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Blogger accuses local news executive of hostile phone call

A prominent media blogger has accused a Florida news executive of lashing out at him on the phone over a contentious video that aired on a local television station.

On Wednesday, Scott Jones posted a two minutes-long clip from WMBB’s (Channel 13) newscast that captured a police shooting on camera. The shootout took place during a live interview on the station. Jones posted the clip to YouTube and embedded the video in at least two blog postings on his website

Jones, who is known in the media industry for his brash and occasionally abrasive coverage of the television news industry, later posted an e-mail that appears to come from WMBB News Director Tom Lewis in which the executive demanded Jones remove the video from his website.

“You are in violation of copywrite (sic) laws by using our material on your website,” the e-mail read. Lewis also pointed out that Jones incorrectly identified the reporter and threatened to escalate the matter to WMBB’s corporate lawyers at parent company Nexstar Broadcasting if Jones did not comply.

Jones said what happened later involved a contentious phone call with Lewis. The news director became agitated when Jones attempted to explain the doctrine of fair use, eventually swearing at Jones before hanging up.

“Lewis should be more worried about the safety of his crew that came this/close to being shot and less worried about copyright, which he clearly knows nothing about,” Jones wrote on his blog.

On Friday, Jones said WMBB had sent YouTube a notice of copyright infringement. In a new post, Jones wrote that the takedown notice originated from a GMail account bearing the station’s call letters. The writer said he had not heard from anyone at Nexstar over the issue.

Jones and Lewis have not yet returned requests from The Desk seeking comment.


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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).