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.”