Minneapolis PD Issues Questionable DMCA Notice To Bury Its Controversial Recruitment Video

from the the-system-works/fails-again dept

The only way to make “bad optics” surrounding a questionable recruiting video vanish is to make the bad video vanish first, right? That’s obviously what the Minneapolis Police Department believes. It has nuked its controversial recruiting video from DMCA orbit, netting citizen journalist Wedge Live a copyright strike for preserving something the MPD would rather just went away.

Twitter user Tony Webster pointed out the end result of the MPD’s efforts, which removed the video formerly located here (Update: as this story started to get press attention, it appears that the Minneapolis PD has rescinded its takedown).

Fortunately for us — and less fortunately for the MPD — the video has been uploaded to Vimeo by Wedge Live, where it presumably awaits another questionable DMCA takedown notice from the police department.

The MPD used to be quite proud of its video, until it generated some complaints about its aggressive imagery. The video opens with two poorly thought out shots. In one, a man in military gear pointing an assault rifle morphs into an MPD officer… carrying an assault rifle.

The other shows a female beginning to throw a softball, which then morphs into a female police officer… pointing a gun at the camera.

Neither of these opening shots do much to set the stage for the rest of the video, which is the usual assortment of talking heads and officers-in-action shots after that point. Nonetheless, the MPD does not host the video at its own YouTube channel, and on July 13 removed its link to the video from its own recruitment page.

The archived version contains a link to the video. (And the link still works, but it’s not hosted at YouTube.)

The updated version does not.

If it wasn’t for the MPD’s efforts to remove all traces of the video, this might have been chalked up to just a misguided effort to flex copyright muscle over something that was created with public funds and should, generally speaking, belong to the public, rather than the police department.

But, considering the MPD has removed the link from its own webpage, it looks a whole lot more like an agency abusing the DMCA takedown system to remove something it considers to be less-than-flattering, especially in light of the Philando Castile shooting — in which an officer killed Castile for attempting to produce the ID the officer had just asked for. Castile was carrying a gun, but had a concealed carry permit and had informed the officer of the fact. When he reached for his ID, the officer shot him four times. The aftermath of the shooting — as Castile died in his car next to his girlfriend and her daughter — was streamed live to Facebook.

So, it’s not surprising the MPD would want its recruiting video to vanish, seeing as it opens up in an aggressive and militarized manner. Unfortunately, the web doesn’t forget just because the DMCA process has been abused. The MPD will have to live with its poor decisions for much longer than it planned to.

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Comments on “Minneapolis PD Issues Questionable DMCA Notice To Bury Its Controversial Recruitment Video”

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I.T. Guy says:

Piss poor propaganda.

At 0:21… guy looks creepy.

“He he he This job is the best kept secret… just sit back and enjoy the ride.” The shooting the unarmed citizens ride? The choke someone to death ride? The confiscate video recordings then eat pot laced food ride? Which “ride” would that be flat-foot?

At 0:26… What was he Obi-Wan before he became a cop?

It’s a very select group? None with too high an IQ. Yeah, real select alright.

“share a bond of commitment to Honor and nurture the trust of people in the communities they serve.” ROFL… tell us moar oh announcer from the 80’s.

“And our values hold honesty, integrity, and the protection of human rights in the highest regard.”
Until we shoot an unarmed citizen, then all that feel good bullshit we just tried to sell you goes out the window while we ransack businesses for video footage and hold their owners captive with no charges for hours and hours.

“Sworn to serve” Each other. All you pee-on citizens f off.

What a complete joke. No wonder they want this gone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It’s not. The deal is the dmca action after removing references to the video.

The police department just wanted to show that ex military can come home and work for them same with everyday people like the softball mom.

Did it portray images that might be misconstrued? You bet, but it’s all about your intentions. The police department can remove their references to the video or even better put on the site why they don’t want to use the video anymore. However they can’t claim copyright of the video since it is in the public domain.

Vidiot (profile) says:

And if the messaging is old-school… lacking currency… bear in mind that this is probably pretty old; shot 4:3, standard def, which really hasn’t been common practice, even down in the public safety video genre, for many years. And once an agency has contracted, produced and paid for their recruiters’ magnum opus, they won’t end-of-life the video until they’re forced to (poor choice of words?) Case in point: ever sit through your local “Welcome to Jury Duty” film, complete with bouffant hairdos?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That particular style of videography (shaky camera, rapid zooms, vertical pans, etc.) would indicate an age measured in years rather than decades. A recruitment video shot in the time up to Adam-12 would not have used those video gimmicks, nor would it likely have put an emphasis on “tactical” aspects of police work.

Anonymous Coward says:

i don’t know if there’s a vid on it the mini police can use, but homer and jethro had a great song way back there:

therr wuz a feller by the name of jimmy blaine
took a shotgun and blowed out all his brains
got a job where he needs no brains, of course
he’s a flatfoot on the local po-lice force.

maybe that would churn the butter better for them.

Ben (profile) says:


Once again the real question is can the MPD actually hold copyright on anything? It is a government agency; is there some distinction in Minnesota that allows them to hold copyright? By statute the US Government can’t, I recall California municipalities can’t (not sure what the limits are on that, but certainly not on committee meetings published on YouTube); is there an overall guideline on state-related agencies and their ability to produce3 copyrighted materials?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Copyright?

Once again the real question is can the MPD actually hold copyright on anything? It is a government agency; is there some distinction in Minnesota that allows them to hold copyright?

Federal copyright law’s exemption on gov’t works technically only applies to the federal government. Many believe that state works should similarly be exempt from copyright, but the law does not say that. Unfortunately.

is there an overall guideline on state-related agencies and their ability to produce3 copyrighted materials?

Actually, I just discovered this resource today from Harvard:


Here’s Minnesota. It does not score well.


Dan says:

The video doesn’t look to aggressive IMO. The soldier carrying an assault rifle morphs into a police officer carrying a semi-automatic varmint gun. That’s hardly aggressive. The officer morphing from a softball player to a police officer is also quite tame.

The MPD should not have taken down the video, and the video itself is not some super scary, police hyper militarism propaganda piece that the malcontents make it out to be. Just leave it be.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“That’s hardly aggressive.”

It was probably less aggressive when the video was made than it is now. The problem with that image is context — in this day and age, the militarization of the police is an enormous problem that is costing innocent lives. That image looks like it’s portraying the militarization as if it were a good and positive thing.

However, I agree that the video itself isn’t terribly problematic. The problematic thing is the police using the DMCA to try to keep it a secret.

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