Minneapolis PD Issues Questionable DMCA Notice To Bury Its Controversial Recruitment Video

from the the-system-works/fails-again dept

The only way to make "bad optics" surrounding a questionable recruiting video vanish is to make the bad video vanish first, right? That's obviously what the Minneapolis Police Department believes. It has nuked its controversial recruiting video from DMCA orbit, netting citizen journalist Wedge Live a copyright strike for preserving something the MPD would rather just went away.

Twitter user Tony Webster pointed out the end result of the MPD's efforts, which removed the video formerly located here (Update: as this story started to get press attention, it appears that the Minneapolis PD has rescinded its takedown).

Fortunately for us -- and less fortunately for the MPD -- the video has been uploaded to Vimeo by Wedge Live, where it presumably awaits another questionable DMCA takedown notice from the police department.

The MPD used to be quite proud of its video, until it generated some complaints about its aggressive imagery. The video opens with two poorly thought out shots. In one, a man in military gear pointing an assault rifle morphs into an MPD officer… carrying an assault rifle.

The other shows a female beginning to throw a softball, which then morphs into a female police officer… pointing a gun at the camera.

Neither of these opening shots do much to set the stage for the rest of the video, which is the usual assortment of talking heads and officers-in-action shots after that point. Nonetheless, the MPD does not host the video at its own YouTube channel, and on July 13 removed its link to the video from its own recruitment page.

The archived version contains a link to the video. (And the link still works, but it's not hosted at YouTube.)

The updated version does not.

If it wasn't for the MPD's efforts to remove all traces of the video, this might have been chalked up to just a misguided effort to flex copyright muscle over something that was created with public funds and should, generally speaking, belong to the public, rather than the police department.

But, considering the MPD has removed the link from its own webpage, it looks a whole lot more like an agency abusing the DMCA takedown system to remove something it considers to be less-than-flattering, especially in light of the Philando Castile shooting -- in which an officer killed Castile for attempting to produce the ID the officer had just asked for. Castile was carrying a gun, but had a concealed carry permit and had informed the officer of the fact. When he reached for his ID, the officer shot him four times. The aftermath of the shooting -- as Castile died in his car next to his girlfriend and her daughter -- was streamed live to Facebook.

So, it's not surprising the MPD would want its recruiting video to vanish, seeing as it opens up in an aggressive and militarized manner. Unfortunately, the web doesn't forget just because the DMCA process has been abused. The MPD will have to live with its poor decisions for much longer than it planned to.

Filed Under: censorship, copyright, dmca, minneapolis, minneapolis pd, police, recruiting video


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  • icon
    NeghVar (profile), 13 Jul 2016 @ 10:48am

    MPD, welcome to the Streisand Effect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    NeghVar (profile), 13 Jul 2016 @ 10:48am

    MPD, welcome to the Streisand Effect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 13 Jul 2016 @ 11:10am

    We have a very diverse militarized and threatening police department. Projecting force in diverse cultural venues. What's not to be proud of?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 13 Jul 2016 @ 11:11am

    Cop And a Half 2: Cop meets Streisand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ysth (profile), 13 Jul 2016 @ 11:14am

    The problem here is clearly...socialism

    In a better world, the MPD would not have the copyright; they would have hired a private company to produce the video and license it to them. Ideally with contract terms requiring the private company to police unauthorized use of the video.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 13 Jul 2016 @ 11:34am

      Re: The problem here is clearly...socialism

      What police? And how is the private company going to police anything? What internet is it on which this infringement (which it isn't, because they can't have copyright on this) would have occurred?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2016 @ 11:17am

    good lord.

    this just illustrates how out-of-touch police have become in this great and free land of ours. or used to be when our forefathers had their collective hand on the switch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 13 Jul 2016 @ 11:35am

    Piss poor propaganda.

    At 0:21... guy looks creepy.

    "He he he This job is the best kept secret... just sit back and enjoy the ride." The shooting the unarmed citizens ride? The choke someone to death ride? The confiscate video recordings then eat pot laced food ride? Which "ride" would that be flat-foot?

    At 0:26... What was he Obi-Wan before he became a cop?

    It's a very select group? None with too high an IQ. Yeah, real select alright.

    "share a bond of commitment to Honor and nurture the trust of people in the communities they serve." ROFL... tell us moar oh announcer from the 80's.

    "And our values hold honesty, integrity, and the protection of human rights in the highest regard."
    Until we shoot an unarmed citizen, then all that feel good bullshit we just tried to sell you goes out the window while we ransack businesses for video footage and hold their owners captive with no charges for hours and hours.

