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Bogus Automated Copyright Claims By CBS Blocked Super Tuesday Speeches By Bernie Sanders, Mike Bloomberg, And Joe Biden

from the copyright-as-censorship dept

Another day, another example of copyright out of control. The latest, as highlighted by Matthew Keys, is that bogus (almost certainly automated) copyright claims by CBS ended up blocking a live stream of a Bernie Sanders speech, but similar notices also interrupted speeches by Mike Bloomberg and Joe Biden.

It's not difficult to guess at what's going on here: most of these streams were using "pool" cameras that anyone can tap into and use. CBS was using the same stream as everyone else, but because copyright must rule everything, CBS assumes that anything it streams, it holds the copyright on -- and sends automated notices to places like Twitter and Facebook to stop people from streaming live off of CBS News. But, here, it was CBS using someone else's feed -- but thanks to the nature of copyright, we get a situation where Presidential candidates can't even live stream their own speeches.

This was the kind of thing we've warned about, specifically in the context of the EU's Copyright Directive, which will effectively require a filter like this to be functioning at all times on basically all platforms. The fact that it will inevitably catch the wrong things -- like here -- is something that never seems to concern the Hollywood types who push for these laws and technologies to be used. Yet here we have Presidential candidates not able to broadcast themselves.

This is especially ironic for Joe Biden, considering that he's long been one of Hollywood's biggest supporters when it comes to pushing ever more draconian copyright law. So, perhaps, he got what he deserved.

Filed Under: automated takedowns, bernie sanders, censorship, copyright, eu copyright directive, filters, free speech, joe biden, mike bloomberg, political speech
Companies: cbs, facebook, twitter


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2020 @ 9:51am

    This was the kind of thing we've warned out

    Warned of? Warned about?

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

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Mar 2020 @ 10:00am

    Where there is a will, there is a way, here's some will

    I offer my congratulations to CBS for finding possibly the only way that might get legislators off their collective asses and repair the flawed DMCA, particularity where the take down was bogus and there are no consequences for the claimant; silencing politicians.

    At the same time I fear the convoluted methodologies that legislators that might have other agendas would use to correct this issue. To their minds, why waste an opportunity.

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

    • icon
      OldMugwump (profile), 4 Mar 2020 @ 10:42am

      Re: Where there is a will, there is a way, here's some will

      I wish.

      But no, they'll just do the same as they did for robocalls - they'll put in an exception for politicians only.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2020 @ 10:38am

    The candidates should own the copyright to their speeches. The family of Martin King Jr. owns copyright to his speeches, for example. The candidates should inform all media of that fact, and the licensing requirements. (hopefully Creative Commons License). This would prevent situations such as this. Also, DMCA takedowns should require that the copyright be registered, with reference to the registration in the takedown request. I doubt that CBS had time to register their copyright in this broadcast.

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

    • identicon
      Silly copyrights, 4 Mar 2020 @ 10:49am

      Re:

      The candidates do own the copyright to their speeches. They may not have a copyright on the video stream carring that speach; although in this contex it is not clear who (if anyone) would have the video copyright.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2020 @ 11:41am

        Re: Re:

        Your username is accurate. The speechwriter did most of the hard work, the speaker did the rest, but the person who pointed the camera gets a century of exclusivity.

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

    • identicon
      OGquaker, 4 Mar 2020 @ 6:10pm

      Re: If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen

      All "public person's" work, creation, processes, and all subsequent derivative work or re-transmission WhenEverTheFuck should NOT be copyrightable by anyone. As an employee, my past or present or future employer is restricted by law from telling anyone of my success, failure or my future intent as a employee. Taking my photo requires a "Model Release", my contract with the DMV, electric utility, my school grades, hospital and my income tax are restricted to me. A wanna-be running for public office should be open to public exposure without restriction or ownership, and my act of candidacy exposes my past and current record or 'democracy' fails.
      On that same note, all sworn 'Peace Officers' should be castrated as a first condition of their Employment Contract. Frozen eggs & sperm is a thing.

