Glenn Beck Accused Of Using Content From Conservative Bloggers Without Attribution

The Daily Caller’s Matthew Boyle reports that Glenn Beck is coming under fire from some conservative activists who feel that he’s used their content without giving proper credit:

A number of conservative activists and bloggers say they’re furious at media magnate Glenn Beck for what they call content theft. Over the past several years, Beck has relied on video, audio and written content from others to fill his radio and television shows, as well as his websites. Often he has credited his fellow conservatives for their work. Yet in many other instances say dozens of conservative journalists who spoke to The Daily Caller, he has not, often taking elaborate steps to cloak the origins of the material.

Publisher Andrew Breitbart has seen a number of his stories surface on various Beck media properties over the past few years. While he describes himself as “grateful for the many times he has credited me and my sites,” Breitbart says that “sometimes he also uses other peoples’ work without crediting them, making it appear as though it were his own.

Brietbart is a big name, obviously, but most of the people complaining are independent bloggers and others who’ve produced video content that Beck has featured on the show:

During the March 18 airing of his television program, for example, Beck ran a portion of video created by a Chicago-based blogger who calls himself Rebel Pundit. The blogger, who does not publicly reveal his name, says he was initially pleased to see Beck running his video, which featured left-wing protesters demanding amnesty for illegal immigrants. He was soon shocked, however, to see that Beck’s staff had obscured the watermark logo of his website, RebelPundit.com, from the tape.

“I put my website name on there for a reason – to bring people from the movement to my website so they can see the other stuff that I’ve done,” the man behind Rebel Pundit told TheDC. “You’ve got pretty much the biggest guy in the movement take your stuff and actually have his editors spend the time to scrub my name off of it.”

Ironically, while Beck’s staff had gone to the trouble of removing any trace of the phrase “rebelpundit.com” from the video, they apparently missed an obvious obscenity in the background of the frame. Clearly visible on a sign held by one of the protestors was the demand, “Open the fucking border.” When it appeared on his show, Beck said, “Oh, don’t show that please.”

(….)

Last January, Andrew Marcus of FoundingBloggers.com uploaded a video interview he’d conducted with Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa. The next morning on his radio show, Beck played a portion of the Walesa exchange, but never mentioned where it came from or who conducted the interview. “I don’t steal their stuff,” Marcus told TheDC. “They get credit, they get links and they get attribution. I think they’d be upset if people were lifting their stuff and not giving attribution. Fair use is fair use, but it includes attribution.”

Indeed, if  someone had used Fox News content without attribution or permission, they’d likely be getting correspondence for the corporate attorneys, or possibly be the subject of a DMCA takedown notice.  The above examples are only two of the many detailed in the articles, and while some of the content providers seem more disturbed by this than others, you can’t help but scratch your head at this response from Beck’s people:

“Beck’s office responds to complaints like these by pointing out that Beck is a busy man who broadcasts in one form or another for nearly 1,000 hours a year. Anyone could find examples of stories they think should have been sourced differently,” Beck’s representatives told TheDC. “In addition, many stories mentioned have multiple sources. Glenn’s shows have a high-standard and a long history of championing bloggers and attributing sources whenever possible including frequently providing extensive footnotes on GlennBeck.com. For example, The Blaze has already linked to The Daily Caller over 40 times, and the shows have cited a wide-range of bloggers, websites and reports over and over again.”

Nobody expects Beck himself to be tracking down sources, that’s what producers and assistants are for, and while it may be tough sometimes, that doesn’t mean you don’t do it, or that you deliberately change the content to hide the sources (as in the RepelPundits case noted above). There probably aren’t a whole host of legal claims here, at least not any worth pursuing for the money involved, but attribution and giving credit to someone for material you’ve made your own in some way are at the very least a sign of respect.
FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Boyd says:

    Just one more reason for me to ignore Beck.

  2. Murray says:

    Content? What content?

  3. sam says:

    Frankly, I’m surprised that anyone would demand credit for that dreck.