While Trump Continues To Complain About 230, It's Copyright Law That Once Again Actually Gets His Content Removed

from the why-is-no-one-looking-at-fixing-copyright? dept

Once again this week, the President decided to attack Section 230 because social media companies decided to highlight that he was posting dangerous misinformation (this time about the relative dangers of COVID-19, which he was downplaying). Yet, for reasons I do not understand, the President never seems to address copyright law, even though that law is what is actually forcing his and his campaign’s content to be legally removed from social media.

Over the last few months we’ve highlighted multiple times that Trump and his campaign have had posts removed from social media due to DMCA 512 takedown notices. And it happened again this week after Twitter removed a tweet from the Trump campaign on copyright grounds.

The tweet in question made use of a video clip showing the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk scoring a touchdown from last Sunday’s 49ers/Eagles game. The clip (somewhat ridiculously) superimposed Trump’s head over Aiyuks, and put the well known graphic of the coronavirus on Eagle’s defender Marcus Epps (whom Aiyuk leapt over in getting to the end zone). The message of the video (stupidly) is that Trump was somehow able to “avoid” the coronavirus (which, I should remind you, he did not). The video is stupid on multiple levels, including the the sickening and despicable implication that those who died from COVID-19 are somehow just not strong enough.

However, I think there’s a pretty strong argument that the video would be protected as fair use — and that the takedown issued by the copyright holder (likely the NFL) was not a legitimate takedown. In fact, it’s possible that the NFL issued the takedown for political reasons, as there’s no argument that this somehow harmed the NFL directly. It’s a short clip. It’s used in a transformative (if stupid) way.

In other words, this is an actual example of the law being used for censorship. Unlike Section 230. And yet, we don’t see Trump or his supporters calling for that aspect of copyright law to be fixed. Indeed, copyright law is even worse, because if the Trump campaign keeps getting copyright strikes like this, the law says that Twitter must shut down his account for repeat infringements. Will Trump and his supporters finally see that the real problem for censorship is copyright?

Instead they’re asking to take away Section 230, which (at best) would create a situation more like copyright in which the legal incentive is much stronger towards pulling down such content. It remains incredible to me that in all of these discussions about social media and “censorship” everyone is focused on the law that protects speech online, rather than the law that forces websites to pull down legal content.

Filed Under: , , , , , , , , , ,
Companies: twitter

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “While Trump Continues To Complain About 230, It's Copyright Law That Once Again Actually Gets His Content Removed”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
61 Comments
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Therein lies your problem...

You’re thinking that the Fascists in the GOP have a principled ideology, when in fact they do want to censor their enemies. If they bring up copyright, they’d reveal that they want to fix problems instead of making the problems get worse, and fascists don’t want that to happen, now do they? That’s why there’s this sleight of hand and focus around Section 230: because they don’t want people speaking back to them and want to resurrect the monopoly that Talk Radio once gave them.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

No one can reasonably defend removing Section 230 without also defending the idea that the law should either compel websites to host all legally protected speech or force websites to stop accepting third-party content altogether. And no one can defend either of those things without attacking the First Amendment.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Albert Quirky of Albuquerque says:

Re: Section 230 immunizes hosting: it doesn't empower censoring.

A business, the host, invites users to use its machinery.

If they accept, they don’t lose First Amendment Rights. In fact, persons being able to publish freely so long as within well known common law limits — the host is NOT the publisher — is what Section 230 is to enable.

A mere electronic printer is not to gain control over all that persons wish to publish.

That’s exactly fascist censorship which you support.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Section 230 immunizes hosting: it doesn't empower censoring.

When a host puts rules on use of their equipment, they are entitled to enforce those rules. Besides which, freedom of speech only says that the government will not stop you publishing your speech, but does NOT include anything that forces others to help you publish your speech.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Section 230 immunizes hosting: it doesn't empower censor

When a host puts rules on use of their equipment, they are entitled to enforce those rules.

