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.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: major league soccer, mls

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Is Major League Soccer Sending False DMCA Takedown Notices?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Dave (user link) says:

The video is back online

For the record, the video was restored a few days after my initial post.

I think MLS realized their mistake and quietly fixed it, hoping the rest of us wouldn’t notice. They’ve been trying to bury the U.S. Open Cup for years, because they don’t want the rest of America to find out there’s another soccer league (USL) with teams in major cities that might actually be able to compete with MLS on the pitch.

MAtt says:

Re: The video is back online

There may be match-ups which favor the USL, but overall MLS is the stronger league. Still, funny they would feel the need to divert attention away from the USL when they clearly have better venues and a vastly superior marketing machine.
I just can’t figure out why they run a season at odds with all the major soccer leagues of the world and play half the amount of games. We’re losing some of our best talent to European soccer.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Only the Begining

The way our legal system is evolving, the concept of “due process” is being castrated. If you don’t need proof of “infringement” and there is no penalty for instigating false claims, then the floodgates of abuse are wide open.

Furthermore, it appears that companies don’t even have to provide proof that they actually own content in order to “lock the content down”.

JB says:

Re: it's soccer for goodness sake

Soccer, or Football as it’s referred to outside the US, is the favored sport of the world. More people watch the World Cup than have ever watched American Football or Baseball, let alone any of the US’s major broadcasts. Soccer is picking up viewership in the US and I wouldn’t doubt that it may become the new national pastime as the number of European and Southern American immigrants grows.

(Disclaimer: I am a white, male, protestant, middle-class American and only have subtle ties to European and American Indian bloodlines.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: it's soccer for goodness sake

The only reason it’s the favored sport of the world is because it’s cheap to play. All you need is a blanket wrapped up with a rope and you’ve got a ball.

It’s lame for people to say it’s the world’s most popular sport when the only reason is because there isn’t any other sport to play.

alternatives says:

URL(s) of illegal take down notices and lawyers who take such cases?

So – is anyone out in the big bad internet have a collection of claims of incorrect DMCA takedown notices or the lawyers who take such?

I know a gal who wants to put up some content, and I figure the expected DMCA takedown notice would create a Striesand effect. (Hint: involves a rat who runs a game and bad pizza racket)

Dustin says:

Why the assumption that they don't own the rights?

Contrary to the assumption that people are making, Major League Soccer may actually own the video rights for US Open Cup games where its teams are the home team.

In the few instances where an MLS team has provided video streaming coverage of a USOC game, that coverage has been available at the MLS website, while when a USL team has a home game in the USOC, video streams of those games have been available at the USL website.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...