DES MOINES REGISTER SINKS DISASTER RELIEF [UPDATED]

As you may recall, we posted an article about the unprecedented flooding ripping through Iowa City and Cedar Rapids this weekend. The sole purpose of the post was a call for our readers to donate either time or money to the efforts, and to drive the point home, we embedded a video from the Des Moines Register's website. We're pretty sure it was this one.

You may also notice that the video is no longer up, and instead a benign reference to the Register posting said videos. Why's that? Well, you may certainly ask Kathy Hickman of the Register. Or better yet, let's let her tell the story. Here is her note, in completely unedited form:

Subject: Copyright
Department: General Information

Name: Kathy Hickman
Email: khickman@dmreg.com

Comments:
It has recently come to the attention of the Des Moines Register that you have improperly posted a video, the rights to which are held by The Register.   A copy of your unauthorized use can be found at www.blackheartgoldpants.com/2008/6/15/552422/the-flood.

As the copyright owner of that video, The Des Moines Register has the exclusive right to its reproduction and distribution.  We therefore ask that you immediately remove the posted article from your website and cease any and all further use of the material.  Any continued posting or use will be considered willful copyright infringement.

Within 24 hours of your receipt of this email, you should reply to this message by confirming that: 1) each and every posting of Des Moines Register material has been taken down and 2) you will not engage in any further unauthorized copying of Des Moines Register materials.

If you do not take the steps outlined above, this matter will be turned over to our attorneys for further action.

 

We shit you not. Consider the following facts:

1. The page on which the video was originally posted provides code for blogs to embed said video;

2. Nowhere on the page (or anywhere on the path from DesMoinesRegister.com homepage to the destination page) is there listed any terms of use, much less anything related to copyright infringement;

3. The footage was being used to call for donations to charity in the wake of a local natural disaster, in hopes that a visual representation would further stir the emotions of viewers;

4. We linked back to the Register in the original version of the article, well before the C&D letter arrived;

5. The Register provided the embed code (Sorry, but it bears repeating).

Ms. Hickman did not respond to SBN's request for more information, unfortunately, so we can't apprise our readers of the situation any more than this. We're pretty sure you've got all the information you need, though.

We don't particularly care for legal battles (especially over a video that automatically plays, which is its own pain in the ass), so the video's down now. Congratulations, Des Moines Register. You won't be bothered by us utilizing your Embed feature anymore. Nor will you worry about any increased bandwidth charges from us linking to you. As a matter of fact, we'll not cite, source, or in any way allude to anything you folks do from here on out.

We, after all, have standards.


UPDATE:  From Des Moines Register Assistant Managing Editor Chris Snider:

This was a misunderstanding. I apologize on behalf of The Des Moines Register. Simply an employee trying to do their job but not completely understanding our new technology (we recently got embed code on our videos). I take full responsibility for not making this clear to everyone on staff.


So that, my friends, is that (though Bucketochicken's point in the comments is not without merit).  Thanks to Brian, Holly, Orson, Peter, Will, and anyone else who wrote a post, sent an email, or - most importantly - sent a donation.  And thanks to the DMR, who took an otherwise innocuous post asking for flood assistance and, through its actions, brought it to the attention of the entire sports blogging community.  The Red Cross certainly appreciates it.
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