Home | Copyright | Fox News Can’t Suppress Clips of Its Shows

Fox News Can’t Suppress Clips of Its Shows

Fox News

Fox News often finds itself the brunt of criticism by competitive networks and cable favorites, like the Daily Show. Clips from Fox shows are To discover material needed, these shows use online services like TVEyes, which provides a searchable database of clips from major TV and Radio stations, including programming from Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. Fox news claims that TVEyes has been using Fox network’s copyrighted material without authorization. By allowing people to watch Fox news clips, commercial free, TVEyes has caused Fox financial harm, which necessitated a lawsuit for copyright infringement against the clipping service. This week, a Judge ruled that TVEyes clip aggregation service fell under the fair use exception and was, therefore, not an infringing activity.

In copyright law, news and commentary are both considered a fair use, an exception that stems from the first amendment’s Freedom of Speech and Press clauses. A free press is critical to a democratic government so actions that attempt to limit the press are extremely difficult. The same laws that allow Fox News to provide unfettered opinion and commentary, also ensures that people can criticize that commentary. As Samuel Adams wrote in the Boston Gazette in 1776, “there is nothing so fretting and vexatious, nothing so justly terrible to tyrants, and their tools and abettors, as a free press.” Fox, on the other hand, claims the case has little to do with limiting access but rather focuses on the right to exclusive ownership and control of its content.

In fact, that argument played a prominent role in a 2003 case Fox took in which Jane Akre sued Fox for terminating her over her refusal to lie about bovine growth hormone (BGH), a product manufactured by Monsanto Corporation. Fox executives wanted Akre to use statements from Monsanto representatives that she knew to be false. When she refused, Fox fired her, an action for which Akre brought a wrongful termination suit against the news network. Fox attorneys did not dispute the facts. They admitted to asking Akre to lie. However, Fox argued that under the First Amendment, broadcasters have the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on public airwaves. The Appeals Court unanimously agreed.

In this case, Fox took a different approach, using copyright law as a means to overcome the free speech argument After all, The Constitution speaks directly on the importance of protecting our intellectual property, making it a good vehicle to support their argument.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 declares: “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein disagreed, stating that the TVEyes’ database and its searchable function for television clips and snippets of the transcript were fair uses of broadcast content and thus were protected from claims of copyright infringement. Hellerstein said the company had created a database that was transformative; an important criteria when analyzing whether a work fits the fair use exception. Hellerman further noted that TVEyes was not showing full shows to compete with Fox. Eighty-two percent of video clips accessed on TVEyes are a minute long or less, and less than 1 percent of clips are played for the maximum allowable time of 10 minutes.

“No reasonable juror could find that people are using TVEyes as a substitute for watching Fox News broadcasts on television,” Hellerstein wrote. “TVEyes is not a valuable service because its subscribers credit it as a reliable news outlet; it is valuable because it reports what the news outlets and commentators are saying and therefore does not ‘scoop’ or free-ride on the news services.”

Whether Fox News targeted TVEyes as a means to reduce the criticisms fomented relentlessly by other media organizations or it is truly worried about the economic harm free clips has on the organization’s profitability, is almost immaterial. Both lead to the same place, limiting access to information. Congress, to its credit, saw this potential argument and codified a solution; making news and commentary a fair use. So for those who are entertained by attacks on Fox, you can rest easy.

About the author

Steve Schlackman

As a photographer and Patent Attorney with a background in marketing, Steve has a unique perspective on art and law. Should you have any questions on Intellectual Property contact him at [email protected] His photography can be seen online at Fotofilosophy.com or on display at the Emmanuel Fremin Gallery in New York City.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

{{Privy:Embed campaign=133844}}

The Latest From Artrepreneur

  • The Artist’s Guide to Creating a Media Kit

    An artist media kit is a useful tool for getting journalists and art critics to your exhibitions. We review what you should include when creating a media kit. The post The Artist’s Guide to Creating a Media Kit appeared first on Artrepreneur. […]

  • You Don’t Need an MFA to Make It as An Artist

    While obtaining an MFA is the pathway some artists take to further pursue their career, it’s not always a crucial part of developing a distinct and successful artistic practice. The post You Don’t Need an MFA to Make It as An Artist […]

  • When [and Where] to Participate in an Art Exhibition

    Until an artist’s studio has significant resources, it may be difficult to participate in every single art exhibition. Artrepreneur outlines the benefits and drawbacks to consider when weighing local, regional, and international shows. The […]

  • How Do We Calculate the Value of Art?

    Many working artists struggle to price their work. From considering costs and materials to the artist's standing in the marketplace, how does the art world calculate the value of art? The post How Do We Calculate the Value of Art? appeared first on […]

  • The Art of Juggling: Mastering Time Management for Artists

    From designing to pitching, reporting to researching, creatives helming their own practice know that perfecting time management in their workflow produces real results. The post The Art of Juggling: Mastering Time Management for Artists appeared […]

  • Nic Bothma on Photojournalism in a Post-Digital Age

    Award-winning photojournalist Nic Bothma rose to acclaim photographing South African news stories in the 1990s. Here, he discusses how aspiring photographers should approach their business with the rise of camera phones and social media. The post […]

  • Five Art World Headliners on Developing Their Creative Careers

    What are some of the most critical challenges facing emerging artists today? Artrepreneur talks to five art world wunderkinds on what it takes to develop rewarding creative careers. The post Five Art World Headliners on Developing Their Creative […]

  • The End of Advertising? Tribeca Film Festival’s Andrew Essex Weighs In

    In the third installment of the Business of Art radio series, Tribeca Enterprises CEO Andrew Essex discusses the evolution of advertising and storytelling within the creative industries. The post The End of Advertising? Tribeca Film Festival’s […]

  • An Experiental Event Photographer on Developing Your Niche

    Experiential event photographer Vincent Roazzi Jr. shares how he fell into a niche that fuels constant travel and photographic contracts with high-profile brands and event spaces. The post An Experiental Event Photographer on Developing Your Niche […]

  • Why Isn’t My Artwork Selling?

    Whether or not you manage to sell your artwork is driven not by the product, but what you do with the product. Artepreneur reviews some of the most crucial factors involved in selling artwork. The post Why Isn’t My Artwork Selling? appeared […]