Fox helps itself to photo of blogger's dog

Sweetney blogger Tracey Gaughran-Perez and her husband were surprised to see a photo of their dog, Truman, appear in Fox's "Happy Holiday" ticker during a football game. According to Gaughran-Perez, someone from Fox yanked a photo (far left) of Truman in a Santa suit from her blog or Flickr stream, Photoshopped in a hat, and inserted the image (left) into their holiday promotion graphic rotation. Gaughgran-Perez is quite peeved. Truman couldn't be reached for comment. From Gaughran-Perez's post on the matter:
SweetneydoggWhat really, REALLY sticks in my craw is that following all this I was forced not only to sit through several more hours of football just to make certain they didn't show the image again (yes, please shower me with your pity), but I also had to endure the endless tape-loop of FOX's NFL copyright warnings, which seemed to repeat every five minutes or so. Hilariously enough, FOX Broadcasting and the NFL are apparently very, very concerned about legal rights to their telecasts and rebroadcasts of their telecasts. They're concerned about -- ho ho, it's rich -- PEOPLE STEALING THEIR SHIT. But as far as them stealing other people's shit goes? Errm, not so much.


  1. Man, some intern is going to get fired for this stunt.

    /Sue them but just remember to set up a Paypal for your legal fees.
    //Fox bites.

  2. People who were criticizing Lane Hartwell should be supporting Fox in this issue. Especially if Tracey DCMA’s the NFL broadcast.

  3. “I’m trying to imagine what went through the person’s head that did this. Did they think that FOX, being a big ol’ monolithic Capitalism-with-a-captial-C company could sort of, err, do whatever the hell they wanted?”

    No, I doubt that’s what they were thinking. The person who is responsible is probably a low on the totem pole intern or such and saw that picture and thought, “Hey, that’s a cute dog… that’s just what I need.” and nothing else.

    She seems to think that the bigwigs at fox all sat around a table and decided which images to nab while laughing like those evil scientist types from b-movies. I don’t condone taking others things etc, but honestly it was probably just a stupid mistake that is going to cost someone a job.

  4. “I was forced not only to sit through several more hours of football just to make certain they didn’t show the image again”

    Someone get this person a TiVo!

    (or, heck, a VCR…)

  5. Clrly sh shld hv sd DRM n hr blg t stp ppl frm cpyng t r ny lmnts n t, bcs dgtl cpyng s wrng!

    Wt… my brn hrts. Bng Bng s sndng m cnflctng mssgs.

  6. While I don’t side with you or Fox on this, you did put a picture on the internet. Personally, that seems about as close to public domain as actually printing the picture out and handing it to every person on the street. I suppose you could argue Fox used it for profit, but mehh…

    And this is why very VERY few pictures exist of me on the intertubes.

  7. When things are copied for personal uses, ie grabbing music from the net to listen to, vs taking someones creation and attempting to profit from it, that we end up with the difference. Fox the NFL and like companies are a business they are out to make a profit. My listening to a song is for personal enjoyment, I make no money listening to the song and smiling. If I was to use that song front to back in a movie I was making I kind of owe someone to use that song in such an instance, or at least get permission to use the song because thats common courtesy, this is the nature of the creative commons, if its (C) you do what you can to ask for permission if its used in something more than ust for yourself, if it was (CC) you know you have certain rights already without having to ask permission (like being able to use it with or without changing it, only for noncommercial use etc.). (C) is becoming VERY unwieldly, if taken to its new logical extent you would have to ask permission from a whole slew of people every day just to live life and potentially pay each of those individuals/corporations. (CC) is much more malleable its in the spirit of what (C) was supposed to mean, this image wasn’t FOX’s they used it in a NFL game which potentially was a national broadcast (I personally don’t know if it was) even (CC) wouldn’t allow that unless it was (PD)… which I don’t think it was covered under either.