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

    • identicon
      ryuugami, 5 Mar 2020 @ 7:50am

      Re:

      This would prevent situations such as this.

      Great suggestion. Someone else owning the copyright would definitely prevent media companies from sending fraudulent copyright claims against works they don't own a copyright on.

      That's completely different from the current situation, as presented in this very article, where someone else owning the copyright does not in any way prevent media companies from sending fraudulent copyright claims against works they don't own a copyright on. :)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2020 @ 11:34am

    Could you imagine if this happened to a Republican?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2020 @ 11:53am

      Re:

      But it literally did. Bloomberg was a Republican from 2001-2007, according to Wikipedia.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2020 @ 11:56am

        Re: Re:

        He's an anti-Trump Republican, which doesn't count anymore (see also: Romney being uninvited from CPAC for voting for Trump's removal).

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 4 Mar 2020 @ 12:03pm

      'Next up on Fox: Conservative suppression!'

      'Look, just look at this! We've been telling you that Big Tech has it out for conservatives and here we've got a prime example, as this could only have been a direct attack against conservatives, and could not in any possible way be due to The Holy Copyright as some delusional people may be claiming!'

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2020 @ 12:08pm

    Way out

    The DMCA should have a financial penalty for false claims.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 4 Mar 2020 @ 12:40pm

      Re: Way out

      It's come up before, my favorite idea that I've seen tossed out is to make use of the maximalists favorite toy, the 'six strikes' system.

      Make [X] number of bogus copyright strikes in a given period of time and you no longer own that copyright, and it is irrevocably put into the public domain. If you don't own the copyright in question things get even worse, with stiff financial penalties from the start that get even bigger with repeat violations.

      If infringing on a copyright by posting the wrong thing carries hefty penalties then it's only fair that infringing on someone else's copyright by making bogus claims should carry penalties as well after all, unless the ones pushing for the former but not the latter want to admit to their gross hypocrisy.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 2:41pm

      Re: Way out

      You're responsible for damages if you make a false claim.

      Also, by filing a notice, they're making a claim under penalty of perjury that they own the copyright. That's not just a civil case; that's federal criminal perjury for whoever signed the DMCA notice.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 12:53am

        Re: Re: Way out

        "You're responsible for damages if you make a false claim."

        In theory, yes.
        In practice, good luck proving the falsity of that claim.

        The problem here is that the person filing the claim can say that he was divinely inspired to file said claim by his breakfast cereal morphing into the knickers of the Virgin Mary and telling him he should. All he needs to do is get the judge to believe he acted in "good faith" and he's off the hook.

        The DMCA is explicitly written to make it very easy and risk-free to file a claim and very hard to prove you aren't liable for infringement. The debate at the time showed that, not surprisingly, the DMCA would not work at all if it had been written to observe common sense and good jurisprudens.

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

      • icon
        Tanner Andrews (profile), 7 Mar 2020 @ 10:50am

        Re: Re: Way out

        Also, by filing a notice, they're making a claim under penalty of perjury that they own the copyright

        The neat thing with perjury is that you do not have a claim when this happens. Perjury is a crime, and the party with standing is the state rather than you.

        That does not mean that you cannot use this to impeach a witness --
        Q: Did you file this claim
        A: Yes
        Q: Was it under penalty of perjury
        A: Yes
        Q: Was it truthful
        A: No
        Q: Are you testifying under penalty of perjury today?
        A: Yes
        Q: Why should we trust you now?

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Mar 2020 @ 7:04am

          Re: Re: Re: Way out

          ...and the witness who filed the claim, on the quesiton of "Was it truthful", simply answers "To the best of my knowledge".

          A careful tracking of WHO exactly originally indicated that there was a valid copyright claim in the case turns up a bot. At the end of the day plausible deniability carries the day.

