It seems the McCain campaign isn’t happy with the folks at YouTube because they’ve taken down a good number of his campaign videos after being hit with DMCA takedown requests:
The McCain campaign on Monday fired off a letter to YouTube complaining that the company had acted too quickly to take down McCain’s videos in response to copyright infringement notices. McCain campaign general counsel Trevor Potter argued that several of the removed ads, which had used excerpts of television footage, fall under the four-factor doctrine of fair-use, and shouldn’t have been removed.
And he’s quite right. The videos in question did contain portions of copyrighted material that did fall under the doctrine of fair-use and were probably perfectly legal. I say “probably” because until a court says it’s fair-use it remain questionable, but they probably were fair-use in the examples being discussed.
There’s just one small problem: YouTube doesn’t have a choice in the matter:
But citing the DMCA, a controversial copyright law that McCain voted to approve a decade ago, Levine pointed out that YouTube risks being sued itself if it doesn’t respond promptly to takedown notices.
“If … service providers do not remove the content to such notice, they do so at their own risk because they lose their safe harbor,” she wrote.
Further, Levine argued, the fair-use analysis is complicated, and the creators of the videos are better equipped to perform it. The uploader can then issue a DMCA counter-notice if they believe they’re on solid legal ground, and YouTube will restore the video.
Oooo! That’s gotta suck when a law you voted for comes back to bite you in your proverbial ass! Once again a lawmaker finds out the hard way that he is susceptible to the laws he passes and perhaps it would be wise to carefully consider what you’re enacting before doing so.