March 18, 2007

NFL Clip Down Again

Filed under: Chilling Effects — Wendy @ 10:38 am

I promise this blog won’t become all-DMCA all the time, but as this saga gets more convoluted, it illustrates even better the problems with the law and with the various pressure groups’ copyright demands. (See the complete set of NFL-DMCA posts.)

In apparent defiance of my counter-notification, the NFL sent YouTube another takedown notice, which YouTube followed with another takedown a few days ago, giving notice to me yesterday. Now when I sent my counter-notification to the first NFL notice, on February 14, YouTube forwarded it on to the NFL per the DMCA’s specification. Since my counter-notification included a description of the clip, “an educational excerpt featuring the NFL’s overreaching copyright warning aired during the Super Bowl,” it put the NFL on clear notice of my fair use claim.

The DMCA way for NFL to challenge that, per 512(g)(2)(C), would be to “file[] an action seeking a court order to restrain the subscriber from engaging in infringing activity relating to the material,” which they haven’t. Sending a second notification that fails to acknowledge the fair use claims instead puts NFL into the 512(f)(1) category of “knowingly materially misrepresent[ing] … that material or activity is infringing.”

If the NFL deigned to respond, I expect they would argue something like “the volume of material is so high, we can’t possibly keep track of all the claims of non-infringement. Our bots are entitled to a few mistakes.” But if they’re not able to keep track of the few counter-notifications they’ve received (the YouTube URL and page stayed the same at all times it’s been up), how can they demand that YouTube respond accurately and expeditiously to all the DMCA notifications they send, or worse, filter all content as Viacom is demanding?

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