  8. Hawth at #4: Sure, it’s true that this is probably a stupid mistake made by a lowly intern at Fox. Sure, it’s true that in a just world we would be inclined to give that intern a break and forgive Fox for ripping off someone’s pic without compensation or attribution.

    The problem is that this doctrine doesn’t extend both ways. We happen to know — to pick just one example — that if you are

  9. It’s the hypocrisy, folks.

    It’s Fox who are sue-happy about (c), so it’s especially ludicrous that they do what they sue other people for doing.

    I don’t think what Fox did should necessarily be illegal, I think Fox should not sue people for doing exactly what they do.

  10. These dogs all look the same to me; I am bigoted like that. What is the degree of certainty that this is the same dog or photo? The rug is different and at a different angle, the hat, of course, and there appears to be a doggie shadow, too. If these are the same dog/photo, can it be proven? No, wait, don’t prove it to me, I don’t hardly care, I just mean to wonder that, in such as like a court of law, could this be proven, as in, such as, if the tables were turned and Fox was inclined to string, ham-wise, Tracey Gaughran-Perez?

  11. There’s no controversy without contacting someone in charge. It was just done by some graphic designer who was trying to make a cute holiday pic, not some monolithic entity that is aware of the sweet irony of its copyright reel running every 2.5 seconds while they nab other people’s pics. The person who did it was irresponsible, but hell, when’s the last time we broke copyright online too? So really, the story is ‘graphic designer whose views on copyright we don’t know may or may not be hypocritical’.

    I hate Fox as a network quite a bit, but this is reaching for a reason to shout.

  12. Ms. Gaughran-Perez does have a clearly visible copyright notice at the bottom of her blog. The dog has been clearly identified as hers. Whoever used the pic made a conscious decision to violate her copyright and use her dog. Whether or not you think that’s fair use or whatever, please stop making it sound like a cute boo-boo.

    It’s odd to me that so many people are defending Fox in these comments when so many were so ready to crucify that woman who accidentally changed shoe boxes at WalMart or Target or whatever hellhole she got arrested at. It seems to be a conditioned reflex that says that, when an actual person does something wrong, it’s all their fault, but when a corporation does it, it’s a mistake. That’s messed up.

  13. #16 That’s not a rug behind it, it’s the football field. See the original blog post for a full screen capture of the broadcast.

  14. One time I had a top level blogger use one of my Flickr photos without attribution. I was happy he used it, but I wished he had credited me.

    When I asked him about it, he said it was okay since Flickr labeled the photo as being “public”. I’m not sure he quite got the distinction between viewing and republication.

    Anyway, ever since then I’ve realized that Flickr’s use of the phrase “This photo is public” can be confusing to people who want to use the image.

  15. Mechfish at #11- I guess I’m just the type for giving the benefit of the doubt, but I see where you are coming from.

  16. For me, the bottom line is that Fox and the NFL take the position that reproducing any part of their games — on YouTube, say — is copyright infringement. They even went after Wendy Seltzer, a former EFF attorney who teaches law in NYC, for reproducing *their copyright warning itself*. These people talk a big line about “respecting copyright” but what they *actually mean* is “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.”

  17. hope she got prior espressed written permission from fox to post that screen grab. they might try to turn it around on her. just sayin’

  18. What is interesting to me is that it was a fairly unlikely event that they were caught. It is possible this is an isolated incident, and lacking evidence to the contrary, it should be treated as such. But what supervisor would ask an intern to create an photo of a dog in a santa hat ex nilio, or when presented with such an image (from an intern who would not have means to have independently created it), not asked where the image came from? If I were a betting man, my money would be on responsibility above the level of an intern, and a problem wider than a single image.

    The best response (whatever the case) is not to sue Fox for infringement (at least not simply “to give them a taste of their own medicine, as it were”), since this only validates their tactic (even though the circumstances here are different).

