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ABC Sports: Pawlenty ad violates copyright

Did Tim Pawlenty's newest campaign ad featuring footage of the 1980 Miracle on Ice hockey game violate copyright?

ABC Sports seems to think so, telling the Des Moines Register today that they'll send the campaign  a cease-and-desist letter for improperly using the footage.

“It’s a violation of our copyright and exclusive proprietary rights,” Louise Argianas, ABC Sports' director of rights and clearances told the Register. “And they used our announcer’s voice which they are not allowed to do either ... which I’m going to have to call his agent about.”

The first half of the new 30-second spot features Pawlenty narrating over footage of the Americans' iconic upset of the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics. The ad uses Al Michaels' famous call, "Do you believe in miracles?" after Pawlenty says, "Out here, you're tested. You face an opponent experts say can't be beat. You fight, you bleed, you prevail." He then discusses his conservative record and accomplishments in Minnesota over footage from the campaign trail.

Pawlenty is a long-time hockey fan, and the Miracle on Ice is considered one of the greatest underdog stories in sports history. He invokes it in the ad to say the United States faces heavy odds in its economic recovery; some have speculated, though, that he might also be referring to the current state of his campaign.

Campaign spokesman Alex Conant told the Register he thought the footage was covered by fair use but that he's try and confirm that.

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