Fox News Tries Selective DMCA Takedowns: If Liberal Bloggers Use It, Take It Down

from the the-dmca-is-only-for-the-embarassing-stuff dept

An anonymous reader alerts us to the story that Fox News has sent a series of DMCA takedown notices to YouTube for a guy who’s been putting up clips that have been popular among the “liberal” blogworld. Now, there’s an open question as to whether or not these clips are fair use — but even if we assume that they are infringing, there’s an interesting element to this. They only targeted the guy who posts clips that liberal blogs are using. There are tons of other clips that conservative blogs use — and those remained up.

In many ways, that shows how the DMCA is really being abused. It is not being used because of any loss in revenue from these clips being online. It’s really being used solely to stifle opposition speech. I don’t care which side of the political spectrum you fall on, this is an example of an attempt to stifle speech, not protect some sort of business model. It’s using the DMCA to take down clips that are being used by people that disagree with the copyright holder, even while they leave up tons of other clips used by people who agree. I can understand why Fox News is doing this, but it goes way beyond the intended purpose of the DMCA (while also suggesting that Fox News apparently is way too sensitive about its critics). Update: Amusing. After all this started getting attention, Fox News decided to send takedowns for other content as well. Looks like once it was clear how bad this look, it realized it needed to take down the others as well.

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Comments on “Fox News Tries Selective DMCA Takedowns: If Liberal Bloggers Use It, Take It Down”

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Dark Helmet (profile) says:

You know...

“They only targeted the guy who posts clips that liberal blogs are using. There are tons of other clips that conservative blogs use — and those remained up.”

I actually don’t see much difference between Faux News and most other cable news networks in that they are all biased. But how do you do something like this…and then have the balls to call yourselves FAIR AND BALANCED?

What a joke. At least CNN and MSNBC, while worthless, don’t pretend…

Anonymous Poster says:

Re: Re:

The only thing addressed in terms of abuse in the DMCA is filing a false DMCA claim.

A copyright holder can file a DMCA claim for any of their content if they feel their copyrights are being infringed, and they can file it – like Fox News has – in selective instances. So long as they can prove that a single usage is infringing, their claim is legal, whether or not they file claims against all infringing uses.

This is just ONE of the major reasons why the DMCA needs a massive overhaul.

Curious George says:

Re: Re: Re:

Sounds like discrimination to me.

This is not unlike the fact that a business owner can disallow anyone from entering his/her business. However, when that right is applied to only one segment of the community then it becomes discrimination, some forms of which are now considered illegal. This situation is somewhat different in that the perpetrator is seeking his/her victim rather than the victim seeking the perp. Selective enforcement of anything usually does not end well.

Reed (profile) says:

DMCA abuse is inherint

Of course this is an abuse of the DMCA. It is also an abuse against free speech. I must point out that this type of abuse is rather common in the Intellectual Property world in general.

The DMCA is merely another tool that is given to oppress and control society. Control is not always a bad thing, but a tool that can be used for oppression will be used for it. It is just a bad idea to legislate new laws in general IMHO

We could duke this out in a case by case basis. Slowly the DMCA would grow larger and more complex as exemptions and new laws are passed to make sure it is fair. Or we could just abolish an idea that was thrust upon us by an extreme minority.

It is apparent to me as ever that IP law is in direct conflict with the type of discourse that should be taking place in the 21st century. Instead of moving forward as a race we continue to backpedal so we can appease wealthy claim makers.

Chris in Utah (profile) says:

In risk of infringment

If any of you have bothered to click my url link you’ll notice it goes to infowars.

They touched on this subject as well. Regardless of my political views stifling opposition in any form is wrong. Given that Fox has higher ratings than any other media outlets said they were doing something right. Till this.

Fox’s 150 request at multiple targets is a bit excessive. It’s way to easy to get a user banned all it takes is 3 reports according to you tube. CSPANJunkie is one of my favs on there and he got dropped as well. Thankfully he started a new account but over 200hrs of video lost that were a dam near historical record of congress bright and ugly moments… DMCA hell!