You’ve moved off Section 230 and on to various others ways in which corporate entities seek to deny and disparage persons publishing.

Besides which, freedom of speech only says that the government will not stop you publishing your speech, but does NOT include anything that forces others to help you publish your speech.

Section 230, though, is what A. Stephen Stone raised. And you are still trying to say that corporations are empowered to control speech. What’s the diff?

Here’s what Masnick says (also see the many 230 pieces):

"And, I think it’s fairly important to state that these platforms have their own First Amendment rights, which allow them to deny service to anyone."

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170825/01300738081/nazis-internet-policing-content-free-speech.shtml

Masnick views First Amendment as empowering corporations to suppress speech. That’s fascism.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

You’ve moved off Section 230 and on to various others ways in which corporate entities seek to deny and disparage persons publishing.

How do you feel about corporations using copyright to censor speech?

you are still trying to say that corporations are empowered to control speech. What’s the diff?

If a government tries to censor someone, the government is trying to stop that person from saying something at all by any means. If a corporate-owned interactive web service tries to boot somebody from said service, the service is trying to stop that person from saying something at all on that service alone. Your failure to see the difference is a “you” problem, Blue.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Albert Quirky of Albuquerque says:

Re: Re: Re: Section 230 immunizes hosting: it doesn't empower censor

freedom of speech only says that the government will not stop you publishing your speech, but does NOT include anything that forces others to help you publish your speech.

Forgot to point out that "the gov’t" CANNOT, in the American system, authorize or empower ANY entity to do an end-run around Rights.

NOR are We The People subject to legal fictions that would do so. Corporations are permitted entities, have no actual Rights, just similarities in some areas.

Are we to be ruled by, our speech limited by fictions which We permitted to exist? — That’s what corporatists like Masnick wish, but it’s not the state of law, nor way courts / legislators are going to decide.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

"the gov’t" CANNOT, in the American system, authorize or empower ANY entity to do an end-run around Rights

You keep forgetting an important fact: Private entities, corporations included, aren’t bound by the First Amendment.

The government can’t legally stop you from yelling “Auburn sucks” in an Auburn fan’s home — but the homeowner can sure as shit ask you not to say it again and kick you out if you refuse. Twitter does the exact same thing when someone breaks its rules: It says “stop doing it”, then kicks the troublemaker out if the keep doing it. That troublemaker is then free to join Gab, Parler, or any other service that will have them and keep saying whatever they want.

If you can explain why Twitter should be forced by law to host all legally protected speech — including racial slurs, anti-queer propaganda, and basically any other offensive speech that the law protects but is currently banned on Twitter — and not have that explanation run afoul of the First Amendment’s decree that the government shall not infringe upon the rights of expression and association, by all means, Mighty Casey: Step up to the plate and swing for the fences.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

You keep forgetting an important fact: Private entities, corporations included, aren’t bound by the First Amendment.

True enough, but that’s not the real kicker. Private entities, corporations (and churches and schools and trade guilds and masons/elks/oddfellows and hospitals and bridge clubs and societies for the promotion of their own ethnicity) are PROTECTED by the first amendment. ALL of us–me in my own home, Pastor Dave in his megachurch, and all down the line–can decide what views we are willing to have presented on our own properties and in our own associations.

And let’s not forget the other clauses of that amendment. All of us can pick our friends (if not our friends’ noses). We can associate with whomever we want and cut whomever we want. (Granted, that clause has been under even more vicious–and more successful–attack than the bit about free speech. But in the end, free speech means nothing if there is no freedom to dissociate from socially unacceptable or irrelevant speakers.)

