Another day, another case of someone abusing copyright law (and the DMCA specifically) to try to stifle criticism. Before we get into the details, let me be clear on one thing: as I was just discussing last week, I don’t think the panics about “media consolidation” are really that reasonable in this day and age. As such, I find myself very much on the other side, philosophically, with Free Press on its new “Save The News” campaign against media consolidation. As far as I’m concerned, if dinosaur media organizations want to merge, let them. That just opens up more opportunities for upstarts. So, even as someone who isn’t impressed by the campaign, I’m 100% behind them on their response to Newport Television, an operation so upset by this campaign that it’s abusing copyright law to stifle Free Press’ criticism.
The crux of Free Press’ argument is that local TV stations are skirting media ownership rules by setting up joint operations with other channels to share costs. Basically, it allows operations to consolidate without technically being owned by the same operation. As an example, they pointed to Newport’s WAWS-TV and WTEV-TV, which share services and have a consolidated news room. They included a screenshot of the two websites and logos briefly in a video discussing this. Free Press points to this video, but, for the life of me, I can’t see either station mentioned or their logos anywhere.
Either way, showing a screenshot and a log in such cases is clearly not a copyright violation at all. But Newport Television not only sent a bogus cease-and-desist (embedded below) to Free Press, but also issued a bogus DMCA takedown to YouTube, who took down the video. Free Press, of course, is not one to back down and has filed a counternotice and responded sternly to Newport Television, which has just called a lot more attention to its news sharing practices, whether you think they’re a good idea or a bad idea.
This is a clear case of Newport Television abusing copyright law and the DMCA, in particular, to stifle and censor critical commentary. Even if you disagree with Free Press on this issue (as I do), I at least believe they have the right to be heard. In fact, if anything, Newport Television’s actions here make me more sympathetic to Free Press’ position here than I would be otherwise.
Sourced from TechDirt
- Technology investors urge US politicians to reject web-blocking law (go.theregister.com)
- Dropbox asks file sharing add-on to drop dead (boingboing.net)