Copyright Trampling Political Speech

PoliticsTV's Youtube account and all of its videos are now inaccessible. TPMMedia's account has been suspended. Same with Atrios. I don't know why these accounts are down, but I suspect it has to do with Viacom sending 100,000 indiscriminate takedown notices aimed at Youtube users, and Google capitulating.

95% of PoliticsTV content is original content, Atrios puts his clips up so that he and his community can comment on them.  When it gets to this level of indiscriminate censorship, copyright extremism has gotten out of control.  

Tags: copyleft, EFF, Google, Youtube (all tags)

Comments

30 Comments

Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

And so it begins.

by egregious 2007-02-10 06:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

Viacom sent a DMCA notice because of Jim's home video. Jim happens to be at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law.  

EFF Page about Viacom DMCA notices

if the entire accounts are down though it could be youtube/google's doing.  

by tpiddy 2007-02-10 07:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

There has always been a tension between copyright law and the first amendment since the enshrining of the two principles into the Constitution. In fact, the fair use doctrine arises out of those tensions as a compromise test that is meant to alleviate some of the preassure, but the tensions have always and will always be there. So, when you say "it begins"- I have no idea what that means since it began back when they first wrote the document several hundred years ago.  

by bruh21 2007-02-10 07:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

That's right.  Balance is really important.

by Matt Stoller 2007-02-10 07:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

For the record, I think what was done with YouTube was stupid, and overbroad. They captured both copyrighted works, and items that maybe considered exercise of free speech. However, I'm not sure if this was a problem with the law or the application of the law. Meaning sometimes in fear, companies will react in an inappropriate manner that is overbroad.

by bruh21 2007-02-10 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

The problem, fundamentally, is the DMCA, which reverses the "innocent until proven guilty" principle in the case of internet copyright violations. When the law abandons fundamental precautionary principles like this, it becomes nearly impossible for the "application of the law"  to be anything except a problem.

by mcc 2007-02-10 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

Actually, considering the way they're doing it, I'd say Google is being the opposite of "Good corporate citizen" and more pointing the finger.

After all, they could have just taken down all the "offending content" and made it disappear. Instead, when you for instance hit a link to a John Steward clip, you get little announcement saying it was taken down by Viacom due to copyright infringement.

Note: follow the link to the EFF story on this:

Among the 100,000 videos targeted for takedowns was a home movie shot in a BBQ joint, a film trailer by a documentarian, and a music video (previously here) about karaoke in Singapore. None of these contained anything owned by Viacom. For its part, Viacom has admitted to "no more than" 60 mistakes, so far. Yet each mistake impacts free speech, both of the author of the video and of the viewing public.

If they are making these kinds of blatant mistakes, who can tell how many fair uses of Viacom content they also targeted in their 100,000 takedowns? Hundreds? Thousands? If Viacom made a clear mistake and your clip contains no content from Viacom-owned copyrighted works, sending a simple DMCA counter-notice to YouTube may be enough to do the job. But if you're attempting to make a fair use of Viacom's works, it may make more sense to go to court to assert your rights. More information about your options is available at the Fair Use Network.

Has your video been removed from YouTube based on a bogus Viacom takedown? If so, contact information@eff.org --we may be able to help you directly or help find another lawyer who can. In this situation, as in so many others, EFF will work to make sure that copyright claims don't squelch free speech.

by Victor Laszlo 2007-02-10 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech
 ah, Bruh the copyright shill. Well, at least I hope you're getting paid for this, because I'd hate to think apologizing for our movements enemies is something you do for fun.
 If a law can be misused it is too broadly written, and must be narrowed. I know you think that the rest of us are all little peons on the corporate plantation, but the truth of the matter is that AMERICAN CITIZENS right should trump CORPORATIONS right. If you think that a corporation deserves the same rights as people, then you're a bad person. If you think multi-millions dollar entities need more protection than a single human being with an income of 15-100k a year than your priorities are out of whack and I'd posit that progressives shouldn't listen to you because you're not a Democrat.
by SoulTim 2007-02-11 03:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

If YouTube doesn't fix this in real short order, they and their new Google parents need to hear from the netroots loud, clear and relentlessly.  And, if they don't respond with a real fix, there needs to be a mass migration to a web-video platform that is willing to make the effort to deal with demands from the likes of Viacom while also respecting the rights of millions of users.  Any suggestions out there on how to mount a focused effort of pressuring GooTube to do just that?  They need to know that the citizen/user side of their "rights" balancing act can and will push as hard as (or harder than) Viacom.  EFF is an obvious ally here.

by mitchipd 2007-02-10 07:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

This is THE issue. Corporate powers are abusing the copyright laws to crack down on free speech and dissent.

