Whose ABC?

As part of its Gruen Nation show, an ad was produced which Clive Palmer wanted to use in his campaign. Well it was public money that produced it, so why shouldn’t he be able to use it? Now in fact there may be complications. Gruen Nation is bought in by the ABC, but no doubt it calls most of the shots on licensing. The video is, as you can see, up on YouTube. But the ABC’s reaction was that he couldn’t use the video. Why couldn’t he use this publicly funded digital asset?

As Marketing Mag reports:

“Yesterday we got a call from the Palmer United party team, asking if they could use last week’s pro-Clive Pitch ad, by 303Lowe for their real campaign,” wrote The Gruen Planetwebsite. “The answer, of course, was no. The ABC can’t provide support to a political party.”

I can’t find that on the relevant website, but I hope it’s provided by some ill-informed flunky because it’s absurd.  The video happens to be useful to someone. It’s publicly funded, and they should be able to use it. Does it imply that the ABC supports Clive Palmer? No. Saying it does reminds me of a favourite pastime of small minds which is to notice that something unusual is being asked for and then to make up some lame reason why it can’t be done.

In fact this has all happened before. When Kaggle was not that much more than a glint in Anthony Goldbloom’s eye I persuaded Catalyst to do a segment on it, which it did with its usual aplomb. We wanted to use the video they’d made as it was the best visual explanation of what Kaggle was all about. The ABC said ‘no’. Meanwhile the 7 pm Project did a segment on another venture I’m involved in – Family by Family from the Australian Centre for Social Innovation. And did they object to our posting it on our website? No.

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Lindsay
Lindsay
8 years ago

And who could forget this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_jPNxRDeOk

Marks
Marks
8 years ago

He should use it and let the ABC take him to court.

Now that would be funny.

Andrae
Andrae
8 years ago

Yes, it was an excellent ad. On the other hand, it wasn’t as good as the Greens’ ad Gruen aired last year (see @Lindsay’s link). The Greens couldn’t use that ad last year, and Palmer can’t use this ad this year. At the end of the day, Palmer knew that, knew he would be denied, and knew that there was a good chance the ad would get replayed in news stories about the denial—that will be why he asked anyway.

Cameron Murray
8 years ago

“Does it imply that the ABC supports Clive Palmer? No”
Ah, you are making the mistake of assuming rationality here Nick. Imagine the ways this can be twisted through the media. Clive says “Even the ABC think I’m a good candidate – they paid for my ads after all”.

To your main question “Why couldn’t he use this publicly funded digital asset?”, the answer is the same as why bureaucrats say no to unusual requests (it’s not a small mind problem). It about incentives!

If you do it once, you will be expected to do it again, and not only that, more people will choose unusual requests. In the case of using ABC funded materials for private use, that will simply lead to massive lobbying efforts to get the ABC to run segments on your business. Can’t afford a tv ad? Try the ABC. Do you really want the ABC turning into a Today Tonight/ACA type infomercial? I don’t.

You might by thinking that this is far-fetched, but to be able to allow these types of requests, but also maintain impartiality would require whole new levels of monitoring and assessment, which themselves would become targets for lobbying.

wilful
wilful
8 years ago

Nicholas, I don’t disagree with you, but I think you’re inferring the small minds are at the ABC, and I think that is unfair. I think the ABC are wisely not stepping into this pile of dog poo, because there are small minds all around it, and they have to navigate very carefully lest they offend the powers that be. The small minds are people like Eric Abetz and Janet Albrechtsen, they are the stern critics that I’m sure Mark Scott doesn’t want to pick any sort of a fight with.

john r walker
john r walker(@annesanders)
8 years ago

If Mr Palmer wants a ad constructed by the ad gurus that do Gruen, he can hire them and pay for it.

Stephen Bounds
8 years ago
Reply to  john r walker

@john r walker: As, indeed, the Greens did by hiring the people who made the 2010 Gruen Planet ad for the 2013 campaign.

Unfortunately the agency mostly just did a carbon copy of the original ad, and it turns out that sequels work just about as well in advertising as they generally do in the cinema…

Sancho
Sancho
8 years ago

Don’t worry. After Saturday it will be routine for the ABC to endorse the interests of billionaires.

Fyodor
8 years ago

Don’t worry. After Saturday it will be routine for the ABC to endorse the interests of billionaires.

Ah, yes, the fifth stage of grief: acceptance.

If I didn’t enjoy the lefitstas’ weeping and gnashing of teeth so much I’d make more of the fact that Howard Mk II is going to be just as boring and banal as Mk I. Anyone who thinks Abbott stands for anything other than centrist mediocrity is kidding themselves.