Precious Obama ignoring the one conservative outlet in Fox with his media sweep lets ya know the executive branch has things to look out for when it comes to the state of the union.

PopeRatzo (profile) says:

Re: In risk of infringment

Precious Obama ignoring the one conservative outlet in Fox

But Fox isn’t “conservative”, it’s “fair and balanced”.

I can understand their not wanting their broadcasts to be widely used by liberals, especially considering Fox’s proclivity for using misleading film footage and outright prevarication.

Fred McTaker (profile) says:

"Liberal" has become meaningless

The word “liberal” has become meaningless now. It has lost all original meaning, and become synonymous with disagreeing with anything Faux Noose tells you to think. If Fox News calls you a “liberal”, all that means is that you are sane, and you somehow got their attention.

I like the label “progressives” better, in part because it’s less easy to confuse with those dumb Libertarians — the luddite gold standard panacea idiots. It can also be used to imply one is *progressing* away from old idiotic belief systems, like fundamentalist Christianity. Speaking of, why isn’t preaching about hell to little kids considered a form of terrorism? Evangelicals are the original terrorists — they’re just mad the fundi Islamists keep on one-upping them.

Josef (profile) says:

Re: "Liberal" has become meaningless

Wow Fred. That was one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time. You are right. I would add that “liberal” and “conservative” have lost their meaning and are now only used to incite some immediate response from one side or the other.

“Progressive” does sound much better. Though I agree that Christianity is an outdated concept with no more validity than the ancient Greek Mythos, there is no need to be disrespectful to anyone’s belief system. Keep making intelligent insightful posts without being mean.

Remember: Stupid is its own punishment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Another attempt at censorship, this time by big pharma.

Crowdsourcingis a great thing and this is just more evidence that many big pharmaceutical corporations are ran by a bunch of liars who are very used to not being exposed for their lies. Of course they will not be held accountable for their actions, where do the FCC disclosure laws come into place here? Will this pharmaceutical corporation get in trouble for telling blatant lies and then trying to censor the truth? These FCC non disclosure laws don’t seem to apply much to these huge corporations, only to individuals and small entities. A plutocracy at its finest.

bob says:

Re: Re: Most of you libs

Wow do you not pay attention to what’s going on at the FCC.
The FCC now has a diversity czar Mark Lloyd, who loves what Hugo Chavez is doing with the media down in Venezuela. A guy who wants to use station licenses to drive political discussion.

Want more citations?

My opinion: Speech should never be stifled ever, Especially in a free market of a free society.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Most of you libs

Most of you all-knowing libs decrying the actions of Fox as somehow silencing opposition voices are the same libs that are trying to force the “Fairness Doctrine” on talk radio in an effort to shut it down since it doesn’t serve your political agenda.

What are you talking about. I’m the one who wrote the article above decrying this. What have I written about the fairness doctrine:

If you can’t click here’s the title: “Once More, With Feeling: The Fairness Doctrine Is Not Fair, Nor Is It Needed”

And I’m not “liberal” nor “conservative.” I think for myself.

Finally, I’ve been just as harsh on supposed “liberal” media going after “conservative” users of content. So, please, stop stereotyping.

DV Henkel-Wallace (profile) says:

This is hardly an abuse

Come on, it’s obnoxious, but hardly “abuse”. FN license their stuff to people whose view they agree with. That’s well within their right.

I could choose to licence a program I wrote only to redheads. It’s no different.

And the DMCA was intended precisely to crack down on people using things in an unlicensed manner. Wether it does so, or is being exploited or abused….well there are plenty of good stories about that on TD. But this is, regrettably, a legitimate use.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Google is starting to do some questionable stuff.

Up until now Google has behaved, for the most part, ethically. However if they start working with pharma and supporting pharma this will make me question them a lot more.

