An Open Letter to the ASO

Jul 17 2009

(I tried contacting the directly ASO via their YouTube channel, but they refuse to accept messages from anyone they aren’t friends with. I sent this to them via email links on their homepage, but I do not expect a reply.)

Dear Sir or Madam,

I was very disappointed to read this morning that you filed a copyright infringement complaint against my video “2009 Tour de France – Stage 2 – How The Race Was Won (”

My use of short, discontinuous segments of footage for purely informational purposes, at no harm to you and no monetary benefit to myself, easily meets the standards for Fair Use under United States law (cf. Time Inc. v. Bernard Geis Associates, Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.).

However, my disappointment stems not from legal concerns, but from the fact that you’ve chosen to take down a video that actively promoted an ASO event, making it more interesting and accessible for English-speaking audiences. The video I posted, as with my other cycling videos, was extremely highly rated—something which few of your uploads can boast.

While the English-dubbed interviews posted on your YouTube channel are informative, they do little to draw Anglophones into the Tour, or to develop appreciation of the split-second actions that draw the line between victory and defeat. In short, my videos add viewers to your events and value to your company.

Instead of removing my video, your organization should be enlisting my services for English-language video analysis of future ASO cycling events. Destroying the work of others who increase appreciation of your events is utterly illogical, and moreover, unfair to the English-speaking fans who have brought billions of dollars to your company over the past decade.


Cosmo Catalano

The video is still available here, and at some other places, and some of those other places will be extremely difficult for the ASO to muzzle. Personally, I take copyright fairly seriously—if only to pursue reasonable changes to copyright law through institutionally authorized means—and will comply with most removal requests.

Ideally, I’d like to file a Fair Use counterclaim, but it’s outside my budget right now; at any rate, decades of draconian enforcement have predictably created an agile and irrepressible distribution network online that has already begun carrying the work in question through no effort of my own.

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14 Responses to “An Open Letter to the ASO”

  1. Ted 17 July 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    Good on ya, mate!

  2. WestSiderRider 17 July 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    Well said Cosmo. Your “How the Race Was Won” videos are excellent and the ASO is shooting itself in the foot by taking them down from YouTube. Speaking of which, Im going to subscribe your YouTube channel right now.

  3. Sophrosune 17 July 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    You are absolutely in the right here, Cosmo, and my wife is an attorney and professor on the subject of Internet copyright law.

    You might consider contacting the folks at Creative Commons to see if they might be able to advise you on how to handle this.

    It’s a complete travesty because you manage to do from your home a far more professional job than Velo News or EuroSport in providing video analysis and recaps of the stages.

  4. harry crump 17 July 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    I don’t get it.

    I’m not sure what, if any, value that video gave to anyone in the world. After all the only thing I care about is Lance and his one ball.

    Please post more videos about Lance and his one ball.


  5. tourpro 17 July 2009 at 5:58 pm #

    Clearly the regular media is losing control of the information flow with this Tour. ASO also.

    What wusses they are.

  6. Jay parkhill 17 July 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    Check out as well. Good stuff on these issues

  7. Ben 17 July 2009 at 10:28 pm #

    cyber-chapeau, cos-meau.

  8. Sebastian 18 July 2009 at 3:18 am #

    I don’t quite understand why they singled out your video. There seems to be plenty of footage of this year’s Tour floating around Youtube — what made yours different?

  9. luc 18 July 2009 at 9:34 am #

    Hi Cosmo,

    They will let you laugh at Boonen (those easy jokes were not your bests though) because it serves them just like kings tolerated bards on Isle of Man.

    But they will never let you take a piss at their advertisers…
    Advertising is the blood of TdF and it can not be tainted because they need this kind of transfusion. It is legal even if it kills the audience!

    Concerning ASO enlisting your services, I sort of badly predicted what would happened 8 days ago on your site;-):

    luc on 10 Jul 2009 at 12:38 am #
    It is just a question of time before Versus buys your HTRWW concept and kills it after. You make them look like rich children.


  10. rainbow 18 July 2009 at 7:00 pm #

    It’s gutless. It’s a pity the ASO didn’t control the riders more on stage 10 and with draw them from view. But They would sooner show a pathetic display of disobedience, than have external resource analysing judiasously, promoting with salient informed comment that helps and to give the masses understanding of cycle racing and thiir ‘own’ race. I follow HTRWW because it offers me a decent intellectual insights that I’m not able to derive myself, I’ll keep following cosmos blog because its a valid and positive contribution to the sport of pro cycling.

  11. luc 18 July 2009 at 10:18 pm #

    Hi again Cosmo,

    I found that for you:

    Hope it can be usefull.


  12. cosmo 18 July 2009 at 11:15 pm #

    Thanks, luc, and everyone else, for the advice, support, and links. I’ll see if I can get some legal muscle behind me on this.

    In the meantime, I’m set up for another How the Race Was Won on tomorrow’s stage. Wish me luck!

  13. luc 18 July 2009 at 11:56 pm #

    HI Cosmo!

    Maybe you can make a special edition for today’s stage:
    How the race was lost!


  14. Carlo 23 December 2009 at 5:16 pm #

    Some times established players just can’t see new moves before it’s too late.

    I hope you can keep on finding the time to give us your insights which reveal “to us what is unseen, what is seen but unnoticed: an unperceived presence, a powerful absence.”


Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Cyclocosm – Pro Cycling Blog » How The Race Was Won – Stage 15 – 2009 Tour de France - 19 July 2009

    […] time being, I’ll let the video do the talking. It’s also up on YouTube, but let’s try not to tell the ASO about this time, […]

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