• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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GOD TV Waves Lawyers at Oregon Website

Salem News is an on-line alternative news site based in Oregon. Recently, it received an unwelcome letter from London:

Salem-News.com is in a legal battle with ‘God TV’ in the UK because we published video from their TV show…

…Their beef is that we are allegedly guilty of a UK copyright infringement. Why? Because we carried a video clip of their own TV show that is publicly posted on Vimeo with an embed code denoting it is totally available to use. We used it within a news story as reference, something done as a benefit to the reader. As of now, the video has been removed from the story, though it continues to be available online irregardless of Salem-News.com.

News organizations are protected from this kind of onslaught in the United States (see Fair Use), but across the pond things are done a little differently and this particular group is taking advantage of that, ceasing the opportunity.

…For now we have to defend ourselves; not only are they trying to disrupt our relationship with our server group, they are also in contact with our domain server.

The clip referred to the story which I blogged on just yesterday: as an expression of its Christian Zionist beliefs, GOD TV is funding the creation of a forest near Beersheva on the site of a Bedouin village which the authorities deem to be illegal. The clip was incorporated into a critical video, entitled “The Jewish National Fund and God TV’s Forest of Hate”. This video has been embedded on a number of websites over the past month, and Salem News was not responsible either for its creation or for the article that accompanied it.

GOD TV’s letter, via its media lawyers Davenport Lyons, also objects to the publication of a screenshot and of a partial transcript (which comes to around 800 words).

It is difficult to avoid the impression that the claim of “copyright infringement”, which may be trivially true under UK law, is being pursued because GOD TV wishes to discourage critical discussion.

(Incidentally, Salem News insists on putting the cart before the horse by calling GOD TV “Israeli backed”.)