YouTube Snubs The John McCain Campaign’s Protest Of DMCA Removals

Posted Oct 15, 2008

John McCain’s campaign is not a fan of the DMCA takedown policy on YouTube.  This is proven by a letter sent to the Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) subsidiary.  The letter started by complimenting YouTube’s involvement with the election, but then led to the accusation of “silencing political speech.” 

“Numerous times during the course of the campaign, our advertisements or web videos have been the subject of DMCA takedown notices regarding uses that are clearly privileged under the fair use doctrine.  The uses at issue have been the inclusion of fewer than ten seconds of footage from news broadcasts in campaign ads or videos, as a basis for commentary on the issues presented in the news reports, or on the reports themselves,” stated the letter.

Although the letter did not mention the specific videos, one of the videos that Declan McCullage of CNET News believes is being referred to is the McCain campaign lipstick-on-a-pig ad that has a video clip of CBS anchor, Katie Couric.

YouTube made a fair and balanced response.  They simply said that they don’t favor certain cases over others.  Below is the response (via CNET):

While we agree with you that the U.S. presidential election-related content is invaluable and worthy of the highest level of protection, there is a lot of other content on our global site that our users around the world find to be equally important, including, by way of example only, political campaigns from around the globe at all levels of government, human rights movements, and other important voices. We try to be careful not to favor one category of content on our site over others, and to treat all of our users fairly, regardless of whether they are an individual, a large corporation or a candidate for public office.

The real problem here is individuals and entities that abuse the DMCA takedown process. You and our other content uploaders can play a critical role in helping us to address this difficult problem…You can file counter-notifications. You can seek retractions of abusive takedown notices. You can hold abusive claimants publicly accountable for their actions by publicizing their actions…

We look forward to working with Senator (or President) McCain on ways to combat abuse of the DMCA takedown process on YouTube, including by way of example, strengthening the fair use doctrine…

-Zahavah Levine, Chief Counsel of YouTube

What are your thoughts on YouTube’s response?  Feel free to get a discussion going in the comments.  Politics and technology combined make an interesting mix.