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formerly located here (Update: as this story started to get press attention, it appears that the Minneapolis PD has rescinded its takedown).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 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.