20 thoughts on “A Minor Scandal I’d Pay Good Money to See

  1. Aunt B.

    Fair use. Non-commercial. Political speech. Protected.

    We use two very short clips of the audio, looped repeatedly. We use only a small fraction of the overall recording. Again, in non-commercial, protected political speech, it’s fair use.

  2. I have no dog in the fight but I think the TNGOP is misreading “fair use.” In *Bridgeport v Dimension Films,* the Court noted that “The scope of inquiry is much narrower when the work in question is a sound recording. The only issue is whether the actual sound recording has been used without authorization.” It doesn’t matter how much of a song is used or for what purpose; if you don’t have the artist’s explicit permission, whether you rip off three notes or three hundred, you’re liable. Moreover, for anything other than in-home private listening, which this isn’t — it’s a publication of a sample — fair use usually doesn’t apply.

  3. And stealing a t-shirt that says “Fuck Republicans” doesn’t make the theft of that t-shirt legitimate even if the sentiment expressed on the shirt is protected political speech.

  4. Sorry, Mack. It was on the line and I just couldn’t help myself. And as you can see, theft is now protected speech according to Bill Hobbs — so, you know, it’s got to be a fact.

  5. Bridgett, I’m inclined to agree with you, and to point out that the non-commercial nature of a work is but one of four factors to consider when determining whether something meets the criteria of “fair use” and that section 107 makes no specific mention of political speech. There may some relevant rulings I’m not aware of, but non-commercial does not automatically mean “fair use.”

  6. Other than the Leno clip, which I think is NOT fair use, I actually think the video makes very good points about who controls the public perception about the current oil situation.

    (In the current case, I happen to agree with the TNGOP that more proactive drilling is needed.)

    The thing about the Leno clip is that it makes it look like Leno is endorsing–or not endorsing–a political point of view. Since he is not a politician, his speech is not protected politcal speech.

    Of course if I never see another viral video from the DEMOCRATS with that snide Jon Stewart I’d be equally happy. At least Stewart, though, markets himself as a quasi political pundit, making his stuff fall more neatly under fair use.

  7. But, you know, whatever you think of the argument of the piece, this does make me wonder why the TNGOP public relations flack didn’t think to run this by a copyright lawyer. At least he’d then know that he’d have no grounds to claim fair use due to non-commerciality or “protected political speech.” Aren’t there any competent Republican PR guys in Nashville?

  8. Sure there are. But as with most viral videos I think it’s more of a “better to ask forgiveness than permission” deal.

    By the time it breaks wide, the assumption is usually that it looks petty to raise a complaint about legalities.

    Heck, that’s YouTube’s entire business model, best I can tell.

  9. I concur. I think y’all should TOTALLY get someone to sue Hobbs and the TNGOP for copyright violation because that would cause a MASSIVE blogstorm and make national news and you know they HATE it when that happens.

  10. Kat…I won’t derail the thread, but drilling is the LAST thing we need to make priority 1.

    Lets have that discussion.

  11. As I said at the top, Adam, I have no dog in the fight. However, if I had an employee who blithely incurred liability and then makes up gibberish that betrays profound ignorance of something that a person in his position and with his resume should know chapter and verse, I’d be firing him. But if TNGOP likes looking stupid, I guess that’s their business.

  12. Lets have that discussion.

    I’ve written up my thoughts already. They’re over at my place. I’m sure you’ll find plenty to dicker with. I expect no less from you. ;-p

    (Fair warning: Of course I’m a lot more free market oriented, just know that going into it.)

  13. ACK, again, I’m with Bridgett. I’m not rah-rahing for the copyright holder to sue Hobbs/TNGOP, and I think there are some legitimate discussions to be had about what *should* be considered fair use. I’m just surprised that the response to B’s post was less “let me find out from someone with expertise; I could be wrong” and more a seeming misinterpretation of fair use presented as fact.

  14. Classic case of Hobbs being Hobbs. It never crossed his atrophied mind that B and most of her readers, (including Supermousey) are light-years ahead of the TnGOP’s readers. TCP readers think, employ logic, and research what they don’t already know. If you throw out a bullshit argument here, chances are pretty good some regular has a little expertise in that field and will bitch-slap the hell out of you.

    Over at TnGOP blog, if you throw out a bullshit line, it is not only swallowed by the mindless sycophants, it is usually adopted into their platform.

    If Hobbs wasn’t concerned, BTW, he wouldn’t have bothered replying to B’s post. Even his clipped response was an easy tell. Love to get that cat into a poker game.

  15. And let me just say, I also have no interest in bringing down or even attempting to bring down Hobbs over this, as if I even could (I mean, please, Tiny Pasture, who do you think we are, that we could get someone to sue Hobbs?)

    I just find it hilarious that a man who’s most famous attack strategy is to point out the ways in which is opponents are not quite the good, upstanding Americans “we” are isn’t making that much of an effort to be a good upstanding American who doesn’t steal. And I would find it amusing to watch him squirm publicly over that.

    He could have very easily availed himself of some music already free from copyright–either because the artists had licensed it under some kind of creative commons agreement or because it had fallen out of copyright.

    I’m not sure what he could have done for the same effect with Jay Leno. Maybe just quoting him instead of using the clip? I don’t know. But a copyright lawyer would.

    You’re almost always going to run into problems when you move away from using political figures’ exact words (like he did with the Michelle Obama clips) and start to use other people’s commentary (which is what Leno’s is) in order to make your own point. If he had been making a point about what Leno was saying, I think he’d have a fair use claim. But using Leno’s point as his own? That requires permission.

    He’d have been better off to not use it all together, even though he then loses the apparent authority of Leno.

    I think he’s right about protected political speech when he’s quoting public figures, especially to show where they’re, in his estimation, wrong. That’s obviously for the purpose of his commentary. But he doesn’t need Jay Leno or the music to make his commentary, so that falls outside the scope he’s trying to claim.

  16. Upon further reflection, I’ve decided, though, that it would be awesome if Tiny Cat Pants were a place where an all powerful cabal of potty-mouthed hipsters and smartypants gathered to plot how they might run the country, when they get around to taking it over.

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