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Fox News: Romney Is Violating Copyright Law, "We Will Respond"

First Posted: 03/28/08 03:45 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 01:15 PM ET

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Talking Points Memo's Greg Sargent is reporting today that the Romney campaign has fired a broadside at Fox News, which issued a directive in the wake of John McCain's "Woodstock ad" forbidding the use of their footage for campaign advertisements.

In the new Romney ad, the candidate makes use of debate footage in which he likens Hillary Clinton's experience to an "internship."

Romney's lawyer, Ben Ginsberg, in a letter to Fox, stated:

Indeed, the Romney campaign's use of a very short debate clip to deliver a message about Governor Romney is the very essence of political speech protected by the First Amendment. In addition to the First Amendment, statutes and numerous court decisions protect a political campaign's use of this material in this fashion.

The rationale behind Fox's attempt to impose a blanket ban on the use of their footage has never been properly clarified. Marc Santora, writing for the New York Times, noted last week that "Rival campaigns have privately suggested that they believe Fox unfairly skews its coverage in Mr. Giuliani's favor, citing his long history with Roger Ailes, who runs the cable outlet." However, the use-of-footage ban has been applied to all candidates.

Following the public release of Ginsberg's letter, the Huffington Post obtained a statement from Chris Silvestri, FNC's Vice President of Legal & Business Affairs, charging that Romney is violating copyright law by posting FNC footage online: "The Romney campaign using footage as part of the 'Mitt TV' section of their website goes well beyond a 'Fair Use' exception to U.S. Copyright Law and we will respond accordingly."

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