    Instead the opportunity is to draw up a reasonable list of ‘demands’ (things like “We (Fox) will carefully review any material used in our program for copyright infringement,” and “we won’t claim a copyright over material which we do not own.” etc.–things which they could hardly say no to and ought to be doing anyway) in exchange for allowing use (post facto). The acceptance of public agreement to these demands will read as an apology, at least to the public. If they turn down an agreement to do what they are obligated to do anyway, that is also newsworthy. It probably won’t change a thing at Fox, but will attract positive attention to copyright issues and excesses.

  19. You should demand fair payment and if it’s not immediately forthcoming, you should sue. The arguments that it was only a junior designer/intern making a silly mistake are irrelevant – Fox management is responsible. Here’s what you do 1) Find out what a commercial organisation would normally be expected to pay for use of a library image – if you know anyone on advertising, graphic design etc, they may be able to help, or check out Getty Images for costs. 2) Write (Letters, not just e-mail) to several senior directors (or VPs or Presidents or whatever they call themselves – the top brass) inc Marketing. Also copy in a lawyer on all correspondence – clearly showing this in your letters. Your letter should be calm but firm – ‘more in sorrow than in anger’ – point out the usage and politely point out that a payment for commercial use is only reasonable, state the amount required and state that you expect payment within 30 days or will be forced to take further action. Send the letters by recorded mail ie get a signature. 3) Don’t hold your breath; they’ll either ignore or write back declining your suggestion. At this point write back to whoever it was replied, cc the most senior person and your lawyer; regret that they have taken this stance and tell them that you are now forced to take legal action. 4) Call your lawyers, tell them to go in aggressively and create as much publicity as possible.
    Don’t expect to get a fortune, just a gratifying sense of having faced down corporate arrogance – you should come out modestly ahead after your legal costs.

  20. hey does the addition of the raster-scan lines to the image make it a whole new artwork or a derivative artwork? I can’t figure out which.

    If they ever tried something like that with a more recognizable image (let’s say the “native North American slouched on the tired horse” image) they would catch hell. There are licenses to be paid for images used for commercial ventures. Get this lady some money. Even better, show this story on competing TVnetworks.. there’s nothing wrong with a good ole “FOX are dorks” story.

  21. #8: Neither publishing an image on the Internet nor distributing copies of it on the street puts it in the public domain.

  22. bcsizemo (#8): If posting an image on the Internet makes it public domain, then what does sending video through my house using RF energy do to its copyright? Make that public domain? Somehow, I doubt Fox would like that particular line of reasoning.

  23. I would assume that Fox would have the ability to figure out WHO owned the image…after all…it came from her site. Okay, I’d likely be able to figure it out. Now, how hard is it to fire off an email saying that “Fox would like to use your image during its football broadcast.” It seems as though this could be really easy to have avoided.

    I don’t think you should sue unless you get a pro bono lawyer. The amount you would recieve would be pittence compared to the legal fees (though, there is that one woman who had one downloaded song and cost her $22,000).

    If Fox retransmits this broadcast (online…in DVD form…), she should immediatly send a takedown notice (FOR THAT IMAGE) not the entire game.

    Can you make Fox put a cover image over the original saying that since we stole this image, we are no longer able to display it.

  24. While I don’t particularly like Fox (unbiased news? Yup, and I’m a senator.), I’m playing devil’s advocate here and possibly opening up myself to flaming. ::Puts on her asbestos jammies::

    It could be a coincidence. Hear me out:

    The Santa suit looks like one that is commercially available (found several close matches on commercially websites.)

    The pug looks like a standard ‘Fawn’ colored pug, which is the breeding standard in the US, so many pugs have the same look.

    Pose: this is the one that’s giving us all so much trouble. Fact is, if you overlay the pictures, they don’t match exactly. His(?) back foot is sligtly off, and if you line up his face exactly, his front foot is also off a bit. BOTH of those could be because the Fox photo is so low res, though. There’s also some angle/perspective mismatches on the dog body. Element of doubt introduced.

