back to article McCain begs for YouTube DMCA 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 …


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  1. Bob

    Their Own Medicine

    Wow, this is great news. Finally, the politicians who voted for this inane law now have to endure its consequences. Politicians are not above the law, that is a fundamental tenant of democracy. Does this mean that if McCain becomes president, he will promise us a DMCA repeal? Wishful thinking...

    On the other hand, why doesn't McCain just make his own video website and point people to that? Oh yes I forgot, this guy doesn't even read email.

  2. Del Merritt

    A spoon full of sugar...

    ... won't make their own medicine go down any easier. Fair is fair. With some exposure - on both sides - to the teeth side of the silly law(s), at least they can no longer plead ignorance.

    And there's always this:

  3. unitron

    Pirates of the Campaignin'

    So let me get this straight, some copyright infringers (politicians) are more equal than others?

    Where's the Orwell icon when you need one?

  4. Henry Wertz Gold badge


    Tough shit for McCain. There should absolutely NOT be some exception to the law for politicians -- the DMCA is broken as written, and needs to be repealed. He should recognize this is the same crap everyone else using Youtube has to deal with and get it fixed, not just carve out an exception for himself.

    The DMCA does NOT make any exemption for fair use, a copyright holder can request stuff is removed at any time for any reason under the DMCA, with no provision for fair use (the "provision" being that the poster can file a counterclaim and eventually get their stuff put back up.) In fact, some random guy can file a DMCA notice -- it's illegal to file a false notice but noone seems to be enforcing against DMCA claims by random third parties. McCain voted for it, he can frankly sit and spin as far as I am concerned.

  5. Ferry Boat


    Nobody should be allowed to stop Sarah Palin speaking to the world. Grant McCain's wishes. Politicians are special exceptions.

    It's the David Irving defence. Let idiots speak so you can see clearly that they are idiots. It's self-incrimination and quite funny too.

  6. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge

    McCain - now you see what's wrong...

    ...but you can't just change the law to suit yourself. Other people have the same problems when using video content. Fair enough if you are stealing from someone and depribing them of the ability to make use of what they own.

    However when it comes to news, you give that up when you broadcast it. You can't morally own the copyright on the news. If you have sent out a news report then people should be able to use that report when they comment on the news or when they use the news to illistrate a point.

    By having the news agency own the news is like they own the truth bacause only they are allowed to use it.

    I do think it would help if people did their own news gathering and not rely on the established agencies.

    TUX because it's about doing your own thing.

  7. Dunstan Vavasour

    One word


  8. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Paris Hilton

    Can't he just ask for permission first?

    I mean, if the use really is *fair*, then presumably the rights holder would have no objection. It's hardly *endorsement* to let someone use a few seconds of background music, and they'd presumably be happy to extend the same generosity to the other candidate.

    Paris, coz he didn't get her permission first either.

  9. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    You reap what you sow

    There should never ever ever be any exemption to any law just because you happen to be a politician. If you don't think the law should apply to you, then why should it apply to anyone else? McCain cosied up to the MPAssA and got burned. Maybe there's a lesson here for all toady politicians?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Why not allow it?

    Saves us thinking they actually give a shit about the law anyway.

  11. Mycho Silver badge

    Someone should make a script

    Generate a fake twat-o-tron-esque takedown notice whenever anyone posts a video to YouTube with the word McCain in it.

    Sorry, chip-eaters, this is worth it.

    There is an old saying that a conservative is a liberal who was just robbed and a liberal is a conservative who was just arrested. It seems also to apply to a person who has had their ip stolen and a person who has been victimised by bad ip-protection legislation.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    'Not commercial'?

    Excuse me but how can anything related to a Republican candidate be considered 'not commercial use'?

    Or is he suddenly going to stop taking bungs from corporations?

  13. Dark Hippo


    So they passed a law that came back to bite them in the arse. Brilliant. I hope the don't make exceptions for scum... er... I mean politicians, or if they do, then they just pull the whole damn DMCA thing.

  14. Adrian Jooste

    Cry me a river

    Here's a nice example of what we can expect from McNugget in office. Fascist hypocrisy is all the rage in democratic politics these days.

    No one likes you McCain, get over it.

  15. Piers

    Subtext "Get Your Copyright Clearance First..."

    FFS - is he WILL use other people's stuff in his YouTube videos, what does he expect?

    "Warner Music Group demanded YouTube remove a McCain video that uses the 1967 Frankie Vallie song "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." CBS wanted a YouTube video removed that used a clip from Katie Couric. And Fox News had a similar complaint about a McCain video that used a clip about the financial crisis."

    I mean, we all have to worry about getting clearances for stuff!!!

  16. The BigYin


    Reap as you sow.

