Copyright As Censorship: NBC Pulls YouTube Clip From Senator Elizabeth Warren's Account

from the fair-use? dept

In yet another story of copyright being used as censorship, a clip of Senator Elizabeth Warren responding forcefully to some dubious claims made by some CNBC hosts has been pulled from Warren's own YouTube account:
Whether or not you agree with Warren or the CNBC hosts, I'd hope everyone could agree that using copyright to censor such a thing is wrong. While it's unclear if this was a mere ContentID match or a DMCA takedown, the fact that other similar clips remain on YouTube suggest that it was not an automated decision, but a deliberate one. Furthermore, as Upworthy has pointed out, many other Senators have CNBC clips on their own YouTube channels, which have not been pulled. Given those two things, it seems quite clear that NBC directly targeted Senator Warren's use of this clip (which was getting a lot of traffic -- over 700,000 views) for takedown.

CNBC's "response" that the clip "has been available to view in multiple locations on CNBC.com since its original posting" is equally misleading, because, as Gawker notes, CNBC has the full 10 minute interview, rather than the short clip that was highlighted on Warren's YouTube account.

If Senator Warren so chose, I think she has a exceptionally strong fair use claim to challenge the takedown. It was a short clip, clearly used for disseminating information to the public and educating the public on a topic of great public interest, wasn't being used commercially and a whole host of other reasons. And, NBC, who regularly relies on fair use claims to broadcast clips from other sources, would have a difficult time fighting back. But, once again, we see the pernicious effects of how copyright is being used, repeatedly, by copyright holders not for legitimate, copyright-related reasons, but rather directly as a tool for censorship.

Oh, and of course, NBC's attempt to censor a Senator getting the better of one of its talking heads, has only meant that the video is popping up in plenty of other places and getting much more attention. There's a phrase for that, I think...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:24am

    Another event that pushes me further towards the militantly anti copyright camp. Keep going, folks. Your own actions will ultimately kill you off.

     

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  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:27am

    Hahahaha! Mike "The Chinese Dictator" Masnick is whining about censorship. I love this place.

    Bawk, bawk, Mikey.

     

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

  3.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:29am

    CNBC actions have got the Streisand Seal of Approval. Awareness wins!

     

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  4.  
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    gorehound (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:30am

    I so hate the Big Content Industry ! I want then to Die and the sooner the better for us all.
    Boycott the MAFIAA ! Stop feeding the Pig ! Buy Local and Indie Art..........do not support Hollywood any longer.Your Money keeps them alive.

     

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  5.  
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    Skye, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:42am

    copy

    This should not have been done. People should be allowed to express themselves freely.

     

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

  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:49am

    Re: copy

    no doubt!!!

     

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

  7.  
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    Argonel (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:52am

    Hmm, shouldn't Warren have a copyright claim in her words and therefore be able to force CNBC to remove the clip via a valid DMCA complaint?

    I suspect if offered an impasse like that CNBC would be willing to come to an agreement and drop their claim against the short clip.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:53am

    Re:

    Let me lay this out for you as clearly as possible.

    Mike has not censored you. No one person has censored you. If anything, the Techdirt commenter community at large has ‘censored’ you by way of flagging/reporting your post, and even calling that ‘censorship’ strains the definition of the word.

    Your comment remains available to view by anyone who wants to view it (to wit: I had to click on it to reply to you).

    No one has censored you because you still have the legal right to express yourself in a free and open manner. Techdirt doesn't have any obligation to give you the platform for that expression, though.

    A difference exists between what you’ve done here (you made a lame troll comment that launches an ad hominem attack on Mr. Masnick and does nothing to prove your claim of ‘censorship’) and actual, government-sponsored censorship.

    Of course, given how copyright exists as a government-granted monopoly, maybe you can see how a company using the DMCA to stifle speech it doesn’t like can look like censorship.

    Or maybe not. Living under bridges tends to dull the brightness of the sun, y’know. (I hear eating billy goats don’t help with your eyesight, either.)

     

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  9.  
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    S. T. Stone, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:54am

    Re:

    Even if that claim didn’t work (and I doubt it would), she still has a damned strong Fair Use claim and NBC/Universal should have known that.

     

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  10.  
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    IHATESTREISAND, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:57am

    I HATE STREISAND

    Look at what she's created. It's evil! Quit telling everyone about this clip. If you don't watch the hole thing We'll shut down utube, techdirt, reddit and all you other liberal commie scum. your BAD BAD BAD!

    Next thing you know, you'll be voting with your own opinions on elections instead of ours, and listening to that Crackpot Masnick!

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re:

    Best comment I have ever read in response to a troll.

     

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

  12.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Pity the troll in question will pay no attention to it

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 12:02pm

    Is it any wonder why MSM is losing its viewership/readership? One of these days soon you will again hear how badly newspapers and news broadcasts are doing and won't the congress critters do something to save them?

