Score another victory for copyright infringers


This is really starting to get annoying. It seems like half the contest results I post include one video that should have been deemed ineligible by the contest’s judges. Today’s example is the first place winner of the 20/20 For Life video Contest. In this competition, people were supposed to create a video that promotes eye health and that illustrates themes set forth by the advertisers, blah, blah blah. First prize was good for $2,000. I can’t embed the winning video so click on this image to see it:


Not bad…well edited and written. They even got a good actor and filmed inside a real eye doctor’s exam room. So what’s wrong with it? The video is called “Boomer Magoo” and features a quick sound clip from a Mr. Magoo cartoon. That’s 100% copyright infringement right there chief. Also, I’m guessing that if the person behind this video didn’t care about infringing on the Mr. Magoo copyright then they probably didn’t bother to make sure the music in the video was royalty free. Here’s what the 20/20 “rules” say about doing stuff like that:

“Video must not contain any materials that are subject to third party ownership, including without limitation copyrighted materials such as music, videos or artwork; third party trademarks or names, likenesses, voices of third parties for whom Entrant does not have express written permission.”


Jim Bakus (AKA Mr. Magoo AKA Thurston Howel III) does not approve

As a bonus violation of the rules, I’m guessing the people who made this video didn’t dig up Jim Bakus and ask if they could use his voice.

Even though there were $3,500 in prizes up for grabs in this contest, only 15 people entered this one and most of the entries are not great. The Boomer Magoo video was the best video entered but legally it was ineligible. Why is it that filmmakers are expected to follow the contest’s rules to a T but the contest organizers can do whatever the hell they want, whenever the hell they want? The “Rules” of a contest are supposed to be a legally binding contract between the contest organizers and the participants, aren’t they?  They promise in writing that if we do A, B and C they will respond by doing D, E and F.  Obviously the contests have to have a lawyer write up their contest rules.  So where are these lawyers when it comes time to enforce these rules?  Isn’t anyone worried about getting sued?  Seriously, the second place winner in the 20/20 contest has a slam dunk small claims court case here if he wants.

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