Chris Knight writes:
Last fall, as part of my campaign for Rockingham County Board of Education, I produced three commercials that ran on local television. The first of them – which I simply dubbed “Christopher Knight for School Board TV Commercial #1″ – was hosted on YouTube the same evening that the ad started running on WGSR in Reidsville. You can watch it at http://youtube.com/watch?v=nLi5B0Iefsk.
Well, the concept of a candidate for Board of Education pitching himself by using the Death Star to blow up a little red schoolhouse is admittedly unusual. The YouTube clip got around quite a bit: as of this writing it’s received over sixty-six thousand views. I put it and the other two ads on YouTube so that I could post them on this blog (because I was trying to chronicle everything that happened during the course of my campaign). And I’d always intended to keep them up after the election too, in case anyone else might find and enjoy watching them. Heck, I’ve always liked to think that maybe someday, others might see how I was a candidate and feel led to run for office themselves!
VH1′s Web Junk 2.0 show profiled Mr. Knight’s ad in a segment entitled “Animals & Other Crap”. Mr. Knight was flattered so he obtained a copy of the segment featuring his own video and posted it on YouTube.com.
Recently, Mr. Knight received notice from YouTube that it had removed its posting because it received a letter from Viacom International claiming that Mr. Knight’s posting violates Viacom’s copyright.
While, technically, that may be true, the fact remains that Viacom would not have been able to produce this segment without Mr. Knight’s original video. Viacom didn’t even bother to inform Mr. Knight that it was featuring his video on one of his segments – fair use or not.
Apparently, Mr. Knight and Viacom are negotiating this situation.
Even if Mr. Knight’s posting of Viacom’s material is copyright infringement, it seems that in this case, Viacom should overlook the situation in light of the all of the circumstances.