Recently, a video from team Obama showed Mitt Romney singing ‘America the Beautiful’ against scenes of shuttered American factories. This was a direct reference to Mitt Romney’s role in lots of layoffs in Bain Capital a decade ago. Naturally, Romney team responded with a similar video about Obama.
The video released by team Romney showed Obama singing ‘Let’s Stay Together.’ Now this was their way of saying how Obama has been accused of rewarding lobbyists and campaign donors for siding with him by paying them in kind.
The interesting thing is that the video about Obama has been taken down from YouTube. The message that is prompted when you try to watch the video is, “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by BMG_Rights_Management.”
The video has apparently been taken down under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). It’s hard to discern how exactly the song violated any digital copyrights. It also poses a direct question to the effectiveness of DMCA and that how far can it be used to censor free speech.
The big question remains about the ‘fair use’ of such content. If a video features content from other places under certain ‘fair use’ policies, it is allowed. But deciding whether or not a given content is ‘fair use’ is very arbitrary and vague. Romney’s team can launch a counter notice and claim that its clip comes under fair use but YouTube will have to wait at least 10 days before restoring the video which makes the entire effort useless.
It is about time that right in the midst of presidential campaigns, the candidates realize that DMCA is a harmful tool in its present form and needs to be rehauled.