Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Is the Ron Johnson Campaign Already Guilty of Video Plagiarism?

I honestly don't know the answer to that question since the rules about appropriating video content on the web are, shall we say, a bit nebulous. Here, for example, is Sean Duffy just taking a news segment of his campaign announcement and throwing it on his web site. I'd say this pretty clearly falls under the principle "fair use" since Duffy didn't use the entire news broadcast and cited the source of the clip by leaving on the appropriate logos, etc.

Johnson's first video is right here:

Notice that the quality of the picture isn't all that hot and the frame seems to be cropped at the bottom. The sentence "Ron Johnson seeks Republican nomination to" is obviously fragmented (see the still photo below).

So what's going on here? Well, take a look at this video:

This video appeared on the Oshkosh Northwestern's website this morning. It does not take long to figure out that they are the exact same videos, with just a few edits. The Johnson campaign just chopped off the NW's animated intro bumper and cropped the frame -- edits that create the illusion that the campaign produced the video in house.

So is it plagiarism? Damned if I know. The NW video, like many news outlets' videos these days, comes complete with an embed feature, so, obviously, the paper wants people to distribute their content. But media outlets usually want their content distributed on their own terms with "minor details" like branding intact. Like the rest of the NW's online content, I would imagine the video is also copyright-protected ... then again, I don't pretend to be an expert on intellectual property law (or ethics).

Anyway, it would have just been a lot easier for the Johnson campaign to download the video and say something like "Hey, the Northwestern covered Ron's kick-off speech -- check it out, brah!" or whatever. They could have also just told the viewer where the video came from in the YouTube description, but they didn't even bother to do that:


Art Theft Hater said...

It's not "plagiarism" if anyone takes video off a website and re-uses it, it's more like video PIRACY. actual theft.
he has no right to do that and it's against the law.

if you think he removed proper identifying info from the video without permission - very much against the law.

embedding is NOT the same, embedding leaves all imagesetc intact and in the control of the owner, on the owner's server space. Embedding is only a form of linking to. Downloading and re-editing is theft.

Video or any other type of image produced by Gannett or even a small time artist belongs to THEM and them alone unless it is published in the Public Domain or under Creative Commons license.

Public Domain means first publication occurs with NO identifying marks of authorship on it at all. Creative Commons will specify what rights are retained and what rights are shared.

How can this guy uphold the laws of the land and help write new ones if he has no basic respect for existing law or the rights of the individual?

For a "conservative" especially to just take the work of another undercuts all the "self-made-man" and "get ahead by the sweat of your brow" ethics in the most heinous way possible.

"Work hard and try to get a skill and get ahead so I can then swipe the fruits of your labor and not pay you for it"

if he did that he should fry.

a lot of internet users feel that there should be more lax consideration made if a person takes video and 're-publishes for Hobby or sharing purposes. He's not doing that though, I doubt even the most hard-core Youtube addict would defend that behavior in a candidate or any profit-making entity.

This guy is (allegedly) using this video for personal gain, not just making a cutesy AMV using game cut scenes set to a fave Linkin Park tune to show his friends.

Lol maybe he hangs out on BitTorrent all the time and has lost all sense of right and wrong when it comes to who owns what. Hmmm. Maybe he'll steal the incidental music for his ads too.

It should be easy enough for the ONW people to say if they told him Hey! use our vids!

or not.

* said...

Yeah it sure looks the same, and you know - it doesn't look easy to grab? the ONW site looks like it's using embedded widgets from a 3rd party video service called



so that means Gannett must be subcontracting our their video embedding capabilities (paying for it)
if you do a View Source on the ONW page you can see that. So the direct link to the video itself is "hidden" in the Brightcove widget. Thats' how it looks.
so I'm no tech god but it don't look good so far.Keep us posted if you learn more how he got this vid.

Ironically later in the video he's flapping on about Honest hard work that makes America great and stuff.


Jb said...

We actually have used some fairly common software that could grab video off the NW's site. It wasn't all that difficult. The problem is that I don't remember what the software was.

I'm no tech God at all, but I know it's fairly easy to do.

Still diggin' that Royal We said...


but okay I guess I have to admit that should be obvious to me, there's evidence all around that proves what you say is true and that tons of High School kids do it every day.

but in comparison to just being able to right click and save an image, there's more "intent" to take something that you don't have rights to, it's more difficult in that sense- the extra step of having to use some program or other. That "extra step" kind of implies the person taking the stuff knows it is not really "free"?
So that was what I meant, not easy in comparison to anyone being able to right click and save.I'm sure it's easy for tons of people who know more than I do.
So to me that shows more guilt, but I didn't say that clearly enough.

It would be embarrassing (maybe) if it turns out that the guy provided ONW with the video, but that seems unlikely

But I also saw vid of this guy's teabag "speech" in Madison recently and godDAM!he sux, he's a dull as hell speaker with nuthing but meaningless over-chewed platitudes and buttoned-down Ward Cleaver-ish rage to offer.
plus he did the "conspicuous black man seated right behind me on the dais" thing. Hate that!!! Hope the guy charged RJ some serious cash to sit there and look interested. The only black man round for 6 blocks and he ends up RIGHT behind the candidate? blaargh.

and BTW earlier tonight I ran across a couple of real Hee Haw lookin' WI candidates with shitty info vids on YouTube. I'll prob'ly go back and find em and I guess I'll start some kinda crappy blog again and post 'em. *sigh*

They don't have ads yet, just queer ranty-vids, so I m' not copying your Ad-analysis thing. but I've been running into too much weird crap lately, might as well post it someplace. :/