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Homeland Security Issuing Its Own DMCA Takedowns On YouTube To Stifle Speech

from the seems-questionable... dept

We recently wrote about the fight over copyright/fair use in political videos. In the comments, someone anonymous pointed us to a YouTube page including a typical takedown notice.. Here's a screenshot.
This is actually the first time I can recall that I've seen a takedown that had "multiple" takedown notices. So it's interesting that YouTube even has such an error message. But what really caught my attention was the second claimant listed. United States Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security? Issuing copyright takedowns? For what it's worth, the commenter who submitted this pointed us to another video, which they claim is the same as what was taken down. I have no idea if it's the same video or not, but it is some idiotic conspiracy mongering, taking one comment from a reporter completely out of context, and pretending President Obama said it, when he did not. I never understand conspiracy theories like that, but that's really neither here nor there.

The real question is why is Homeland Security issuing takedowns? Works produced by the federal government, of course, can't have copyright. However, it is possible for the government to hold copyrights -- mainly if someone else gets it and assigns it to the government. So it's possible that happened here, though it still seems like a strange move. If the video is the same as the other one pointed to, it's just conspiracy theory claptrap, and I don't see why DHS would even bother issuing a takedown.

But, even if we assume that the copyright itself and the takedown were legit, does this seem reasonable at all? Having a government agency directly using a copyright claim to take down a video? Especially when that group is DHS -- in which national internet censor ICE exists. Giving it the power to censor videos too just seems like it's going way too far. It's not as if Homeland Security is going to bring the work "to market" to make money, so it's not like there's an "impact on the market" for the work. The only reason to issue the takedown -- no matter how accurate the claim is -- is to silence speech. A government organization using a government-granted monopoly to stifle speech may be all too common, but that doesn't mean it should pass by unremarked upon.

I reached out to people at YouTube to see if they could explain why DHS appears to be issuing DMCA takedowns, and got back the equivalent of a "no comment." I also reached out to Homeland Security, who at first seemed interested in looking into the details and then completely stopped responding to emails. Having not received further communication from them in over a week at this point, I'm just going with the post as is, in the hopes that maybe someone out there can explain why the federal government is using copyright to censor speech?

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous, 3 Aug 2012 @ 11:18am

    The rest of the story

    DHS was created to be a wholly owned uncontrolled subsidiary of corrupt enforcement for the criminal corporations, politicians and elite. They do the bidding of their masters. Your taxes and quantitatively devalued dollar help to ensure they can buy hundreds of millions of rounds of ammunition and act as a military body within our formerly free country. DHS has no authority to order take downs, make raids to threaten and intimidate others or enforce any of these actions. Only the courts can give orders to do this and even then DHS does not have the authority to do anything. They have granted this power to themselves and few if any have the backbone to stop them. So far in this country few if any have dared to stand up for their rights and what is right. If this continues then we will all lose these rights permanently at some future point.

    Simple solutions ensure that every post you make on corrupt tube is in some way legally covered by your Constitution rights to not be taken down. But never fear they will do it anyway so be prepared for a fight. Nobody said keeping your freedoms was easy. Just ask the millions that have died in previous wars to help us obtain or protect these rights.

    Make the post under Free Speech use. Maybe add commentary. Or make it a parody in some way. If it is for educational purposes then do something to educate someone on it. Or use something else covered under fair use and make that clear when you post it.

    Then tell them to all to go F*ck (f-word self-censored) themselves. Ironic that I have to sensor my own freedom of speech or an internet company posting an article about illegal censorship of Free Speech will do it for me.

    Think people!

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