Doheny campaign ad uses NCPR audio out of context and without permission

notapprovebIf you watch broadcast and cable television this week, you may see an ad paid for by the Doheny for Congress campaign titled “The Truth.” In this ad Elise Stefanik, Matt Doheny’s opponent in the Republican primary for the 21st Congressional District seat, is portrayed as an outsider, not from the North Country. The ad references reporting by local media including North Country Public Radio to make that case, and includes a brief audio clip from a candidate profile by our reporter Brian Mann that aired on NCPR last month.

We’re going on record here to tell you that we did not authorize use of North Country Public Radio’s reputation or reporting in this ad. We believe that the use of our name and our audio without our consent is not acceptable, that the material is used out of context, and that the ad violates our journalistic integrity. We have asked the Doheny campaign to take all references to NCPR out of the ad. We are waiting for a reply.

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Update 6/7/14 8:45 pm: An update: the Stefanik campaign has replied to NCPR this evening. Charlotte Guyett, press secretary for the Elise for Congress campaign, has told NCPR that the Stefanik campaign is in no way connected to the ad and has no contact with the group (American Crossroads) that placed the ad, including no control over editorial content. NCPR has not yet received a reply from American Crossroads or from the Doheny campaign, regarding unauthorized use of North Country Public Radio’s name and content in political ads.

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Update 6/7/14 12:15 pm: It has come to our attention that an ad titled “Mistakes” attacking Matt Doheny, paid for by the American Crossroads group on behalf of Elise Stefanik, is also currently running and includes a slide with our name at the bottom of the screen. It’s small and quick and easy to miss, and does not include use of NCPR reporter voices, but we also object to this usage without our permission. We have contacted both the American Crossroads group and Stefanik’s group, Elise for Congress, and requested that they delete all references to North Country Public Radio or pull down the ad.

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North Country Public Radio will never take sides or editorialize. We are, as always, totally committed to fairness and evenhandedness in all of our coverage of issues and candidates. It’s a core value for us, that goes to the heart of our commitment to public service, to you.

We just wanted you to know.

Jackie Sauter, program director
North Country Public Radio

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25 Comments on “Doheny campaign ad uses NCPR audio out of context and without permission”

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  1. dave says:

    I get that it was used without your permission… but how exactly was it taken out of context?

  2. Harvey says:

    I’m not in the North Country right now. Could you play a clip of the spot?

  3. Michael Greer says:

    As I have stated before…The man has no ideas of his own….

  4. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Perhaps you could post a link to the report in question?

  5. Kevin Leroux says:

    See also: “Doheny mailer incorrectly attributes information to the Times” from 05/16/24

  6. Peter Hahn says:

    I can understand why NCRP is upset, but none of us should be surprised. These guys – maybe all of them – take stuff out of context and essentially lie about their opponents.

  7. “Doheny’s a hypocrite!”

    Matt Doheny is a hypocrite who took 183,000 dollars from PACs last election, and two days ago went on Glenn Curry’s Live@Five show and was given a free pass to attack Elise Stefanik for 25 minutes. He attacked the use of the Karl Rove ‘Doheny significantly flawed’ ad as something that was beneath the District. Elise Stefanik never approved it … Yet in Matt Doheny did approve, ‘The Truth’ attack ad and is now facing a law suit from NRPC if he doesn’t modify a voice over attributed to them. Standard operating procedure by Matt Doheny, if you or PAC attacks me that’s wrong, but if I attack you and approve it that’s only fair and justified.

    Mike Flynn ‘Middle Class Mike’

  8. Ezra Ford says:

    Declared candidates are public figures. Their broadcast utterances are in the public domain. Therefore, not subject to copyright. Ergo, NCPR has no legal standing in the use by others of their broadcast utterances. You can complain but not sue.

  9. mervel says:

    What are the rules on this?

    If you put something in the public domain and someone uses it and attributes it correctly is that some sort of infringement? Do I have to have permission to quote NCPR?

    I think NCPR has been pretty clear that it is an issue politically that neither Stefeni or that guy from the City on the Democratic side are from the area. The fact is Matt Doheny does live here.

  10. mervel says:

    Now a lot of people live here I would not vote for, so its not some sort of great qualifier that he lives here.

