August 12, 2008

Olympics, YouTube, Protest, Copyright

Filed under: Chilling Effects, DMCA, censorship, copyright — wseltzer @ 6:13 pm

Students for a Free Tibet posted video of a Free Tibet protest to YouTube. YouTube pulled it, in response to a copyright complaint from the International Olympic Committee. From the
copy posted to vimeo (and thence re-posted to YouTube, it appears), it’s hard to see a colorable copyright infringement claim. Sure, the image of the Olympics’ (trademarked) interlocking rings and (copyrightable) mascot showed up, but those uses would be fair and non-infringing.

We see once again that the DMCA’s unbalanced takedown scheme encourages overzealous claiming of copyright, as an easy route to removal of unflattering content. With those already inclined toward enforcement zealotry, that pushes them far overboard.

Update 8/15: It appears that YouTube reinstated the video after the IOC indicated it did not really intend to pursue a copyright claim. Still sad that this level of assurance isn’t required before claims are filed in the first place.

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