Is Major League Soccer Sending False DMCA Takedown Notices?
from the maybe-so dept
Dave writes in with an interesting story suggesting that Major League Soccer is potentially violating the DMCA by issuing a takedown of footage for which it does not own the copyright. The details are a little confusing, and some parts aren’t entirely clear — but from the account at the link, two Major League Soccer teams participated in a separate tournament, called the U.S. Open Cup. The event was not televised at all, despite efforts among fans to provide a streaming webcast. Apparently, at the soccer match, a fight broke out, and the local news covered it, using footage from the game. Following this, some bloggers posted the news stations’ story about the fight on YouTube — at which point MLS sent a DMCA takedown notice. The question is whether or not MLS has copyright over the footage (MLS’s trademarks are meaningless here, as the DMCA only refers to copyright).
What is not clear is who took the footage. Considering that the game was not televised and the event itself was not an MLS event, it’s difficult to believe that it’s MLS’s footage, and thus, MLS wouldn’t hold the copyright over it. However, even if it is MLS coverage, the fact that it was a newsworthy event, and the footage was used in a news report, it would suggest that this particular snippet was actually fair use as used in commenting on it for news purposes. And, if anything, the copyright on the overall clip of the newscast belonged not to MLS, but to the news company. Overall, it seems quite likely that this attempt to censor the clip from YouTube was illegal, as MLS is probably asserting copyright over content for which it does not hold the copyright. But, these days, that’s just all in a day’s work of misusing the DMCA.