City Council Claims Copyright Infringement Over One Councillor Posting YouTube Clips Of Council Meetings

from the copyright-as-censorship dept

We've pointed out how copyright is a tool for censorship before, and we're seeing more and more clearcut examples of that every day. The latest, via Boing Boing, involves a town Councillor in Brighton, England named Jason Kitcat, who had the rather useful idea of filming town meetings and posting the clips to YouTube. Democracy and transparency in action, and all that. Not so much according to the rest of the Council. They're claiming copyright infringement, and using it as an attempt to get him kicked off the council.

The reasoning is so ridiculous that I had to read it a few times to understand. It's not just a straight charge of copyright infringement. They're claiming that the Council meetings are the intellectual property of the Council... and thus "belong" to the Council as a "resource." They then highlight a point in the Council's code of conduct that "prohibits the use of resources (such as IT equipment) improperly for political purposes." The clear purpose behind that clause in the code of conduct is to prevent Councillors from using Council phones and computers for campaigning. But that's entirely different than posting video clips on a website for accountability and transparency purposes.

But, of course, this is the kind of end result that happens when you confuse copyright with property. And, the end result, either way, certainly appears to be pretty blatant censorship.

Filed Under: brighton, city council, copyright, jason kitcat, uk


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Pete Austin, 29 Sep 2010 @ 3:32am

    Point of order

    I've read through the case and
    (a) This councillor did not film the meeting.
    (b) Brighton council filmed the meeting and made it available as a free Webcast.
    (c) The councillor copied short extracts of the Webcast and made them available on YouTube.
    (d) Brighton Council sells DVDs of the meetings for £35.

    There are two issues:
    (1) whether posting a short extract from copyright video data is "fair use" under UK law (which doesn't have a codified form of this doctrine), not whether council meetings are copyright.
    (2) the value of the copyright material must be less than a penny, so the councillors making the complaint are making themselves look foolish and wasting taxpayers money

Add Your Comment

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



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.