Feingold's campaign ad causes confusion - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Feingold's campaign ad causes confusion

MADISON (WKOW) -- Within the barrage of political ads we've seen this year are some that feature news clips, some from newspaper, some from TV.

Monday, one ad in particular caught our attention and the attention of some of you.

It resembles a WKOW newscast more than a political commercial, right down to the graphics and the anchorman.

"They took out all the context, balance and other side of the story," said Perry Boxx, WKOW News Director. "He did it without any permission. It may be legal, but it's just plain wrong."

Not only did WKOW not give permission for the use of those clips from our copyrighted newscast, we never even knew they had been used until the political ad first hit the air on Monday.

"The fair use doctrine of copyright law allows anyone to use excerpts from copyrighted work for purposes of comment," said Bob Dreps, WKOW legal counsel.

"The question becomes not is it legal, but is it fair, is it just?" said Madison College Professor Maurice Sheppard.

Campaign ads using new clips aren't new, but they can blur the line between a news report and a campaign ad, making it seem like journalists are endorsing candidates.

Sheppard said, "For some voters, they don't know if it's an ad or a special news report and it can be somewhat confusing."

Unlike some political ads that feature news clips, the 30 second spot that used WKOW material only revealed its true identity in the closing seconds.

WKOW has requested the Russ Feingold for Senate campaign pull the ad from airing in Wisconsin.

Campaign attorney, Ezra Reece said he understands the station's concerns and would "pass them along" to the Feingold staff.

Again, the Feingold ad featuring WKOW material was made without our knowledge and is in now way an endorsement of the candidate.

To watch the story, click on the camera icon on the left.

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