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The issue arose Monday when a pro-Romney ad dubbed “Political Payoffs and Middle Class Layoffs” was taken down from YouTube because BMG objected to the fact that the ad contained a snippet of their song, “Let’s Stay Together,” being sung by President Barack Obama.
BMG cited the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and YouTube was required to oblige. The Romney campaign challenged the decision and YouTube had 10 days to determine which party’s argument was stronger.
YouTube, though, could restore the video sooner than 10 days under a couple of conditions: BMG changes its mind, or the video in question obviously doesn’t rise to the level of copyright infringement.
Since BMG did not rescind its request, YouTube returned the video for the latter reason, and its statement suggests that the issue was so obviously in favor of the Romney campaign that BMG’s actions amounted to an abuse of YouTube’s policy.
“When we’re notified that a particular video uploaded to our site infringes another’s copyright, we remove the material in accordance with the law,” YouTube said. “We have a counter notification process in place if a user believes a content owner has misidentified their video, and we reinstate content if a user prevales in that process. We also reinstate videos in cases where we are confident that the material is not infringing, or where there is abuse of our copyright tools.”
Since a video of Obama singing “Let’s Stay Together” at the Apollo Theater in Harlem has been available for several weeks on YouTube and BMG only claimed a copyright violation when Romney used it as an ad against the president, Republicans immediately claimed partisanship on the part of BMG. It appears through its actions that YouTube may have agreed with that assessment.
And even though the Romney ad posted by the campaign had been taken down until Thursday, the video mostly remained available at YouTube via bootlegged copies that users posted in defiance of BMG’s claim.
See the 35-second ad below.
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