  11. Mervel raises a good question, the answer to which could illuminate this discussion. What is “fair use” and how does it apply to print and broadcast journalism reports?

  12. Pete Klein says:

    Select quotes are common in all sorts of ads.
    You see it most often in quotes selling a movie.
    A movie critic writes, “Must see if you want to throw up” and the ad will say, “So and so says this movie is a must see.”
    Grow up NCPR.

  13. ncpradmin says:

    Hi Ezra–

    The audio used in the Doheny ad was not remarks made by a public candidate. It was the voice of an NCPR reporter, whose work is indeed subject to copyright, indicated both in the audio file used and the page on the NCPR website from which it was taken.

    Dale Hobson, NCPR web manager

  14. ncpradmin says:

    Hi Mervel–

    Quoting NCPR with attribution is one thing. Using a segment of audio from a broadcast program without permission is another. NCPR audio from The Eight O’Clock Hour regional news program is not in the public domain. Those media files from program archives are copyrighted intellectual property belonging to NCPR. We are very flexible in granting permission for use of that audio by others, but we were not asked, nor would have given permission for their use in a partisan political ad in a campaign we are covering as a news service, and as an organization sponsoring an upcoming debate between the candidates involved.

    Dale Hobson, NCPR web manager

  15. Ezra Ford says:

    Hi Dale,
    If it is as you reported you are correct.

  16. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    I don’t believe the underlying question here is one of fair use. Chances are pretty slim that NCPR will sue over this and candidates know that. Fair use is usually only contested when there are royalties to be had.

    The real question is of how the material was used. There is a difference between “fair use” and used fairly. If NCPR had felt (if such and entity had feelings) that Doheny had used the material in a fair manner, there probably wouldn’t be a major issue here.

  17. mervel says:

    Thanks Dale,

    I always wondered what the basic rules were regarding that sort of thing. Also I was not aware that they used audio without permission.

  18. Mr. Wakiki says:

    Simple solution: make anyone promoting an ad (I guess this is about commercial radio and TV) responsible for what they put on the air.

    If the ad is false, they are filed…say the amount of the ad, plus 10%. This would stop faluse ads and probably attack ads

  19. oa says:

    You’re missing a real national story here, NCPR: Karl Rove’s American Crossroads group has jumped into this race on behalf of Stefanik. Which may be great news for Doheny given Rove’s record in 2012:
    This race will bring economic prosperity to Rove, at least. But he doesn’t live in the district.

  20. Mr. Wakiki says:

    I guess I have a question for NCPR.

    News agencies — including NCPR — report all the time, with information they did not obtain direction.

    Example: “The Watertown Times is reporting…..” I am sure you try to put the story in context, but I know you don’t read the whole story on line.

    It seems to me the kettle should ask the pot for it’s sources… I believe you do an excellent job at NCPR, but where is the line drawn.. When you use someone else’s information… or when someone else uses your information?

  21. Paul says:

    It is not legally necessary to label stuff on your site (I assume that is where they got it) as copyrighted but you should anyway.

    Mr. Wakiki I agree. It seems to me that reporters are plagiarizing each other all over the place. Do you guys have some kind of agreement in the industry?

  22. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    If NCPR misrepresented a story by the Watertown Times (Daily Times) or if they read the story without attribution I’m pretty sure the folks at the WDT would object strenuously.

  23. On a related note, I’m glad the main coverage of this race is being done by David Sommerstein. Brian Mann does some of the best journalism you’ll hear on other issues, but on political reporting, he’s too wedded to “conventional wisdom” of political reporting. Mr. Sommerstein reports on the candidates’ views – ALL the candidates – with minimal speculation and horse race analysis that detract from real journalism that matters to me as a voter. The sort of political journalism I want to hear but is so hard to find.

  24. mervel says:

    Yeah really Doheny should use this whole discussion; the fact that Karl Rove, another “outsider”, just like Stefinik; is also twisting and using without permission our beloved NCPR LOCAL reporters content! Just another example of big time Washington lobbyists trying to roll over the poor local guy Doheney, in an attempt to put in their own mouthpiece, who does not know DePyster from Crown Point.

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