IOC blocks news about luge death in David and Goliath battle

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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IOC Attempts To Pull A God Or At Least The Pope on Earth

PR Log – The IOC has sent us a legal take down notice to remove the coverage of the luge death at the Vancouver Olympics.
This is a blatant attempt to stifle freedom of the press by way of copyright law. The IOC demand and threat is outside the copyright protection granted them and anyone under law. Of course legalities have never stopped tyrants who seek absolute power.
Last week the story on the take downs of the luge videos piqued our interest. Copyright lawyer and educator Michael Geist has Twitted the story and it was also covered on Tech Dirt. Olympics Using Bogus Copyright Claims To Take Down All Videos Of Fatal Luge Crash

Does the IOC Control Media Copyright
Copyright property in Canada is protected under the Copyright Act. The owner of the copyright has, with some limitations, the right to control when a copyrighted work can be exhibited, broadcast, or reproduced.

The Copyright Act (Canada) specifically allows news reporting as Fair Dealing and an allowed use of copyright materials. This is how CBS as a non-licensee broadcast the story along with CBC and other networks, quoting,

“29.2 Fair dealing for the purpose of news reporting does not infringe copyright if the following are mentioned: (a) the source; and (b) if given in the source, the name of the …(iv) broadcaster, in the case of a communication signal.”
Copyright allows the IOC to get paid, which finances the Games, by broadcasters around the world. In the United States NBC has the rights – which is why Jay Leno is off the air for a few weeks. In Canada, CTV has the rights to exclusive coverage.
However, that doesn’t stop CBC from setting up shop in Vancouver and broadcasting sports “news” clips of events and wins. Re-broadcast of short video clips is going on around the world because it is allowed by law and convention.
So the official media get the total coverage and the rest of the media get to report bits and bites. For example, CBC carried the luge accident the day it happened. It was on every major newscast.
No other rights exist outside the Act. “Sec. 1.2 Copyright shall not subsist in Canada otherwise than as provided by subsection (1), except in so far as the protection conferred by this Act is extended as hereinafter provided to foreign countries to which this Act does not extend.” The IOC does not have rights beyond those for everyone.
The US copyright law has a similar but not identical allowance for copyrighted use in news stories called fair use.  “Courts have previously found that a use was fair where the use of the copyrighted work was socially beneficial. In particular, U.S. courts have recognized the following fair uses: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching,
scholarship, research and parodies.” EFF

The Luge Death Video
I’d seen the video which is pretty gruesome. The athlete is ejected from his luge at 144 Kph and sustains mortal injuries when he hits an unprotected post.
While the video had indeed been taken off YouTube and LiveLeak, I had no trouble finding it on big-media sites like CBS (the first Google search entry).  CBS allow viewers to embed the video and share it on more than 100 social media sites.
I wrote up a story about the IOC cover up with with the embedded video. Olympics Moves to Take Down Video of Luge Death
The IOC sent me a take down notice IOC Tries To Restrict Freedom of the Press today.  We replied asking them to show is the authority that goes beyond the Canada Copyright Act.

Two news stories
There are two news stories here: the accidental death and the attempt to use copyright law to restrict freedom of the press.
The public needs to have full disclosure of facts. The amateur video of Neda Agha-Soltan won the prestigious George Polk Award for journalism. The government of Iran and religious interests in that country would like to see the video disappear.
Was the death preventable? Will the IOC and civil authorities investigate, lay blame where necessary and recommend changes to prevent future accidents? The public has a right to know and that right to know cannot be abridged by any commercial, political or sports interests.  The sports angle is ludicrous.
The second story is will copyright be a new grounds to kill news stories? If that becomes law companies be able to kill stories when there is pollution, accidents or unfair labor conditions. They could argue their copyright or trademark logo was used in a news story and thereby infringed.
Goliath should go back to his tent and play games in Vancouver.
The era of control of the world and free speech by the Pope is over. However, demagogues would like absolute control again.

This video clip is copyright by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It was broadcast by ABC News, along with other broadcast media, both on broadcast TV, cable and on their internet site. NJN Network makes no claim of copyright but it does claim the right to embed and thereby rebroadcast the video used under the Canadian Copyright Act under permission of Section 29.2 ” Fair dealing for the purpose of news reporting does not infringe copyright if the following are mentioned: (a) the source; and (b) if given in the source, the name of the…(iv) broadcaster, in the case of a communication signal.”

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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