The McCain campaign has complained to Youtube about their videos being removed for alleged copyright infringement, says Blown to Bits. TV networks have complained to the video hosting site about clips of their news shows being used in McCain’s ads, resulting in their removal.

The McCain camp have sent a letter (pdf here) claiming that the clips were “fair use” and asking that Youtube review all political ads to decide whether they are infringing on copyright before taking them down.

Blown to Bits writes: “The problem is that, much as we all might prefer YouTube to resist poorly founded copyright infringement claims, they would be crazy to do so. The reason is that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act gives them a “safe harbor” from prosecution if they take the offending clip down immediately, and let the party who put it up file a counterclaim. Why would the YouTube folks risk prosecution, when they can let CBS and the McCain campaign fight it out at no risk to themselves?”

Youtube have responded with a similar argument (pdf here).

Read the full post here and follow-up here.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey