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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

WFSU, YouTube block Crist's use of Rubio video

22

January

If you go to Gov. Charlie Crist's U.S. Senate campaign site in search of his latest web ads criticizing Marco Rubio, you'll see this message: "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Florida State University dba WFSU-TV."

WFSU The state-funded public TV outlet known as the Florida Channel, licensed to Florida State University, filed a copyright infringement complaint Thursday with YouTube. The offending video contained a snippet of Rubio discussing a tax on carbon emissions and cap-and-trade legislation in a 2008 edition of Florida Face to Face, the station's weekly newsmaker program.

WFSU general manager Patrick Keating said it is well-known among Florida candidates that a state law prohibits using its product for political purposes. "I'm just trying to protect our product and live up to the terms of our agreement with the Legislature," Keating said. He emphasized that "we found it" on Crist's website, and the decision to demand its removal was not prompted by a third party.

Ben Ginsberg, a Washington lawyer representing the Crist campaign, said WFSU's action was an out-and-out case of censorship. "The Florida Channel has exerted its commercial interests and censored the exchange of information between two political candidates," Ginsberg said. He said the video's use should be allowed under the so-called "fair use" provision of U.S. copyright law. 

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:14pm]

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