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Television The Courts Your Rights Online

Discovery Threatens Fan Site It Also Promotes 287

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-the-case-of-right-hand-v.-left-hand dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It seems the lawyers and the marketing people at The Discovery Channel don't talk to each other much. The marketing people behind the show 'The Deadliest Catch' have been supporting a fan community called DeadliestCatchTV.com for a while now. They've regularly sent the site info, free clips, previews and information about the show. On top of that, they link to it from the official site, including it in a list of 'fan sites' as a part of the 'Discovery Network,' and even will frame the site with the show's own dashboard for those who click through. Discovery's lawyers, on the other hand, have threatened to sue the site out of existence and have demanded that the owner hand over the domain name — which he is going to do, because he doesn't have the money to fight this. While there may be a trademark issue (which could be easily resolved with a free license), the lawyers are also making the ridiculous argument that posting the videos Discovery sent him to post are copyright infringement. They're also claiming that embedding the official Discovery Channel YouTube videos (which have embedding turned on) is copyright infringement. This is exactly how you turn lots of fans into people who hate your entire channel."
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Discovery Threatens Fan Site It Also Promotes

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  • Greed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MongooseKY (760783) on Monday August 09, 2010 @03:36PM (#33193772)
    Ain't it fun? You can ruin almost anything with it.
  • by Local ID10T (790134) <ID10T.L.USER@gmail.com> on Monday August 09, 2010 @03:37PM (#33193788) Homepage

    Each department is doing it's job well. Upper management is responsible for overseeing and coordinating departments into a cohesive whole.

    Guess who failed?

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Monday August 09, 2010 @03:38PM (#33193812)

    1) Looks like they're "discovering" how to piss of their fans

    2) This is what you get by obsessing over a show as pointless as "Deadliest Catch". Oh wait, this one is not a joke. This is karma.

  • Re:Contact the EFF (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The_mad_linguist (1019680) on Monday August 09, 2010 @03:41PM (#33193864)

    Err, *they* can't be sued

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@yah o o .com> on Monday August 09, 2010 @03:42PM (#33193894) Journal

    Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.

    --Gordon Gekko, speaking the Mantra of unbridled capitalism. Greed may not get the outright worship it got when Wall Street came out, but many still consider greed to be a positive thing.

  • by ISoldat53 (977164) on Monday August 09, 2010 @03:43PM (#33193918)
    I think the whole channel has jumped the shark. I'd rather read a book.
  • by hibiki_r (649814) on Monday August 09, 2010 @03:44PM (#33193930)

    For that to matter you'd need a court system in which facing a copyright infringement suit without spending tens of thousands in legal representation is doable.

  • by geminidomino (614729) on Monday August 09, 2010 @03:44PM (#33193932) Journal

    Unfortunately, to even get it that far, you've got to get a lawyer to say basically what you just said.

    Welcome to justice-by-checkbook.

  • by dmgxmichael (1219692) on Monday August 09, 2010 @03:50PM (#33194030) Homepage

    You're right. Now do you have $100,000 to get it in front of a judge?

    Increasingly in this country justice is the exclusive possession of the rich.

  • by sjames (1099) on Monday August 09, 2010 @03:50PM (#33194038) Homepage

    but many still consider greed to be a positive thing.

    Primarily the greedy and short sighted.

    Young children consider Hershey bars for breakfast, lunch and dinner (washed down with soda) to be a good thing too.

  • by DutchSter (150891) on Monday August 09, 2010 @03:51PM (#33194052)

    Too bad it will never see a judge because the owner of the site in question decided to acquiesce Discovery's C&D rather than go to court. I'm sure there will be posters who will bemoan the fact that he's "taking it in the ass" or "abandoning the principle of the matter" or other such nonsense. I never begrudge anybody for making a legal decision based on their own situation. Lawyers aren't cheap, and at the end of the day I can't think of any hobbies I have where I'd be willing to front thousands of dollars I don't have and years of stress just to make a point when the end result will be either:
    1. I win, and now have the right to continue to maintain a fan site for a show that's either now out of existence (by the time the case is concluded) or that I absolutely despise after what the company put me through.
    2. I lose, and go bankrupt.

    I think the owner is doing the best thing he can here - he's giving in without spending a cent but he's generating a lot of negative publicity in the process.

    As an aside someone should report all of Discovery's Youtube videos because they are not adhering to Youtube's terms of use.

  • by lgw (121541) on Monday August 09, 2010 @03:54PM (#33194124) Journal

    "Greed" is orthagonal to "short sighted". Short-sighted greed is usually a bad thing, but the desire to get more out of a process is at the very heart of engineering. Rational greed may not be the optimal behavior in humans, but it's a Hell of a lot closer to optimal than just being randomly destructive, or, worse, being focused on telling your neighbor how he can live his life better!