Remenber the “Don’t fuck it up” meme for Kevin ’07?

Guess what – he fucked up. Enjoy the afterglow.

Sancho
Sancho
8 years ago
Reply to  Fyodor

That’s a rather florid misreading of leftist sentiment. It’s not like Rudd was Whitlam mark II, and the activist left has the last few years railing against Labor policies on immigration and marriage.

The greatest concern is not that Abbott will be banal, but that he and his cabinet are profoundly untalented leaders and managers, without even the meanness and trickiness of Howard to get by. We know for a fact that their plan was to deal with the GFC by following Spain and Ireland down the S-bend, so let’s hope Abbott enjoys a period of unchallenged prosperity, as Howard did.

Rudd’s loss won’t be a defeat of the Left, but the Left would prefer a competent centre-right government to an incompetent Tory one, though I have to say I’m interested to see how badly Abbott can damage the Liberal brand once he has the opportunity.

As for the ABC, for the last ten years it’s regarded “the opposition says” as the most important element of political reporting, so conversion to an advertising wing of the mining lobby won’t be a huge shift.

murph the surf.
murph the surf.
8 years ago

But isn’t this success why the leftist project has run out of steam?
Even our centrist parties are tolerant of state action within the economy to an extent others- observers from outside find challenging.They do concede that it works though.
There is no chance that they would enact radical austerity measures – and we weren’t in the extremity of speculative bubbles like the places you mention.Prudent supervision had worked.
We are now free to over consume.A different story is needed-a unifying hope.

murph the surf.
murph the surf.
8 years ago

Well I will definitely defer to your superior knowledge about the degree and extent of regulation in the financial services sector.
From 2008 October one part of the explanation that was offered for why we here in Australia didn’t suffer the collapses and bailouts was the role of APRA .Maybe it is bank spin, maybe it is a plea to limit regulation creep?
As an outside observer once these explanations are offered and not rebutted I do tend to take them at face value.

murph the surf.
murph the surf.
8 years ago

Just continuing the discussion about APRA and how the myth of success during the early GFC era developed- I was reading the AFR yesterday and lo and behold the myth got another trot.
Andrew Cornell on page 38-” One of the things the crisis taught the world was that it is not the structure of regulation bit it’s implementation that is critical.
Australia’s regulation worked because regulators understood their charges ,communicated with them regularly and shared information.That’s the important bit”
He goes on to acknowledge the existence of an extra regulatory shadow system and it’s role in some failures.
Contributing to this idea of the success of the local communication channels is another article on the next page which traces the role of economic data collection or rather it’s absence leading to the extreme scale of the American GFC.
I don’t have an informed opinion about these competing contemplations but it was there unchallenged publication that lead me to think APRA had done a sterling job.
Always happy to read a more qualified response so thanks for that Nick.

Senexx
8 years ago

Similar argument why are things copyright to the commonwealth of Australia and not allowed to be reproduced by the Australian public without permission. Are these not publicly funded too. Or anything that airs on the ABC.

External to Australia I understand the need for it but not within the country. It seems it is not public after all.

john r walker
john r walker(@annesanders)
8 years ago
Reply to  Senexx

Copy right can get pretty complex- for example, if a entity (commercial or government) contracts somebody to provide ‘copy’ content for a particular use, it does not mean that the content supplier has assigned all rights ,for eternity, to that same entity. There are often multiple layers of rights in a single publication, photographers, graphic/cartoons, inclusions e.g a forward by another author(s) and so on.

john r walker
john r walker(@annesanders)
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicholas Gruen

Nicholas, the American style ‘fair use’ that has been recommended by the Australian Law Reform Commission would probably solve the problem you are outlining above. It is certainly a good idea. However, in the case of the Gruen Mob and Mr Titanic, I don’t think it would pass the 3 step test for fair use:
(a) Palmer is not a wide community benefit program;
(b) it would prevent the Gruen mob from selling their skills to Mr Palmer at normal commercial rates;
(c) some of the Gruen mob might feel that while its fine to do a satire of Mr Palmer, that does not contractually equal working for Mr Palmer.

john r walker
john r walker(@annesanders)
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicholas Gruen

the interesting thing about the ALRC report is that it makes the case , for the first time anywhere, that fair use is a more economical/ efficient system than the current statutory monopoly approach.

john r walker
john r walker(@annesanders)
8 years ago
Reply to  john r walker

Should have added that fair use is needed , so that voluntary licensing( which is more flexible and efficient) can completely replace the remaining statutory licensing schemes.