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Posted
16 April 2006

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6 Comments

drive.com.au Stalled

Sometimes you have to ask yourself "who do they think they're fooling?"

I'm talking about the Fairfax automotive site drive.com.au. They have an associated TV show called, predictably, drive TV. The format of the show is basically cloned from the UK's Top Gear, but with non-charismatic hosts. There's even an equivalent of The Stig called, I forget, the Spig or the Smig or something. Just sad, really.

It's not like you can't see the real Stig on bittorrent, UK-TV on the cable channels, or even — bless 'em — SBS. Still, maybe the drive TV producers licensed the format from Top Gear. Hey, it's possible.

But here is a case that seems to be just blatant plagiarism. It's dated 13 April 2006, and the headline is "Updated Mini Cooper spotted". Perhaps they meant to continue with "... on someone else's website".

On the video clip they claim to have "exclusive spy footage" and "first images" of the new MINI. Unfortunately the footage has been copied wholesale, and without accreditation, from a January 2006 item on Auto Express (coincidentally, another UK site).

What do you reckon? Report them to Media Watch?

6 Comments

Posted by
Garth
2006-04-16 16:35:39 -0500
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Yep.


Posted by
Julian
2006-04-16 16:35:39 -0500
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Hmmm... While you may well be absolutely right that it is plagiarism, I'm not sure you've made your case yet.

If the camera-operator who took the original footage sold it to both the web-site and the TV show, then that's not plagiarism - especially if they put the appropriate mention in the credits.

The claim for "exclusive" is a tricky one - if you are the only TV station in town that covers something, can you call it exclusive even if it is covered in other cities and countries? Can you call it exclusive if it is also in the newspapers? On a foreign web-site? Like the claim that a TV show is "live", I don't know that the term "exclusive" has much meaning any more.

(Guilty admission: The video codec didn't work on my computer, so I haven't seen the footage, only heard it. Particularly, I didn't see if there was a watermark on the video.)


Posted by
alastair
2006-04-16 16:35:39 -0500
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There was no watermark. So I guess you're right, there's no way to know whether or not the footage was obtained legitimately. drive could have bought it from AutoExpress even!

I agree, "exclusive" is a term that is pretty meaningless these days, but I think it still does have connotations of the media segment which includes the outlet that first divulges a given piece of information. The definition of the media segment may be a bit blurry, especially when the information is published online...

But surely there's no ambiguity about the term "first"? It is used here in combination with "exclusive" and the combined message is pretty unequivocal.


Posted by
Chris
2006-04-16 16:35:39 -0500
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Call 'em up, or write to them, and ask.

http://drive.com.au/contact/

If you get no joy I can ask my double super-sekrit Fairfax contact for a Drive.com.au contact.


Posted by
alastair
2006-04-16 16:35:39 -0500
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Chris, let's just say that I am joyless.

Please either fill in the form below or call us on the number displayed at the bottom of the page:

Well there is no number displayed at the bottom of the page that I can see.

And when I try to use the form, pressing the submit button produces the following JavaScript error:

Error: getElement("email") has no properties
Source File: http://drive.com.au/contact/
Line: 101

Posted by
Glenn
2006-04-16 16:35:39 -0500
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Hi Alastair, sorry about the contact us bug, someone didn't test the contact us page in Firefox before it was updated. It's been fixed now.

Cheers