Clever hack that will end badly: playing copyrighted music during Nazis rallies so they can't be posted to Youtube

RJ Jones writes, "My friend gave me a tip! If you need to drown out fascists, bring a speaker & play copyrighted music at their rallies cause it will be easy to report their videos & get them taken down for copyright."

This is a reference to Youtube's idiotic Content ID automated takedown system (soon to be mandatory for all online platforms in the EU), which indiscriminately blocks anything that it believes to contain a copyrighted work. It's not clear whether Jones is describing a hypothetical or a reality, but a reliable source in Berlin tells me that this is an established counterprotest tactic there.

The thing is, as much as it's a cute way to sabotage Nazis' attempts to spread their messages, there is nothing about this that prevents it from being used against anyone. Are you a cop who's removed his bodycam before wading into a protest with your nightstick? Just play some loud copyrighted music from your cruiser and you'll make all the videos of the beatings you dole out un-postable.

The reality is that incidental background music at a political rally is not a copyright infringement, but automated systems can't make sense of fair use claims, which require human judgment.

The inability of Content ID to tell fair use from infringement is a feature, not a bug. It's why 7 hours worth of lectures at a scientific symposium were wiped out when the cameras picked up some copyrighted music being played during the lunch break.

Even if you believe that some speech should be prohibited or limited in its spread, this is not a problem that copyright can fix.