Lobbying Group Issues Takedown For Parody Political Ads By Student Group

from the hello,-fair-use dept

Well, we're just about done with election season, but there's still plenty of time for more bogus DMCA takedowns. The latest comes from a lobbying group called "Citizens Against Government Waste." As you can expect with most groups that call themselves "Citizens Against" something, the group tends to focus on issues that favor corporations, rather than citizens. Anyway, they put together a somewhat silly advertisement for the election that not only mocked the US for its stimulus spending, but suggested that smug Chinese people would mock us in 20 years because of it. Here's the original ad:
Another group, called Campus Progress, which is (actually) a student political group took the CAGW video, which involves a guy speaking Mandarin, and put different subtitles on it, parodying the original commercial to have it pretend to say something entirely the opposite of the original message. You can see it here:
Now, Campus Progress had originally posted the video on YouTube, but CAGW issued a DMCA takedown notice over it claiming it was copyright infringement. Amazingly, a spokesperson for CAGW told Politico that they totally understand parody, but this isn't parody:
"We love parody as much as anyone (I was a huge fan of the Downfall series myself), but what Campus Progress did was not 'parody,'" she emails. "They basically hijacked the and adulterated it to help raise money for themselves. We have already asked YouTube to remove it b/c it is a copyright violation."
Uh, huh? Say what? First of all, this video is even more of a parody than the Downfall videos, which don't even comment on the original video. The Campus Progress video is clearly commenting on the original video and is obviously parody (what else would it be?). To claim that it's a copyright violation is also ridiculous. They put this video out as an advertisement. It's not like someone is going to see the second ad and decide that it's a suitable substitute for the first. There's no competent reason to issue a takedown except that CAGW doesn't like what Campus Progress has to say. Now, I don't care where you stand on this political debate (personally, I think both are over-exaggerating and over-simplifying a complex issue); it's pretty ridiculous to use copyright law in this manner.

Of course, it's also totally backfiring on CAGW in that this bogus DMCA takedown is of course only serving to drive that much more attention to the parody they don't want people to see.

Filed Under: copyright, dmca, free spech, parody, political ads, takedown
Companies: campus progress, citizens against government waste

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  1. identicon
    quickbrownfox, 25 Oct 2010 @ 9:32am

    The Streisand effect is alive and well.

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