Copyright As Censorship: FIFA's Overaggressive Copyright Takedowns Target Fans Celebrating And Pussy Riot Protesting

from the copyright-censors dept

One of the talking points we heard in the run up to the EU Parliament's vote over the EU Copyright Directive was the laughable claim that Article 13 -- which would require mandatory upload filters for many sites -- could not possibly lead to censorship. Here was what UK collection society PRS for Music had to say about that issue:

...the argument is flawed for the simple reason that it assumes creators and producers are incentivised to block access to their works.

Centuries of copyright have proven this is not the case. Indeed, one of the core principles of copyright is that it incentivises the licensing of works. Requiring online platforms to obtain a licence will not lead to mass-scale blocking of copyright works online.

We talked about how silly this was in response (and pointed to dozens of articles we've written in the past about how copyright is used for censorship), but let's add another one to the pile. As you know, the World Cup just ended this past weekend, and FIFA, which certainly has some history being over aggressive on the "intellectual property" side of things, apparently was working overtime getting videos taken down from various platforms.

This resulted in lots of outraged fans especially over insane situations like when Kathryn Conn posted a 5 second video of her 7-year-old son celebrating a goal. She posted it to Twitter, where it was promptly taken down thanks to a highly questionable DMCA notice from FIFA. It is positively bizarre that anyone could possibly think that this video infringed on anyone's copyright, or that it somehow should require "licensing" from FIFA to show your 7-year-old celebrating a goal.

But, it's not just taking down what some might consider "inconsequential" videos of fans celebrating. As you may have heard, the well known collective Pussy Riot staged a protest by having some of its members run onto the field during the final between France and Croatia. All of those involved have been arrested and thrown in jail for 15 days and banned from visiting any sports event for three years.

And... you guessed it, it appears that FIFA decided to take the matter into its own hands and sent a DMCA takedown to have the video disappeared:

Oh, but no, copyright is never used for censorship, is it? It's just magically taking down videos of political protests... because it's an incentive to license the material, right?


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 Jul 2018 @ 7:44am

    Nothing is new anymore

    "because it's an incentive to license the material, right?"

    No, because it is essential to license whatever one does as it must have been done before and is therefore under someones copyright. FIFA is just protecting 'copyright', not necessarily 'their copyright'.

    Along with the IOC and the EU (as well as a long list of copyright maximalists) there is no greater purpose on this here Earth, doncha know!

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

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 17 Jul 2018 @ 9:24am

    I happily follow their request.

    I have permanently blocked 100% of FIFA events from my viewing choices.

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

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 Jul 2018 @ 9:35am

      Re: I happily follow their request.

      Ahh, seems simple doesn't it? But what about those things that aren't FIFA's intellectual property that they block?

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 17 Jul 2018 @ 9:43am

        Re: Re: I happily follow their request.

        Exactly. The problem with overreaching copyright enforcement isn't what happens when they block the intended target, even if that target is actually infringing to begin with. It's the collateral damage surrounding such targets. Not viewing their content is no defence from their attacks.

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

      • icon
        Designerfx (profile), 17 Jul 2018 @ 10:45am

        Re: Re: I happily follow their request.

        FIFA is just helping block your view of two "Soccer balls" being moved rapidly back and forth by someone named "Richard" towards a "goal".

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

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 17 Jul 2018 @ 11:00am

      Re: I happily follow their request.

      FIFA, NFL, and the Olympics... hmm, who else do I need to add to my NEVER_WATCH_AGAIN list?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2018 @ 9:46am

    fan made or TV broadcast?

    Was the DMCA'd Pussy-riot protest video recorded by a fan in the audience or was it clipped out of the TV broadcast?

    That's a big distinction that needs to be made clear in the article.

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

    • identicon
      MathFox, 18 Jul 2018 @ 12:45am

      Re: fan made or TV broadcast?

      I don't see the relevance of that distinction. The FIFA made imagery showing a newsworthy event (a politically motivated demonstration) disappear. That reeks like censorship.

      I dislike government censorship but feel extremely uncomfortable when corporations are going to decide which information should and should not be available to "the people".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2018 @ 9:56am

    In Soviet Russia, pussy grabs you.

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

  • icon
    btr1701 (profile), 17 Jul 2018 @ 10:35am

    Sport Ban

    So it says they're banned from attending sports events for three years. Is that worldwide? I mean, if they came to L.A. and decided to take in a Dodgers game while they were here, could they be re-arrested? And does it only apply to pro sports? If they went to their kid's Little League game, would that be a crime?

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

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 17 Jul 2018 @ 11:01am

      Re: Sport Ban

      I imagine they just mean a FIFA event.

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

    • identicon
      Andrew D. Todd, 17 Jul 2018 @ 12:44pm

      Re: Sport Ban-- In Russia

      Well, it seems the FIFA cup final between France and Croatia was played in Moscow, in Russia, and the protest was a specific response to the crimes of the Putin regime. The whole point was to embarrass the government before foreigners. The ban on attending any sports event presumably applies to anything within reach of the Russian police. The issue is of course that FIFA is collaborating with the Putin regime, and doesn't want that fact publicized. FIFA is willing to do a dictatorship's dirty work, for favored received.

      V.I. Lenin: "When we hang capitalism, capitalism will sell us the rope!"

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2018 @ 1:46pm

        Re: Re: Sport Ban-- In Russia

        Under the "Protect Act" US residents who travel abroad can be criminally charged when they return to the USA for doing something that was perfectly legal in the country where it occurred (such as for example hiring a 17 year old prostitute).

        Under that same legal theory, citizens of Russia or China or any other country could ostensibly be jailed for doing something that was perfectly legal in the USA where it took place.

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

  • icon
    Nathan F (profile), 17 Jul 2018 @ 11:23am

    So in a couple of years when someone wants to watch clips of what was apparently a high scoring game but can't find anything, they will think that the game wasn't that important after all. How do you expect to garner new fans if someone can't stumble over a video and go 'hey.. that looks interesting.'

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

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 Jul 2018 @ 11:31am

      Re:

      It seems they think one should desire watching their product from birth and will do anything they ask, pay anything they want, endure any restriction they employ to do so. Wait till they come up with the pills that install the DNA to make it so. Somehow I am certain it is under development.

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

  • icon
    bwburke94 (profile), 17 Jul 2018 @ 2:54pm

    I suppose that FIFA have never heard of what happened to Barbra Streisand.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2018 @ 7:59pm

    "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2018 @ 8:21pm

    How many anomalies does this make again?

    All of them, minus one. That makes it a finite number.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jul 2018 @ 3:36am

    Why is no one slamming Twitter ?

    ... and to whom does FIFA outsource its DMCA cannon?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jul 2018 @ 10:14am

    Time to reform copyright

    Copyright used to be a maximum of 28 years. Now you will die before the copyright expires. It was intended for "limited times" to allow creators to profit from their work before entering the public domain. Now, it has become a perpetual income stream for the heirs and estates.

    Even worse, retroactive copyrights take away rights granted to them under Copyright law.

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


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