EA DMCAs Trump/Mass Effect Mashup Video Claiming Trump Re-Tweeting It Made Its Use 'Political'
from the don't-fear-the-reapers dept
The political season lingers upon us, for all the world appearing to be less democracy in action and more likely some kind of test initiated by aliens to see exactly how much mind-numbing stupidity a populace can handle. In any case, for some reason presidential politics brings out the touchiest behavior amongst us. For instance, take a quick look at this brilliantly, if unintentionally, hilarious “trailer” a Donald Trump Supporter put together.
Hopefully you can still see the trailer embedded there, but more on that in a moment. So, the Donald retweeted the video out after the author had brought it to his attention, causing some in the press to comment on how it was a “fake movie trailer”, and how it was the “most over the top” thing any candidate has done ever. Those of us in the gaming community, of course, just laughed, because the entire thing was a mashup of political footage and Mass Effect 2. The best part of the whole thing, intentional or not, is that the trailer is narrated in its original form by Martin Sheen, who plays a major villain role in the game and who has been “indoctrinated” by the bad guys into doing evil. If you aren’t laughing at the irony at this point, you need to see your doctor because your sense of humor is busted.
Electronic Arts, publishers of the Mass Effect franchise, almost immediately DMCA’d the shit out of every form of this video it could find.
Publisher Electronic Arts took action against this video, removing it from YouTube and later from Twitter on copyright claims. It’s company policy that its assets are not used for political gain.
“The video was an unauthorized use of our IP,” a senior communications representative for EA told GameSpot today. “We do not support our assets being used in political campaigns.”
And here’s where things get tricky. Let’s establish first that EA doesn’t have any actual problem with people using its “assets” to create mock up trailers and fan videos. It’s even cool with people doing so in a mocking or funny way, evidenced by it hosting a mocking trailer for Mass Effect 3 on its own YouTube page. The claim here is entirely about the footage and sounds being used by a political campaign.
But was it? Trump didn’t create the video; he merely tweeted it out to all of this followers. This is complicated by the fact that so much of Trump’s popularity has been built upon his rather deft use of both social media and the admittedly masterful way he conjures the press with a wave of his hands so that they might cover whatever thing he has to say at the moment. But is that a campaign at work, or just a private citizen doing private citizen-y things? This wasn’t some paid political advertisement, nor was it shown at a rally. This is Twitter being used in its intended way: to share things with followers that might be of interest.
Regardless, the video is almost certainly covered by Fair Use, being transformative, non-commercial, and limited in its use. But EA DMCA’d it anyway, likely because it doesn’t want its property being associated with The Donald. Which I understand, except that post-DMCAing the video, here we all are talking about it, watching it some more, and pumping even more conversation into Donald Trump’s strange co-opted media machine. That’s the Streisand Effect at work, and the Streisand Effect is more powerful than the Mass Effect, it seems.