Activist Group Uses DMCA To Take Down Video Exposing Its Fake Concerned Citizens

from the dmca-abuse? dept

We’ve definitely seen cases where activist groups, upset with what people were saying about them, used the DMCA abusively to remove content that they had no real say over. However, this latest story is a bit strange. Before we get to it, though, I’m going to ask, politely, that the comments stick to the copyright issues at hand, rather than the political issues… Apparently, a group called The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) put together a video of “ordinary people” worrying about the impact of gay marriage being allowed. It turns out that everyone in the video is an actor, and the fact that they’re “fake” received plenty of attention earlier this week, including being shown on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC, which included clips of the audition tapes of the actors. The clip of the MSNBC segment was then put on YouTube. And here’s where the copyright questions come in… the video was of the MSNBC segment, but NOM put in a DMCA takedown request, which YouTube obeyed.

That raises all sorts of questions… MSNBC reporting on the videos is almost certainly fair use of NOM’s videos. But, it was someone else who uploaded the MSNBC clip to YouTube. MSNBC is still running the clip on its own site — but, if anyone had any sort of DMCA claim on the video, one would think it would be MSNBC… not NOM. So, then, is NOM abusing the DMCA takedown process, in demanding an entire video (most of which is not its content) be taken down? Seems like you (or, say, the EFF) could make a pretty strong case for that…

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Companies: msnbc, nom, youtube

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Comments on “Activist Group Uses DMCA To Take Down Video Exposing Its Fake Concerned Citizens”

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20 Comments
ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Et tu, youtube?

I *sort of* get why youtube takes things down on these ridiculous requests (much in the same way that I get why abused spouses don’t press charges.)

Here’s what I don’t get. Why doesn’t google press charges against these, essentially perjured, take downs? How the hell hard is it to understand that advocating for your users (at least when they’re clearly in the right) is job number frakin’ one?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Et tu, youtube?

But YouTube is not the wronged party here. Whoever uploaded it is (or, alternately, MSNBC is, but they seem to not be complaining about it having been put on YouTube). It’s that person’s (or MSNBC’s) option of accusing NOM of perjury, not YouTube’s.

I’m not a lawyer, but it also seems possible to me that such actions could pose a risk to YouTube’s safe harbor status. With ongoing lawsuits against them, they don’t want to risk losing that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Some may have missed the overlay about 20 sec. into the commercial:

“The stories these actors are telling…”

The commercial and some thoughts pertaining to copyright can be found at:

http://copyrightsandcampaigns.blogspot.com/2009/04/anti-gay-marriage-group-sends-dmca.html

As for who owns what regarding the commercial and the auditions, the best I can do is note that NOM, its ad agency and the actors (in the commercial and in the auditions) may each hold some piece of the copyright “action”. Of course, this depends upon the contracts between the actors/auditioners and the ad agency, and the contract between the ad agency and NOM.

BTW, it is quite commonplace for ad agencies to retain casting companies to conduct auditions from which the eventual participants in a commercial are selected. In this case you can add the casting company to the above mix.

Ferin (profile) says:

Why NOM filed

Saw on another site that the Youtuber who uploaded it received info from NOM in the take down request. Apparently they say some of the audition tapes that were shown in the MSNBC segment were of actors that were not used, and thus NOM did not have them sign all the proper releases.

http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2009/04/is-nom-worried-about-being-sued-by.html

Not sure what to make of it, myself.

ECA (profile) says:

i find it entertaining..

I find it funny, that others worry about..
Gay marriage??
They are jealous that the GUYS look better then their Husband??
1 less Guy/gal to hit/screw/marry on??
OTHERS souls??
If they THINK the other person is going to HELL?? is it of YOUR OWN concern?? dO YOU think THAT THEIR incongruity IS GOING TO INVOLVE you AND FORCE YOU into hell??

spaceman spiff says:

YouTube needs to change policy

YouTube needs to change its policy regarding DMCA takedown notices. It full well knows that in many instances these are bogus. It should require proof of violation by the instigator of the action that the video in question is infringing material. By placing the burden of proof on the instigator (AFAIK, this is appropriate under DMCA rules), it would do a lot to discourage this sort of egregious activity and protect free speech and fair use of these materials.

Anonymous coward says:

The copyright question, already

I love that it took all the way to comment #12 to get to the copyright question.

All politics and the fact that the takedown process is faulty aside, what’s controversial with the copyright question here? Someone requested a takedown of a video they held a copyright interest in.

NOW has a video they likely hold copyright to. MSNBC copys, transmits and distributes (parts) of it in its own video. Someone else copys and distributes the MSNBC copy (which contains the NOW video.) Now says ‘hey that video contains (parts) of my copyrighted video, take it down.’

Unless the youTuber claims fair use, (or maybe possibly some marginal “too short to constitute an infringement” claim) it seems like a pretty clear infringement.

You’re not suggesting that the fact that MSNBC’s use was excused has any bearing on the YouTuber’s use, are you?

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