Fox Gives Democrats Value from a Web Video

We have a policy here not to write about political web videos, because they are meaningless. They don't actually do anything--unless, that is, if political blogs write about them.

But that changes when the story becomes about more than the ad itself, and that's what has happened today after Fox News asserted a copyright claim on a web video produced by the Democratic National Committee.

The DNC produced out a web video using Fox footage of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist insinuating that his primary opponent, Marco Rubio, may have paid for a back wax with the Florida GOP's credit card. The video features clips of Rubio popping up onto the screen accompanied by back-wax sound effects.

Fox demanded that YouTube remove the video, because it used unlicensed Fox footage. YouTube complied, and now the DNC is fighting back, asserting fair use of Fox's footage for political commentary. Here's the video, in file format.

"As you know, federal law provides broad protection for the use of copyrighted work 'for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, . . . scholarship, or research.' 17 U.S.C. § 107 (2010)," DNC lawyers wrote in a letter to the Fox legal department.

The video wouldn't be getting such play, however, if Fox hadn't made the legal complaint. The Rubio/Crist back-wax bickering--which began as an accusation of Rubio's party-credit-card use--has added a silly element to the Florida campaign, and now the DNC is getting exactly what it wants out of its web video: attention, air time, and a chance to prod at GOP in-fighting. More "back wax," less "snorkeling."