          Basically the DMCA dilutes responsibility to the point where you could file a copyright claim based on what a carnival soothsayer read in his crystal ball and STILL not be held accountable for the claim ultimately being false.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 4 Mar 2020 @ 12:26pm

    Live by the copyright, get silenced by the copyright

    This is especially ironic for Joe Biden, considering that he's long been one of Hollywood's biggest supporters when it comes to pushing ever more draconian copyright law. So, perhaps, he got what he deserved.

    No 'perhaps' about it, if he's one of those that's been pushing/supporting the crap Hollywood is constantly trying to slip into the law he got exactly what he deserved here, and it's just a pity the other two were caught up in it as well unless they also happen to be in that group.

    On a more general note this would seem to be yet another excellent example of how screwed up all things copyright are these days, because even if the streams that were silenced were infringing 'political speeches by presidential candidates' would seem to fall quite nicely into Fair Use territory given the large public interest inherent in them, and yet instead they were stricken down because of the terrible idea that everything must be owned, and that ownership of a copyright confers complete and utter control over the content in question.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2020 @ 12:35pm

    Someone needs to sue cbs for copyfraud ,its a pretty serious matter to block A live stream by a politician who is running for president while voting is going on .
    they were using a feed from another source, its not like it was live from a cbs studio.

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

  • icon
    Darkness Of Course (profile), 4 Mar 2020 @ 12:37pm

    So who does own the copyright

    In particular if the pool camera is automated?

    Because copyright cannot be held by a thing, it must be the creative expression of a human. One could argue that CBS has neither creative expression or humanity.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2020 @ 4:58pm

      Re: So who does own the copyright

      In real terms, though, it doesn't matter who owns the copyright, be they candidate, studio, cameraman, or macaque. Once a copyright notice has been filed, the DMCA process starts and in most cases the first reaction is to remove the Noticed content (and ask forgiveness later if ever).

      And since content moderation at scale is at best difficult, time consuming, and expensive - and since content of this nature is time-critical, the filer 'wins' every time, even if reversed.

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

  • identicon
    Dave, 4 Mar 2020 @ 1:01pm

    See? You don't have free speech in a capitalist dictatorship.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2020 @ 1:40pm

    From just the title of story.. "Hooray!!"

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2020 @ 1:47pm

      Re:

      Trump still isn't going to win this year.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2020 @ 2:23pm

        Re: Re:

        He will if the Democrats make Biden the candidate. Biden has so many negatives and unlike Republicans these days, many Democrats actually care about character. Biden is really just a less outlandish version of Trump; unlike Trump he generally knows when to keep his mouth shut and his fingers off the keyboard, his many gaffes not withstanding. My prediction is that Trump will turn on the charm during the last months of the election, while pointing out all the things that people dislike about Biden (starting with the fact that many people find him kind of creepy, for various reasons) and will just barely win again, and then he will be a lame duck president who thinks he is answerable to no one (which will pretty much be the case if either the House or Senate is under Republican control). People seem to have memories that last about the lifespan of a fruit fly when it comes to all the terrible things Trump has done, but I'll bet their negative feelings about Biden will persist through the election, if only because Trump and his supporters will keep reminding them. Personally, I'd like to see anyone but Biden as the Democratic candidate (other than Corey Booker because of his support of big Telecom, but he's long gone anyway). I like Bernie, but suspect that the Republicans would tar him so badly with the socialist label that he could not win. I'd happily vote for Elizabeth Warren (and would have done so for Amy had she not dropped out) but I fear the fix is in and once again we're going to have two awful choices in November, only this time one is far more terrible than the other.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 3:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "He will if the Democrats make Biden the candidate."

          I think you're right. I don't agree that Biden is trump light but what he does give off are the vibes of a mild-mannered concussed weasel stuck halfway between the properties of dementia and actually being property.

