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Pro-Obama Super PAC Uses Olympics Footage

Republican prevented from doing it in past.

10:01 AM, Jul 25, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The latest ad from Priorities USA, the main pro-Obama super PAC, uses footage from the 2002 Olympics to hit Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Watch here: 

The point of the ad is to suggest that Romney has spread his wealth to various international entities. And, as ABC notes, "[the] minute-long TV ad that features footage of Romney, at the Salt Lake City Opening Ceremonies in 2002, waving to the processions of countries where Bain Capital-owned companies helped outsource jobs, and to others where Romney has invested or held money."

But when former Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty used Olympics footage in an ad last year, he was immediately ordered to take the spot down. As Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register reported at the time:

ABC Sports intends to slap presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty with a cease-and-desist letter for improperly using its footage in a political advertisement, a lawyer told The Des Moines Register this afternoon.

“It’s a violation of our copyright and exclusive proprietary rights,” said Louise Argianas, director of rights and clearances for ABC Sports.

Pawlenty launched the television commercial in Iowa on Wednesday, calling it “The American Comeback.”

The beginning of the 30-second ad uses TV clips from the so-called “Miracle on Ice” hockey game when the USA team beat the undefeatable Soviet Union team in the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Argianas said in a telephone interview that ABC Sports retains the exclusive USA rights to that footage. She said she was very upset when she saw Pawlenty’s ad for the first time this afternoon.

“And they used our announcer’s voice, which they are not allowed to do either,” she said. “Which I’m going to have to call his agent about.”

Argianas said a lawyer for ABC Sports will send the Pawlenty campaign a request to pull down the ad, and may seek damages for the time it was on air.

So, will the lawyers get involved with this ad and claim copyright infringement? Will the pro-Obama super PAC have to pull down its ad for using sports footage? 

There's good money behind this ad. "Priorities USA will run the ad in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia during the Olympics as part of a $20 million TV and online ad campaign attacking Romney’s business record and economic policies," according to ABC.

But all this might not matter. So far, feedback on the ad has been negative: 

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