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Unintellectual Property: KTVU Continues to Read from the Wrong Script 

Wednesday, Jul 31 2013

KTVU is now just as bad as any other inane local newscast. Which is how something like the station's Asiana pilot names fiasco can happen. Professional news organizations make mistakes, but they don't allow dumb racist jokes to make it onto the air.

Now, the station is trying to get clips of its self-humiliation removed from the Internet using copyright laws.

The invocation of copyrights to remove humiliating video is apparently becoming standard practice among TV news outlets, but KTVU has taken a different route: invoking copyright for reasons that have nothing to do with it. KTVU's General Manager and Vice President Tom Raponi said this to MediaBistro:

"The accidental mistake we made was insensitive and offensive. By now, most people have seen it. At this point, continuing to show the video is also insensitive and offensive, especially to the many in our Asian community who were offended. Consistent with our apology, we are carrying through on our responsibility to minimize the thoughtless repetition of the video by others."

So much to unpack there. "Accidental mistake"; people have already seen it, so now it's time to yank it from their view; "insensitive and offensive" as if making fun of KTVU's insensitive offensiveness is somehow itself offensive.

But the real trouble here is the copyright claim. Copyright doesn't exist to stop people from making fun of clownish local news stations. It exists to provide incentives to create — and that's it. If KTVU believes that continuing to behave clownishly and to create inane piffle is in its own best interests (and by all appearances, that's exactly what it believes), copyright isn't part of its incentive for doing so. YouTube is riddled with clips from KTVU that have nothing to do with the Asiana crash. The station hasn't gone after those.

If television news operations want to stop themselves from being humiliated for their own actions, they have options other than invoking copyright as a means of censorship. They can start by refraining from being so consistently, reliably stupid.

About The Author

Dan Mitchell


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