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.”

Ooooh gurl, someone is bitter

Bitter, party of one!

Stacy Neitzel, a Cave City “independent” (aka Fletcher Republican, like her husband) of the Glasgow Daily Times may be the one with the ego problem. Or she may be a little slow when it comes to senses of humor. Who knows?

Either way, she’s upset because Steve Beshear admitted he has no idea what a carton of eggs cost, saying his wife buys them but he pays for them.

How on earth is that an indication of how Beshear views and treats women? Get a grip! I know probably a hundred women who don’t even know what eggs cost.

Let’s get real here, Stacy, and drop the bitterness over your faux incident with Uncle Steve a few weeks ago. All politicians have huge egos– that’s no secret. Stop parading around as an objective journalist if you’re going to keep this crap up.

WHAS11 Freaks Out

WHAS11 freaks out, claims copyright infringement on everything. No questions asked. So if you’re visiting our site in hopes of viewing an interview with Mitch McConnell from a week ago? Send us an e-mail. Or contact the DSCC/a hundred other entities who have a copy of the video.

Apparently their web folks are taking a page from the Aaron Ramey (please see The ‘Ville Voice for Ramey history) play book and don’t realize that it’s in poor taste to flip out instead of acting in a professional manner. Or maybe they don’t realize that criticism is fair game when it comes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Who knows?

People wouldn’t resort to posting video on YouTube for purposes of criticism if stations like WHAS11 could get their web presence in order. (We’re not holding our breath, neither should you.) It’s 2007. There’s no need to randomly and unreliably post Windows Media files on an unusable and confusing website. Get your butts in gear. Start sharing your content in a usable, functional manner instead of playing like it’s 1995. It’s a sad day when a blogger or YouTube user can harness your audience better than you can.

AKA: We’re betting dollars to donuts that you can’t get stats like these on a single segment:

WHAS McConnell Stats

And on a semi-related note: If you’re a web producer or reporter who is upset with something written about your station/paper/operation? Please think twice about sending ridiculous e-mails from your work account. Especially if your station/paper/operation is under new management and in the process of recovering from a terrible news director. Send stuff from home and try to refrain from composing your message with caps lock on. Come on, people. You’re adults.

Breaking: McConnell Staffer Responsible for SCHIP Smear Campaign

From Think Progress:

Yesterday, ThinkProgress reported that there was mounting evidence that a staffer for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) may have been involved in the right-wing campaign to smear Graeme Frost and his family.

ABC News reported earlier in the week that an e-mail sent to reporters by “a Senate Republican leadership aide” in McConnell’s office suggested that “GOP aides were complicit in spreading disparaging information about the Frosts.” A McConnell spokesman refused to deny the office’s involvement in the affair.

ThinkProgress has obtained an email that congressional sources tell us was sent to reporters by Sen. McConnell’s communications director Don Stewart.

What the hell is this? The most powerful senator in the United States has his communications director rely on blogs for information used to falsely attack children? When did the private lives of non-officials become fair game in political smear stunts? Do we really want to go there? Because we will if we must.

Mr. Stewart must resign and McConnell needs to apologize. Now.

Where’s the mainstream media on this?

Click here for the rest of the report.

Kentucky Central Issue: Ignored by the Media

The media (for some reason) hasn’t picked up on it. But. What prominent supporter of Ernie Fletcher was an attorney with Frost & Jacobs during the Kentucky Central hubbub? Take a wild guess.

Larry Forgy. Forgy, who is alleged to have made a pretty penny working for Frost & Jacobs during the time frame focused upon as of late, went on to run for governor and has been a thorn in Kentucky’s side ever since. Most notably in his support for Fletcher and his recent attempts to push the Kentucky Central matter into the limelight.

Is Forgy the man behind the curtain? Is he, as Fletcher’s most prominent supporter, the fellow pulling the strings?

Would be wise for a reporter to find out.

Rather than demonize Ryan Alessi or trash any other reporter who may or may not have all the facts (or who may have had facts edited from their story)– we merely beg everyone to dig into the matter.

What is Larry Forgy’s role today? What involvement does he have?  Is he, as someone who potentially profited from his firm’s role in the Kentucky Central liquidation, attempting to capitalize on the non-scandal today?  We’ll see.

Pat Crowley: What’s going on here?

We’re usually fans of Pat Crowley because he’s one of the few people who actually reports in Northern Kentucky.

But today? Seems like he’s using his column to promote the crazy Vets for Freedom group whether he means to or not. Here’s the headline and the first couple paragraphs of his column:

Vets for Freedom to rally in support of Iraq efforts

Vets for Freedom, a group that backs the war in Iraq, is hosting a town hall meeting at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Walton National Guard post near Interstate 75 in Walton.

The organization describes itself as “a nonpartisan organization established by combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan” with a mission to “educate the American public about the importance of achieving success in these conflicts.”

For more information log on to www.vetsforfreedom.org/.

Where’s his usual journalistic desire to question everything? VFF gets described as a nonpartisan organization with no mention to the contrary. Like it’s copied and pasted directly from a press release.

No mention that the group is heavily tied to Bush’s PR firm.

No mention of VFF’s Executive Director Pete Hegseth and his mission to cover up and make excuses for the outrageous soldier suicide rate while it’s the highest that it’s been in the U.S. Army in more than 26 years.

Now’s the perfect time to re-watch Andrew Horne’s appearance on Live with Dan Abrams from August 16th. Horne was on with Hegseth to discuss soldier suicide rates. Hegseth did his level best to spin the facts with no success, the entire time trying to refute the Army’s figures on suicide.

Far cry from educating the public about the importance of achieving success in Iraq, eh?

We hope Pat follows up on the Vets for Freedom visit to Kentucky without allowing the group’s controversial and questionable past to slip by the wayside.