First of all it opens the door to market censorship of anything that may threaten pharma profits. Pharma can threaten not to have Google ads if they don’t take something off their search engine. While someone might say “well, someone else could start a search engine” be careful, the FCC et al may start passing laws making it more difficult for competitors to enter the market. Pharma et al will have incentive to suppress other search engines that may offer a dissenting view and they will try to use our very broken government.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“You may not like it but does it matter?”

No one mentioned charity but I do expect businesses to act ethically and to not lobby the government for laws that favor only them. Pharmaceutical corporations are FAR from ethical and that’s why I don’t like the idea of Google getting involved with them. It’s perfectly possible to run an ETHICAL business but pharmaceutical corporations, by and large, are failures at that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

and the problem is that most big corporations, by and large, act unethically and they don’t get in trouble. This nation is basically a plutocracy. Here is an example involving evil pharmaceutical corporations.

Crowdsourcingis a great thing and this is just more evidence that many big pharmaceutical corporations are ran by a bunch of liars who are very used to not being exposed for their lies. Of course they will not be held accountable for their actions, where do the FCC disclosure laws come into place here? Will this pharmaceutical corporation get in trouble for telling blatant lies and then trying to censor the truth? These FCC non disclosure laws don’t seem to apply much to these huge corporations, only to individuals and small entities. A plutocracy at its finest.

Also found this interesting (from the facebook comment page on the above article).

“Dr. Mehmet Oz has a YouTube site. I posted Natural News article on his comments page, however he has now blocked me and removed them. Hmmm, I suppose the truth hurts.
Perhaps others may be interested in posting a comment…”

Nope, non disclosure laws do not apply to big pharma. In fact, telling lies and trying to censor the truth is OK for them, they will not be punished, because they are rich and powerful and that exempts them from following laws similar to laws that everyone else must follow.

and also notice how NONE of this important news will ever make its way to public airwaves. Mainstream media censors this stuff. The FCC makes disclosure clauses against the masses yet big corporations are not subject to them. They censor important information and lie about it and they receive ZERO punishment whatsoever. We talk about how Hollywood and such are evil on techdirt but their evilness pales in comparison to the food/agriculture medicine/drug/pharmaceutical industry and the regulatory bodies that regulate them. These people are evil and I don’t like the idea of Google working with such evil entities.

Regarding whether it matters, well, shouldn’t customers/consumers matter? Shouldn’t the people matter? Why should the only people that matter be the rich and the powerful and the plutocracy that the government seeks to serve.

Tom Betz (profile) says:

Re: Ignorant winger Joe...

… wrote: As if MSNBC will show anything negative to the DNC or Obama.

Even leaving out the three hour Republican message machine that is Joe Scarborough in the morning, both Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann (and their really conservative guests like Prof. Jonathan Turley) regularly criticize the Democratic leadership in Congress and the actions of President Obama’s White House, when they find those actions to be wrong.

When did the Fox Propaganda Channel ever criticize the actions or policies of the Bush Administration while it was in office?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“They own the content and it is their right to do as they wish.”

I would have more sympathy for them if the content was on the Internet or some other medium with competition. However, the cableco companies have a government granted monopoly on the infrastructure and on who can build new infrastructure and there should not be both a monopoly on the infrastructure and a monopoly on the content. The laws in place are ENTIRELY one sided in favor of the plutocracy that our government seeks to serve. If the government is going to grant a monopoly on the infrastructure then EVERYTHING on that infrastructure should be public domain. I would have a lot more sympathy for them if anyone was allowed to build cablco/telco infrastructure. Furthermore, ANYTHING on public airwaves should be public domain. The public airwaves should be used for the public good, no one has an inherent right to deny anyone else use of it just like no one has an inherent right to deny anyone use of public infrastructure and the ability to build new infrastructure. If the government is going to grant such rights then NOTHING on this infrastructure should be subject to intellectual property. PERIOD. The government should only be allowed to regulate who can build infrastructure and who can broadcast on public airwaves ONLY to the extent that such regulation is in the public interest. But the laws currently in place is not in the public interest, they’re uniformly in the best interests of the rich and the powerful.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“there should not be both a monopoly on the infrastructure and a monopoly on the content.”