    I am to the point I don't want to see stateside news. Given that the government is now allowed to distribute propaganda to the public, it's not going to get better. Like many I now turn to other sources outside the US for my news. I want news not filtered by parent corporations for their own benefit.

    Our news outlets have failed us. No longer do you see real, investigative reporting that shows the wrongs of public and political figures that at least held them in check from blatant wrong doing. It's now a free for all to the highest bidder.

    Count me as an ex reader of US MSM news sources.

     

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

  14.  
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    RyanNerd (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 12:15pm

    If the media doesn't like you then prepare to die...

    a public relations death. Don't believe me just ask:
    Paula Deen
    Dan Quayle
    Edward Snowden
    Elizabeth Warren

     

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

  15.  
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    Alana (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This first-wording may shove it in his face.

    Let's hope.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Two first-words in one week?

    Jeez, I should respond to trolls more often.

     

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

  17.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 12:49pm

    Re:

    No, copyright exists when something is put into 'tangible' form. The only people who did that were CNBC with the broadcast. That Sen. Warren was speaking isn't copyrightable by Sen. Warren.

     

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  18.  
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    paean, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 12:49pm

    It's probably not accurate to state that the clip isn't being used for commercial purpose. YouTube's business model is hosting clips for advertising revenue, so CNBC has a stronger case to go after them (even if they do it selectively). A fair use case would be stronger if Warren hosted the clip on her own website.

     

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

  19.  
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    steer, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 12:56pm

    How is it censorship if CNBC posts the interview itself?

    First, it can't be censorship at all unless the government is the actor. It's not censorship if I kick you off my lawn, even though you are reading the bible. Nor, is it censorship if I ask the police to grab you off of my lawn, even though you are reading the Bible. It's not even censorship if I duct tape your mouth in a public space - assault, yes, but not censorship in any legal sense.

    But in this case, CNBC is actually putting the interview up online, so it's just crazy to say that CNBC is trying to suppress Warren's speech rights. They are giving her a megaphone and disseminating her speech for her!! Why doesn't Warren just embed the CNBC video directly on her website? Why shouldn't CNBC get to generate the ad revenue and derive the benefits of site traffic, rather than YouTube, which made no investment at all in the creation of the content?

     

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  20.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 1:01pm

    Re: If the media doesn't like you then prepare to die...

    When you're dependent on the Media yes they can silence you.

    When you're a moron, you'll be silenced as people stop listening.

    Snowden and Warren are neither of these things...

     

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

  21.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 1:03pm

    Re: How is it censorship if CNBC posts the interview itself?

    It's censorship because Warren has a massive Fair Use claim to use the clip of HER talking about HER signature issue.

    Has CNBC posted the interview up to their website or youtube channel? Is it front page on their site? Of course their not required to do that, but that's why fair use exists to allow reasonable use outside of copyright control.

     

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  22.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 1:06pm

    Re:

    The argument that something is commercial merely because it appears on a web page that carries advertising seems sketchy at best. But we don't even need to get into that, because you can have a solid fair use argument even if the use was commercial.

     

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  23.  
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    Steevo (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 1:10pm

    She's a U.S. Senator

    Heck, she's a U.S. Senator.

    She is actually able to take them to task for removing a video that had her face on it. It was her talking, right? Who has rights to that more than her?

    I can't imagine they can get away with that, but here's her chance to change the law to prevent this going forward. Glad it was her and not me, because I couldn't do anything about it.

    I hope she takes the initiative to reign in these copyright/DMCA crooks who use thin arguments to have things taken off the internet.

    It's been going on too long and we do need all that to be strictly limited. With significant liability for those that misuse the DMCA.

    The DMCA is way too broad, and it was no sooner passed than there were lawsuits to expand it. That needs to be rolled back. Sen. Warren can do it.

     

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  24.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 1:16pm

    Re: How is it censorship if CNBC posts the interview itself?

    First, it can't be censorship at all unless the government is the actor.

    Government *is* an actor here because they're using the force of the government (i.e., copyright) to censor.

    But in this case, CNBC is actually putting the interview up online, so it's just crazy to say that CNBC is trying to suppress Warren's speech rights. They are giving her a megaphone and disseminating her speech for her!! Why doesn't Warren just embed the CNBC video directly on her website? Why shouldn't CNBC get to generate the ad revenue and derive the benefits of site traffic, rather than YouTube, which made no investment at all in the creation of the content?

    There are a variety of answers here, but if Senator Warren's constituents regularly view her stuff via YouTube, there's a reason to have it there. Second, the CNBC setup shows the entire interview, not the key clip. Third, if it was really ad revenue that's the concern, then why hasn't CNBC taken down the other clips and why has it allowed other Senators to use its clips on Youtube?

    You'd have an argument if they blocked all.

     

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

  25.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 1:18pm

    Re: How is it censorship if CNBC posts the interview itself?

    it can't be censorship at all unless the government is the actor


    That's not actually true. If someone is preventing you from speaking, it's censorship regardless of whether the government is doing it or not.