The struggle for free speech online centers on copyright and net neutrality.

Matt, as always I applaud your leadership on this issue.

by Texas Nate 2007-02-10 07:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

Sorry, I'm kinda new to this particular debate, but it seems to me that most of the blame for us not being able to see what we want to see (for free) is being put on YouTube and Google, which are both traditionally freebees.  Viacom, on the other hand is the heavy handed corporatist, which own many, many of our favorite shows, etc (like the Daily Show, and lord only knows what else.)  I suggest that we start finding out what else they own and figure out which of their properties that we can do without (yes, I mean boycott,) and which of their sponsors can be influenced into requesting that they take their stinking thumb off the scale.  It's kinda like when the bank used to give away toasters for opening a new account and would give you checks for free.  Now you're lucky if they don't charge you for opening an account, for using their tellers, for using an ATM, and of course you have to pay for your checks.  Why?  Because they found out that they could, and we wimped out and let them charge us with just a little grousing. We figured they're the only game in town, and so did the bank.  Somebody please explain to me why I'm wrong!

by Ann in AZ 2007-02-10 08:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

So much for Google's claim not to be evil.

Best response is to move to another video service.

by Monkey In Chief 2007-02-10 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

Such as?  

by antidoto 2007-02-10 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

Vimeo.com is pretty good.

by nvalvo 2007-02-11 11:28AM | 0 recs
smart, intentional overreaction

I think google/youtube may be intentionally overreacting to generate publicity about the problems with DMCA.  

Google founders already have much experience with copyright restrictions (like with google books, or orphaned works), and they are sure to be involved with this decision.

by aip 2007-02-10 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

Does Youtube and its owner Google nt realize that the really the only reason Youtube has been popular is because of the ability to see almost anything on its pages?

They took away all the Daily Show and Colbert Report clips, the South Park Episodes and more, and now the political ads.

Why don't they realize it can only take a quick moment for the public to go from saying 'Oh you can Find it on Youtube, why dont we visit there' to 'Oh don't go to youtube, it used to be there but who knows if its allowed now'

Most people aren't going to use youtube to stare at stupid people in their bedrooms making home videos. They want to see clips of things that may vry weel be copyrighted. and really, can anyone tell me how  youtbe clip is going to hurt a business?

I mean, Youtube isn't the invulnerable saviour of web clippings, and they need to realize that This is just bad business on the part of google.

by michealblyth 2007-02-10 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

the headline of the post is unfortunately misleading

with great respect for Matt, copyright is not at fault, and the headline only contributes to a further needless misapprehension about what copyright does and does not protect

in this case it appears YouTube suspended material which was not a violation of copyright - material which falls under the Fair Use exception

this is more likely an example of heavy handed corporate intimidation

large corporations have commonly used threat of lawsuit to secure their objectives, whether a case would actually stand up legally or not

SLAPP suits - Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation - were often used by corporations against environmentalists who protested land development, for example

and states have created anti-SLAPP legislation

but YouTube doesn't really have an obligation to showcase anyone's video either - just like restaurants have "a right to refuse service"

blogs which feature video can't afford to rely on 3rd party hosts which are either unknowing of the law or unwilling to fight for their users

the good news is that software exists so bloggers can control their own video content

by bz 2007-02-10 11:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

that's my point above.  I don't think this is a matter of the law, but a case of Google and Youtube's overreaction, and possibly Viacom being over inclusive of works that are not even their copyrighted works, and as such shouldn't have been taken down as priated works.

by bruh21 2007-02-10 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

Sorry bruh, this is a matter of law and copyright laws need to be changed. Until they are I'm not, and neither are a lot of other people, willing to listen to the complaints for a lackey or the people he shills for.

