Last week I posted a link to this amusing spoof of the Freeview ad, put together by comedians Dan Ilic and Marc Fennell, and posted to YouTube as a teaser for their show about the death of television, which will be part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

Last week, to my amazement, the industry trade journal AdNews reported that Freeview was planning to take action over the spoof, and the claim got another run in The Australian’s Media section this morning.  Could the public relations really be as clumsy as that? Surely Freeview, which is  the promo vehicle for free to air television’s new digital channels, would understand that launching legal action would be the very best way of making sure that a huge audience viewed the spoof? I’d be willing to bet that even the suggestion of legal action has already boosted viewer numbers.

AdNews quickly changed the online version of their story to suggest that instead the spoof had drawn a response from Freeview – whatever that means.

In fact, Fennell and Illic have not heard a word from Freeview – no phone calls, no threatening letters. Nothing. Fennell says that the spoof falls under fair use laws, and that the duo have used more facts in the spoof than appear in the original “cept maybe the gag about one HD’s “sports you’ve never heard of”… Im pretty sure there are some people that have heard of AFL.”

I tried to ring the Chairman of Freeview, Kim Dalton this morning (who is also Director of ABC Television), but have not yet had a response. Could be interesting, given that Fennell also works for the ABC.

UPDATE: Dalton rang me back, and said there was absolutely no truth to suggestions that Freeview was taking legal action over the spoof. “I have no idea where that suggestion came from,” he said.

UPDATE II – Ben Grubb has done an interview with Dan Ilic.

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