Minneapolis police are abusing copyright law to censor their controversial 'shoot-first' recruiting video

Less than a week after an officer from a nearby force shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop, leaving him to die in front of his child and girlfriend (and the world on livestream) the Minneapolis Police Department has perjured itself in issuing a copyright takedown notice to Youtube in order to suppress a controversial recruiting video that depicted the jobs of MPD officers as being a firearms-heavy shoot-em-up.

The video had attracted alarm and criticism by officials and the public, who saw it as indicative of a deep culture of violent, shoot-first policing in the Minneapolis police.

The MPD sent a copyright takedown notice to Youtube claiming, on penalty of perjury, that it believed the video was infringing. The video is clearly a fair use, directly commenting on public affairs, not undermining any revenue stream, and is itself a largely factual work -- it was also a work produced at public expense, which, in the USA generally carries the presumption of free public re-use. The fact that the work was reproduced in full does not disqualify it from being a fair use, as a string of recent rulings in multiple circuits has shown.

Furthermore, a recent federal appeals court decision held that rightsholders have a duty to consider fair use before sending takedown notices.

The video has been reposted to Vimeo. The Wedge Live news site that uploaded the video now has one of Youtube's notorious Copyright Strikes against it, which could eventually cost it the right to publish on the platform.

The @MinneapolisPD sent DMCA takedown to get a copy of their controversial militarized recruiting video taken down. [Tony Webster/Twitter]