IF Viacom tries to assert copyright over non-copyrighted works they need to be punished. If corporations try to stifle free speech they have to be attacked relentlessly and by whatever means forces them into submission. PEople like you who think that corporations matter more than people are the cause of so much that is wrong this day in age.

by SoulTim 2007-02-11 03:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

I'm not going to argue with you Tim. Good luck.

by bruh21 2007-02-11 06:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

just like restaurants have "a right to refuse service"

No problems there.

by Matt Stoller 2007-02-10 02:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

There are problems in special cases, but there is no rule that says they don't have the right to ever refuse services. The special cases are defined under the law such as under equal protection or through the Americans with Disabilities Act, but there is no blanket rule of must serve. Most of the law, until recently under conservatives, was headed toward some kind of balancing act. I don't want to replace one idealogical extreme with another. My concern is not your pointing out the application of the law here was wrong since it captured non infringed works (all be it a smll percentage) with pirated work.  My concern are the following:

a) the protection of artists rights from big corp. ulimately I see changes in copyright law changing the bargaining the position of artists in their negotiation regarding their work. When all the idealogy is cleared out of the way. What is the result for artists?

b) the protection of artists rights from libertarian idealogy masquerading as concern for things like free speech.  ulimately they could care less about actual speech so long as the private sector controls it it absolutely. it may seem paradoxical but there are so many balancing acts in the  law to provide greater freedoms not less. for example, copyright law since it's begining has always conflicted with the first amendment, but the idea is that this conflict allows greater speech in the public square because copyright owners will disseminate their works whereas without it they may not or can not. it allows for the market place of ideas. rather than speaking to individual instances if you can explain in some future post how this will help most works (again looking at your numbers- it was a small percentage, and the law is not perfect, and nor can it ever be perfect. You seem to be insisting upon perfection rather than a rule that's more balanced hence why people probably have a problem with your title).

c) Respond to questions about the history of artists prior to the advent of copyright law.

d) respond when I point out that the rhectoric of some of your allies do not reflect what you sometimes claim is your goal - a better balancing. the EFF for example in the case I mentioned to you in a previous diary, which you never responded to, has a history that's libertarian on this position of copyright law.  My point as above is that private doesn't always equal greater rights, no more than government always equals greater rights. Here again - how much speech was lose, versus how much through legal means is dissemninated?

by bruh21 2007-02-11 06:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

incidentally- the threshhold test is not instances of where you can show that the law doesn't work, but if you can show overall it is failing to accomplish some public interest end. Are you saying that copyright law on the hold doesn't work to help disseminate more works rather than less? Are you saying that we don't have assess to  disseiminate works just because it can not appear on YouTubes? 95 percent of the work would have been disseminated correct? We need a rule to hlep with the 5 percent, not one to change the legal structure of the 95 percent.

by bruh21 2007-02-11 06:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

the headline of the post is unfortunately misleading

Not unfortunately -- intentionally.

by LiberalFromPA 2007-02-10 07:46PM | 0 recs
Blip TV
I know that YouTube and Google are attractive video hosting sites, in part because of the sheer numbers of people who use them, however a site that I have found useful and more appealing to me in terms of community is Blip TV. It's the hosting site of choice of a lot of vloggers and techies, and from what I can see, their philosophy is a lot more in line with the liberal blogging community than either YouTube or Google: "We are not building a walled garden -- we are actively working to break down walls in order to enable the free and open sharing of media and media metadata throughout the Web." You should encourage people to check it out.
by JonesingforaDem 2007-02-10 04:13PM | 0 recs
save it

the only way to save us all from the lawyers, is to save it when it plays. all flash media and the like can be recorded by webcam - just turn on your webcam and frame it to a place on your desktop and then run it back through your webcam when you play it.

second point - just me. does anyone else besides me ever notice that lawyers almost never seem to add anyting to the internet, only try to take away? prediction: one day , just as Iran and Iraq will go to the EU, the bush administration will be known for introducing lawyers to the internet as a form of spam.

by heyAnita 2007-02-10 08:35PM | 0 recs
Re: save it

nice to see you are as much as extremist here as you are with the rights of gay people.

by bruh21 2007-02-11 06:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

Time for someone to create a new video hosting site.

by orin76 2007-02-11 06:27AM | 0 recs
They are so stupid!

This will only hurt them more then help. The Daily Show, Colbert, Keith Olbermann all got huge ratings jumps because people saw them around the internet. These are like mini commercials for the shows.

Maybe YouTube and Google should just add commercials or ads for these studios and shows that pertain to the video clips. They could do this easily like the do with the rest of their ads.

by kevin22262 2007-02-11 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyright Trampling Political Speech

Texas Nate is onto something. This is nothing if not a blow to the notion of Google's support for net neutrality. They have a near-monopoly on online video and search. And now they're cutting deals with the content companies who would restrict the free flow of content across the web -- similar to what they are doing with Comcast on the distribution side.

I am not a disinterested party, but I argue this is a bigger threat to the net as we know it than anything that might happen with high-speed lanes for Internet video and voice.

by Johnnie Blue Jeans 2007-02-12 05:55AM | 0 recs

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