KTVU Oakland has cited the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
(DMCA) in its effort to remove an embarrassing clip of its anchor reading
bogus, and offensive, names from YouTube, reports Wired. But as of late
afternoon on July 23, several YouTube clips showing the station's mistake
remain on YouTube.
The video, which saw Tori Campbell read the supposed pilot
names in the July 6 plane crash, including "Wi Tu Lo" and "Ho
Lee Fuk", immediately went viral. KTVU apologized on air and on other
platforms, citing an erroneous confirmation from an NTSB employee.
"Apologies to all upset by a story on Noon News. A serious mistake was
made @KTVU," tweeted Campbell.
The station was commended for how it handled the lapse, but
lost some public favor in its effort to scrub the clip from user-generated
sites. Bill Hoffman, executive VP at parent Cox Media Group, referred a query
to Tom Raponi, VP and general manager at KTVU. Raponi did not return a call at
presstime, but told Mediabistro that continuing to show an offensive video only
stands to further offend people.
"Consistent with our apology, we are carrying through
on our responsibility to minimize the thoughtless repetition of the video by
others," he added.
Sherwin Siy, VP of legal affairs at the interest group
Public Knowledge, says the KTVU clip looks to be "fair use" and is
thus exempt from copyright protection. "There's no question that the clip
doesn't violate the station's copyrights," said Siy. "Criticism is
one of the central examples of fair use -- it's right there in the statute. One
of the major reasons fair use exists is to allow people to criticize and
comment on other people's copyrighted works. Showing people what actually aired
on KTVU is necessary for that criticism and commentary, and fair uses aren't copyright
infringements, under any part of the law, including the DMCA.
"KTVU says it's sorry for its mistake, and that it
doesn't wish to offend more people in the future," added Siy. "Those
are noble goals, but neither is at all related to copyright. Fair use was
designed to make sure that copyright law will yield to more important free
speech interests, and memorializing and criticizing the media is of paramount
A Fox affiliate, KTVU is the revenue leader in San
Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, according to BIA/Kelsey.
John Eggerton contributed to this report.