    "Sworn to serve" Each other. All you pee-on citizens f off.

    What a complete joke. No wonder they want this gone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2016 @ 11:39am

    I didn't really think the video was that big a deal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2016 @ 12:03pm

      Re:

      It's not. The deal is the dmca action after removing references to the video.

      The police department just wanted to show that ex military can come home and work for them same with everyday people like the softball mom.

      Did it portray images that might be misconstrued? You bet, but it's all about your intentions. The police department can remove their references to the video or even better put on the site why they don't want to use the video anymore. However they can't claim copyright of the video since it is in the public domain.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 13 Jul 2016 @ 4:29pm

      Re:

      only became a big deal when they tried to abuse the laws to get rid of it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 13 Jul 2016 @ 11:53am

    And if the messaging is old-school... lacking currency... bear in mind that this is probably pretty old; shot 4:3, standard def, which really hasn't been common practice, even down in the public safety video genre, for many years. And once an agency has contracted, produced and paid for their recruiters' magnum opus, they won't end-of-life the video until they're forced to (poor choice of words?) Case in point: ever sit through your local "Welcome to Jury Duty" film, complete with bouffant hairdos?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 13 Jul 2016 @ 12:04pm

      Re:

      Yeah you can almost hear the theme from Charlie's Angels during that shot of America's Pastime morphing into America's Other Pastime.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2016 @ 1:09pm

      Re:

      That particular style of videography (shaky camera, rapid zooms, vertical pans, etc.) would indicate an age measured in years rather than decades. A recruitment video shot in the time up to Adam-12 would not have used those video gimmicks, nor would it likely have put an emphasis on "tactical" aspects of police work.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2016 @ 12:20pm

    A Message for the MPD

    If you can't do the time, don't do the crime! And remember: "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2016 @ 12:21pm

    MPD...join us..it's not just white officers shooting black children anymore! now black officers can join the carnage!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2016 @ 12:46pm

    i don't know if there's a vid on it the mini police can use, but homer and jethro had a great song way back there:

    therr wuz a feller by the name of jimmy blaine
    took a shotgun and blowed out all his brains
    got a job where he needs no brains, of course
    he's a flatfoot on the local po-lice force.


    maybe that would churn the butter better for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ben (profile), 13 Jul 2016 @ 12:50pm

    Copyright?

    Once again the real question is can the MPD actually hold copyright on anything? It is a government agency; is there some distinction in Minnesota that allows them to hold copyright? By statute the US Government can't, I recall California municipalities can't (not sure what the limits are on that, but certainly not on committee meetings published on YouTube); is there an overall guideline on state-related agencies and their ability to produce3 copyrighted materials?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 13 Jul 2016 @ 10:12pm

      Re: Copyright?

      Once again the real question is can the MPD actually hold copyright on anything? It is a government agency; is there some distinction in Minnesota that allows them to hold copyright?

      Federal copyright law's exemption on gov't works technically only applies to the federal government. Many believe that state works should similarly be exempt from copyright, but the law does not say that. Unfortunately.

      is there an overall guideline on state-related agencies and their ability to produce3 copyrighted materials?


      Actually, I just discovered this resource today from Harvard:

      http://copyright.lib.harvard.edu/states/

      Here's Minnesota. It does not score well.

      http://copyright.lib.harvard.edu/states/minnesota/

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 13 Jul 2016 @ 4:25pm

    I get the feeling they would get more desired recruits if they showed images of police getting away with not being held accountable.

    That seems to be the sort of workforce they desire. As the honest ones get forced out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dan, 14 Jul 2016 @ 4:22am

    The video doesn't look to aggressive IMO. The soldier carrying an assault rifle morphs into a police officer carrying a semi-automatic varmint gun. That's hardly aggressive. The officer morphing from a softball player to a police officer is also quite tame.

    The MPD should not have taken down the video, and the video itself is not some super scary, police hyper militarism propaganda piece that the malcontents make it out to be. Just leave it be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 14 Jul 2016 @ 6:44am

      Re:

      "That's hardly aggressive."

      It was probably less aggressive when the video was made than it is now. The problem with that image is context -- in this day and age, the militarization of the police is an enormous problem that is costing innocent lives. That image looks like it's portraying the militarization as if it were a good and positive thing.

      However, I agree that the video itself isn't terribly problematic. The problematic thing is the police using the DMCA to try to keep it a secret.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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