McCain-YouTube flap shows it's time to reform DMCA

McCain-YouTube flap shows it's time to reform DMCA

Summary: Now that Google CEO Eric Schmidt has personally endorsed Barack Obama, the McCain campaign's gripes about YouTube taking down their web ads have a new currency. McCain spokesman Mike Goldfarb hinted that the take-down was related to Schmidt's endorsement: "It may be that there is some political bias involved."

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Now that Google CEO Eric Schmidt has personally endorsed Barack Obama, the McCain campaign's gripes about YouTube taking down their web ads have new currency.

You may recall that McCain general counsel Trevor Potter informed YouTube that an ad that featured CBS's Katie Couric (disclosure: CBS owns ZDNet) did not violate copyright, as CBS claimed, because of fair use. Potter asked YouTube to consider reviewing take-down notices related to political videos and YouTube declined.

In an NPR piece this morning, McCain spokesman Mike Goldfarb hinted that the take-down was related to Schmidt's endorsement:

It may be that there is some political bias involved.
The fact is that Google takes down every video it gets a take-down notice on. Every one does. That's what the DMCA – strongly supported by John McCain, by the way – forces sites to do. And it is out of control. NPR's story included the tale of Jeff Rosenstock, a musician with his own donation-based record label, Quote Unquote Records. He says his ISP shut down his site because it perceived he was violating copyright. He spent a week satisfying to IX Web Hosting's satisfaction that he owned the copyright to the songs. That's because he never registered with the Copyright Office.

Meanwhile public interest groups see a way to drive home the abuses of the current DMCA regime. On Monday, the EFF and ALCU among other groups sent a letter to the networks, asking them to stop sending take-down notices, and a letter to YouTube, asking for them to pay special attention to the legitimacy of take-down claims on political content. (Via News.com.)

And on Nov. 5, I hope Sen. McCain will get to work on reforming DMCA so fair-use video isn't taken down by default.

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13 comments
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  • Wrong "reform"

    IMHO the take-down provisions of the DMCA are the only part of the law that is anything like right. The last thing we need is some kind of "reform" that mandates special treatment for some [1] over the rest of us on the farm, but that's one of the two near-certain outcomes of any "reform" effort.

    The other is, of course, enactment of more items from the Content Cartel's laundry list.

    [1] Pigs, politicians, whatever
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • So McCain wants a free pass to violate regulations he helped create???

    Typical.
    T1Oracle
  • Um...I think you have it backwards...

    "You may recall that McCain general counsel Trevor Potter informed YouTube that an ad that featured CBS?s Katie Couric (disclosure: CBS owns ZDNet) did not violate copyright, as CBS claimed"

    CBS is the one who requested that video be taken down; The McCain camp is complaining that the request was not legit, and they are not advocating any circumvention of DMCA by saying so -- the DMCA does not say that a take-down request has to be complied with automatically; legitimacy of the request should be determined, and in this case McCain is saying that CBS and its liberal friends at GOOG/YouTube are all too willing to ignore whether the request was legitimate because it meshes with their politics!

    So what we have is unequal access to new media, based on the politics of those owning a particular channel. The DMCA becomes a convenient excuse for limiting content owners don't personally like. Sounds just like some communist countries.
    Techboy_z
    • Perhaps I wasnt clear

      There is NO evidence that YouTube is selective in their takedowns. NONE. YouTube takes down everything it gets a notice on. YouTube is NOT censoring McCain. It also takes down Obama videos. Do you really think Schmidt would be that petty????

      McCain IS trying to subvert the process by not filing an opposition notice but by asking for politicians to have special review.

      EFF supports this approach because of the short time frame and the importance of the political process, but really as an argument that fair use videos should not be taken down on a copyright holders say-so.

      EFF is right about the need to protect fair use against take downs. I think it's wrong to ask for special treatment for politicians.

      The DMCA system is broken. It needs to be fixed.
      rkoman9
    • Loosen up the tinfoil

      [i]CBS is the one who requested that video be taken down; The McCain camp is complaining that the request was not legit, and they are not advocating any circumvention of DMCA by saying so -- the DMCA does not say that a take-down request has to be complied with automatically; legitimacy of the request should be determined, and in this case McCain is saying that CBS and its liberal friends at GOOG/YouTube are all too willing to ignore whether the request was legitimate because it meshes with their politics![/i]

      And they can take a number behind thousands of others whose uploads have been yanked by Google's automatic compliance with takedowns.

      The legal procedure is clear: if Google wants to take advantage of the DMCA's safe-harbor provisions, they have to take down the contested material unless and until the original uploader files a DMCA counter-notice that indemnifies Google.

      At that point, the original complainer has the choice of filing a lawsuit or shutting up about it. Either way, Google is off the hook.

      Your proposal, like the Content Cartel's, would require Google to investigate either every upload or at least every complaint, determine whether it's infringing, and then take legal responsibility for it. Considering that the Cartel would utterly [b]love[/b] to shut Google down and that Google does not have judicial immunity for its decisions, that would be suicidal for Google.