    Clearly, the photo would have to be Photoshopped if it WAS the same pug. The hat, the rug, and the shadow all are very different.

    Here’s my thought: Why in the hell would someone go to the trouble of Photoshoping in a hat, and a new rug and shadow just for a throw away graphic? The rug and shadow are done well, and the hat looks pretty good to me for such a low res version (light matches pretty well, and it doesn’t look blatantly fake. I’d have to see a better res version to tell you if it’s PSed at all, as I can’t test the digital noise signature from this). The people that make on air graphics are often on a very tight schedule, and I just don’t think they have this kind of time on their hands.

    I’d say there’s a chance that this is just a strange, unlikely coincidence. If I was convicting this person, wouldn’t be able to say that I’m convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is a stolen Photoshoped picture.

    (That being said, it certainly COULD be, no doubt, I just think it’s possible it’s not. Do I think that Fox is above stealing a graphic and then claiming copyright for it? Not for a second.)

  25. Sm ppl pt p “cpyrght” ntcs n rs sttng tht w r nt llwd t tk pctrs f bldngs (r pyrmds, pprntly), bt w mck thm nd d t nywy.

    Thrfr, s dl hypcrsy n ths stry: Fx fr tryng t cpyrght mgs nd thn tkng smn ls’s, nd Bng Bng fr syng t’s ky t dgtlly cpy pprntly nythng (s wll s gnr cpyrght ntcs tht r lrgly nnfrcbl nd prbbly nt lglly bndng) nd thn blst Fx fr dng t.

    Nt ls tht “Fx” s nt prsn, bt cllctn f ppl. Prhps th ntrn blvs n th frdm f dgtl cpyng whl hs sprrs (r thr lwyrs) d nt.

  26. I have to agree with #36 – I’m not convinced it IS the same photo. It’s shot from a remarkably similar angle, but the rug is different and when you lay them over in Photoshop, the front leg is in a different position. Also there are other subtle differences: Front leg is thinner, neck folds are close but different, and if you flick back and forth between layers, you can see that the lighting on the face is different.

    I’d say it’s a surprisingly similar photo, but it’s different. Otherwise, why go to all that work when you could easily locate a photo of a pug WITH a Santa hat – especially when you’re just going to steal it? Just do a flickr search for pug santa and there’s TONS of photos with hats.

  27. Uh, sorry. I didn’t notice that the different “rug” was in fact the playing field behind the dog. I still don’t think it’s the same – the ears are different as well.

  28. Ballookey ,

    I’m with you that it makes no sense to photoshop, but on the other hand the face matches too well to be a different dog.

    I suspect that parts of the photo that don’t match may by because of distortion introduced by taking a picture of a non flat screen.

  29. Give me a break. People are debating whether or not this is the same exact image? Christ, look at the comparison at the top of the page. It’s as clear as day that it is the same dog.

    Now, in regards to the whole copyright issue, the difference between FOX stealing an image and, say, a blogger stealing an image is that FOX is a for-profit corporation. FOX used this image during a broadcast that generated revenue for the company from advertising dollars. FOX did not request permission from the photographer to use her image. IANAL, so I can’t say whether or not the image is considered public domain, and really, that would be the only way FOX could get off the hook in this case.

  30. What amazes me is the quick judgment that was employed to establish that these are actually the same dog. The completely lack of evidence other than similarity is astounding. You’re assuming that (a) there are no other dogs like this in the world, (b) no other dogs like this could possibly wear a santa suit, and (c) no other person ever takes this kind of picture of such an unlikely dog in such an unlikely suit. THAT my friend is such a tremendous leap in assumption that public perception of your ability to make sound life decisions is in serious jeopardy. And shame on you spoogetards for jumping in on it. It is a very common type of dog, in a very run-of-the-mill santa suit, in an unsurprising and generally un-unique stance for said pooch. I mean really.

