One of the revelatory moments that took place during the tea parties on April 15 was the on-screen meltdown by CNN reporter Susan Rosegen, which we noted here. Covering the Chicago tea party for CNN, Rosegen got into arguments with demonstrators, abused them, attacked the tea parties as being promoted by Fox News and being “anti-CNN,” and generally revealed herself to be a liberal activist, not a legitimate reporter. We, and many other sites, posted YouTube videos of the meltdown lasting around a minute and a half. In addition, Founding Bloggers attended the Chicago tea party and shot its own additional footage of Rosegen continuing to argue with the protesters, which it posted in a YouTube video, preceded by the CNN footage that was aired by the network.
Now Patterico reports that CNN has forced YouTube to take down the version of Rosegen’s performance that Patterico had embedded, on the ground of copyright infringement. Further, CNN apparently also removed at least one version of the Founding Bloggers video, even though it included footage shot by Founding Bloggers in which CNN obviously could have no copyright.
FoundingBloggers commented on their video being pulled down by Youtube:
“Obviously we hit a nerve with CNN because they forced YouTube to pull the video down, along with all of the comments people posted,” Founding Bloggers responded.
“We are in the process of consulting our Founding Bloggers legal team to decide if we are going to file a counter claim against CNN. We believe that we are well within our rights under fair use, but we are not attorneys so….we’ll see.”
They might have a case to keep the video. World Net Daily reports that Ben Sheffner of the blog Copyrights and Campaigns,however, is an attorney who has served as a copyright advisor to NBC Universal, Fox and the John McCain campaign
“CNN does own copyright in its own news footage and, as a general matter, has the right to demand its removal from YouTube,” Sheffner writes on his blog. “However, as to this particular video, I think Founding Bloggers has a very strong fair use defense. The purpose for Founding Bloggers’ posting of the CNN footage is crystal clear: to comment on and criticize CNN’s reporting on the ‘Tea Party.’ Such a use is right in the heartland of the fair use doctrine; the statute specifically mentions ‘criticism, comment, [and] news reporting’ as protected uses that are ‘not an infringement of copyright.’”
Foundingbloggers also mentioned that the video received received over 3,000 comments on YouTube before it was taken down. They also ask the question “Does CNN also own the comments?”