George Santos sues Jimmy Kimmel for copyright infringement over Cameo videos used on his show

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Schitts Creek Good Luck GIF by CBC


Does “George Santos” (if that is their real name) even have the kind of money it would take to bring an obviously permitted-by-the-First-Amendment case to trial against ABC/Disney’s armada of trained attack lawyers? He doesn’t have GOP support any more, and he’s useless politically to any of the usual right wing billionaires that might fund his lawsuit.


I can think of a way for Santos to raise money.


Seems like if the suit hinges on copyright then there should be clear language in the Cameo contract limiting how the videos can be viewed and distributed; whether Kimmel “misrepresented” himself doesn’t figure into it.

That said, it was always a bad idea for Kimmel to commission these videos if for no other reason than it was enriching Santos.


On the face of it a Cameo is a work-for-hire, and the person paying should receive the copyright at the end.

Knowing the current state of the internet, Cameo probably holds the copyright and everyone agreed to binding arbitation.

I am NOT reading the Cameo T&Cs to find out for certain.


The Cameo Terms of Service explicitly state that the person requesting the video is not the copyright owner. They’re only acquiring a limited license to use the video, which can be revoked at any time. It also looks to me like the talent (the people making the videos) retain the copyright. In other words…I can’t believe I’m going to say this…Santos might have a case here. Kimmel will probably have to rely on a fair use argument. And I don’t think it’s a slam dunk argument.

This is a tort. If he has a case, and I think he actually might, his attorney would take this case on contingency. Santos might not need to front any money.


Santos may have a case, but I’m guessing he’s in violation of Cameo’s terms of service himself, specifically section 6d.

You will not use the Site or any Cameo product or service to promote or solicit contributions on behalf of your candidacy for public office, the candidacy of another person seeking public office, any political party or political committee, or any other person or organization promoting or soliciting contributions on behalf of any candidate for public office or political party.

How much do you bet Santos has made videos used to solicit campaign contributions?


None. He’s not running for office. He started doing Cameos after he got kicked out of office. Also, that term is referring to someone, say, buying a Cameo from Lance Bass asking him to say, “Vote for my good friend, Joseph Blowfort, for the Wichita City Council!” Now, if Santos takes his revenue from Cameo, and uses that to pay off campaign debts, that’s his business. As long as he’s not using the service to promote himself or someone else as a candidate, he’s fine.


I feel like the network lawyers would have given the terms of service etc a once over to make sure neither Santos nor Cameo could come back with copyright claims.

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That’s wild. I would have been willing to bet that Cameo retained copyright on the videos as part of their ToS. Not doing so seems like you’re just opening yourself up to…this kind of hot mess. Insisting on holding the copyright would give them the discretion to not pursue this, because I would think that it might have a chilling effect on business if the consumer thinks they might be sued if they use the final product in “the wrong way.”

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OK, I was curious to look it up. This is what their Terms of Service page (also linked by @Steve_L above) says:

  1. Subject to your payment in full, the Talent User hereby grants to you the following limited rights to use the CAMEO Video (other than a Business CAMEO Video) solely for your own personal, non-commercial, and non-promotional purposes, subject to these Terms: a non-exclusive, royalty-free, fully paid, worldwide, sublicensable, revocable license to use, reproduce, distribute, and publicly display that CAMEO Video, in any and all media (for example, on social media platforms), whether now known or hereafter invented or devised.

Santos is pond scum but unless I’m missing something it seems like Kimmel’s show counts as a commercial enterprise. Still, it’s not clear (to me) whether Santos has standing to sue if Cameo is the copyright holder?

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I suspect Cameo reserves the right to use those videos for “promotional services”, or to turn them over to proper authorities in a criminal investigation, but never actually claims ownership.

Ownership, no, but an irrevocable and explicitly unlimited copyright license.

" When you upload, submit, store, send, transmit approve, or receive Talent Content to or through our Site, you grant to us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, fully paid, unlimited, universal, sublicensable (through multiple tiers of sublicenses), perpetual, and irrevocable license in any and all manner and media, whether now known or hereinafter invented or devised (including social media channels and third party websites and platforms), to use, reproduce, license, distribute, modify, adapt, publicly perform, publicly display, and create derivative works (for example, translations, adaptations, compilations, excerpts, or other modifications) of your Talent Content for the purposes of operating and providing our Site, to develop and improve our products and services, and to advertise, market, and promote our Site, products, and services, and you agree that such Talent Content may, in Cameo’s sole discretion, be used, including performed or displayed, in connection with any other elements, materials, copyrights, rights of publicity, or copyrighted materials. Please remember that third parties (including Users) may search for and see any Talent Content you submit to public


He could set up a pushcart on some choice corner in Manhattan and sell knishes.


Check your hands for your rings and watch after he hands you your order… :thinking:


Sell cameo clips to other late night shows?


Please Go Away Season 7 GIF by The Office


Every damn time there’s a story about the Cameo video service my mind goes here instead:

Apparently, in my brain there is only one Cameo.


… Disney seems like it might count as a “business”