  17. Steve Kay
    Thumb Up

    I'm nursing a semi

    Politico hoisted by own petard? This is good stuff.

    Go on, John, beg some more. How much do you want it?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hoist by their own petard ....

    at the end of the day, it's events like this, which will curb and push back the ludicrous laws that have fallen thick and fast in the last decade ...

    Politicians who voted for it THEN, suddenly waking up and realising it applies to them NOW.

    I wonder in the coming years, how many retired politicians will find themselves the victims of their own laws .....

  19. Anony mouse


    "We're politicians. We're your betters. Feel sorry for us. We want everyone's toys. Gimmegimmegimmegimmegimme. No you can't have your ball back"

    'kin' really?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surprise surprise

    A politician asking to be granted a little extra privilege - I assume he thinks he's earned it with all his 'service'. An end to this entitlement culture for those with overinflated egos and underdeveloped talent would be nice.

  21. Steve Hill

    Fix the law?

    How about actually fixing the law instead of creating special privileges for politicians.

    Besides, this is complete bunk: "there is no justification for depriving the American people of access to important and timely campaign videos during that period" - web delivered video content doesn't *have* to be published through You Tube - if you don't like your publisher's policies you are free to go use a different one (or do it yourself). Isn't this, after all, what the advantage is supposed to be of a free market?

  22. AMD
    Dead Vulture

    Bitten By His Own Legislation

    Nice to know that if the law was passed (even though DCMA should be taken off from the books) that one of the people that voted FOR it is caught for violating it. Besides the usual rumor mongering that his campaign engages in, being a music and video pirate shouldn't be surprising to anyone.

  23. jonathan keith

    ... and you can fuck right off.

    One law for us, one law for them, right?

    Tough shit, buddy. I'm thoroughly enjoying the schadenfreud here. They're quite happy to take the lobbyists cash when it suits them, but they're shocked - shocked, I tell you, when the legislation they pass on behalf of their paymasters comes round and bites them on the arse.

    Well, screw you, McCain. Reap what you sow. If you don't like it, well, don't infringe copyright, and get used to working within the legislation that the politicians passed.

    Meanwhile, do they have any idea how much of a bunch of complete shits this makes them look like? In all likelihood they just don't care. McCain's just showing that he fully intends to continue Bush's legacy of doing whatever the hell he wants to do, ignoring the law and abusing the US's constitution.

    Apologies for the tirade, but I've just finished reading Charlie Savage's excellent book "Takeover", and it's made me very angry indeed.

  24. Jax

    A title is required.

    This has got to be one of the funniest things ever.... :D

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "McCain was among the Senators that voted in favor (sic) of the provision in 1998."

    Not quite instant karma but close enough for me.

    Paris, cos she understands about dodgy vids.

  26. Anonymous Coward


    *clears throat*

    *steps up to the microphone*

    "Electile dysfunction!"

    No? ...Ok then. As you were..

  27. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Paris Hilton

    Doh Stupid politics.

    What on earth would anyone want to be looking at political crap on YouTube for? OK if I'm directed to a scathing clip as its always nice to see one of the buggers fall on their arse but the really interesting thing about this is that the man is a wealthy businessman with all sorts of advisors.

    None of whom got a contract for him to use freely any clips of film of him taken by anyone.

    Good job he's not going to have to deal with any financial stuff when he is in office. Is he?

  28. Krissie
    Thumb Down

    Fair is fair!

    I see... He understands that Youtube doesn't have the resources to immediately review all videos takedown notices are issued against, but he doesn't feel that it would be too much effort for them to make an exception for political candidates

    I wonder if that applies to any other person the public has an interest in too? No? So what makes politicians so special? They create the rules - they can live by them, however inconvenient. I wonder how a presidential campaign openly based on "one rule for the rulers, another for the ruled" would fair?

  29. Keith T

    Senators elevate themselves above Kings?

    It is morally wrong for members of governments to ask for exemptions from the law they apply to the rest of us. There is supposed to be one law for all -- common law.

    This was something we straightened out with monarchs and their employees even before American independence.

    It would be a giant step backward for the US to elevate members of its government to a position higher than the kings the authors of the US constitution wanted to prevent.

    If US politicians think the DMCA is too strict, they should adjust it, they should adjust it for everyone.

  30. James
    Thumb Down

    fair use?

    the so-called use will cause irreparable harm to the artists whose work it is. The artists have already made it perfectly clear, the use of their work in that instance is unauthorized. And the artists have the right to say who can and can't use their work for clearly commercial purposes. It's called copyright. Claiming it's not commercial is just stupid. Because money is not the goal doesn't make it fair use. It's clearly not fair use.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look we are all trying to take over the world here

    But fairs, fair, if these be the rules we all have to play by, then thems be the rules.

