Friday, August 16, 2019

Kimmel/ABC Should Fight This


Per BBC News:

ABC talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! has been fined $395,000 (£326,000) for mimicking a presidential alert on the programme, a US regulator has said.

The show replicated the alert tone three times, which is illegal, during a sketch mocking the warning system.

...

By simulating the alert tone, the Jimmy Kimmel Show! breached broadcasting rules, said the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates television in the US.

Under FCC rules, broadcasters are barred from mimicking the warning system "to avoid confusion when the tones are used, alert fatigue among listeners, and false activation".

"Copyright protection ... is not available for any work of the United States Government," defined as "a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties."

In other words, sights, sounds, words, tones, etc. produced by the federal government are in the public domain.

Using the Emergency Alert System's tones to commit fraud might be a crime, but so would be using the word "the" to commit fraud. Freedom of speech, not to mention absence of copyright protection, trumps the FCC's power to demand that others "avoid confusion."

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