The TV News Archive is a delightfully fun site. If you want to relive the trauma of the 2012 presidential race, you can search for Mitt Romney and get coverage of all his highs, his lows, and automaton moments. Or if you’re more basketball inclined, you can search for James Harden and drag up clips on the NBA star from the past 3 years including the vicious elbow he received courtesy of Metta World Peace.
After reading Reclaiming Fair Use, one has to ponder the ethics and legality of any site that aggregates the product and work of others. Given what I’ve learned from Patricia Aufderheide’s and Peter Jaszi’s arguments, I have to conclude that the TV News Archive is well within the bounds of fair use doctrine. This conclusion stems from both, how the site aggregates its material and also what material it aggregates.
First, the how.
The TV News Archive aggregates news reports from television stations across the United States. No one provider is singled out for archiving. If CNN or local ABC affiliates were the only stations aggregated, one could make the accusation that TV News Archive wasn’t actually archiving a news event per se, but the work of a single news outlet. In other words, pilfering their product and labor.
Second, the what.
The TV News Archive aggregates news from TV stations. These archived reports themselves are in many ways archiving and aggregating. Those reports on Mitt Romney and James Harden weren’t produced exclusively for CNN or ABC. Nonetheless, those stations and others used footage, audio and other markers of those events to report those events to a wider audience. The TV News Archive is merely making these reports accessible well after their initial broadcast providing a valuable tool for researchers, the insanely bored, or both.
Since all sources are properly credited, cited, and acknowledged and snippets of the sources are used instead of a constant running stream of the station, I believe this a reputable, ethical approach to fair use.
So feel free to search for reports across the country for your favorite basketball players or cardboard politician.