This is a perfect illustration of how the unbalanced copyright laws are abusive.
The political ad of Obama singing the song ‘Let’s Stay Together’ while showing images of him with rich lobbyists is as textbook ‘fair use’ as there is. Yet, the song rightsholder, BMG, had it yanked off the interwebitudes:
‘A YouTube video produced by the Romney for President campaign got hit by a takedown request on Monday, highlighting the challenges that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act can pose for free speech.
Yet the “notice and takedown” process established by the DMCA and apparently utilized by BMG in this case doesn’t give the Romney campaign much recourse. It can file a counter notice stating that it believes its clip to be fair use, but YouTube is required to wait a minimum of 10 days before putting the video back up. In a campaign where the news cycle is measured in hours, 10 days is an eternity.’
Because sometimes, delaying a message is just as good as stopping it…
Another dimension of the problem is that individuals unfairly censored under the current policies are penalized for the other side’s failure – without any accessible or effective recourse or remedy readily available. They are, in a very real sense, guilty until proven innocent – at their own cost and by their own effort.
This is so contrary to our common law tradition I don’t know where to begin!
And it’s only going to get worse – unless we shift our enforcement focus from ‘fair dealing’ to ‘fair ‘use’ (as, hopefully, seems to be happening up here, in Canada).