    Tossers, if they think that their little poncing about should be treated any differently from anyone else's poncing about, well it just beggars belief.

    Who the hell do these politicians think they are, little dictators in the making aren't they.

    We have the technology to have a true real time democracy, I say we scrap all this old style farting, and mincing about with little elections, and we get down to everyone having the vote on everything and start a real democracy.

    The revolution will not be televised and it looks like it won't be on youtube either.

  32. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  33. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


    ... "timely" and "factual" information from McCain campaign? Film at 11.

    Oh well, he can still use pieces of old Leni Riefenstahl movies to inspire America. Copyright should have expired on these.

  34. James

    Double standards

    The notion that McCain "doesn't read e-mail" is nothing more than an urban legend (he reads e-mail a lot, then dictates replies since his arm injuries make typing painful), and of course he wouldn't be setting up the server himself, he'd pay IT guys to set that up for him just like any other politician. Nor, of course, would being President allow him to repeal the DMCA anyway.

    I agree politicians should not be given special treatment, though: the process does need safeguards, but they must apply to the rest of us as well as to them. Requiring those sending takedown notices to post a deposit which is forfeit if the notice is found to be wrongful, as well as allowing the poster a window (24 hours? Next working day?) in which to respond *before* the ISP acts, seems like a reasonable start.

  35. Samuel Walker

    If he really believed in the DMCA

    Then he would file a proper counter-notice. Not some e-mail urging for them to brake the law by making a provision for politicians which isn't specified in the law itself.

  36. Corrine

    Screw you McCain

    You voted for these laws, suffer with the rest of us.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hoist by his own Petard

    Sums it up nicely, I think. :)

  38. Giles Jones Gold badge

    One rule for them....

    Another rule for the rest of us?

    Surely they should be paying the artist and publisher to use the music if it is used in promotional material. They have enough campaign money to do so!

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Host it yourself

    So host it yourself and reject the take down notices.

  40. Seán

    Republicans corrupt beyond belief

    The lousy bastards are so corrupt they don't even see what's criminal about their "solution". I'm only surprised there wasn't some kind of sweetener attached to the deal, unless there was an implicit threat in there. Why do yanks vote for evil? I suppose it's the same reason Thatcher got voted in three times, lack of education.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a DCMA issue

    This isn't really a DCMA issue or a fair use issue though. It's about the McCain campaign, who have millions of dollars of funding at their disposal, just riping off whatever they want as if it's not freeloading for them to use other's work for their profit, but at the same time they are happy for others to be punished for doing exactly the same thing.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Don't make exceptions for stupid laws, just don't make stupid laws in the first place.

  43. Z

    @el reg

    Agreed with Unitron above - we need orwellion icons to use! Where are our Ingsoc V's or the beady eyes of big brother?

  44. Jodo Kast

    They don't...

    follow their own laws? !)

    That is classic. Their excuses for using copyright material is a great capper. Kudos for their chutzpah.

  45. Matthew neuder

    sorry to burst your bubbles

    not to ruin too many people's good for the goose == good for the gander fun, but he (or rather his campaign) is not asking to be exempt from the law, he is saying that the adds all fall under fair use, which i am fairly certain they do. and what he's saying is that although youtube can't possibly devote resources to find out if each video that has a complaint about it is a violation of the terms and services of youtube (including breech of copy rite), he'd like them to bother to figure out if major campaign ads are an actual breech before taking them down.

    which is somewhat special treatment, but frankly probably should be done. he's even bothered to include his opponent in his request.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    It's a top gag though...

    Just keep filing the take down notices against him and you can effectively censor his right wing hate mongering bullsh!t.

  47. Dennis
    Paris Hilton

    This could be good

    At least it is highlighting the ridiculousness of DMCA takedowns.

    Because lets face it when we complain nobody cares….. when somebody of the power and influence of John McCain complains it gets published on the news.

    Maybe if they had listened to me when I complained about the racketeering banks we wouldn't be in the global mess we are in now.

    Paris because she says 'Publish and be damned'

  48. ChessGeek

    As Usual... all depends on whose ox is getting gored.

  49. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Up

    Rearrange these words...

    ... to get a well known phrase or saying.

    Petard, Hoist, One's, Own, By.

    Obviously McCain is one of those politicos who think they have special privileges (the word derives from "private law"!) and that the sort of legislation they pass is only for the "little people" to obey.

  50. Alec Harkness
    Thumb Up

    Laughable hypocrisy

    Claiming the videos are examples of "fair use" because they are non-commercial and factual is pretty laughable. Politicians are as commercial as anyone, and less factual than anyone.

    Also, every week we get some other band coming forward to say the McCain bunch have nicked their tunes.

    All in all, McCain should just stop weeping and suck it up like his constituents have had to.


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