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A couple of days after BMG Rights Management forced YouTube to take down a Mitt Romney ad because it features President Barack Obama singing one of its songs, several versions of the ads have resurfaced on the Google-owned site.
The 35-second ad features audio of Obama when he sang the Al Green hit “Let’s Stay Together” at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. As he sings the line, “I’m so in love with you,” headlines of alleged favors the administration has doled out to supporters fill the screen.
“Lots of love for the donor class. What about the middle class?” the ad asks.
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The ad, known as “Political Payoffs and Middle Class Layoffs,” is embedded below.
BMG issued a takedown notice that cited the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and it disappeared from the site on Monday. Those who clicked on it were met with the message: “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by BMG Rights Management. Sorry about that.”
Many conservatives immediately accused BMG of engaging in political partisanship, and it’s likely that some of them are responsible for a slew of bootlegged copies of the commercial that have been popping up on YouTube.
One version of the ad on YouTube is accompanied by the line: “The ad someone doesn’t want you to see.”
Because of the DMCA, YouTube was required to take down the spot after BMG’s complaint. The Romney campaign can then issue a counter notification, which it has, and depending on who wins the argument the ad could reappear in 10 days. If BMG retracts its notice, the ad would be reinstated immediately.
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But if BMG is serious about keeping the ad from the viewing public, it would have to issue a takedown notice for each version of the video posted and not just the one from the Romney campaign, and that has not been the case so far.
Meanwhile, bloggers have been taking BMG to the woodshed for perceived overreach and for stifling political speech.
“The Romney ad seems like as clear-cut a case of fair use as can be imagined,” wrote Timothy Lee at Ars Technica.
“If Romney wins the election in November, we hope the experience having his ad taken down will inspire him to make reforming copyright a priority,” Lee wrote.
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