McCain begs for YouTube takedown immunity

After having several campaign videos removed from YouTube for alleged copyright violations, Republican presidential candidate John McCain wants the video-sharing web site to consider special takedown privileges for politicians and their ilk.

McCain '08 general counsel Trevor Potter yesterday sent a letter to YouTube execs claiming the site is too quick to remove their campaign videos based on "overreaching copyright claims." He wrote that on numerous occasions that the material in question was "clearly" privileged under the US fair use doctrine.

The letter (available here as a PDF) comes by way of Larry Lessig.

YouTube routinely removes content based on the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown provisions, which grants safe harbor to web sites that promptly remove content if someone alleges it infringes on their copyrights. McCain was among the Senators that voted in favor of the provision in 1998.

"We fully understand that YouTube may receive too many videos, and too many takedown notices, to be able to conduct full fair-use review of all such notices. But we believe it would consume few resources — and provide enormous benefit — for YouTube to commit to a full legal review of all takedown notices on videos posted from accounts controlled by (at least) political candidates and campaigns," Potter wrote.

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