School District Claims Copyright To Pull Controversial School Board Meeting Clip From YouTube

from the copyright-questions dept

Danny Mittleman point us to the news that a school district in Evanston, Illinois, made a copyright claim in order to have a video of the public school board meeting pulled from YouTube. A parent of a student at the school had obtained the official video of the meeting, and had posted a controversial clip (involving an argument involving race) to YouTube. An official from the school, however, filed a takedown notice with YouTube claiming copyright, and YouTube (of course) complied. To be fair, the official who issued the takedown now seems at least somewhat apologetic about it, and said she really thought that the school district had a "proprietary right" to the film. The article also, properly, notes that while the federal government is barred from copyrighting its own works, it's not definitive if that applies to local governments. Many assume that such works shouldn't be covered by copyright, following the lead of the federal government, but we've seen cases where state or city governments have argued otherwise. Either way, the whole thing is pretty ridiculous. This was a public school board meeting, and someone could have just as easily filmed the same info with a cameraphone. Taking down the video doesn't seem to serve any legitimate purpose.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:20pm

    Streisand Effect?

    Taking down the video doesn't seem to serve any legitimate purpose.

    Sure it does, it serves the purpose of making sure LOTS more people know what happened. People love controversy. It is the same reason many people will expand hidden comments. They want to know what made it hide worthy. I know when I see a hidden comment I am always at least tempted to expand it to see what was said. Sometimes I do. Just human nature and curiosity perhaps?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    CarlWeathersForPres, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

    Dear Youtube

    Please work to develop a compliance department that has an understanding of fair use.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Dear Youtube

    Under the DMCA, fair use doesn't matter. If you file a DMCA takedown notice, the video MUST be taken down unless a counter-notice is filed.

    I could literally spam YouTube with notices about any video, regardless of if they have ANY connection to me, and they would be legally obligated to take them down.

    Of course, if they get a counter notice, then I go to court over it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:38pm

    I'm not surprised...

    While they may have sounded apologetic, I'm not surprised they tried to hide this. Evanston is in a weird geo-political place in IL, being directly north of Rogers Park in Chicago. If you look at it overall, Evanston is an amazingly afluent village with ginormous houses and income levels far above the norm.

    The problem is that about a tenth of their populating is on the south end, butting up against Chicago. It is largely African American, poor, and the kids from those parts of town that go to the public Evanston schools (private school is relatively unpopular in Evanston, so they're going with all the other kids) are treated like absolute dogshit. It's a huge controversey in Evanston.

    Now, I don't know what the whole deal with the touch of racism at this meeting was. From what I'm reading, it sounds like one of the African American board members said that the standardized tests are unfair to the poorer community (which I'd be skeptical about). But I'm not surprised that there was an attempt to cover up the tension at the meeting....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re: Dear Youtube

    Now there's a thought for some hacktivist protester action.

    Get a few dozen dedicated folks to just spam Youtube with DMCA notices for every video... Eventually somebody's something would break and a change would occur.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    jjmsan (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:00pm

    Re: I'm not surprised...

    Actually there are a fair number of African American home owners on the West side of Evanston in the area around the high school. In terms of the African American kids being treated like "dogshit" unless you have some proof of that you are wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    TheStupidOne, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: Dear Youtube

    Not quite right, Youtube is not legally obligated to do anything in response to your DMCA takedown notice. They do however put themselves at risk of being sued by you for copyright infringement, but if they know you are spamming, they can (and likely would) just ignore you.

    Also if you did file false DMCA notices and the person who actually owns the copyright decides to sue you, then you are in trouble

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:20pm

    " It is largely African American, poor, and the kids from those parts of town that go to the public Evanston schools (private school is relatively unpopular in Evanston, so they're going with all the other kids) are treated like absolute dogshit."

    Wow. Easy on the frigging racism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Ccomp5950 (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Re: Dear Youtube

    In Lenz vs Universal the judge declared that fair use must be considered before fileing a DMCA takedown notice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: I'm not surprised...

    "In terms of the African American kids being treated like "dogshit" unless you have some proof of that you are wrong."

    Er, I live in East Rogers Park two hundred feet from Howard Street and played ball with a bunch of disadvantaged kids that went to ETHS. Sorry I can't link you to my brain, but it's true....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:29pm

    Re:

    Huh? I was saying that the black kids are being treated badly. In a way that I thought made clear that I detest such treatment.

    Where are you seeing racism?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Dear Youtube

    That's for the party requesting a take down, which means they could be in legal trouble in failing to do so.