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Moderation is not censorship

Oh Woody… you have no first amendment right to use someone else’s property or platform to speak from, nor they an obligation under the first amendment to host you even if they offered you the use of their property/platform at some point, so while demanding that others provide you a platform to speak from would be a violation of the first amendment not a single right is violated if they decide that nah, you aren’t welcome after all.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re: Moderation is not censorship

Believing that someone has the right to force the use of someone else’s private property (ie what fascists do) and calling someone defending the rights of others for being a fascist is what he does. I’m sure it make sense in his head, but in the real world he’s just another old man yelling at clouds.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Moderation is not censorship

It’s not terribly surprising at this point as they seem to live in their own little world(a decidedly unpleasant one at that) with it’s own definitions for words and it’s own fictional versions of people, both of which tend to have only the most tenuous relation at best to the versions in the real world.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Section 230 immunizes hosting: it doesn't empower censoring.

"That’s exactly fascist censorship which you support."

Is the following also Fascist? Is it censorship?
No Shirt, No Shoes = No Service

Does the first amendment contain verbiage addressing publishing?
Note, the government has no obligation to provide you with a soapbox.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Yet, for reasons I do not understand, the President never seems to address copyright law,

Their are lots of campaign contributions from those that support copyright, and the same people would like to see section 230 go away. The copyright cartel know how to use lawsuits to drive companies into bankruptcy, while losing every case.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

One helps would-be dictators, the other does not

Copyright allows you to take someone’s content down, whether you own it or not, and therefore is great when you want to shut people up or chill speech by motivating them to stay silent from the start.

230 gives platforms leeway such that it’s more difficult to get content removed, both directly and indirectly, as platforms are more likely to let things slide and posters will feel safer posting things that might otherwise bring down the hammer.

Even ignoring the profit motives of legacy industries/companies would really don’t like the idea of open platforms that provide competition it’s not hard to see why a person/group that banks on lies would be against something that makes it harder to shut people up and dead silent when it comes to something that makes that trivial to do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Related to Trump and twitter: Does anyone know if twitter "fact checks" (or takes down) Bidens tweets that have issues?

Somebody tried to argue twitter was favoring Biden by only fact checking Trump. That sounds both crazy and unlikely to me, however I don’t relish the idea of wading through that sewer to find out.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Does anyone know if twitter "fact checks" (or takes down) Bidens tweets that have issues?

If Biden was known for lying his ass off or saying things that might incite illegal acts? Twitter probably would be keeping a closer eye on his account. And if he did say something that required a fact check link or a takedown, I doubt Twitter would hesitate to do it out of the fear that conservatives would use it as proof of “anti-conservative bias” and start talking about lawsuits and repealing 230 and all that shit.

But Biden isn’t Trump. So…I think that says it all.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Only the most egregiously crazy tweets from Trump are fact-checked. Not all of them are, while many are as wrong as those which are fact-checked, they aren’t so immediately dangerous.

Most people, Biden included, do not wander into that territory.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"Only the most egregiously crazy tweets from Trump are fact-checked."

This bears repeating. When Twitter "fact check", they’re not going through each tweet and going, "well, this one’s 90% true but the other one makes a questionable claim so we’ll mark it at 40% and flag a warning".

They’re going, for example, "this tweet is an outright lie about postal voting from a man trying to suppress postal voting that favours his opponent, so we’ll warn people that he’s lying before they make voting decisions".

He’s not getting "fact checked" when he boasts about audience numbers that are clearly fake, or when he starts ranting about what people who aren’t involved in the current election did in his imagination. He’s getting "fact checked" when he spews dangerous misinformation that has a non-zero chance of getting people hurt or killed, or is a clear attempt to use Twitter to manipulated the election.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Does anyone know if twitter "fact checks" (or takes down) Bidens tweets that have issues?"

A better question is – does Biden have any tweets that are objectively, provably false to the degree that the average Trump spew is, which has not been fact checked or removed?

Your question is asking people with no direct knowledge of, or access to, Twitter’s internal procedures to speculate on a general policy. What I suggest is something that can be directly viewed and examined by people not working for Twitter.

The trick is to get one of the people making the claims to back it up with such verifiable evidence, and agree to what objective false means. Which is hard, because they already rejected the simple, obvious, objectively correct answer of "Trump gets corrected more because he lies more".

