My second post for the William & Mary IP blog is up. It dives a little deeper into one of the campaign video cases that my previous post covered:
In September, Fox News filed a copyright infringement suit against the campaign of Robin Carnahan, the Democratic then-candidate for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat. (Carahan was eventually defeated at the polls by Republican Roy Blunt.) The complaint alleged that Carnahan’s campaign “usurped proprietary footage from the Fox News Network to made it appear – falsely – that [Fox News] and Christopher Wallace, one of the nation’s most respected political journalists, are endorsing Robin Carnahan’s campaign.” The ad (which you can watchhere) consists almost entirely of footage taken from Wallace’s interview of Blunt on Fox News earlier this year. In addition to copyright infringement, the complaint alleges invasions of Wallace’s privacy and publicity rights.
There are at least two key issues at stake in this lawsuit. The first is the nature of the rights that Fox News is seeking to protect. Instead of alleging an infringement of economic rights to its work, Fox News focuses its complaint largely around the effect of the unauthorized use of its work on its reputation. Throughout its complaint, Fox News speaks of the ad “compromising its apparent objectivity” and “misleading” its viewers into thinking that it endorsed Carnahan as a candidate.
The aforementioned CDT reports put it best: “These are not copyright interests.”