Anti-Gore ad controversy


I wasn’t aware of this little bit of controversy until I saw a discussion on it over at Michelle Malkin’s site. Evidently, a video that discusses the need for cheap energy has been pulled from YouTube due to copyright violation.

Some are claiming that this is an effort to suppress the conversation on global warming. I don’t agree. Here are my thoughts on the video but first watch the message that is embedded and then read some of the comments on Michelle’s site. (Follow the feed link to read the rest of the story).

My thoughts (I am not a lawyer, so I am not making legal claims here – just common sense):

  • It seems likely that the information provided in this clip came from a copyrighted piece of work. It really doesn’t matter if it was on a DVD that was shipped out for free or posted on YouTube. It is still copyrighted.
  • I didn’t see any mention on the CEI clip that certain parts are copyrighted by another company. In essence, that is like claiming that they had full rights to distribute the clip which they obviously didn’t have.
  • The copyright holder evidently has a different message and goal from CEI and doesn’t like its efforts and investment diluted with this other message. Seems reasonable that since they paid for this footage they should have some say in how it is being used.
  • I don’t think that this ad is designed as a documentary or for educational purposes. To me it looks like an ad and the CEI general counsel is calling it an ad in his letter to Michelle. To me it looks like it is trying to influence my thinking and my actions. It seems reasonable that the copyright holder should have the ability to say they don’t want their property used in an ad. If the 7 second video segment was included in a 22 minute documentary rather than a 60 second ad, I probably would have different thoughts.
  • This segment in question is a major part of the ad. If you have watched the ad above, what things do you remember? In my opinion, the most memorable parts of the ad are the new light in Haiti and the poor baby in the incubator. If someone else owns that footage and disagrees with the goals of CEI, I can see where they want some action taken.
  • The statements on Mr. Gore’s energy usage are actually out-of-date and should be dropped. CEI should stop playing loose with facts and not giving the whole picture. Mr. Gore’s house used to be an energy drain but now it appears that it is not. Obviously, those statements are not part of this copyright discussion but just a signal of not giving a complete picture of the topic.
  • Many of the comments on Michelle’s site talk about how terrible this is. However, even Michelle’s site is copyrighted and if you want to take one of her columns, you must deal with Creators Syndicate.

This is the same type of amateurism and playing loose with the facts that I condemn the global warming fanatics on. In this case, the message has been lost because they obviously came too close to the edge of the law. CEI should be embarrassed. Could they not find another legal example of using energy for good in impoverished nations?

Hopefully, CEI will re-publish the video with a different video clip embedded to make their point. This would probably be a better course of action than having lawyers argue about copyright infringement. In my opinion, anytime that lawyers get involved the true discussion has been lost.

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