YouTube Rejects McCain Campaign Request

    October 16, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Earlier this week, general counsel for the McCain campaign petitioned YouTube to give special treatment to political ads scrubbed from the site because of DMCA take down notices. General counsel for YouTube roundly rejected that request.

Previously on the Internet, the campaign’s general counsel, Trevor Potter, sent a letter to YouTube asking the video site to speed up the reinstatement process kicked off by counter-notices to the take down notices by carefully scrutinizing campaign ads via legal review and determining whether the videos were protected under fair use.

Simpler, Potter indicated: When we file a counter-notice, find the videos among the hordes that were ours, bump them to the front and mark them as fair use, and repost them faster than 10-14 days, immediately would be great, because elections are important and ours is getting pretty close. (Don’t worry, most of the time counter-notices aren’t counter-counter-noticed.)

YouTube general counsel Zahavah Levine responded rather quickly—in Lawyer-time—and came just short of reminding Potter that McCain was partially responsible for the DMCA, and recently voted to give “abusive” copyright holders even more power. Instead, Levine wrote:

No number of lawyers could possibly determine with a reasonable level of certainty whether all the videos for which we receive disputed takedown notices qualify as fair use. More importantly, YouTube does not possess the requisite information about the content in user-uploaded videos to make a determination as to whether a particular takedown notice includes a valid claim of infringement. . . .Moreover, while we agree with you that the U.S. Presidential election-related content is invaluable and worthy of the highest level of protection, there is a lot of other content on our global site that our users around the world find to be equally important, including, by way of example only, political campaigns from around the globe at all levels of government, human rights movements, and other important voices. We try to be careful not to favor one category of content on our site over others…

Levine then suggested Senator (or President) McCain had the power to strengthen fair use and combat DMCA abuse.