January 26, 2007  ·  Lessig

You’ll remember Roger Ailes’ view of Robert Greenwald’s film, Outfoxed. As reported in 2004, Ailes said:

Any news organization that doesn’t support our position on copyright is crazy. Next week, we could take a month’s worth of video from CNN International and do a documentary “Why does CNN hate America?” You wouldn’t even have to do the hatchet job Outfoxed was. You damn well could run it without editing. CNN International, Al-Jazeera and BBC are the same in how they report-mostly that America is wrong and bad. Everybody should stand up and say these people don’t have the right to take our product anymore. They don’t have a right to take a year’s worth of Dan Rather or Ted Koppel and edit it any way they want. It puts journalism at risk.

Well, it seems Fox has now gotten religion. According to this LA Times report, Sean Hannity will air excerpts that had been removed from ABC’s controversial “Path to 9/11.” The excerpts “depict then-national security advisor Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger refusing to approve a CIA request to attack Osama bin Laden” – an event Berger said never happened.

I can understand Fox’s “fair use” argument — though of course its tougher with work that’s not been published. But it’s really good to see that Fox now understands the importance of “fair use.”

  • Chris

    I’m sure it’s only out of convenience that they recognize fair use.

    Supposing Outfoxed weren’t a hatchet job? (Is it really?) Even if it were, suppose someone else manages to make a better, non-hatchet documentary of Fox’s bias. How would Fox feel about fair use *then*?

  • john

    Well what do you expect from the only Fair and Balanced news channel on cable? Of course they understand Fair Use!

  • three blind mice

    with Fox News (and Sean Hannity) as friends, who needs enemies?

  • http://knowfuture.wordpress.com a t

    The shocking thing is that Fox et al. are so convinced that information only has a commercial life, that it is merely an investment vehicle to be exploited to the maximum; there is a wholesale denial of the fact that the media environment should be the subject of interrogation and criticism. I wouldn’t count on the fact that they are now invoking fair use as a promise that they’ll change the approach to their own content in the future.

    The last couple of years have seen too many shrill claims about fair use for my liking – as if it’s become a bucket into which to pour complaints arising from proprietary colonization occuring elsewhere (term extension, DMCA etc) – but cases such as Outfoxed fall so clearly within the exception that any attempt to prevent them should be the basis for counter claim. Hit the bully on the nose!


  • http://dan.tobias.name/ Dan

    You seem to be having some character-set issues; the original posting (at least in my Mozilla SeaMonkey browser) shows some garbage where things like quotes and apostrophes should be, apparently as a result of pasting in UTF-8 characters in a page that’s being sent as iso-8859-1.