Originally published: October 6, 2010
Last updated: October 6, 2010 - 8:13pm
The Center for Democracy and Technology argues that "meritless" calls to take down online campaign ads because they allegedly infringe copyrights are stifling online free speech.
CDT examined a dozen cases in which YouTube and other online sites were sent notices demanding that online videos be taken down because they allegedly infringed the senders' copyrighted material. CDT claimed in its report that all 12 cases it examined involved short clips of copyrighted works that are covered under the U.S. doctrine of fair use and therefore should not have been removed. The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides protection from liability for Internet service providers, online sites and other intermediaries who take down infringing material when notified of its existence on their networks or Web sites. "We actually think the DMCA notice and take-down process ... is a good and balanced approach," CDT Senior Policy Counsel David Sohn said during a conference call with reporters. "The problem is that the process is being abused." Given the growing importance of online ads in modern campaigns, meritless requests for take-downs under the DMCA sent to sites like YouTube threaten online political speech, Sohn said.
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