Activist Group Uses DMCA To Take Down Video Exposing Its Fake Concerned Citizens

from the dmca-abuse? dept

We've definitely seen cases where activist groups, upset with what people were saying about them, used the DMCA abusively to remove content that they had no real say over. However, this latest story is a bit strange. Before we get to it, though, I'm going to ask, politely, that the comments stick to the copyright issues at hand, rather than the political issues... Apparently, a group called The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) put together a video of "ordinary people" worrying about the impact of gay marriage being allowed. It turns out that everyone in the video is an actor, and the fact that they're "fake" received plenty of attention earlier this week, including being shown on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC, which included clips of the audition tapes of the actors. The clip of the MSNBC segment was then put on YouTube. And here's where the copyright questions come in... the video was of the MSNBC segment, but NOM put in a DMCA takedown request, which YouTube obeyed.

That raises all sorts of questions... MSNBC reporting on the videos is almost certainly fair use of NOM's videos. But, it was someone else who uploaded the MSNBC clip to YouTube. MSNBC is still running the clip on its own site -- but, if anyone had any sort of DMCA claim on the video, one would think it would be MSNBC... not NOM. So, then, is NOM abusing the DMCA takedown process, in demanding an entire video (most of which is not its content) be taken down? Seems like you (or, say, the EFF) could make a pretty strong case for that...

Filed Under: copyright, dmca, takedown
Companies: msnbc, nom, youtube

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2009 @ 6:49pm

    Some may have missed the overlay about 20 sec. into the commercial:

    "The stories these actors are telling..."

    The commercial and some thoughts pertaining to copyright can be found at:

    As for who owns what regarding the commercial and the auditions, the best I can do is note that NOM, its ad agency and the actors (in the commercial and in the auditions) may each hold some piece of the copyright "action". Of course, this depends upon the contracts between the actors/auditioners and the ad agency, and the contract between the ad agency and NOM.

    BTW, it is quite commonplace for ad agencies to retain casting companies to conduct auditions from which the eventual participants in a commercial are selected. In this case you can add the casting company to the above mix.

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