Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Can We Download News Clips to Use Within Our TV Show?

Dear Rich: We produce a nationally distributed television program for a client based on crime incidents reported in local media. After reading your article, my client claims that it is totally legal to download copyrighted television news stories from media websites and use them within the television show. Is he right? My understanding is that is television news is protected under a broadcaster’s blanket copyright and may not be used without express permission. We're not sure how your client reached his conclusion but, in general, there is no free pass for downloading copyrighted news stories. Perhaps your client saw this recent case in which a TV clipping database made it possible for users to search using keywords and then view a portion of the curated news clip containing those keywords. We think you'll agree that database usage of the clips differs substantially from your client's use. We also think the best method of formulating a fair use "guess" is to review past cases.