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Trevor Potter Comments on Pawlenty's Use of ABC Sports Footage in Political Ad

July 22, 2011, The Daily Caller

Excerpt taken from article.

ABC Sports is alleging that Tim Pawlenty violated copyright law when his campaign used footage from "Miracle on Ice," to which ABC Sports owns the rights, in a new political ad.

The footage of the U.S. hockey team's amazing defeat over the Soviet team in the 1980 Olympic Winter Games appears in Pawlenty's newest ad, "The American Comeback," released Thursday and running on Iowa television.

Trevor Potter of Caplin and Drysdale, who served as general counsel to the McCain campaign, says that such arguments about campaign ads are common. "Every campaign gets into these sorts of disputes when they use commonly-available video footage that is subject to intellectual property protection. The campaigns always contend that the footage they used is ‘fair use' (only a small portion of the protected material), not confusing to the viewer, and protected political speech under the First Amendment. Copyright holders are conversely pushed by THEIR lawyers to ‘protect' the copyright by objecting to all unauthorized uses, even political ones such as Pawlenty's. These disputes are usually resolved by the campaign agreeing to cease use of the offending footage – a concession that usually comes after the campaign has already decided the ad has served its purpose and moved on anyway. Almost never do they result in a final judgment on the legal issues by a court," Potter wrote in an email. Read The Daily Caller article.

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