Back in February, the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled in favor of Fox News in its years-long suit against media monitoring service TVEyes, stating that TVEyes makes available to its “clients virtually all of Fox’s copyrighted content that the clients wish to see and hear, and because it deprives Fox of revenue that properly belongs to the copyright holder, TVEyes has failed to show that the product it offers to its clients can be justified as a fair use.”
The media tracking company, which records and monitors over 1400 channels and provides its clients access to those recordings and transcripts for a fee, was denied a rehearing by the appeals court on Monday. And with that, TVEyes stopped providing access to Fox News and Fox Business programming at 5 PM ET Monday.
“As a result of legal action taken by Fox News, TVEyes will stop providing access to audio and/or video of FOX News Channel or FOX Business Network, effective immediately,” a TVeyes representative said in an email to TheWrap’s Jon Levine on Tuesday.
Levine noted that the rep wrote that TVEyes would still provide “alerts and search results, including full text, based on our index” as well as “audio or video content publicly posted by Fox on the Internet that contains monitored keywords.”
At the end of his piece, Levine pointed out that TVEyes no longer offering access to Fox News’ content “will make following real-time developments (and holding the network accountable) considerably more difficult,” an observation that he’s not alone in making.
CNN reporter Hadas Gold tweeted out that “a TON of reporters rely on this program for their reporting.”
This is big – a TON of reporters rely on this program for their reporting….TVEyes Pulls Fox News, Fox Business After Losing Copyright Suit https://t.co/IeIBtIp141
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) May 15, 2018
ThinkProgress editor and founder Judd Legum noted that there are “some alternatives” to TVEyes but added that “people don’t realize just how much Fox News would have gotten [a]way with without TVEyes.”
There are some alternatives now but people don't realize just how much Fox News would have gotten way with without TVEyes. https://t.co/mClVBmaL7m
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) May 15, 2018
Mediaite founding managing editor Colby Hall told Contemptor that “Fox News and Fox Business no longer being accessible on TVEyes is a pretty huge blow for media reporters who used the service as a tool to monitor and see how these two outlets covered specific topics.”
He further remarked that other media tracking services such as Critical Mention and Grabien “will benefit from this development, but TVEyes had become the standard bearer of analytical tools for most media reporters.”
Hall’s successor as Mediaite’s managing editor, Aidan McLaughlin, also bemoaned the new developments.
“TVEyes was a useful tool for searching cable news transcripts for keywords,” McLaughlin told Contemptor, “so Fox’s absence from the platform will certainly make it harder to monitor how the network covers certain stories.”
Right Wing Watch research associate Jared Holt, who previously worked for liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America and utilized TVEyes extensively during his time there, provided some thoughts about the monitoring company to Contemptor.
“TVEyes is a crucial tool for media reporters and analysts because it allows them to pull video clips and rough transcripts in near-real time,” Holt stated. “Without tools like TVEyes, media reporters are forced to endure lengthy work-arounds to obtain footage and are tasked with creating their own databases of transcripts—something that can be very expensive and time-consuming.”
He added, “Fox being removed from TVEyes disarms one of the most vital tools reporters use to monitor and analyze the spin coming out of the network. Fox being one of the leading news stations in the country, this will almost certainly impede media reporters’ ability to do their job efficiently.”
The one question that media reporters and analysts are likely asking themselves nervously is whether or not other video monitoring services will be targeted next by FNC, specifically if they are using these other services to pull moments embarrassing to the network. Following the district court’s February decision, Fox News outside lead counsel Dale Cendali said the court “was very clear that TVEyes cannot offer any of Fox’s audio visual content whether by viewing, downloading, sharing, or archiving.”
And in its suit, FNC highlighted that there were several other resources that people could use to access their content, such as their websites and licensed content providers like YouTube. At the same time, the network admitted that not all of its content was readily available.
Writing about the decision back then, the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple explained that “that’s really the point,” stating that “no broadcaster is going to facilitate access to a humiliating moment on television.”
Wemple added, “And they may not provide web access to ho-hum moments that interest few people, except for media critics.”