Candidate For Colorado Legislature Proudly Abuses YouTube's Copyright Complaint System To Kill Account Of Activists Who Mocked Him

from the probably-best-not-to-celebrate-your-abuse-of-the-process dept

While there are still copyright maximalists out there who insist that copyright can’t be used for censorship, it looks like we’ve got yet another example, and it’s a crazy one. Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former Navy chaplain, who is running for the Colorado legislature on what appears to be the extreme “I hate gay people” ticket, has been able to kill off the YouTube account of Right Wing Watch, a group that (as you may have guessed) highlights and mocks extreme comments from “right wing” politicians. Over the last few months, they’ve been posting a few of Klingenschmitt’s (who goes by “Dr. Chaps”) wackier statements, including video clips of him making those statements. This is pretty clear fair use, but Klingenschmitt started using YouTube’s copyright claim system to take down the videos.

In part, he argues that the videos are infringing (actually, he argues “plagiarism” which is different than copyright infringing, and the videos are actually neither), but he also focuses on the YouTube comments on those videos. Klingenschmitt claimed that the YouTube comments amounted to “death threats” from RWW’s followers — though, they’re pretty standard crazy YouTube comments, not serious death threats. Also, since the comments are not made by RWW, but viewers on YouTube, RWW is not liable for them. However, he kept sending takedowns, and eventually YouTube terminated RWW’s account, arguing that it was their third strike.

In response to this abuse of YouTube’s takedown policy, Klingenschmitt released a press release congratulating himself, saying “David takes down Goliath.” Tim Murphy, from Mother Jones, asked Klingenschmitt if he felt he should be held similarly responsible for the YouTube comments on his own videos, and Klingenschmitt said that if the user is alerted to comments and don’t take action, they become responsible, which is actually not what the law says.

Either way, this appears to be another case where copyright claims are being used to censor content that someone doesn’t like. And, given that it’s in the context of a political campaign for office, that’s especially concerning. Stifling criticism of a political candidate by abusing the law should be seen as a huge problem. Hopefully YouTube acts quickly to restore RWW’s account. Whether you agree with RWW or not, hopefully you can agree that (1) they should be allowed to post fair use video and criticize politicians they disagree with and (2) they should not be held accountable for comments made by YouTube viewers.

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Comments on “Candidate For Colorado Legislature Proudly Abuses YouTube's Copyright Complaint System To Kill Account Of Activists Who Mocked Him”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Either way, this appears to be another case where copyright claims are being used to censor content that someone doesn’t like.

You’d better check in over in Minionville. One of your sock puppets is advocating the misuse of trademark law to censor a name he doesn’t like.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

How is that misuse of trademark law?

Well, the purpose of trademark is to prevent the confusion of similar names in commerce. Not to regulate ‘hate speech’ or keep companies form offending people.

So yes, it does seem like this is a case where people who don’t like the Redskins name to use trademark law to extort the company into doing something they can’t otherwise legally force them to do.

Richard (profile) says:

"All war is deception." - Sun Tzu

Since the RWW had taunted Dr. Chaps about his lack of web-savvy ( ), the “brag” article on Dr. C’s win ( ) includes the close:

“The Bible says pride comes before destruction. That’s a lesson for them [RWW], in how the internet works.”

They’ve got a point. Lying to Google/YouTube works and is still consequence-free (unless you actually believe in the implications for your immortal soul of bearing false witness *OR* the subterfuge gets onto the radar of some heathen hacktivist group).

tor says:

it’s pretty disappointing that the onus or burden of proof rests with the channel that makes videos (in this case the RWW). i like that statement ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof’; whereas in this instance no proof was offered! just opinion and being offended. youtube/google should institute a more even/just arbitration method for when ‘copyright’ claims like this need to be enforced.

Anonymous Coward says:

Gordon Klingenschmitt does not know what plagiarism means. I can not knowingly vote for someone who does not have a basic command of his native language.

He also does not understand fair use. In a representative form of government, how can anyone say that such a person represents their views?

I doubt this guy makes it past the primary.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I was unaware that fair use was a progressive issue. I realize that the political spectrum has been dragged to the right, but this is rather silly. Imagine the horror and outrage expressed by fox and friends when they are told they can no longer quote their opponents statements without approval of same. I would be quite humorous actually.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Sounds like you’re bigoted against bigots. That makes you the very thing you seem to hate.
Hope you’re enjoying Obama and his forced Obamacare, his continuation of war, the NSA scandal, and our continuing loss of freedom.
Maybe one day you’ll wake up and realize that Republican or Democrat makes no difference.

Outsider's View says:

Politician be politician

It doesn’t matter what kind of stripe your politicians wear, whether they be republican or democrat, they are of the same stripe. Self-serving, arrogant, one-eyed, pwer-hungry misfits.

Your republicans are no different to your democrats, they serve their masters which is not the electorate. There appears to be very few in your upper and lower houses of parliament that are actually concerned with the good of your nation. The last few presidents you have had are a good indicator of how far you, as a nation, have fallen.