  31. I say it’s the same dog, and also I say that Fox screwed up badly. Considering their approach to copyright, there is no excuse for their graphics people not knowing the basics of copyright as regards images found on the web. I’ve been contacted a half dozen times for permission to use various of my Flickr images. It ain’t tough to do. So I maintain that making an example of them in a court of law if possible is not only the right thing to do, but that such an action would not be at all hypocritical for someone critical of the existing copyrght system to take.

  32. Even at low res you can see that the dog’s little chin wrinkle flaps are exactly the same as Fox’s. Anyone saying “the rug is different!” might as well say “the Fox dog has a hat!” I’m a professional Photoshop user. My wife is an amateur, at best, and she could have done this and have it air. Low res TV is remarkably forgiving. I bet the original Photoshop image looks like shit compared to how it aired.

    I agree that it was probably a mistake by some low-on-the-totem employee. Fox is still responsible. They put it on TV.

  33. @8:

    You have a mistaken idea on just what “public domain” means. Distributing your widely and without cost does not make it public domain. The work is still your intellectual property.

    By your logic, everything on on over the air television is “public domain” because it’s distributed for no cost to everyone with a device that can receive the signals.

  34. #42, it’s a quick judgment based on ocular observation. Those who believe it is the same dog is not assuming what you believe they are; you don’t need to assume anything here. What you need to do is look at the two images and see that they are the same dog. Your argument is nothing more than a red herring.

    I seriously hope, for the sake of my dying faith in humanity, that you were being sarcastic.

  35. When I posted the Drunk Squirrel Video on my blog, hosted at Youtube, I got a lot of calls from various media outlets to license it for use.

    Who used it the most? Fox. Who never called and asked? Fox.

    They just let their legal dept handle it. There isn’t much you can do…they’ll throw a couple hundred bucks your way after the fact. The chance they get caught is pretty slim.

  36. As I said, is it the same dog? Certainly could be. Probable, even. The fact that it’s a playing field (not a different rug) behind the dog makes it more likely in my mind that it’s the same picture (part of my disbelief was that anyone would cut out the pug and put it on a different rug. Why, for god sakes? But cutting it out and putting it over video makes more sense.

  37. The image Fox used is the same as the image of the copyright owner.

    I thought the same as others here who have raised doubts, but they are going about the analysis in the wrong way. As someone else pointed out, there could be global distortions from a curved screen, for example, that would change the angle of the back leg. Also, the front leg just looks like a poor photoshop cut.

    However, there is clear and conclusive evidence that it is the same image. Image comparison is more frequently a matter of matching of details rather than gross features.

    Look at the large copyrighted image image on the copyright owner’s blog. You will see a couple of small white stitches or something similar on the lower left flap of the Santa jacket (your left, not the dog’s left), just above the fur trim. Now look very carefully at the screengrab. There are two small, preceptibly brighter spots on the dog’s Santa jacket in exactly the same locations.

    You can see similar matches with a couple of the stitches on the other flap of the jacket as well.

    Note: people who do not look at images for a living may have trouble seeing this. However, if you ask your friendly neighbourhood radiologist or medical physicist you will get 100% agreement with the analysis I’ve just presented, especially if they have any experience in portal imaging.

    I am reasonably sure that a statistical analysis of the images would allow the computation of a p-value for the null hypothesis (that the images are different) that would be very, very small.

    These are the same image. The original image had a clear copyright notice on the owner’s blog. Fox used this clearly copyrighted image in a commercial broadcast. This is clearly illegal, and given the clear copyright notice on the copyright owner’s blog, the copyright owner may be able to claim punitive damages, although I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice (I am, however, an image processing professional.)

