YouTube Tells McCain He Doesn't Get Special DMCA Treatment

from the change-the-law-and-we'll-talk dept

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.

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  1. identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 17 Oct 2008 @ 7:12am

    McCain as Schnorrer

    Do you know what a schnorrer is? In Jewish tradition, it's a beggar with chutzpah, a fellow who not only thinks the world owes him a living (or at least, every other Jew owes him a living), but he's willing to put it in writing besides. Somehow, that seems to describe John S. McCain III. He's trying to stick YouTube with his internet hosting bill, and complaining about the terms besides. Apart from the DCMA, it's not as if McCain were sound about Network Neutrality either. Vinton Cerf has just endorsed Obama, precisely for that reason. And McCain wants YouTube to throw away the Safe Harbor and take a chance on covering his legal bills, just as the McCain campaign is starting to go in for real dirty tactics. Chutzpah! Schnorrer!!

    The obvious and straightforward way to distribute a campaign video is to host it on the candidate's own website, with a domain name registered to the candidate. You have a separate video server, complete with its own domain name, so that it doesn't bog down the text website. Offer video for download, both by http and by Bittorrent, etc. Send out copies by snailmail. And, here's the biggie, encourage viewers to make their own copies and pass them on. Use a standard file format like MPEG2, with no copy protection, or anything like that. In short, use the whole portmanteau of tricks that Linux distributions and Indie musicians use.

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