A San Francisco-area television station invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to remove an embarrassing clip from the Internet.
It’s getting a little harder to find clips of Oakland, California, Fox Affiliate KTVU-TV’s airing of incorrect names following the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport.
That’s because the station, which was apparently pranked into airing names some see as racially-insensitive (and that others simply see as silly puns). Those names included plays on words like “Sum Ding Wong” (as in “something’s wrong”).
As soon as the incident happened, clips of it began popping up on YouTube and elsewhere. People were only too happy to lampoon the station. Clips of the station’s subsequent apologies — at least two that I know of — also hit the net.
But KTVU is invoking the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to petition sites like YouTube to remove the clips. They can do that, after all. They own the clips because they own the copyright.
There’s far too much of a tendency these days to assume that when something is broadcast, it’s ours to do with as we please. The same goes for music. People who’ve been successfully sued by the music industry on copyright infringement grounds quickly learn who owns what.
Is it any surprise — should it be a surprise? — that a copyright holder would want to remove embarrassing and potentially-offensive material associated with it from public view? Particularly if that copyright holder is accused of being racially-insensitive to a race of people with a relatively high presence in their home market?
It shouldn’t be.
Some of those clips are now replaced with YouTube’s crooked frown icon and the grammatically-incorrect message, “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by KTVU.” (It should read, “This video is no longer available because of a copyright claim by KTVU.”)
The station’s general manager told MediaBistro that by now, most people have seen the clip, anyway.
“Consistent with our apology, we are carrying through on our responsibility to minimize the thoughtless repetition of the video by others,” he added.
Media Blog FTVLive isn’t buying it:
“It’s a gutless move by a station trying to cover up their mistake. You can also bet if the video was one of their Reporter’s [sic] doing something extraordinary, the video would still be online.”
Now I’m in a quandry: which grammar mistake ticks me off more: yet another instance of the improper use of due to or the incorrect use of an apostrophe to make something plural. It’s a pickle, I tell you.
To FTVLive’s point, if it were a clip of one of the station’s on-air personalities doing something well, of course it’d still be online. Not only would it still be online, but you could bet the station would be promoting it in its newscasts, hoping more people would watch!
But either way, KTVU owns the copyright. So that’s their call, not ours. It’s their right to decide what clips they want showcased and which clips they’d like removed.
And can you really “cover up a mistake” everyone already knows you made?