And here we are with yet another example of someone using copyright for censorship. Stephan Kinsella points us to the news that Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker of the documentary Gasland
, has apparently sent a takedown notice to YouTube
, concerning a video of a reporter asking him some pointed questions about apparent omissions in the film. The reporter posted the 3-minute video to YouTube, which is almost entirely footage of him asking Fox questions at a screening. Early in the clip there is 26-seconds of footage from Gasland
to provide the context of the questioning. This seems like a classic case of fair use, and yet if you visit the YouTube clip that the guy uploaded, you see this:
The journalist has now reposted the video to Vimeo, where he hopes it'll stay up (Update
: and... just like that, it's gone too):
It's almost impossible to construct a scenario where that's not fair use. Whether or not you agree with Fox or the reporter concerning issues of natural gas drilling and "fracking" (and I actually consider myself among those who is concerned about fracking -- the issue that Fox tried to highlight with his documentary), we should all agree that it's absolutely wrong and abusive to use the DMCA in this manner. The guy asked Fox some tough questions, and he answered them. He might not like how the video appeared but that's not a copyright issue
. Issuing a bogus copyright takedown claim is an abuse of the law (for which there are penalties) and, even worse, makes him look like he's running scared from these questions and unwilling to deal with them further.
Fox is free to argue that the clip misrepresented him, misquoted him or otherwise was unfair or questionable, if he believes that's the case. He can argue that he didn't give good answers and would like to answer the questions more fully. But what he should not be able to do is to issue a totally bogus copyright claim on the video which is clearly fair use, and where he's obviously not using copyright law as intended, but as a way to silence a critic of his.