Copyright As Censorship: NBC Pulls YouTube Clip From Senator Elizabeth Warren's Account

from the fair-use? dept

In yet another story of copyright being used as censorship, a clip of Senator Elizabeth Warren responding forcefully to some dubious claims made by some CNBC hosts has been pulled from Warren's own YouTube account:
Whether or not you agree with Warren or the CNBC hosts, I'd hope everyone could agree that using copyright to censor such a thing is wrong. While it's unclear if this was a mere ContentID match or a DMCA takedown, the fact that other similar clips remain on YouTube suggest that it was not an automated decision, but a deliberate one. Furthermore, as Upworthy has pointed out, many other Senators have CNBC clips on their own YouTube channels, which have not been pulled. Given those two things, it seems quite clear that NBC directly targeted Senator Warren's use of this clip (which was getting a lot of traffic -- over 700,000 views) for takedown.

CNBC's "response" that the clip "has been available to view in multiple locations on CNBC.com since its original posting" is equally misleading, because, as Gawker notes, CNBC has the full 10 minute interview, rather than the short clip that was highlighted on Warren's YouTube account.

If Senator Warren so chose, I think she has a exceptionally strong fair use claim to challenge the takedown. It was a short clip, clearly used for disseminating information to the public and educating the public on a topic of great public interest, wasn't being used commercially and a whole host of other reasons. And, NBC, who regularly relies on fair use claims to broadcast clips from other sources, would have a difficult time fighting back. But, once again, we see the pernicious effects of how copyright is being used, repeatedly, by copyright holders not for legitimate, copyright-related reasons, but rather directly as a tool for censorship.

Oh, and of course, NBC's attempt to censor a Senator getting the better of one of its talking heads, has only meant that the video is popping up in plenty of other places and getting much more attention. There's a phrase for that, I think...
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Filed Under: censorship, cnbc, copyright, elizabeth warren, fair use, regulations
Companies: nbc universal


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  1. icon
    Steevo (profile), 19 Jul 2013 @ 1:10pm

    She's a U.S. Senator

    Heck, she's a U.S. Senator.

    She is actually able to take them to task for removing a video that had her face on it. It was her talking, right? Who has rights to that more than her?

    I can't imagine they can get away with that, but here's her chance to change the law to prevent this going forward. Glad it was her and not me, because I couldn't do anything about it.

    I hope she takes the initiative to reign in these copyright/DMCA crooks who use thin arguments to have things taken off the internet.

    It's been going on too long and we do need all that to be strictly limited. With significant liability for those that misuse the DMCA.

    The DMCA is way too broad, and it was no sooner passed than there were lawsuits to expand it. That needs to be rolled back. Sen. Warren can do it.

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