NBC Nixes Bush-Cheney Online Video Clip


The Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign plans to re-launch an online promotional
video
clip of President Bush after a dispute with NBC
News snarled a similar effort Tuesday.


Using footage from President Bush’s Sunday interview with Tim Russert
on
Meet the Press, the Bush-Cheney campaign sent six million
e-mails
Tuesday afternoon inviting readers to click on a link to hear the
president
speak on “Responsibility.” After NBC objected to use of its footage in
the
promotion, the campaign disconnected the link.


Bush-Cheney ’04 officials told internetnews.com the campaign
would send
another link to a video clip Wednesday to its subscribers that does not
use
the NBC footage. According to the Bush-Cheney e-campaign staff, the
original
video clip was designed to promote the president’s new campaign slogan,
“Strong Leadership in Times of Change.”


The 30-second, approximately 100-word video features an answer from
Bush on
the human cost of the war in Iraq that uses the word “responsibility” six times.


The Bush-Cheney staff maintained it had the legal right to use the NBC
footage, but the network vigorously disagreed.


“While we understand that inclusion of unedited news clips on campaign
Web sites is common practice, this is different,” NBC said in a
statement.
“This promotional video is set to music, edited for impact, and mixed
with
other images, graphics and footage unrelated to the interview.”


The network added it “did not, and does not, authorize this misuse of
our
copyrighted material. We have asked the campaign to cease and desist
immediately from the use of our material.”


Sharon Castillo of the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign told
internetnews,”there was no real legal issue involved whatsoever. We never doubted we
could
legally use it, but Mr. Russert and NBC objected. To keep good
relations, we
decided not use it.”


Veteran online political strategist Jonah Seiger, a visiting fellow at
George
Washington University’s Institute for Politics, Democracy & the
Internet, said
the copyright issue was not cut and dried, but the campaign “made a
political decision — and a wise one — to avoid a legal dispute with
NBC.”


A Bush-Cheney e-campaign staffer said the video clip was in keeping
with the
campaign’s Web goals of “not raising money, but recruiting volunteers.”
Before
the video was pulled, viewers were offered the common option of sending
the
link to other viewers.


“We haven’t emphasized raising funds,” the official said. “The
fundamental
issue in any campaign is that word-of-mouth is the best way to get a
vote.
What we’re doing is taking person-to-person campaigning and moving it
online.
In marketing terms, it is viral marketing.”


Perhaps the most surprising revelation by the campaign staff is that 78
percent of all visitors to the Bush-Cheney ’04 website have broadband
connections.


“That’s really disproportionately high to the penetration of broadband
nationally,” Seiger said, who noted the national average is of
Americans with
high-speed connections is between 15-20 percent.


Telephone inquiries to the Democratic National Committee and to the
John Kerry campaign about the percentage of visitors to their sites with broadband connections were not returned.

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