    What I think you mean is that it's not unconstitutional censorship if the government isn't doing it.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 2:45pm

    Re: If the media doesn't like you then prepare to die...

    Add Gary Hart..

     

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

  27.  
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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 3:19pm

    Re:

    Censorship is about not allowing someone to express their views. Mike and Techdirt never edit anyone's comments. They present them as they are entered and allow us the people that read the Blog (not a news site or factual disseminator)to decide what we want to view.

    Your comments were viewed as not discussing the topic but instead expressing your not popular (on this blog) view and dislike of Mike Masnick.

    So as I did I can find your comment and comment on it without any issue.

    Unlike a true dictator which would never allow a dissenting comment to be available for comment I could find and express this view on your failed thoughts.

    Please become a thinking person. Don't just follow doctrine.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 5:13pm

    Re:

    That's strange ... in order to verify your claim, I visited Elizabeth Warren's youtube page.

    I did not see any advertisements,I even enabled javascript.

    So - I call bullshit - unless you can provide some sort of evidence which supports your claim.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 5:32pm

    Re: How is it censorship if CNBC posts the interview itself?

    "it can't be censorship at all unless the government is the actor"


    Hmmmmm, let's see here .... ahh yeah there it is
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/censorship

    1
    a : the institution, system, or practice of censoring
    b : the actions or practices of censors; especially censorial control exercised repressively
    2
    : the office, power, or term of a Roman censor
    3
    : exclusion from consciousness by the psychic censor

    I do not see anything in there that corroborates your statement. Possibly a different source would indicate that which you claim .... hmmm .... ok here we go
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/censorship
    1. The act, process, or practice of censoring.
    2. The office or authority of a Roman censor.
    3. Psychology Prevention of disturbing or painful thoughts or feelings from reaching consciousness except in a disguised form.

    Not there either - wow, I'm really striking out here. Perhaps a legal definition then
    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/censorship

    Ohhhhh, I think I see where you have gone astray. You are thinking about violation of the first amendment, which does only address that which the government is disallowed from doing. However - when people discuss their disdain for various attempts at censorship they are not necessarily claiming a first amendment violation has occurred. Get it?

    Also - your analogy is bad and you should feel bad.

     

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  30.  
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    Sheogorath (profile), Jul 20th, 2013 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: How is it censorship if CNBC posts the interview itself?

    An AC I can agree with. Smart guy(?).

     

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  31.  
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    Sheogorath (profile), Jul 20th, 2013 @ 2:12pm

    Re: She's a U.S. Senator

    @ Steevo: This is a DMCA cease and desist notice posted in response to your violation of the strict NDA between us, which is in relation to my patentable idea of repeatedly abusing the DMCA until the Federal Government are forced to change it, making it halfway reasonable.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Jeremiah O'Neal, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 2:13am

    Elizabeth's rights to the portion of the show that she was on (and additional examples)

    Tell me if I'm wrong because I'd like to know. When the US constitution says "The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." I believe that when Elizabeth added her opinion to the show she granted herself authorship to that content and that should be enough to grant her exclusive rights to the portion where she was on. Equally when an artist creates a badguy in a game or a writer contributes a paragraph to a book or when a planner draws up an addition to a house those creations and specifically only those creations should remain exclusive for the uses of those people that created them.

     

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

  33.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 4:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The best "comment" I "read" is report/ignore of this hare brained asshats. Too bad I see is so rarely.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: How is it censorship if CNBC posts the interview itself?

    Mike, claiming that the government is an actor here because they enforce copyright laws is like claiming the government is an actor when I kick you out of my house for saying things I don't like, because the government enforces property laws.

    Your first amendment claim is extremely weak. The (highly speculative) claim that Warren's constituents regularly view her stuff on YouTube would not hold up muster in a first amendment action in court. What would is the fact that there are plenty of alternative forums for her to speak her mind, i.e. putting it on her own site, or simply putting out a public statement in the future. The other reader 's logic makes much more sense: it's crazy to argue that CNBC, which created the forum for her to speak in the first place, and aired the interview to (just to be as speculative as you) probably most of her constituents, is censoring Warren simply because they can.

    And for the sake of argument, lets say you are correct. I completely agree that using copyright law purely as a censorship tool (not in any way for a legitimate purpose, like exercising your "exclusive rights," which is another piece of language in the Progress Clause) is wrong. However, to use these scattered examples of what you see as wrong while completely ignoring the strong majority of legitimate claims that are made by independent authors, photographers, artists, and musicians (i.e members of the public) only hurts legitimate discourse.

     

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

  35.  
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    Sheogorath (profile), Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 11:14am

    Re: Elizabeth's rights to the portion of the show that she was on (and additional examples)

    I believe that when Elizabeth added her opinion to the show she granted herself authorship to that content and that should be enough to grant her exclusive rights to the portion where she was on.
    Your belief is incorrect, unfortunately. Copyright only belongs to the person/company responsible for the work's fixation into tangible form, and in this case, that would be the one that owns the cameras, which is NBC.

     

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


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