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"…does Biden have any tweets that are objectively, provably false to the degree that the average Trump spew is, which has not been fact checked or removed?"

Good point. Let’s go see if Biden is similarly so unattached to the truth he’ll bother to; lie about what weather it is, the same way Trump turned his rainy inauguration into a sultry sunny summer day using, apparently, magic words

…Or whether he’ll come out making a statement about Antifan terrorists at roughly the same time the gorram FBI comes to the public conclusion no such organization exists and that white supremacy is the internal terror threat of the day…

…Or whether Biden is likely to turn a hostile and violent crowd of neo-nazis and white supremacists into Very Fine People

Huh, I’m not seeing it.

I don’t even see Biden holding up a witch doctor ranting about alien DNA and demon sperm as the go-to place for sound medical advice or suggesting bleach ingestion as a possible cure for covid.

Sorry, PaulIT, I got nothing. My hypothesis so far is we probably don’t need to insist Twitter fact-checks Biden quite that much.
That should be our job.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Sorry, PaulIT, I got nothing"

Exactly, unless someone wishes to correct me with examples, there is nothing. Whether or not you trust Biden himself, is he spewing dangerous misinformation at the same rates as Trump? If not, then the fact that his tweets are being treated differently by Twitter has nothing to do with party affiliation or bias, it’s just that Trump is a more outwardly dangerous liar.

The bottom line that the cult doesn’t seem to understand – if one "side" is doing things that require intervention and the other is not, the fact that only one "side" is receiving such intervention is not a reflection on Twitter’s actions.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Does anyone know if twitter "fact checks" (or takes down) Bidens tweets that have issues?"

Well, if Biden’s tweets were as full of nonsense as Trumps was, they probably would.

But it’s pretty telling that neither democrat nor republican presidents have ever been known to be as flagrantly and obviously lying in every other sentence. Not even Nixon.

Trump has set, on his own, a particular standard so bad it’s made platforms and publications apolitical for centuries break with tradition. Biden, like every other canny politician playing by the rules out there, might deceive by omission or implication. If that’s all Trump did no one would be fact-checking him either.

Sadly, Trump is fucking unique in US politics for being the only president ever to spout that much easily discovered falsehood straight into the face of those able to casually discover the lie.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"Sadly, Trump is fucking unique in US politics for being the only president ever to spout that much easily discovered falsehood straight into the face of those able to casually discover the lie."

Until very recently, presidents had limited means of getting their opinions out there without having to go through channels that could be edited or limited, and the role of statesman has been important enough to presidents who have had access to unfiltered personal mass communication, that they would not use them in anything but extreme circumstances. Trump is the first president to constantly vomit out every thought he has without intervention or self-reflection, to the degree that he seems to spend more time live-tweeting Fox News than he does addressing the needs of the country.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Until very recently, presidents had limited means of getting their opinions out there without having to go through channels that could be edited or limited…"

That does merit some nuance – presidents have had free access to public communications for most of US history – whether that was by demanding access to newspaper frontpages or radio and TV channels for PSA’s of various kinds.

I think if this was 1945 and Trump was the president anyone trying to listen to the radio would have kept hearing Trump deliver the blithering hyperbolic rants about covfefe and antifan terrorists that we’ve grown used to seeing from his unceasing twitter feed. I have no doubt that irrespective of medium this is a president who will go the distance to ensure everyone has to partake of his uncocatenated and persistent bowel movement.

If this was in prehistorian times he’d be the guy painting over every cave wall using his fingers and his own feces. At least in those times there’d be high hope his elected role among early hunter-gatherers would be "bait".

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"That does merit some nuance – presidents have had free access to public communications for most of US history – whether that was by demanding access to newspaper frontpages or radio and TV channels for PSA’s of various kinds."

