City Council Claims Copyright Infringement Over One Councillor Posting YouTube Clips Of Council Meetings
from the copyright-as-censorship dept
We’ve pointed out how copyright is a tool for censorship before, and we’re seeing more and more clearcut examples of that every day. The latest, via Boing Boing, involves a town Councillor in Brighton, England named Jason Kitcat, who had the rather useful idea of filming town meetings and posting the clips to YouTube. Democracy and transparency in action, and all that. Not so much according to the rest of the Council. They’re claiming copyright infringement, and using it as an attempt to get him kicked off the council.
The reasoning is so ridiculous that I had to read it a few times to understand. It’s not just a straight charge of copyright infringement. They’re claiming that the Council meetings are the intellectual property of the Council… and thus “belong” to the Council as a “resource.” They then highlight a point in the Council’s code of conduct that “prohibits the use of resources (such as IT equipment) improperly for political purposes.” The clear purpose behind that clause in the code of conduct is to prevent Councillors from using Council phones and computers for campaigning. But that’s entirely different than posting video clips on a website for accountability and transparency purposes.
But, of course, this is the kind of end result that happens when you confuse copyright with property. And, the end result, either way, certainly appears to be pretty blatant censorship.