  38. Don’t care too much if it’s the same dog or not, don’t care too much about the story period… But for those who don’t think someone would go through the trouble of ‘shopping the hat onto the dog… Look at the full screen cap on the blogger’s page…. The hat the guy is wearing and the hat the dog is wearing appear identical in the folds, shadows, &c… To me it’s clear that the hat was ‘shopped on -some- dog, if nothing else. (Unless they found a nearly identical pug, wearing a nearly identical santa suit, in a nearly identical pose… -but- that pug was also wearing a hat, and then they ‘shopped that hat onto the guy. Yeah, that’s probably it.)

  39. @Schmod, #51:

    At the risk of repeating what’s probably already been said, the issue isn’t so much the actual stealing of the image (someone stole a picture of a dog off the internets, big wow), but the fact that it was stolen by a corporation that basically want to chop your hands off if you so much as think about creating an image that even vaguely resembles one of their properties.

    Although, it’s an interesting point someone made earlier about the double standards at work here. Somebody creates a “mash-up” (oh, how I hate that phrase) of some protected corporate-output material and it’s a valiant maneuver in the Great Copyfight. Corporate material created based on an individual’s work is the insidious work of The Man. I’m not trying to defend any side of the argument, but it does kind of show how broken and ridiculous the whole debate is…

  40. #17 AaronT: Well, apparently he’s not familiar with the fast-forward button if he’s spending multiple hours on it. No way it takes that long, even just at the two-arrow fast forward, which should be plenty to spot it.

    The author seems to find the horror of sitting through “several more hours” of football the worst part of all, putting himself through unnecessary extra pain to make a point. Sounds to me like someone should have called a Waaaahmbulance.

  41. As someone who has worked for a division of fox tv doing motion graphics.. I can vouch for the fact that they’re quite anal about NOT using footage from the internet. Either it was a freelancer who didn’t know better or didn’t really think twice about it because the image was edited. This was definitely not a corporate decision and the art director probably didnt think to ask where the image came from.

  42. @Ridestow: “People who were criticizing Lane Hartwell should be supporting Fox in this issue. Especially if Tracey DCMA’s the NFL broadcast.”

    Not at all. In the Hartwell case, there is a clear argument that can (and was) made that the image used was “fair-use.” (See for a better legal opinion than mine.) I would be interested to see both parties in the Hartwell case post all of their correspondence. Both sides have made accusations that don’t totally line up.

    It’s less clear (to me) that Fox’s use of the image is transformative rather than derivative. It’s full commercial use unrelated to the initial image versus a parody. (Unless Fox was making some kind of statement on animals dressed in santa clothing; this would change my opinion on the use.)

    On an ethical level, I have less sympathy for a large multi-national corporation who has rabidly defended their copyrights and is earning millions of dollars on a telecast than a small group of musicians who are making a trivial amount of money on their video. In both cases, it’s unclear to me that the use of the image without permission significantly devalued the worth of the original image.

    I’m not sure I understand how you would use a DMCA takedown notice against Fox for a broadcast that occurred in the past. Can you elaborate?

  43. My problem is what sort of precedent this might set. I have some not-so-great photos of myself on my Flickr site that I don’t really care about because no one really looks at my photos. However, I would hate for any of them to be included in any sort of TV broadcast without my permission, or for anyone to make money off of photos I’ve taken. I’d rather just keep them to myself than publish them for all to see and risk having them be stolen.

  44. Interesting, a local affiliate of Fox once used a clip of a video I had on youtube without permission. In the video I was pretending to be an emo (I was semi e-famous on youtube for a bit as “emogirl21”) and they used my video in a report on “emos”, presenting me as an example of a typical one.

    I didn’t really think about the copyright issue, I was just interested that they were taken in by it, even though there were further videos on my account making it clear I was joking.

    How does copyright violation work when things like youtube videos are used as part of news stories? Is that fair use?

  45. Those of you wondering if it is the same dog, goto and type in Santa Pug. Hit enter and then click the image results. Her pic comes up as the 5th result. So that – along with the screenshot – lends me to believe it’s the same dog. Just saying.

