Stop stealing our video, Florida Channel says

Florida Channel screen cap

The Florida Channel wants you … to stop stealing its videos.

A new disclaimer began popping up Friday under the channel’s online video feeds: “Programming produced by The Florida Channel CANNOT be used for political, campaign, advocacy or commercial purposes!”

It adds: “ANY editing, embedding or distribution without permission is strictly PROHIBITED. Direct linking to complete video files is permissible, except in the case of political campaigns.”

Florida Channel executive director Beth Switzer on Monday explained the “terms of use” reminder was sparked by the “increasing number of people stealing (videos) for advocacy purposes.” She did not point to specific examples. 

Switzer referred to a state law that she said prohibits such use.

It says, in part, that the “facilities, plant, or personnel of an educational television station that is supported in whole or in part by state funds may not be used directly or indirectly for the promotion, advertisement, or advancement of a political candidate for a municipal, county, legislative, congressional, or state office.”

The law, which doesn’t mention work product such as videos, provides that a violation is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Those parts of the law were added in 2014.

Aside from a “huge number of videos being lifted and put out there,” Switzer also said her office is getting swamped with calls asking her staff to provide edited clips for use in commercials and other promotions.

“Making copies of what we do is not really in our scope of work,” she said.

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected]


2 comments

  • Dean Parkersin

    April 24, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    That’s terrible! It’s public meetings, and filmed with public moneys. It should be free!

  • Andrew Nappi

    April 25, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    “Located in the state Capitol building, The FLORIDA Channel is a public affairs programming service funded by The Florida Legislature and produced and operated by WFSU-TV. It features programming covering all three branches of state government, and is Florida’s primary source for live, unedited coverage of the Governor and Cabinet, the Legislature and the Supreme Court.”
    We are paying for it, we will use it as we please.
    The Florida Channel has zero authority to deny publicly funded material from the public.

Comments are closed.


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