

Today we filed a formal counter-notification (PDF Link) with YouTube in response to the removal of our video content. As stated, we believe our use of WHAS11’s video falls under the “Fair Use” provision of copyright law in the United States.

As we resolve this matter we want to let our readers know what’s going on. We also want you to be aware of the extent to which WHAS11 has gone to stifle free speech and crush journalistic criticism. In this age of new media the actual media is attempting to silence its chief critic by making it impossible to use its content in a contextual matter.

Any person of common sense and compassion would think WHAS11 could learn from past experience. It lost several key reporters and anchors as a direct result of poor management and leadership. It hasn’t been long ago that it lost a multi-million dollar battle in court for knowingly reporting lies and distortions. We sincerely hope the station takes its community-wide reputation into consideration before embarking on a mission against the ever-growing blogosphere.

This is absolutely unfortunate and saddening. It is unnecessary. We have not harmed WHAS11 in any way, have not inconvenienced the station financially and have not performed any act with ill intent. If anything we have given WHAS thousands of dollars worth of free publicity– even the occasional well-deserved praise.

YouTube has a legal responsibility to restore our mistakenly deleted content within 14 days. WHAS11 and parent company BELO have 10 days to further contest our use by taking us to court where media watchdogs and free speech attorneys galore are sure to come to our direct defense.

We don’t wish to be viewed as bullies. We believe we have operated completely within our rights under the law. We believe we have provided WHAS11 and other media outlets with nothing but professionalism and respect. We hope the station gives us the respect we deserve by providing us an apology.

Click here to read more about “Fair Use.”

Education in Kentucky: Still National Laughingstock

Yesterday national blog Wonkette brought a story to readers’ attention about the reading levels at which journalists write. The story quotes an internal Cleveland Plain Dealer memo discussing the importance of dumbing everything down. Included in the memo? The following horrible quote that brings about the embarrassing state of education in Kentucky:

As a final note, years ago, when John Carroll was editor in Lexington, he refused to publish a series, Cheating Our Children, about the poor education in Kentucky until the writers got it down to grade level THREE. You can’t write respectable journalism at the third-grade level, can you? The series was a Pulitzer finalist, won several major awards and, most importantly, led to a revolution in the Kentucky educational system.

This is STILL the impression outsiders have of our beautiful Bluegrass state. We’re ignorant hicks who can’t read beyond a third grade level.

Sure, this story merely makes the case for dumbing crap down by reminding folks of the ‘Cheating Our Children’ series. But it’s damaging to our image and reputation.

Perfect example of why our leaders need to step up to the plate. If we don’t immediately improve our image– we never will.

Army possibly nearing equality?

Zahora - NPR - IraqMilitary policies don’t keep women off the front lines anymore. NPR’s Jack Zahora for All Things Considered reports that sixty-one women have been killed by hostile fire in Iraq and discusses important new roles women are more often beginning to play in combat zones– despite Pentagon policies.

Go Listen!

Zahora is a rising star at NPR and has covered Iraq quite a bit. Give more of his work a listen while you’re at it. More Kentuckians should familiarize themselves with his reporting as 2008 draws near.

Back in the Game

I came late to the journalism party. Days after my 36th birthday, I reported for my first day of work at a real newspaper – Business First of Louisville.

So it’s been a decade since I first felt the adrenaline rush of breaking a news story, of beating the competition (at that time, the Courier-Journal), of seeing my name on Page One of the paper. There was a surprising thrill to painting a picture in words of a conflict that the subjects didn’t want to see in the paper.

After nearly four years, I left for what I thought were greener pastures in the dot-com world. But that’s another story for another day.

Read more