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Volume 24 No. 116

Law and Politics

ESPN officials Thursday said that they "were undecided about whether to send” a cease-and-desist letter to Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty over a new campaign ad, according to Jennifer Jacobs of the DES MOINES REGISTER. Pawlenty Wednesday launched “The American Comeback,” a 30-second spot that “uses TV footage from the so-called ‘Miracle on Ice,’ the hockey game in which the U.S. team beat the supposedly invincible Soviet Union” in the ‘80 Lake Placid Games. The ad includes announcer Al Michaels’ voice. ABC Sports Dir of Rights & Clearances Louise Argianas said that the company holds the exclusive rights in the U.S. to the game footage. ESPN Senior VP/Corporate Communications Chris LaPlaca said, “Neither ABC nor ESPN has asked the Pawlenty campaign to remove any footage from their video, although neither ABC nor ESPN licensed the video to them or authorized its use.” Pawlenty spokesperson Alex Conant said, “The campaign’s ‘Miracle on Ice’ advertisement was carefully reviewed for legal compliance, and we believe it fully complies with the ‘fair use’ doctrine” (DES MOINES REGISTER, 7/22).