C-SPAN Becomes Latest Victim of Copyright Fraud After YouTube Video Taken Down

American public broadcaster, C-SPAN had one of their video’s taken down on YouTube. The broadcaster becomes the latest victim of copyright fraud.

Copyright fraud can take many different forms. The people who carry out this fraud carry out this activity for a variety of reasons ranging from a mis-identification all the way up to extortion and harassment. What’s more is that anyone can be a victim. This wide-spread and rampant problem really only exists because of American copyright law being left intentionally broken for more than a decade at the behest of major corporate interests. The broken aspect is that a mere accusation is sufficient to assume guilt and that platforms who don’t comply risk having their legal protections suspended.

Recent cases of copyright fraud include victims like a musician, Martin O’Donnell, a political commentator, video game streamers, and Ferry Corsten. That list, of course, is just a sampling of our coverage into this area.

Now, it seems that the rampant copyright fraud problem is continuing to reach critical proportions. Major American public broadcaster, a channel dedicated to covering everyday political events, has become the latest victim of copyright fraud. From Reclaim the Net:

Public service broadcaster C-SPAN’s April 2nd White House Coronavirus News Conference video was recently blocked on YouTube after a bogus copyright claim from NBC Universal.

These coronavirus press conferences are broadcast live from The White House, streamed on The White House YouTube channel, and carried by several broadcasters including C-SPAN.

According to The White House copyright policy, government-produced materials appearing on its site are not copyright protected.

However, C-SPAN’s video of the April 2nd Coronavirus news conference was inaccessible in many countries because NBC Universal had blocked it on copyright grounds, despite not owning the rights to the footage.

This isn’t the first time a major network took down a video through dubious copyright claims. Warner, owner of CNN, also caught controversy after they issued a strike against a political commentator over a video that didn’t exist at the time the strike was issued. Fortunately for the political commentator, he also happens to be a staff member of Mashable. The threat of writing a story about the incident was enough to have the strike removed, though the story ended up getting out anyway.

Like the Warner/CNN vs. Mashable commentator case, this is likely a case of mis-identification. Probably one aspect that will likely be controversial is the fact that this surrounds a press conference discussing COVID-19. For officials, getting accurate information out to the public is, of course, paramount. So, a case can be made that by issuing the copyright takedown, this impedes critical messages from getting out, thus putting public safety at risk. This over top of the obvious issue of an entity removing material on copyright grounds over material they don’t own the rights to.

Unfortunately, as long as copyright remains unreformed in the US to better protect smaller creators and fight copyright fraud, this will continue to be a problem for the foreseeable future. Since corporations have such a stranglehold on political discourse in the US, it’s unlikely work will even begin to address these issues any time soon.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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