The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

McCain Suddenly Doesn’t Like the DMCA (and Rightly So!)

According to an article on Cnet, the McCain campaign is protesting YouTube’s take down policy.  They claim several of McCain’s ads have been removed from YouTube due to Digital Millennium Copywright Act take down notices being filed.  The McCain campaign says the material in question is covered by fair use.  He may be right (although the letter to YouTube does not list specific examples).

The problem is the DMCA is pretty draconian.  If a content provider such as YouTube takes down a video when they are notified of infringement, they are not held liable for damages.  If they left it up (as the McCain campaign is suggesting) they could be sued.  So places like YouTube do the safe thing and take it down.  YouTube has fired off a response to the McCain campaign according to Wired suggesting he (or Obama) introduce legislation to amdend the DMCA.  Our current Congress and Senate aren’t helping as they just passed a new anti-piracy law upping the penalties for infringement that was signed by Bush on Monday (bet you didn’t hear about that one in the news!)

McCain has proposed YouTube handle political ads differently and review them for fair use before taking them down.  That is totally missing the point.  The DMCA tramples on EVERYONE’S fair use rights, not just those of political campaigns.  What McCain (and Obama) should do is stand up and tell everyone the DMCA needs revision to protect fair use and pledge to pursue such changes in their administration.  As bloggers, we should all be supporting DMCA reform.

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October 16, 2008 - Posted by | tech

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