GOP swipes News Sentinel video for ad

The Tennessee Republican Party ripped off one of our videos of candidate Gloria Johnson to create a TV commercial mocking her. The video was created when she interviewed with our Editorial Board in her race for state Senate against Becky Duncan Massey. Johnson, a Democrat, lost that contest but is now in a tight race with Republican Gary Loe for a state House seat.
gloria.jpgThe video is copyrighted, of course, as is all of our content. But the Fair Use Doctrine allows limited use of copyrighted material, and the law is especially permissive when it comes to political speech. Our corporate attorney thinks a “cease and desist” letter might be futile, and in any event, the election would be over before a fight could be brought to resolution.
The ploy, nonetheless, is particularly lame. Honorable campaigns have, in the past, asked permission to draw on content from the News Sentinel, and we have told them they are welcome to quote from what we publish but may not directly lift our material. My guess is that the GOP figured we wouldn’t OK the use of our video to deride a candidate, so why even ask.
It should be noted that the commercial includes the disclaimer that it was not approved by Loe. So he, presumably, is also a victim, tarred by association by his own party’s slimy tactics.