This is true, but there’s a vast difference between taking control of a limited communication platform to communicate a message and essentially saying something out loud in a way that happens to reach millions of people. All of those options take time, money, effort and involve taking communications space away from ordinary citizens, and it’s that time and effort that would normally prevent anyone from doing such a thing. Even if it wouldn’t change the initial urge, the message would have to be passed through several layers of editors and aides who might make them think twice about the message before broadcast.

In previous eras, the closest available tech would be to create some kind of second version of the emergency broadcast system where anyone listening on that frequency would be able to listen in to anything the president was saying at the time. But, none would have considered such a thing, and would likely have been dissuaded from doing so due to security and other issues even if they did. Most previous holders of the office valued their privacy and their need to think before they speak to the world.

As with much modern communication, the problem with Twitter is that it can prioritise immediacy over value. Which wasn’t a problem for previous presidents, this is the first one that really doesn’t think before he speaks. In a past era, even Trump would have thought twice about spending thousands of dollars to take a newspaper ad every time he wanted to spew some nonsense that wouldn’t be printed until the next day (though, he certainly wouldn’t always be above it as evidenced by his Central Park Five ad). But now, there’s no barrier.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Because the law is entirely one-sided with penalties only on one side such that while there are no penalties for taking something down there are very real risks to leaving something up.

If a platform get receives a claim of infringement relating to something there’s a couple of options and possible results:

The content is infringing and the platform takes it down. While there is still some risk of the platform being sued thanks to greedy schmucks the platform’s removal of the content greatly reduces that risk, both in getting sued and the odds of a hefty penalty in court.

The content is infringing and the platform doesn’t take it down. Platform now risks being held liable just like the uploader.

The content is not infringing and the platform takes it down. The uploader is annoyed, but no real penalty or risk for the platform.

The content is not infringing and the platform doesn’t take it down. Nothing happens to either uploader or platform.

Whether content is infringing or not any platform playing it safe only has an incentive to remove it because doing so reduces their risk of legal action against them whereas leaving it up increases that risk.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Albert Quirky of Albuquerque says:

BECAUSE he's not harmed let alone cenosred by it!

"the President never seems to address copyright law".

You’re trying to meld using someone else’s content into "censored" meaning unable to get own message out.

NO, what happened is some well-intended staffer put Trump’s face and a graphic atop content someone else made. Doesn’t matter whether stupid or not, "fair use" or not. That’s not a battle worth fighting. Was just someone’s passing idea for cute. It’s NOT essential. Trump can and does SKIP it.

If the owner objects in any similar case, just take it down and put your message in new form. YOUR MESSAGE is what matters, not being able to TAKE what’s arguably someone else’s property.

BUT what you kids want is to take the entirety of someone else’s content to enjoy for itself, NOT as base for your own message. ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.

You are NOT being censored by not being able to take and enjoy someone else’s work / content as such. You’re simply THIEVING.

Trump is not a thief, he’s a trader, that’s why you simply don’t understand, you Ivy League THIEF.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"Personally I can’t wait for him to devolve to his "nobody reads this site…"

Me, I’m just hoping he’ll hurry up and devolve into his meltdown phase where he screams in frothing hysterics about how we will all go to jail and get PUNISHED – insert graphical description of "aspies" being reamed by Big Frank on cell block C here – because normally right after that he’ll write a single long post where he promises to quit this site forever, after which we he’ll be absent for a month or two until he comes right back.

Not like we can’t set our calendars to old Baghdad Bob by now.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"…most pets are much smarter than this president."

People keep saying that. It’s not that Trump isn’t smart as such. It’s just that for his entire life he has never needed to do anything other than lie about anything and everything to everybody to get to where he is now. He’s also always managed to keep himself from being the primary victim of his frauds.

Bluntly put a sane society would have had him rattling bars after his first large-scale fraud. Instead he’s learned that this is the way to do things and anyone believing in higher principles is a loser and sucker who doesn’t know how to game the system.

And he’s obviously not wrong, or he wouldn’t be sitting in the Oval Office with half a billion in debt somehow not even slowing him down. Trump is just living proof of the "sunk cost fallacy".

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...