A Current Affair passes off Today Tonight story as its own

All bets are off in the war on watermarks and news footage.

Last night’s episode of A Current Affair threw down a new move in the 6:30 war by screening a full segment produced by Today Tonight.

The segment, introduced by Tracy Grimshaw, featured an interview with ‘Ritchard’ the second boy at the centre of a now infamous bullying video. The story by James Thomas (pictured) of Today Tonight had aired just minutes earlier on Seven.

Nine swiftly turned it around and played 4:30 minutes of the 8:30min Seven story, blurring out the Today Tonight watermark and neglecting to tell its audience the story was lifted from its competition.

It wasn’t fronted by any ACA journos.

It followed A Current Affair interviewing ‘Casey’ on its Sunday edition -some  of those excerpts were used by Today Tonight without Nine watermarks.

Use of a rival’s footage falls under Copyright Fair Dealing, but must not be excessive. In television it is common to at least include some repackaging and extra comment by journalists.

But last night Nine simply ran lengthy footage without embellishment. Anybody watching Nine would have assumed James Thomas had filed the story for ACA.

This comes at a time when both networks have been protective of their content, branding their footage with elaborate watermarks to identify their content. Of late, both have been guilty of disguising or dropping rival watermarks.

Nine even released a cheeky YouTube video slapping Seven for “stealing our footage.”

“As you might appreciate we work very hard to bring you exclusive footage and vision,” Nine said last month.

Now it has not only matched the act, it has moved beyond.

A Seven spokesperson told TV Tonight, ACA‘s misrepresentation of the story to its audience was a new take on copyright Fair Dealing.

A Current Affair has no class. We already knew that. But Nine’s desperate, scrambling same night tape turnaround of Today Tonight‘s programme reveals they’ve now found a new level to which to stoop,” said the spokesperson.

TV Tonight believes the move also reflects poorly on ACA host Tracy Grimshaw, who is left to front a decision made in the media frenzy of a story over schoolyard bullying. Would Nine be happy if Sunday Night replayed 60 Minutes footage and passed it off as its own? Of course not.

The saddest aspect of all is that it includes the schoolboys, two minors who have been portrayed as hero / villain in the media because somebody uploaded a schoolyard incident to YouTube.

Nine declined to comment.


  1. To say that Today Tonight is better than A Current Affair is like saying you would prefer to be given a black eye to being stabbed in the foot. They are both crap options. Bring back the Chaser.

  2. Secret Squïrrel

    @Mr chandler – Open up your other eye. I think you’ll find that what ACA have just done is prob worse than anything Seven have done (so far). If you are aware of Seven doing something more blatant than stealing 4½ minutes of footage without any attribution or commentary, and then passing it of as their own, I’d be happy to hear about it.

  3. 1 question I wanna know is did both networks after there stories put up support telephone numbers helplines for victims of these or similar acts?

  4. I so wish “Chaser’s War on Everything” was still around.
    “What we learnt from current affairs” would be great right about now..

  5. I think its funny that both Ritchard and Casey are selling their stories to networks that tend to bully each other. TT and ACA need a time-out! lol

  6. I’m immensely amused at the people who are putting the words “Tracy Grimshaw” and “credible” in the same sentence.

    You instantly lose any and all credibility by hosting TT and ACA.

    Re Anna on CNN, I saw Stan Grant is working for them now too. Stan Grant!

  7. Can someone please call Rob Sitch and the makers of Frontline and tell them to come back and get to work on a new series – this is such a farce and you couldn’t make this stuff up.

  8. Today Tonight are no better. If I remember correctly, they used a Exclusive tag from a story they stole from 9. 7 started it so they should expect payback.

  9. Honestly, you should try watching as these shows as a comedy. The ominous music, dramatic camera angles, menacing sounding announcer, footage taken straight from youtube…hilarious! How can you take this rubbish seriously?

  10. Secret Squïrrel

    @Scott K – get some perspective man! How can you say that one is so much better than the other? – they’re almost exactly the same! TT has recently been guilty of stealing Nine footage without attribution and I have no doubt they’ll do it again.

    Hey, how come Lucy and Koverstreet haven’t chimed in with a comment yet? Oh, that’s right. This is a story about Nine’s lack of professionalism and ethics. Not to worry guys, give it a week or so and I’m sure you’ll get another opportunity to bag Seven.

    Judging by the ratings, we are being given the TV we deserve.

  11. obviously there is nothing wrong with taking snippets of footage from another networks as long as you cite where that footage is from but taking several minutes of footage just minutes after it aired on tt and deliberately hiding all evidence that it is from seven is just ridiculous, i was wondering why they left it till the end of the ep, know we know why!

  12. It’s not only on tv they have a fight. This is was @7newsbrisbane tweeted (in response to Seven showing the Lord Mayor’s press conference live, and @9newsbrisbane only having twitter updates):

    @9NewsBrisbane see it live on Seven now.

  13. @ Adam, read my comment again. I did not say he is a bully because he has his eyebrow pierced. I did infer that bad parenting has led to him being a bully, and I believe that to be true in most cases of bullying. And I don’t believe that a kid that age should have his eyebrow pierced. That is my opinion and i’m sticking to it.

  14. @Garry So let me get this straight you think that he shouldn’t have his eyebrow pierced at that age and because he has it pierced no wonder he is a bully? are you serious? Boys and Girls just months old have their ears pierced what makes the eyebrow any different? I don’t have my eyebrow pierced and never would but seriously come on man be real don’t just judge people like that there is nothing wrong at all with an eyebrow piercing

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