"Caroline Kennedy holds the rights to the audio and ABC News was granted first broadcast rights to air the tapes," writes our friend Marisa Guthrie at The Hollywood Reporter, continuing, "But NBC News aired portions of that audio last Friday on ‘Nightly News with Brian Williams’ and again Monday and Tuesday on the ‘Today’ show."
How did that happen?
NBC was able to do it because the audio tapes were also published in a book that was not supposed to be available until Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, the day after ABC aired its special on the tapes.
Says the article, "Apparently a ‘Nightly News’ producer came across the book in a Manhattan bookstore, bought it and the network rushed multiple pieces to air. Chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell anchored segments for ‘Today’ and MSNBC on Monday and Tuesday. And Chris Matthews also got in on the act, analyzing the White House ramifications for MSNBC viewers.
The story adds, "A spokesperson for [the book’s publisher] Hyperion said the company reached out to NBC News: ‘We made NBC aware of the copyright and ABC News’ exclusive rights to that material and we urged NBC to respect those rights. We are confident that viewers who wanted the most in-depth coverage of the audiotapes, along with exclusive interviews with Caroline Kennedy and other exclusive material, are turning to ABC News.’ "
Guthrie explains, "[T]his particular book … comes with extensive – and copyrighted – audio. But NBC News could use some of that audio under the auspices of fair use. What they couldn’t do, is craft their own two-hour special."