It's Not TV News

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Former free-speech hero Matt Drudge is discovering the pleasures of censorship:

Drudge, meanwhile, vowed to go to court and file a cease-and-desist motion if "K Street" continues to use his likeness and images of his Web site. Last Sunday's episode did just that, and featured "K Street" regular James Carville…leaving a profanity-laced message on Drudge's voice mail.

"This is not a news program! This is an entertainment program and they can't just use it without my permission," Drudge said.

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  1. Coming soon all the usual intellectual property arguments. Though I can’t wait to see how this obvious misappropriation of intellectual for commercial purposes is defended as fair use.

  2. Why wouldn’t it be fair use? How does this differ from using 500 red copies of “Catcher in the Rye” in a Mel Gibson movie?

  3. Why does he not suggest a licensing deal or some other arrangement?

    I mean, has this detrimentally affected his site traffic? (Though I can imagine seemingly ?clever? copy-catters giving Drudge a headache.)

  4. If we assume that it was done without the authors permission or whithout compensation it would be no different. If it was not and Salinger elected not to pursue the matter that doesn’t change anything.

  5. “misappropriation”? I’m confused… you mean, a political TV show shouldn’t be allowed to talk about or criticize a public figure if it happens to be a (commercial) entertainment program rather than a news show? Do they have to get permission to show a character reading the Washington Post? Sure sounds like fair use to me.

  6. uh, i’m really really truly confused as to what drudge’s point is supposed to be. he’s obviously something of a public figure in politics – and he got there from his own design. his argument as to why he should be exempt from a work of fiction rests solely on the grounds that he doesn’t like it – and that he’s obviously a fucktarded jackanapes.

  7. I should have included in my earlier posts that Drudge’s actions, while I believe technically justified, are just as politically motivated and ridiculous as Clooney’s. Just because you can take action doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

  8. StMack,

    This falls under at least one of the loopholes of copyright law; copyrights are not abosolute rights, no matter what the RIAA tries to tell you.

  9. I agree there are loopholes and exceptions to copyrights, and I am not a fan of the RIAA even though I agree that individuals sharing thousands of songs with thousands of unknown downloaders is beyond the scope of fair use copying. Over the last hour I have been re-thinking my earlier comments that the K Street use of Drudge’s image and website are beyond fair use. I very likely was mixing together restrictions of the use of such things in advertising with a general loathing of George Clooney, and applying the results incorrectly.

    In the end, fair use or not, I think Drudge is making the Fox News – Al Franken mistake.

  10. Perhaps Matt should just shut up before I start spilling the beans on his behavior in high school, thus inspiring another reason for him to call some lawyers.

  11. By the way, was this the real James or the character “James” on this show calling Drudge? And if so, was there really a message left on Drudge’s voice mail for the purposes of this rinky-dink HBO show? If so, Drudge has a right to be pissed, at least.

  12. Pissed or not Drudge faces a dilema. Keep quiet and wait for the stupidity that is K Street to fade quietly into oblivion, or call attention to it so that more people will watch and see just how awful it is.

  13. If you want to sell a book, write it so that it will be “Banned in Boston.”

    If you want to sell millions of tickets to your movie, make it so that the Anti-Defamation League gets its pants all …

    If you want to attract millions (more) surfers to your (already high-trafficked) website, threaten to sue.

    Basic, elementary Americana, no?

  14. If you want to sell a book, write it so that it will be “Banned in Boston.”

    If you want to sell millions of tickets to your movie, make it so that the Anti-Defamation League gets its pants all …

    If you want to attract millions (more) surfers to your (already high-trafficked) website, threaten to sue someone.

    Basic, elementary Americana, no?

  15. (Excuse the hiccup) Sittin here sippin over-lawyered tea. Boy, this stuff is wry!

  16. > “This is not a news program! This is an
    > entertainment program and they can’t just
    > use it without my permission,” Drudge said.

    If Drudge is not “news” (while Howard Stern IS), then wouldn’t he be subject to the Equal Time Requirements that Stern recently avoided?

    Having your cake and eating it too, Matt?

  17. Umm, Matt, I think Drudge was pointing out that K Street is an entertainment program.

  18. Drudge isn’t arguing that his show is entertainment and not news. Drudge is instead arguing that K Street is an entertainment program and not news and therefore cannot use his likeness on their website.

    Regardless, K Street is still narcissistic political pornography that gives me the gout.

  19. Just a legal note: this is not about copyright, this is about right of publicity (and perhaps trademark). The law is unsettled in this area, but using someone’s likeness can trigger a violation. I think Drudge has a pretty weak case, but it’s not quite as meritless as Fox versus Franken. Eugene Volokh wrote a helpful essay on the subject: http://www1.law.ucla.edu/~volokh/publicity.pdf

  20. EMAIL: master-x@canada.com
    IP: 82.146.43.155
    URL: http://www.car-financing-low-rates.biz
    DATE: 02/27/2004 07:13:44
    A person never tells you anything until contradicted.

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