    YouTube, however, does not have to consider Fair Use.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Dear Youtube

    Well, yes, that was under the assumption that YouTube is complying with DMCA notices.

    And yes, naturally falsely representing yourself will get you in legal trouble if anyone bothers to follow up on it.

    Basically, though, 3rd party liability (or lack of) goes both ways. You can't expect YouTube to check every file to see if its infringing, just like you can't expect YouTube to check every notice to see if it's proper.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    keiichi969 (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:52pm

    From the 5th clip:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNCYkMs9opk&feature=player_detailpage#t=71s

    Standardi zed tests are biased against black people.

    WTF?!?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:58pm

    Re:

    Well, they can be actually, especially the state tests of certain southern states. It's in the way they ask questions that can be ethnocentric.

    In Evanston though? I have a hard time believing that....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Dear Youtube

    Preferably out of the country, so nobody could go after them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 3:08pm

    The federal government is precluded (with some exceptions) from claiming copyright in a work prepared by a government employee. This preclusion does not apply to states because of Federalism.

    Importantly, most states do have Sunshine Law statutes that require material such as this to be freely available to the public. Certainly, Florida is one of those states.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    jjmsan (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: I'm not surprised...

    I lived in Evanston had both my kids go to those schools and spent a lot of time in the schools and don't even like the school administration. They are jerk, but equal opportunity about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 4:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Dear Youtube

    Even if a party DID send numerous questionable notices to YouTube to try to overwhelm YouTube, it is likely that SOME of the posters whose material was wrongfully taken down would eventually go to court for a 512 injunction against whoever is filing all of the notices. This injunction might very well restrain YouTube from honoring those notices, thus sparing both YouTube and the parties asking for the injunction. The injunction would almost certainly be granted, since the notice-generating party is "out of the county, so nobody could go after them" - we saw this in Amaretto Ranch Breedables v. Ozimals.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:58pm

    "Taking down the video doesn't seem to serve any legitimate purpose."

    Without copy'right' school boards would never conduct any meetings. So these copy'rights' are needed to promote the progress of bringing more school board meetings into the public domain by encouraging school boards to have more meetings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Vincent Clement (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 8:50pm

    Just remember that the copyright maximalists keep arguing that we need copyright to encourage the creation of new content. Yet, based on recent articles at Techdirt, it seems that copyright is being used to stifle free speech and to not make public officials accountable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 9:42pm

    Re:

    Hilarious! At least I assumed you were joking...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Christopher (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 11:53pm

    There can be no copyright on public meetings of ANY organization whatsoever. Private meetings? Personally, I feel that there shouldn't be allowed any copyright on those, but takedowns are in order if the meetings expose trade secrets or business secrets of a corporation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re:

    Aforementioned kids aren't being treated badly, children are being treated badly. Singling them out based on race or skin color is racial discrimination.

    Personally, I do not discriminate. I hate everyone equally. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    Any Mouse (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 9:14pm

    Re:

    Some state and local laws disagree with you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2011 @ 2:46pm

    If "Standardized" tests are written in such a manner, that black americans can't, aren't able to answer them the same as white americans, then isnt that proof that blacks are not the same mentally as whites??

    Now while you are backpeddling off that statement, that you made, understand that rhetoric crap is an excuse used by people who dont want to study, who dont really want to learn

    Ask the black american how they earned their bachelors, masters, doctorate, how did they become a doctor or a lawyer or a scientist

    when as you claim, blacks cant answer the question about the same book that they and the white kid read, really????

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Billy Wenge-Murphy, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 3:40pm

    Re:

    >There can be no copyright on public meetings of ANY organization whatsoever

    There can be, to the recordings. There's no copyright on any meeting - although you could perform copyrighted works like poetry or songs or something.

    You can only copyright the expression of ideas in FIXED TANGIBLE FORM. Sitting around talking is not fixed, tangible, creative expression.

    It's the RECORDING of the meeting that is copyrighted, and yes, it absolutely can be, though I would agree that it shouldn't be for the most part.

    The school here is abusing the technicality of copyright on the recording to silence speech. As mentioned in the article, had someone captured the meeting on a cameraphone, that person would own the copyright to the recording and could do what they please, and the school would have no avenue to chill the free speech of people who expose them as dirty racists.

    >but takedowns are in order if the meetings expose trade secrets or business secrets of a corporation

    That stuff isn't copyrighted. DMCA takedown notices are specifically for copyrighted works, not information and speech you don't like, so no it DOESN'T warrant a takedown and issuing a takedown over it may even be perjurous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This