Tuesday, February 26, 2008

WISH-tv files DMCA takedown against DCCC anti-elrod ad

four days ago, the democratic congressional campaign committee (DCCC) posted a youtube video that was critical of 7th district candidate jon elrod. the clip featured fragments of video from a WISH-tv report about elrod' working on his campaign while he should be representing his constituents in the statehouse.

the WISH-tv video that was used was fragmentary, and was properly attributed to WISH-tv. its use was no different than showing a quote or headline from a newspaper article, a long-accepted practice in political ads. i believe it was legally protected under the doctrine of fair use. but apparently WISH (or someone at the parent company, LIN) disagreed. they filed a DMCA takedown notice and had the DCCC video removed from youtube.

some right-wing blogs are rejoicing, erroneously asserting that the fact that youtube took the video down proves that WISH-tv's claims of infringement were valid. of course, this only demonstrates their ignorance of how copyright issues work under the DMCA. chillingeffects.org explains:

Question: Does a DMCA takedown mean the material taken down was infringing?

No. ISPs can take down material according to the DMCA anytime they receive a compliant notice alleging copyright infringement (see What are the notice and takedown procedures for we...?). The ISP does not have to investigate to determine whether the material was truly infringing before taking it down. The fact that someone has claimed infringement does not prove that infringement occurred -- there might be a fair use defense, or the claim might have been false or even frivolous.

In order to ensure that copyright owners do not wrongly insist on the removal of materials that actually do not infringe their copyrights, the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA require service providers to notify the subscribers if their materials have been removed and to provide them with an opportunity to send a written notice to the service provider stating that the material has been wrongly removed.

you see, when youtube receives a takedown notice, they typically remove the content immediately. little to no review is involved. the people who posted the video are notified, and they can file a counter-notice. only then does any in-depth review of the video's content take place.

people and corporations can and do overstep the boundaries and send out questionable or downright fraudulent DMCA takedowns all the time. sometimes they send out tens of thousands at a time. some people even even use fraudulent DMCA claims to attempt to silence their political enemies. (the church of scientology is famous for this.)

i suspect that the DCCC will file a counter-notice, and that the video will be back up within a couple weeks.


Wilson46201 said...

All local bloggers should certainly hope the Indianapolis Star does not start suing folk for copyright infringement. Gary Welsh often quotes extensively from the Star himself, kinda pushing the boundaries of fair use himself!

stAllio! said...

i was going to say, "you mean like his post the other day that reprinted pretty much the entire article?"

but then, scrolling through his front page, i realized you wouldn't even know which post i meant. (i was thinking of this one.)