Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Washington Post: YouTube’s copyright system has taken Rand Paul’s presidential announcement offline

This report of a spectacular own goal almost made me laugh (but the excesses of modern intellectual property law and practice will never get past that "almost" - they are more likely to make me cry). The headline tells you everything.

I suppose it illustrates the importance of clearing rights for all the uses to which a copyright work might be put in the modern age. Perhaps Senator Paul, or at least his people, had obtained the myriad permissions (or the omnibus permission) needed but YouTube's robots, acting as WMG's agents, took it down anyway.

The reference in the article to huge music companies (the expression "Big Copyright" comes to mind) being able preemptively to apply copyright law encapsulates the problem in a way I have not read before: I will try to file that expression away for future use, although I think it is better called pre-emptive (my dictionary tells me that the hyphen is correct in the adjectival form but not in the adverb) enforcement, not application, which is too imprecise a term for lawyers to use (acceptable, though, for journalists, I think). Maybe it is a synonym for bullying. And read in the context of the Senator's attack on the power of special interests, the story becomes even more powerful.

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