YouTube Caught In Malkin, EFF, UMG Crossfire

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YouTube is becoming the unwitting arbiter of copyright disputes, and in the process finds itself between a rock industry and a hard face…wow, that was really bad wasn’t?…Conservative blogger and columnist Michelle Malkin is crying foul after a music industry DMCA notice quieted her criticism of Hip Hop artist Akon.

The second lead was better, I think.

Malkin has not just pulled fellow pundits Laura Ingram and Bill O’Reilly in on the Akon/Verizon affair, but also enlisted the Electronic Frontier Foundation in her spat with Universal Music Group and YouTube. That puts YouTube in the middle of one hairy controversy.

Malkin appeared on the Laura Ingram show to discuss her successful campaign against Verizon, getting the telecommunications giant to drop their sponsorship of Akon and Gwen Stefani’s tour, as long as Akon was opening for her.

Malkin brought along a clip of Akon simulating rough sex with a teenage preacher’s daughter on a Trinidad stage (I know, right?). To spread the message farther about Akon’s less-than-Christian deeds (the usual: misogyny, vulgarity, violence, crime), Malkin posted her complaints, along with the concert footage, on YouTube.

Shortly after, UMG hit YouTube with a DMCA takedown notice, claiming copyright infringement. Michelle’s screenshot of the message that replaced her video credits "a copyright claim by Universal Music Group," but that message now reads "due to a terms of service violation."

It is unclear why the change in language occurred, or whether YouTube will reconsider after Malkin’s counterclaim of fair use.

"We believe this is a clear attempt by UMG to hide the truth about Akon and intimidate critics," said Malkin.

Between Malkin and UMG is a hard enough spot to be in, but add the EFF into the melee and you’ve got yourself a first class nightmare. The EFF called UMG’s actions an "improper attempt to silence her online criticism of one of its artists."

"It is impermissible and irresponsible for copyright holders to use the DMCA as a pretext to squelch criticism," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl in a statement.

"Ms. Malkin had every right under copyright law to criticize UMG and Akon, and to use footage of Akon to emphasize her point. Criticism and commentary are not only the core of fair use, but vital to our traditions of free speech."

The EFF has been on quite a tear lately, also putting it to famous telekinetic (sure) spoon-bender Uri Gellar for similar actions on YouTube.

YouTube Caught In Malkin, EFF, UMG Crossfire
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