Homecoming Blurs Out Paterno Name

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Update (7:45 p.m.) - Scott Paterno says that had Homecoming/Penn State asked for permission to use Joe Paterno’s name, he would have said yes (although he believes it wasn’t necessary).

Update (3:48 p.m.) - Homecoming production director Matt Shanes responded on Twitter:

@allygreer @map408psu to clear this up, the name of the book is clear but due to licensing issues we couldn’t actually show the full title

— Matt Shanes (@MattShanes) October 2, 2012

Shanes also confirmed that they were asked not to use the title of the book by University compliance because they are unable to feature the title of a book in a video, as per Fair Use policy.

“We didn’t want to hide Joe. We could’ve used any book we wanted. We thought it was the book to use because of the importance Joe played to this university,” said Shanes. “If we knew it before hand we wouldn’t have used the book.”

“If we were actually trying to hide Joe Paterno we wouldn’t have used that book,” continued Shanes. “It seemed like the right thing to do to ensure we wouldn’t be liable. We didn’t want to take that chance.”  The video was shot months ago, and Homecoming didn’t have time to refilm the scene with a different book.

The book title and picture of Paterno is clearly visible in the next scene, but according to Shanes, since it is not “featured” in the frame, it is not subject to fair use licensing laws.

I’m still not sure that it was a wise move to publish the video given the obvious reaction, but it looks like the blame for this does not fall on Homecoming, but rather, University compliance.

(From earlier) You cheeky bastards, Penn State Homecoming Committee.

As first reported by StateCollege.com‘s Ben Jones (@Ben_Jones88), an official homecoming video released today shamelessly and blatantly blurs out the name “Paterno” on a book used as a prop (skip to 0:14 to see for yourself).

The book, “Quotable Joe: Words of Wisdom by and About Joe Paterno, College Football’s Coaching Icon,” was released in 2000. The video shows the book sitting on the mantle with an obvious blur over the title on the spine, before a young John Cappelletti/Evan Royster fan comes to retrieve it to read with his grandmother.

First, why would Homecoming even use the book as a prop in the first place if you were planning on blurring out the name? And second, did they really expect no one to notice with this botched video editing job?

On top of that, the full front page cover of the book is clearly visible in the next frame, complete with a headshot of Joe Paterno. If this was an issue of trademarking, why wouldn’t that scene be blurred out too?

Shame on the Homecoming Committee for allowing this to be published and expecting alumni to be too stupid to notice. If there’s anything that Paterno’s name shouldn’t be stripped from, it’s Homecoming — the week long celebration of Penn State tradition.

Seriously, who thought this would be a good idea?

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About Author

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014, and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is a director of the Nittany Valley Society 501(c)(3) and is involved in student government.

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