KTVU orders gaffe videos pulled from YouTube

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KTV-U mad, bro?

The station has started filing copyright infringement notices with YouTube ordering the removal of several videos depicting KTVU’s embarrassing misidentification of four pilots aboard Asiana Airlines Flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport earlier in the month.

Two videos uploaded by the account MatthewKeysLive for use on The Desk and elsewhere were removed by YouTube after copyright infringement notices were submitted by KTVU in an apparent attempt to scrub the internet of the gaffe. Several videos that also showed KTVU’s error and subsequent apology were removed on other YouTube accounts.

Those YouTube videos were embedded by many news organizations covering the blunder, including the Huffington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Presumably, KTVU targeted the videos with the highest view count for deletion, as the gaffe can still be found on other accounts.

(The Daily Show / MTV Networks)

(The Daily Show / MTV Networks)

It’s not the first time a newsroom under the guidance of KTVU news director Lee Rosenthal has attempted to eradicate an embarrassing moment from the internet.

In 2011, Indianapolis FOX affiliate WXIN, where Rosenthal served as news director before joining KTVU, made national headlines for a story dubbed “Homeless Idol.” Hoping to find the next Ted Williams, reporter Tisha Lewis encouraged members of Indianapolis’ homeless community to showcase their talents in a segment that aired on WXIN’s evening newscast.

The segment drew national criticism of Lewis and the station after it was featured in an episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Rosenthal responded to critics by saying the reporter had good intentions, adding that the “execution of our story came across the wrong way.”

Days later, WXIN — owned by the Tribune Company — submitted copyright infringement notices against several YouTube accounts that had hosted the “Homeless Idol” segment. These days, the video is hard to find, leaving many with Stewart’s interpretation of the news story to go by.

Perhaps KTVU is hoping for the same with its Asiana gaffe, but if the Streisand effect has taught us anything, it’s that it will be hard to eliminate all traces of KTVU’s mistake. A lot has changed since 2011 — more people live out their lives on social media where content goes viral in a matter of minutes instead of hours, and internet users tend to save and redistribute content that they find amusing or offensive — sometimes without the consideration of any potential legal ramifications.

With this mistake, there’s a case to be made that hosting or redistributing KTVU’s error falls under the definition of “fair use” (17 USC § 107) for purposes of news reporting, comment and/or criticism. TV stations like KTVU take material from YouTube, Facebook and Twitter all the time for their news broadcasts under fair use; these news broadcasts almost always air alongside commercial advertisements, generating revenue for the station. Often, such user-generated content airs with little-to-no compensation for the content creator.

The Desk has submitted counter-notifications with YouTube that draw upon the fair use provision of the U.S. copyright code. Until the issue is resolved (the process typically takes two weeks), those who wish to view KTVU’s erroneous report can do so hereherehereherehereherehereherehere and here. Also, herehere, and here. And here.

…and here.

[Update: KTVU’s general manager Tom Raponi admits the station is ordering YouTube to remove the videos. More on that here.]

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