Thursday, May 7, 2009

Republican Senators' Gitmo video uses clips from CNN and CBS; takedown bait?

The Senate Republican Conference has produced a new YouTube video, criticizing the Obama Administration's plans to move suspected terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to the US mainland. The video includes clips from several news organizations, including CNN and CBS:

Both CNN and CBS have previously objected to the use of their news footage by political actors. CNN is currently embroiled in a fair use battle with the conservative site Founding Bloggers, and last year CBS sent a takedown notice on this video by the McCain campaign. Will CNN or CBS take on the Senate Republican Conference?

(h/t Andrew Sullivan)

1 comment:

  1. I notice that this video contains music from Carmina Burana in the background. YouTube actually suspended an account about two years ago for containing a short snippet from the Carmina Burana. It provides an interesting backstory and an illustration of a YouTube copyright enforcement division run by Curly, Larry, and Moe.

    YouTube suspended the account of prominent Atheist Nick Gisburne sometime between Feb. 5 and February 7 2007. At first, YouTube told him that his account was suspended because his video “Islamic Teachings” violated YouTube’s Terms of Service for Inappropriate Behavior. Nick’s website documents this incident and contains the letter he received from YouTube explaining that he was banned due to the video’s inappropriate nature.

    Nick’s video consisted of nothing more than quotes from the Quaran that revealed the religion’s brutal side. When Nick was suspended for “inappropriate content”, we all thought that YouTube was jumping to the tune of angry Muslims who were flagging the video.

    Here is a copy of the video that was suspended:

    Pay close attention to the background music between 7:27 and 9:15. It is an obscure portion of the Carmina Burana, and it will soon play an important part in this story.

    Michelle Malkin wrote about Nick’s suspension for apparently being Islamicly incorrect.

    Malkin was VERY familiar with YouTube’s censorship. She had her own videos removed by YouTube because they were critical of Islam, and YouTube apparently wasn’t honest about the reason for their removal. According to Malkin, YouTube said her videos were “removed by the user”. This was false—she did not remove her own video. She explained it all in the following video.

    Many YouTuber’s were incensed by YouTube’s censorship. About 70 of us, myself included, uploaded copies of Nick’s video to our channels in protest. But it turns out that YouTube didn’t remove the video because it contained inappropriate content after all. YouTube bungled it when they told Nick that his account was suspended because they didn’t like his video’s content. What REALLY happened was that YouTube removed the “Islamic Teachings” video because it contained copyrighted background music, and Nick was suspended because he already had two copyright violations. Gisburne documented how YouTube changed their tune here:

    Many were skeptical about YouTube’s changing story. Many people thought that YouTube was changing its story because the community was enraged and they didn’t want to deal with the backlash caused by their apparent political censorship. However, Nick sent me a copy of the Feb. 5, 2007 letter sent to Google by Schott Music Company. Schott is the company that owns the copyright to Carmina Burana, and their DMCA takedown notice listed 70 – 100 videos that contained portions of their work as background music. They most likely found those videos by looking for videos with the words “Carmina Burana” in the tags. All but about three videos with “Carmina Burana” that were posted before Feb. 5, 2007 were removed as a result of the takedown notice.
    So when I, and about 70 others uploaded copies of Nick’s video in protest of YouTube’s apparent censorship, we were unwittingly uploading videos containing copyrighted music. We were all misled by YouTube’s original letter to Nick which implied that his video had been removed for reasons other than copyright.

    In a just and perfect world, Nick’s video should never have been removed, much less his account suspended. He used less than 2 minutes of a work that is over an hour long. And the part that he used wasn’t even the part everyone is familiar with. Had he used the “famous” part of the piece that is commonly used in movies as background for dramatic scenes, then we might have had a clue that he was using copyrighted movies. Surely, Nick’s use fell within Fair Use.


    1)Nick’s account remained suspended for over six months until he got the courage to file a DMCA counternotice.

    2)I had posted Nick’s video to my account in protest of YouTube’s apparent censorship. While YouTube didn’t touch the vast majority of protest videos uploaded by about 70 people, it did remove my copy. They posted a note to my account saying that the video was removed because it contained “content inappropriate”. HUH???
    3)Nick used less than 2 minutes of the music in the background of his video. The University of California TV has now posted a complete orchestra performance of the piece on YouTube.

    I have no idea if the University of California obtained copyright permission from Schott Music to post their work on YouTube.


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