WPIX falls for April Fools joke and tries to use the DMCA to hide it

I hate companies like this and I’m glad that the internet can show everyone how stupid and arrogant they are.  Improv Everywhere is a group based in New York that does funny improv stunts around the city, such as sending a bunch of people into Best Buy in blue golf shirts, and a 200 person freeze in Grand Central station.  It’s all pretty funny stuff that is fairly harmless.

Last year, they performed “Best Game Ever“, where they made a little league game awesome — showing up with signs, as peanut vendors, etc.  Everyone enjoyed it.  This year on April 1st they did the “Best Funeral Ever” as a joke.  They staged a fake funeral, then pretended to crash it and join the mourners, but made the video look like they were crashing a real funeral.  Here’s the video:

Lots of people fell for it (and many were quite upset), including CW 11 news (WPIX) who played it on the air as if it really happened.  They didn’t contact Improv Everywhere.  They didn’t call the cemetery.  They didn’t try to get a quote from the family.  Nothing.  They played it as a factual story.  Here’s their news story about it:

Improv Everywhere posted a video of the news story on their site, but it was later removed due a copyright claim from the Tribune, who owns the news station.  Not only was this a horrible way to try to hide their mistake (rather than own up to it and apologize), but it simply reeks of hypocrisy.  They showed the Improv Everywhere video on the air without permission or attribution, then file a DMCA claim to have their video removed from YouTube.  As Charlie Todd, the founder of IE, said:

It’s OK for them to air content that we shot and own, but it’s not OK for me to upload their footage of the content they took from me? It’s “fair use” for the news to take a video off of YouTube and broadcast it, but it’s not “fair use” for a citizen to expose their poor reporting on his own content?

CW 11, nice job hiding the story.  Now instead of a handful of people knowing how stupid you area,  a whole bunch know.

(via Techdirt)