and here is why. The end result of granting monopolies on both the infrastructure and allowing monopolies on the content over that infrastructure is that almost ALL content that is readily available to the public is ONLY easily accessible at monopoly prices (ie: high cable prices, high prices of CD’s since independent artists won’t get promoted, too many commercials and ads on public airwaves, etc…). Outside of the Internet this is EXACTLY what the plutocracy has managed to accomplish thanks to our broken government. and they want to turn the Internet into the same thing so that just about any content that anyone can access is available ONLY at monopoly prices (and content that is released under creative commons licenses and such is not easily accessible to the public because they would never make their way onto the monopolized infrastructure/airwaves). This is EXACTLY what we MUST resist and we must be proactive in removing the current monopolies on the existing infrastructure.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not that I agree with the tactics, but this is copyright we’re talking about. If they only try to stop some usage of it but not all, they are implicitly granting permission to some (specifically, those that they are aware of and do not try to stop) to copy the work, which is perfectly allowable in copyright. There is no specific requirement on copyright that it be rigorously and universally defended against any who have not sought explicit permission, like trademarks must be.

Again, that’s not saying I agree with what they are doing… it’s underhanded, but if fair use can’t be shown to apply then it’s really exactly the sort of thing that copyright is supposed to do.

Now that said, I have nothing but loathing for companies that utilize the DMCA as a means to trump fair use, particularly when that’s not what the act actually is supposed to do (but is how it is often being utilized, nevertheless).

Tom says:

I don't see the problem

If I make a movie I should be allowed to decide who uses it for their purposes. I may say yes to someone I agree with or like, and I can say no to others (but they can still make reference to my movie and comment on it as much as they like).

This is not limiting free speech. It only (properly) limits other peoples use of my stuff, which is the same as protecting my property rights.

Oh yes, Fox (owners) has the same right to their stuff as I have to mine, even if I disagree with Fox News.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I don't see the problem

“This is not limiting free speech. It only (properly) limits other peoples use of my stuff, which is the same as protecting my property rights.”

It is not the same as protecting your property rights. No one owes you a monopoly on anything so to say that it is properly limiting peoples use of other stuff is inaccurate. It is not a proper limitation. and it DOES limit free speech. Being able to show what you said exactly and the context makes for better debate. You shouldn’t be allowed to release something under the license that “only those who agree with me may use this content, those who don’t may not.” That’s unfair discrimination and it hinders free speech.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I don't see the problem

and remember the point of physical property rights, the argument for granting them, is that society is (supposedly) better off with them than without. Intellectual property rights are not exempt from this requirement. To justify their existence society must be better off with them than without. No one owes you a monopoly and I don’t see how society is better off by allowing your kind of discrimination. It’s not and so it should not be tolerated.

hegemon13 says:


Mike, I think you are being a bit hypocritical here. Time and again you have stated that, unlike with trademark, companies are not obligated to defend their copyrights in order to keep them. They can choose when and where to defend it. You state this all the time when you think a copyright holder is alienating their audience by filing legal, but unnecessary takedown notices.

Here, you have a copyright holder doing just that: using the DMCA legally but selectively, and you call it abuse.

Now, I am not defending Fox News’ actions. They are unrepentantly biased, and they will lie through their teeth to further their agendas. I think this is a slimy and underhanded tactic.

But you, Mike, have little right to complain based on your previous rants. Fox is doing just what you suggested: ignoring copyright violations when enforcing copyright would alienate their core audience.

Matt Bennett says:

Are you really sure they didn’t intend to block all of them, and just started with one blog, and started working down the line? Or even more likely, their conservative readership pointed out to fox the infringing content on the liberal sites, they sent the DMCA takedown on those immediately, and then started to proactively search, which brought them across the conservative posts, which they also blocked? That’s a selection bias, but it’s not an example of stepping on opposition speech.

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