      McCain got the exact same treatment as everyone else. Pretty much a first for him, so no wonder he's not happy about it.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
  • McCain might help

    Putting fair use into his YouTube argument might help McCain and other people too. There's an interesting article about it <a hre="http://www.atelier-us.com/media-entertainment/article/youtube-denies-mccain-preferential-treatment">here</a>.
    sarahoneill
  • What is this ALCU that you speak of?

    What is this ALCU that you speak of? Has anyone else noticed the rapid decline of spelling on news sites? BTW, CNN is a big offender to the typo police, I'm not perfect, I type things wrong all the time, but I'm not having my editorial posted on sites nor gettign paid for it.
    0Hboy
    • ALCU

      American Litigation Creation Union. After all the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has nothing to do with civil liberites most of the time, they just stir the pot to increase litigation jobs for their member.
      jwschull9
  • RE: McCain-YouTube flap shows it's time to reform DMCA

    We've HAD this discussion already. Early on in YouTube's life cycle, they had a fairly rocky time establishing a uniform policy re copyrighted materials. NOW they are essentially challenge-resistant, since if they receive a takedown request from a verifiable copyright owner, they automatically takedown the content in question.

    Notice: YouTube rightfully refuses to get involved in any dispute about or review of "fair use" protocols -- after all, that ~isn't~ THEIR job, but rather the direct responsibility of the copyright holder -- so the ISSUE is directly between McCain's people and whoever issued the "legitimate" takedown requests.

    And as much as anything, the amusing part of THIS whole discussion is just how the McCain content creators have chosen, repeatedly, to ignore the requests of performance artists to "Stop using my copyrighted materials at your rallies and in your promotional material" -- an insolent annexation of the right to Freedom of Choice in regards 'coerced affiliation' and 'endorsement by association'... (not getting into licensing issues and actual copyright ownership transfer issues, since THAT isn't YouTube's domain EITHER).

    "DMCA -- strongly supported by McCain, by the way" now turns around and bites McCain, BUT it's because his campaign people are refusing to abide by copyright laws. In other words, the PROBLEM here is NOT that YouTube is honoring takedown requests (wow, what a turnaround), but rather that McCain's people haven't made the necessary arrangements and agreements which would have prevented the takedown requests in the first place...

    Someone commented elsewhere "So, if someone requested takedowns on Obama's videos, I bet it would be different" and the answer is yeah, Obama's videos don't incorporate copyrighted content without consent, so there's nobody who can legitimately request a takedown who WANTS to issue that request. Too bad, eh -- fighting fair in a political campaign -- who do those guys think they ARE??

    Now, that said, I don't claim to be a proponent or supporter of DMCA, adding a layer of complexity to something that should be so simple and untainted by litigation. But using THIS scenario to somehow justify revisiting the whole "DMCA validity" is pretty much ridiculous.

    You think John McCain is going to reverse his position (of supporting DMCA) now, on the basis of it having personally inconvenienced HIM? Unfortunately, I'd say there's a chance that might happen, which should be seen as a critical indicator of OTHER problems lying in wait down the road (at least until some unfortunate medical event which would put us into an even WEIRDER set of problems)...
    flared0ne
    • Simpletons have a difficult time navigating complex law

      And that proves that McCain, since he has repeatedly
      shown he doesn't understand the law ("I'd fire Christopher
      Cox if I were President" even though the law prohibits him
      from doing so) and he is beholding to corporate special
      interests that have financed him.

      Remember, when he came back a POW hero and saw his
      first wife couldn't finance his political career, PLUS she had
      a limp, which isn't a nice thing for a Senator's wife to have,
      he found some wealthy trophy wife to back his political
      ambitions.

      But I'm not saying who I'm voting for.

      You don't get what you deserve in life, you get what you
      negotiate.
      mlindl
  • RE: McCain-YouTube flap shows it's time to reform DMCA

    The DMCA has always been flawed. It completely ignores the Fair-Use Doctrine. However, in this case I don't think fair-use applies. Fair-Use applies to an individual's Personal, private use of the content. I don't think a youtube post is very private. And it's certaintly NOT personal.
    jwschull9
  • right, so what about FOX NEWS??!!

    Hello, what about FOX NEWS, or should I say the RETHUG CHANNEL. All of a sudden it isn't fair that the other side should have a media ally if that is even the case?!! Get over it!!
    nothingness
  • RE: McCain-YouTube flap shows it's time to reform DMCA

    I hear from rival Mafia that Eric Schmidt owes his success largely to a global network of mobster friends, and that he was directly responsible for the 'obscene amounts of money' made from deliberatly promoting child pornography produced by his cronies.
    http://endmafia.com
    http://cid-21ccdb1c1e0c985a.spaces.live.com/
    keeef090