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has no real or potential economic impact on newscasters, monitors simply do not diminish the incentive to produce news or other programs. There is no countervailing benefit, economic or otherwise, to be derived from a decision to suppress the news, which is the inevitable result of a rule disqualifying news monitors from fair use consideration.
On the other hand, we must consider the harm that is manifestly present in viewing newscasters as the only appropriate gatekeepers to the news. Among the important individual rights that have been recognized in this country since its inception are the rights to an individual's good name and reputation. Without video monitors, there would be a very limited ability of slandered individuals to learn the source and content of slanders committed and almost no ability to assert their rights in courts.
Also, in recent weeks the danger of allowing newscasters themselves to determine questions of public access to the news has been dramatically illustrated by the public positions taken by several Los Angeles television stations. Those stations have indicated their intention to resist subpoenas seeking evidence in their possession showing the commission of numerous crimes of violence associated with the recent disturbances in that city. find it extremely ironic that news departments that often hire investigative reporters to uncover and report evidence of crimes and other wrongdoing have, first, refused voluntarily to turn over the incriminating evidence in their possession, have then forced law enforcement agencies to obtain subpoenas for the production of such evidence, and, finally, have failed to comply fully with those subpoenas.
To my knowledge, no need to protect sources or other cognizable First Amendment claim has been asserted. Instead, it is simply a matter of certain television stations deciding that it is they who will decide which crimes should be reported and which should be covered up. That, I believe, is a serious breach of the public trust as well as a betrayal of the responsibility of the press that is the flip side of the First Amendment.
For all these reasons, Mr. Chairman, I believe that Congress should act to correct the judicial imbalance that has been created by those courts that have tilted the copyright law against the public's right to have access to broadcast information. We should enact legislation like S. 1805 so that companies and individuals that provide clips, or compilations of clips, of broadcast news programming for the internal use of third parties will be recognized as engaged in an activity protected by the fair use doctrine. At this point, a legislative solution is required to restore the balance of rights between producers of news programs and the public.
Senator DECONCINI. The committee will stand in recess, subject to the call of the Chair.
Thank you, gentlemen.
[Whereupon, at 11:27 a.m., the subcommittee adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.)
To amend title 17, United States Code, to clarify news reporting monitoring
as a fair use exception to the exclusive rights of a copyright owner.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
OCTOBER 3 (legislative day, SEPTEMBER 19), 1991 Mr. HATCH introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred
to the Committee on the Judiciary
To amend title 17, United States Code, to clarify news
reporting monitoring as a fair use exception to the exclusive rights of a copyright owner.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa
2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
3 That section 107 of title 17, United States Code, is
4 amended by inserting “or monitoring news reporting pro
Comments of Cox Enterprises, Inc. Regarding Video
Enclosed please find the comments of Cox Enterprises, Inc. regarding s. 1805, a bill to make video monitoring a fair use under the copyright Act.
If you have any questions or need additional copies of the enclosed comments, please contact me.
Very truly yours,
Diane M. Morse
COMMENTS OF COX ENTERPRISES, INC.
Cox Enterprises, Inc. 1/ ("Cox"), through its
subsidiary Georgia Television Company, licensee of WSB-TV,
Atlanta, Georgia ("WSB-TV"), has been involved in the video
monitoring issue for several years.
Since 1988, WSB-TV has been
the plaintiff in a copyright infringement suit against a video
monitor, TV News Clips of Atlanta, Inc. ("TV News Clips").
federal district court in the case
like the court in every
copyright infringement case against a video monitor to date
held that TV News Clips' unauthorized, systematic copying and sale of WSB-TV's copyrighted news programs infringes the
copyrights in the programs. The court rejected TV News Clips' claim that its activities constitute fair use. 2/ This holding is consistent with prevailing fair use precedents. 3/
1/ Cox is a diversified media company that owns television stations, radio stations, newspapers and cable systems in markets across the country.
2/ Georgia Television Company d/b/a WSB-TV_V. TV News Clips of Atlanta, Inc., 19 U.S.P.Q.2d 1372 (N.D. Ga. 1991). TV News clips' appeal of the district court decision is pending in the Eleventh circuit.
3/ Sony Corp. of America v. Universal Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417, 451 (1984) (commercial purpose makes a use "presumptively unfair"); Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. y. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539 (1985); Wainwright Securities. Inc. v. Wall Street Transcript Corp., 558 F.2d 91 (2d cir. 1977); MCA, Inc. V. I Wilson, 677 F.2d 180 (2d cir. 1981); Triangle Publications, Inc. V. Knight-Ridder Newspapers, Inc., 626 F.2d 1171 (5th cir. 1980); Pacific and Southern Company, Inc. d/b/a WXIA-TV v. Duncan d/b/a TV News clips, 572 F. Supp. 1186 (N.D. Ga. 1983), aff'd in part and rey'd in part, 744 F.2d 1490 (11th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 471 U.S. 1004 (1985), on remand, 618 F. Supp. 469 (N.D. Ga. 1985), aff'd, 792 F.2d 1013 (11th Cir. 1986); Quinto V. Legal Times, 506 F. Supp. 554 (D.D.C. 1981).