My journalism background has mostly been covering breaking news, so I was primed and ready on May 7 when the Orange County District Attorney released the surveillance of video the Kelly Thomas beating.
I had been keeping up with the story throughout the day, reading the vivid descriptions from journalists who had viewed the video during the hearing.
And I created a Twitter feed with the words “Kelly Thomas,” so I could quickly post the video as soon as the media posted it online considering I had covered the story extensively the previous year.
At first, the video started appearing on television newscasts on the west coast, prompting a chain of horrified reaction from people on Twitter.
And then it finally popped up on a blog called Fullerton Stories.
I had already prepared my Twitter followers about the video as you can read from the bottom up in the screen shot below, so I wasted no time in posting it on my blog.
In fact, I had the video posted on PINAC, then on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus before I had even finished watching the video.
Once it was posted, I finished watching the video and continued updating the article for the next several hours with updates and background.
The story racked up more than 100,000 page views in 24 hours and eventually more than 200,000 page views altogether, which is astronomical for a single story on this blog.
Now I am being told I am responsible for more than 50 percent of a $1,000 bandwidth bill.
I received a Facebook message yesterday from Davis Barber, who runs the Fullerton Stories blog, asking me to call him regarding the video.
I called him, heard his story and asked him to send me an email explaining the whole situation so I could pass it to my readers as well as the owners of Pixiq (they will read it first here as you are).
I feel for him but I really can’t afford to help him financially. I’m in a bind myself with this upcoming trial where they are trying to convict me for resisting arrest for doing nothing but video recording the Occupy Miami eviction.
Had I known I would be billed for using the embedded code on his site, I would have downloaded the video and uploaded it to my own Youtube account.
It wouldn’t have been a copyright violation because the Orange County District Attorney was distributing it to all the media as a public record.
Davis said the Orange County Weekly used his embedded video even though they personally received a copy of the video directly from the district attorney, so they are responsible for almost 25 percent of the bandwidth usage, according to the documents he included in his email, one which I posted below.
I wonder if they plan on paying Davis their share.
Here is his email:
Hi Carlos –
Good to talk to you this afternoon, and thanks for the quick call-back. Here is the situation as I described it to you over the phone:
On May 7, 2012, FullertonStories.com was the first online newspaper to publish the now-famous video of Fullerton Police officers struggling with Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill homeless man, who later died of his injuries.
Because FullertonStories.com published it first, other agencies around the country and the world, linked to our site. But some, including your blog on PIXIQ embedded our code into your own page.
OC Weekly, the alternative paper here in Orange County, used our video too, with the same code taken from your site. We know ours was the video used on PIXIQ and OCW’s sites because we titled it “Bus Depot Video Pt. II.” and parts I and III, etc. (OCW also had its own copy, given to it by the District Attorney’s Office).
My video host, Brightcove, charges me for the amount of bandwidth used to view the videos I place there. Unlike YouTube or Vimeo, it is not free. I use Brightcove because of its superior player and ability to add third-party advertising to generate revenue.
Because PIXIQ and OCWeekly used our video of Kelly Thomas, our bandwidth usage exceeded 10 Terrabytes, resulting in a $50,000 overage fee owed to Brightcove. (My plan cost $5 per video and 1GB of bandwidth. Until this incident, I never exceeded usage limits).
To their credit and generosity, Brightcove agreed to reduce it to $9,960, and then again to $1,000. They recognized that it was not me, nor FullertonStories.com, that caused the overages.
All things considered, I think it is fair to ask that you, PIXIQ and OC Weekly pay for your share of bandwidth used. Attached are copies of the usage reports from Brightcove.
Please talk to your folks at PIXIQ and see how they want to handle it. You said you are paid per hit on your blog, so I’m sure they will understand this situation.
Thanks a bunch. I look forward to hearing back from you.
So what do you guys think?
Please send stories, tips and videos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CARLOS MILLER’S LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
I am immersed in a legal case where I not only want to clear my criminal charges stemming from my arrest in January, but I want to sue the Miami-Dade Police Department for deleting my footage, which I was able to recover.
My goal is to set some type of precedent to ensure this does not happen as often as it does today where cops simply get away with it.
So if you would like to contribute, please click on the “donate” button below and contribute whatever you can afford.
Also, in an unrelated PINAC matter, I recently went through a hair transplant operation and I’m documenting my recovery on this blog if you are interested. I did not pay for this transplant, which is why I’m promoting the doctor through the hair transplant blog.