McCain-Palin campaign calls for respect for fair use

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Fred von Lohmann sez, "The McCain-Palin campaign comes out fighting for fair use after having their YouTube videos targeted by frivolous copyright claims from CBS, Fox News (!), and the Christian Broadcasting Network (!!). They propose special protections for the YouTube accounts of political campaigns — a good start, but other YouTubers need protection from bogus DMCA takedowns, too! With 20 days left before Election Day, this problem is going to get worse…"

The obvious problem with this solution? It assumes that YouTube should prioritize the campaigns' fair use rights, rather than those of the rest of us. That seems precisely backwards, since the most exciting new possibilities on YouTube are for amateur political expression by the voters themselves. After all, the campaigns have no trouble getting the same ads out on television and radio, options not available to most YouTubers.

Let's start by identifying the real villains here: the major news media outlets. They are the ones censoring these political ads, based on the use of a few seconds of their footage. The networks need to back off and give fair use a wide berth. So let's start by shaming the bad guys here. In addition, lawsuits might help. Under the DMCA, both the campaigns themselves and YouTube have standing to sue those who send clearly bogus takedown notices. (EFF has represented video creators in a number of these cases, including against Viacom.)

McCain Campaign Feels DMCA Sting

(Thanks, Fred!)