Saturday, October 23, 2010

Legal Advice for Citizens Against Government Waste

They had an advertizement which James Fallows clearly thinks was directed by a genius of the caliber of Sergei Eisenstein or Leni Reifenstal (sp). He notes that each of the claims in the advertisement is the exact opposite of the truth

And if you know anything about the Chinese economy, the actual analytical content here is hilariously wrong. The ad has the Chinese official saying that America collapsed because, in the midst of a recession, it relied on (a) government stimulus spending, (b) big changes in its health care systems, and (c) public intervention in major industries -- all of which of course, have been crucial parts of China's (successful) anti-recession policy.

Then Campus progress used the same video with new subtitles, so the professor's chinese was translated into accurate claims in English (I'm assuming that the professor really isn't a witch)

According to Ben Smith CAGW asked youtube to take down the modified ad, while admitting that parody is fair use.

"We love parody as much as anyone (I was a huge fan of the Downfall series myself), but what Campus Progress did was not 'parody,'"

Their basic claim is that Campus Progress is using the modified ad to raise money.

Campus Progress's Sara Haile-Mariam emails:

Citizens Against Government Waste must have spent all their money on the video, and didn’t have any left over for legal advice. Our video is a parody, not a copyright violation. And we aren’t raising money off it. We’re only raising awareness and highlighting the concern of young people that corporate interests are drowning out their voices this fall.

I fear I must agree with CAGW. The legitimate purposes of parody are to be fun, to be audacious and to refute and discredit the parodied argument. A parody can add to the discussion. Sad to say, Campus Progress's attempt at parody adds nothing to the discussion, because the original advertizement is a much more absurd and audacious parody of itself. Nothing could more effectively demonstrate the dishonesty of CAGW and the absolute absence of any possibility that they have anything useful to contribute to the national discussion than an advertisement in which the economic success of the People's Republic Of China is used to argue for small government.

The People's Government of China isn't as invasive as it was under Mao, but, compared to them, Obama and Thatcher are indistinguishable (yes I know that, under Thatcher. the UK had socialized medicine, but I like understatement. Also under Obama the USA locks people up without legitimate trials just like the PRC, so there).

A respondent once argued that they couldn't have harmed Ariel Sharron by libeling him and damaging his reputation, since his reputation couldn't possibly be worse than it was already. Simlarly, the claim of parody can not possible be used as a defence against CAGW's copyright infringement claim, since they are clearly well beyond parody.

Update: It's not my fault. Youtube took the attempted parody down before I posted my explanation that the original ad is beyond parody.

update: some spelling corrected and some commas added.

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