DMCA Used to Take Down Trump Campaign Video

A copyright complaint saw a Trump campaign video get taken down. The video was taken down from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

In response to the demonstrations to object to the death of George Floyd, the Trump administration went into damage control after Trump made the notorious “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” tweet. After several other attempts to distract people over the terrible job he’s done in response to the demonstrations which is a distraction from the terrible response to COVID-19 which is a distraction from the terrible job the administration has done, the administration decided to try and release a political campaign video trying to pretend that they are honouring the memory of Floyd.

That campaign video didn’t make it very far, however. An unknown entity has issued DMCA takedown notices against the video on multiple platforms. Initially, Trump launched another conspiracy theory about how the so-called “radical left” (a “no you” response to people pointing out to the far right elements that supports him). Of course, like pretty much every other conspiracy theory floated by the administration, it ended up being dead wrong and a total fabrication. As it turns out, someone sent DMCA complaints to the platforms over the campaign video. From The Verge:

Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have all removed a Trump campaign video from their platforms after receiving copyright complaints, Reuters reported. The nearly four-minute video featured images of the late George Floyd of Minneapolis, who died May 25th after a police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. A video of the incident has prompted nationwide protests of police violence.

Twitter disabled the video, while Facebook and Instagram removed posts containing the video. When President Trump objected to the removal in a tweet, calling it “illegal,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded: “Not true and not illegal. This was pulled because we got a DMCA complaint from copyright holder.”

A spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told Reuters it also had received a copyright complaint under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. “Organizations that use original art shared on Instagram are expected to have the right to do so,” the spokesperson said. YouTube did not remove a version of the video from its platform, saying it did not contain the content that violated the copyright. As of Saturday morning, the YouTube version of the video had nearly half a million views.

If anything, this actually gives Trump supporters reason to repeal the notice-and-takedown system and the laws that compel the platforms to implement such a system. Essentially, anyone can claim copyright over something with no real proof that they are the actual owners of said content. We’ve been seeing this problem crop up for years now. We’ve seen copyright fraud hit NASA, classical musicians, C-SPAN, and Martin O’Donnell to name a very small sample.

Of course, the problem here is that this is a logical response to the problem. If anything, the impeached president and his supporters aren’t exactly known for being logical or rational most of the time. Additionally, trying to dismantle the notice-and-takedown copyright system that has long plagued the US can’t really be pinned on trying to “stick it to the libs” directly. So, while it would be nice to think that Trump supporters would be on board with trying to put real accountability into this system, that isn’t very likely. It would be nice to be proven wrong that Trump supporters might actually try and solve a problem in the US, but it would be ill-advised to hold your breath over it.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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