  • Discovery Channel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:00PM (#33194234)
    The Discovery Channel has really disappointed me. It used to be that they put out good, educational television shows. Now, they've added all kinds of extra drama to shows to supposedly make them more interesting but in reality they have a dumbed down appearance. Now, they also have gone the reality tv route. I fail to see how Deadliest Catch really teaches us anything - it is really only drama. I remember when TLC and DSC really had good educational shows that could captivate thinking audiences without all the bleeped out cursing and melodramatic garbage. It would seem that the last of the truly informative and educational shows are on PBS.
  • by DutchSter (150891) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:08PM (#33194402)

    I'm glad you've been successful at representing yourself in court. As I alluded to in an earlier post though we can't begrudge someone for not doing what we would rather they do when it comes to their situation. It's a personal decision. Here we are talking about a fan site that a guy runs as a hobby. Presumably he runs it because he likes Discovery and he likes their show. He's probably not so endeared to them anymore. We don't know but after this treatment he may not even be interested in providing them with free publicity

    Is it wrong that Discovery is going after him like they are? Yep, no doubt. But that doesn't mean we can decide for him how he should proceed. We know nothing about this gentleman's personal situation. What kind of a job does he have? Can he get all the time off he needs to defend himself in court, and what would his employer think about him being in a large civil suit? Is he married? Does he have kids that he's saving money for to send them to college? We don't know the facts and quite frankly we have no right to tell this guy how he should manage his affairs, particularly when the risk is all his and the reward is all ours. If he wins in court, what does he really get? The right to continue providing free publicity for a company he now despises? Talk about a hollow victory.

  • by sjames (1099) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:10PM (#33194422) Homepage

    Greed IS orthogonal to short sighted, that's why I specified both. Otherwise I would have just skipped the "and short sighted" part.

    Greed is not the same as simple want or preference, it is desire for the material elevated above all else.

    Three kids, 3 pieces of candy. All 3 want the candy all would be even happier if there were 6 pieces, but the one who tries to grab all 3 and run off with it is greedy.

    The engineer who avoids waste is employing frugality, not greed.

    As for my neighbor, he is free to roll around in a pool of his own filth if he likes, but I will strenuously object when he tries to turn the world I live in into a pool of filth, thank you very much.

  • by kenh (9056) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:11PM (#33194468) Homepage Journal

    I have to wonder, did the Marketing Department have the right to "give away" copyrighted material for use on a non-Discovery Channel site? I bet they didn't. Did the lawyers talk to the Marketing Department before sending the notices to the fan site? I bet they didn't. Did the fansite give credit to the Marketing Department for providing the "exclusive" clips for use on the fansite? Probably not.

    So where does that leave us? Lawyers who trolled google looking for sites violating Discover Channel properties came across a treasure trove of videos without any convienient way to determine their source on the website. Barring such attribution, the low-level lawyer assigned to the task simply documented everything they saw on the fan website and the senior lawyers approved it without any real investigation.

    I suspect the lawyers involved never imagined the Marketing Department would "feed" this site material, and I'm doubly-sure Marketing never approached the Legal Department to properly record the rights they were trying to give the fan site to play the videos.

    I think the Marketing group is the one that "went rogue" and went against Discover Channel policy, the lawyers only did what they are supposed to do, and the poor chap with the fan site is really at the mercy of the Discovery Channel Legal Department, since the Marketing Group involved him in their extra-legal adventure in gurellia marketing.

    In a perfect world the Marketing Group would own-up to the problem and protect the fan site, but I expect full CYA-mode from them and the poor folks running the fan site will suddenly find themselves without a fan site anymore.

    In hindsight, the fan site owner should have verified the legality of the clips/info he was sent - it sounds dumb, but ultimately he is responsible for the information on his site.

  • by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdotNO@SPAMuberm00.net> on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:12PM (#33194486) Homepage Journal

    Have you ever read a cease and desist notice?

    They all but say that if you don't do exactly what the lawyer wants in X amount of time (usually 48 hours to a week), they will initiate legal action.

    Having a copyright suit even initiated against you will likely cost several thousand dollars before you're out.

    You get a cease and desist and you aren't rich, you do what they say. Welcome to the real world.

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@yah o o .com> on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:13PM (#33194508) Journal

    I don't think greed is anything like "The desire to get more out of a process." That's just a desire for efficiency. I thought greed was specifically "A selfish or excessive desire for more than is needed or deserved, especially of money, wealth, food, or other possessions."

    You see, you left out two important components of the definition of greed, one, the desire itself is selfish and/or excessive; and the desire is for more than is needed or deserved. But this definition likely angers certain people, who will say things like ,"Excessive by whose standards?" or "Why should anyone be allowed to say what someone else needs or deserves?" and to them I say, we do. Society. Other people you happen to be sharing the planet with, we have the right and the power to say, "That's too much, buddy, didn't your momma teach you to share?"

    And that is perhaps the best thing that can be said about greed, like it or not, the rest of us humans have the power to stop greed from paying off, if we want to. And most of us do, despite what the greedy would have you believe most people are not greedy and in fact despise greedy people.

  • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:13PM (#33194520)

    Every episode seems to be the same - men catching lobsters.

    Crabs, not lobsters. Crabs.

    And yeah, I live in Alaska and never liked Deadliest Catch. It's like any other reality show, just on a boat. Same with Ice Road Truckers - it's just another reality show, in trucks.

    I'd much rather watch an actual documentary on crab fishing, or on ice road truckers, than these stupid reality shows. They are all so trumped up it's ridiculous.

  • by shadowmage36 (840208) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:17PM (#33194592)
    phone call from the owners of the fan site to the marketing people, followed by a phone call between the marketing people and the lawyers, would result in a free license, an amicable settlement arrangement, Discovery getting a bunch of free advertising, the fans being happy to have a good fan site, and everyone winning.

    Except we don't live in that strange, logical place. We live here, where it's all about the almighty dollar and name rights, and the hell with corporate goodwill! Any PR is good PR! Et cetera! Rabble, rabble, rabble!

    Disgusting. When will we get wise and finally decide, "Enough is enough." Sometimes I think it's a pity there wasn't an ACTUAL "Year They Hanged The Lawyers..."
  • by lgw (121541) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:24PM (#33194734) Journal

    I don't think greed is anything like "The desire to get more out of a process." That's just a desire for efficiency. I thought greed was specifically "A selfish or excessive desire for more than is needed or deserved, especially of money, wealth, food, or other possessions."

    Yes, but there is a healthy overlap. If I want more out of a process I may be motivated by simple greed. Additional greed might motivate me to bring this new efficiency to everyone (for a price). But once you start talking about "more than is deserved" you're firmly into "telling your neighbor how to live" territory, which is surely worse than mere greed.

    Other people you happen to be sharing the planet with, we have the right and the power to say, "That's too much, buddy, didn't your momma teach you to share?"

    Yes, "you have too much, so I'm justified in taking yours" is the worst sort of greed: it's greed wrapped up in rationalizations that remove the guilt we should feel for taking from another.

  • Re:Lawyers... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by multisync (218450) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:25PM (#33194762) Journal

    A famous writer once wrote: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"...

    He got it wrong. I guarantee that every C&D written by a lawyer was demanded by an MBA.

  • by h00manist (800926) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:27PM (#33194822) Journal

    Each department is doing it's job well. Upper management is responsible for overseeing and coordinating departments into a cohesive whole.

    Guess who failed?

    The guy with less money. According to standing legal and social norms.

  • by jvkjvk (102057) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:41PM (#33195178)

    have to wonder, did the Marketing Department have the right to "give away" copyrighted material for use on a non-Discovery Channel site? I bet they didn't.

    That doesn't matter. The fact is that they are the same company, and the Company Iteslf does indeed have this right. And they exercised it. Now, it would be an entirely different matter if the company in question did not hold the copyright, but they do!

    In hindsight, the fan site owner should have verified the legality of the clips/info he was sent - it sounds dumb, but ultimately he is responsible for the information on his site

    I am sick and tired of people promoting corporate irresponsibility while at the same time screaming about personal responsibility and your post certainly smacks of that. The only reason to jerrymander a company like that is to avoid responsibility and I think they do a plenty good job of that already. In fact, the premise of your post basically signifies how complete the brainwashing has been.

    The fact is that the corporation is responsible for disseminating this to that site. NO, not, oh the "Marketing" department or any other sub group. The corporation itself. If they hold the copyrights then it is certainly legal to give out clips, knowing that they will be futher distributed, and they did.

    Regards.

  • Re:It's simple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smurfsurf (892933) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:43PM (#33195214)

    Did you ever see a press release or a press map? The ones I have seen do not contain such permission notes, the permission to use the material is implicit.

    "They've regularly sent the site info, free clips, previews and information about the show."

    Same thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 09, 2010 @05:02PM (#33195686)

    I agree completely. TDC and TLC have as much in common with discovery and learning as MTV has with music.Back in the day when The Discovery Channel was their only game it seemed there was always something interesting on. Now they've devolved to idiotic "reality" shows that include large doses of "vehement" argument and artificially induced stress (as in Deadliest Catch, Orange County Choppers, etc. We used to call it the "bail-out channel" because there was always something worth watching even if it was just WW2 news reels. Now, we just avoid it. So sad. All of DCI's other efforts seem to have been similarly dumbed-down to the least common denominator, as well. 4th grade, maybe?

  • by sortius_nod (1080919) on Monday August 09, 2010 @07:25PM (#33197930) Homepage

    The only "reality" shows like this I actually enjoy are done by the BBC. They seem to get it right, rather than making it dramatic, they aim more for looking at the whole story.

    Deadliest Catch was amusing for an episode or two, but you definitely get more value from a decent documentary than from a whole season of this Discovery nonsense.

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