          He is so obviously owned that these days when he opens his mouth I expect to see a "fully leased" sign hanging from his tongue.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 11:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Speaking of "CREEPY," I have never seen Berny Sarnders smile.. 🤔

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

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 1:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Speaking of "CREEPY," I have never seen Berny Sarnders smile.."

            Looking at his career, I'm guessing he doesn't feel there's much to smile about. Here's what he said when asked why he got into politics;

            "A guy named Adolf Hitler won an election in 1932. He won an election, and 50 million people died as a result of that election in World War II, including six million Jews. So what I learned as a little kid is that politics is, in fact, very important."

            The rest of his career has been non-stop fighting. He's spent some fifty years of his life in one protest or another against injustices, from marching with MLK to protesting the Iraq war.

            I think the reason the other candidates can keep smiling is because they're more in politics because of the cushy benefits. If I was Bernie I'd be a bit pissed about that as well.

            I've seen him laugh a few times when he was interviewed by john Oliver, for instance - but his "game face" isn't happy at all, I'll give you that.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 12:52pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'd happily vote for Elizabeth Warren (and would have done so for Amy had she not dropped out) but I fear the fix is in and once again we're going to have two awful choices in November, only this time one is far more terrible than the other.

          This brings to mind a thought that came to me a few days ago, 'The biggest enemy of the republican party is themselves, their biggest ally the democratic party.'

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

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 1:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "This brings to mind a thought that came to me a few days ago, 'The biggest enemy of the republican party is themselves, their biggest ally the democratic party.'"

            Well, Warren just dropped out so it looks like it comes down to another showdown between Joe the sock puppet and Bernie the inconvenient incorruptible.

            In this, the best of all possible worlds...pfft...the dream team should be Bernie as prez and Warren as VP going forward.

            But I'm thinking the democratic party may just be so incredibly scared about a candidate who doesn't know how backscratching works they'll keep pushing for Biden all the way until Trump wins his second term.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2020 @ 10:08am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I'm not sure Sanders/Warren is such a good ticket. I mean, yeah, she'd make a great VP, but is that worth losing her Senate seat to whomever the (R) Governor of Massachusetts would appoint in her place?

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

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Mar 2020 @ 7:08am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "...is that worth losing her Senate seat to whomever the (R) Governor of Massachusetts would appoint in her place?"

                Depends on how close the gap between the GOP and the dems ends up being in both houses.

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

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 10:33pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              But I'm thinking the democratic party may just be so incredibly scared about a candidate who doesn't know how backscratching works they'll keep pushing for Biden all the way until Trump wins his second term.

              If their cowardice does result in that they might as well just drop the pretense, jump teams and start working for the republican party officially, as yet again they'll have handed an election to the opposing party that should have been in the bag due to their incompetence and/or fear.

              They really are the republican party's greatest asset...

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

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Mar 2020 @ 7:15am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "They really are the republican party's greatest asset..."

                They really are. It's the logical outcome of persistently trying to be "Republican LITE, but sane!" option.

                I think the dems are at the point where they should just admit that a little socialism is OK because the extreme points have always been bad.

                Especially so because looking at the mass of US subsidy nets already in existence for the middle class when it comes to food, power and gas the US needs to get their head out of denial. They've been socialist for a long, long time already and no one's been trying to pin a hammer and sickle on the stars and stripes yet.

                Hell, no one's called Canada a communist nation yet and they do just fine under an openly socialist rule of governance.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 10:09am

    This is almost as entertaining as a news outlet covering a viral clip & then taking down the original clip as they now own the rights to it b/c they broadcast it.

    They will spend more time claiming its all a plot to stop them by the other side, rather than admit they unleashed an industry to steamroll citizens on the off chance they might lose an imaginary dollar.

    But despite all the hopes & dreams, they are beholden to the United Corporations of Tax Havens LLC. giving them the dollars so they can lie to us that they care about us and will level the playing field, while claiming competition can happen with only 1 competitor on the field.

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


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