This site highlights how bad and bigoted the democrat and the republican representatives are on the whole.

Society today is more concerned about pleasure (which includes doing what you want when you want – so it covers the spectrum from radical left to radical right) than with responsibility. There are many different life styles out there which are the choice of the participants (including LGBT, Westboro Baptist, ghetto gangs, etc) and all are screaming to treated the same as anyone else. They are focussed on their rights and plaesures and basically have forgotten that society is in a mess.

A broad historical perspective shows what societies are like when they are growing and when they are decaying and it becomes fairly obvious that when self-pleasure in all its manifestations comes to the fore, the society is on the way out. This applies from the highest to the lowest in a society, from governmental structures to the basic citizenry.

The writing is on the wall right now and most cannot even see it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Politician be politician

It is easy to point out similarities, but to claim everyone is the same is obviously wrong. Politicians are short on truth and need to finance campaigns, this is a given. To throw up your arms and proclaim it does matter who is in office because they all (insert pet peeve) is rather childish. There are politicians who attempt to represent their constituents, there are politicians who are self serving and then there are those politicians with an agenda that is not in the best interests of their constituents. One would think politicians who state during the campaign that they will work against the best interests of their constituents would not attain office, but through gerrymandering and disenfranchisement it is accomplished.

There are no houses of parliament in us, there is congress which is comprised of the house of representatives and the senate.

Society today … that topic is one of the most used bitchy editorial pieces ever, only second to the ones about how the younger generation is doomed because (insert pet peeve).
Preaching about responsibility is great for sociopaths because not only do they get their rocks off on it but they see themselves as doing everyone a favor while doing it. It is telling that you have included a group that is discriminated against with a group that discriminates as though they were equal some how. I’m sure that society will always be a mess, in your mind, until everyone starts living the way you feel is correct.

Archeology, sociology and history do not support your broad claim that the downfall of society can be attributed to one aspect of human nature alone. Apparently things are a bit more complex than that – go figure.

Some writings on walls is rather good commentary, others see it as graffiti because it offends them.

Outsider's View says:

Re: Re: Politician be politician

You really did miss the point about politician, didn’t you. There are people who actually represent their electorate who aren’t politicians, go figure.

I know you have a congress, you miss the subtle point about parliament – think deeply about the word and you’ll understand.

Strangely, you have appear to have taken responsibility in the negative instead of the positive. Archaeology, sociology and history appear to give rise to the idea that the fall of societies is rather complex and different for each society but step back and look and it is about that one aspect of human nature. Not seeing the forest for the trees.

And I really do like you last line.

Outsider's View says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Politician be politician

If I really have to explain what a politician is – oh boy!!!

Parliament – talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.

“responsibility in the negative instead of the positive”

“Preaching about responsibility is great for sociopaths because not only do they get their rocks off on it but they see themselves as doing everyone a favor while doing it.”

Associating teaching people to be responsible for their own actions and the consequences that they bring with sociopaths is a negative.

It doesn’t matter who you are, there is always someone will will find your opinions and actions offensive because they believe in the diametrically opposite of what you believe.

Society is a mess, it always has been. There is also sections who go out of their way to try and improve the lot of those around them, just as there are sections who couldn’t give a rat’s about anyone outside their group or themselves.

Do I have solutions for all ills – no, but I do recognise that some things are destructive to society as a whole.

PopeRatzo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

This story has absolutely nothing to do with “legislation, laws, court proceedings or anything like that”.

This was a decision made by Google, nothing else. There was no lawsuit or court proceeding that this Rev Klingenschmitt could have brought that would not have been summarily dismissed by the first judge who got within 3 feet of it.

It is entirely Google’s fault for not looking into these false claims of copyright infringement and simply shutting down an account of someone who has done nothing wrong.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

To a degree yes, but Google isn’t the only one to blame here, youtube’s copyright complaint system was put in place under threat of fines or laws being passed to make them responsible for what was being posted.

At the same time, if Google had been willing to spend even a fraction of their insane profits defending their users and youtube, we might have had a case by now that would have extinguished the idiotic idea of ‘secondary liability’ altogether, so I’d say the blame is fairly well split.

Rowan Hawthorn (profile) says:

Same Old Shit, Different "Social Media"...

It appears that most of the “Social Networking” sites – Facebook, YouTube, whatever – have either been infiltrated by the Rabid Right Wing or they’ve been intimidated to the point that they’re afraid to buck the TeaPubliKKKlan Hate Party’s homegrown terrorists. Professional trolls pretty much have carte blanche to behave however they want, while posters who stand up to them consistently get the ban-hammer applied.

BernardoVerda says:

Why cast slurs upon rats...

… on account of how some scuzzy humans in a scuzzy social system behave?

We humans are the ones who set up this system — and we’re the ones who are, collectively, responsible for it working so poorly.

The much maligned rats, on the other hand, have yet to even nominate one of their own for political office…

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