Earlier this week, we pointed out the letter the McCain campaign had sent YouTube
concerning observing fair use before complying with takedown notices on political videos. As we noted at the time, the problem with the situation wasn't with YouTube, but with the DMCA (which McCain voted for, by the way). Now, YouTube's Zahavah Levine has responded to the letter, and made the same point. YouTube won't change its practices because that would be granting special privileges to the campaign
rather than everyone else. Instead, YouTube hopes that McCain will help fix the law so that this isn't a problem going forward:
While we agree with you that the U.S. presidential election-related content is invaluable and worthy of the highest level of protection, there is a lot of other content on our global site that our users around the world find to be equally important, including, by way of example only, political campaigns from around the globe at all levels of government, human rights movements, and other important voices. We try to be careful not to favor one category of content on our site over others, and to treat all of our users fairly, regardless of whether they are an individual, a large corporation or a candidate for public office.
The real problem here is individuals and entities that abuse the DMCA takedown process....
We look forward to working with Senator (or President) McCain on ways to combat abuse of the DMCA takedown process on YouTube, including by way of example, strengthening the fair use doctrine....
This is the right response. As problematic as the takedown process is, the answer should be to fix the law -- not make special exceptions for politicians.