  46. I bet LOLcats’ pwners are just going ape over the money money money money GIANT MONEY from LOLcats they’ve missed out on, just the same as this PUG OWNER is being denied the HUGE $$$ via the one in a million opportunity to have his “all the responsibilities of a cat, plus all those of a dog” charming canine half-wit featured on national TV without being a pitbull.

    If my cat was on national or even regional TV, I’d cherish it, slap my knee and have a good chuckle. If I paid out the ass for TiVo, I’d save it. THANKS TIVO. Since I don’t have TV-cock-sucking TiVo I’d give a chuckle, tell my kitty he was nationwide, and forget it.

    Other than that, don’t post pictures of your dog where they’re readily available to the rest of the planet and then whine when the appear elsewhere.

    Did HappyCat (supposedly from Russian cat food pics) submit to becoming I Can Haz Cheezburger cat via his original contract? Probably, as Russian contracts go, but perhaps he didn’t understand the language and was taken advantage of. Where’s the fallout (no pun intended)?

    But let’s be honest–beyond the initial cuteness, snorting, and “cinnamon roll” tail, a pug’s most prominent calling card is it’s anus. And even considering that…they all look the same.

    I’d be more concerned with Ape Lad…wait..the phrases Ape Lad uses are far more recognizable than any animal…but Ape Lad is cool, right? So if he rips off stuff by people who don’t bother to copyright their work and makes $12,000 worth or “comix” based on a fake story it’s cool and the whole “copyfight” thing

    Just something to consider.

  47. So quick question, this is being picked up by various blogs and a couple news sites. They have the original image in them, the pug’s owners comments and usually the screenshot of the NFL game. But nowhere on any of them do I see that the various sites have permission to publish the blog contents or the unedited pug picture. How does that work?

  48. The hat IS photo-chopped!

    Look at the original screen-grab on the blog- Look closely at the man’s hat, and compare it to the dog’s hat- They are exactly the same shape, with the same wrinkles and shadows. They are the SAME HAT.

  49. I just want to let boingboingers in on something rather uncool about this blog…

    Yesterday, I tried to post four well-intentioned and thoughtful comments to the wronged blogger’s site, but each comment was rejected because I disagreed with the blogger’s own perspective.

    To be clear – my comments were not spam, and they were not trollish. Each comment contained useful advice that might have helped others in a similar situation (although I did tell her to calm down and take some deep breaths).

    But no matter how I phrased it she didn’t publish. So after my fourth try not showing up, I sent a test post — a 100% positive comment under the user name “Charlotte” — and it was posted immediately.

    So just be aware if you go to her actual blog and read the comments, they do not represent reality. She is deceiving her readers into thinking that almost all the comments she gets on this issue support suing FOX, and that isn’t the case.

    Anyway – here was my original advice (I’ll post it here, since I know boingboing welcomes dialogue, and it may really help someone else):

    Most television stations and broadcasters have Errors and Ommissions insurance and permissions departments that clear rights for things after the fact. It’s very likely that a holiday fill-in cg or other low-level designer (or intern) pinched her photo on deadline.

    Rather than jumping into some legal morass right off the bat, she should first handle it the way a professional would, by sending them an invoice for use of the photo. One copy should go to the accounts payable department for the unit that produced that program, and another copy should go to the errors and ommissions folks for FOX.

    Starting a cover letter with “It has come to my attention that….” and charging an extra fee for usage of the material before the rights were cleared is a good first step.

    If FOX doesn’t pay for some reason, she can go on from there.

    FOX has enough money to cover the cost of using the pic as a legitimate expense. It also has a budget set aside for times when it makes an error like this, specifically because stupid people do stupid things on deadline.

    So while it’s ironic that FOX did this, it’s not the kind of violation that would result if say, FOX kidnapped her actual dog and held it for ransom on tv.

  50. @Jaymeekae

    If it was part of a news story, they are covered under fair use, in this case because the clip directly illustrated an aspect of the topic they were covering.

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