By Ben Haber
As we prepare for tonight’s third and final presidential debate, Senator John McCain’s campaign is having some problems with YouTube.
McCain’s camp sent a letter to YouTube on Monday, accusing the popular online video site of acting too quickly to comply with copyright infringement notices when they took down his campaign advertisements. (One video in particular was also pulled by CBS because it featured Katie Couric, and CBS said the network did not endorse a specific candidate).
According to Computerworld, the letter was sent to Google (YouTube’s parent company) protesting YouTube’s removal of unnamed videos from the site after receiving take-down notices claiming copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The letter goes on to suggest that YouTube set up a special process for reviewing the legal merit of take-down requests for YouTube accounts associated with candidates or their campaigns, since they do not want to wait the standard 10 days for a resolution.
Highlighting the letter was the sense of urgency to have the situation resolved quickly since the election is just a few weeks away: “10 days can be a lifetime in a political campaign, and there is no justification for depriving the American people of access to important and timely campaign videos during that period.”
YouTube answered McCain’s camp with a letter of their own:
We try to be careful not to favor one category of content on our site over others, and to treat all of our users fairly, regardless of whether they are an individual, a large corporation or a candidate for public office….we hope that as a content uploader, you have gained a sense of some of the challenges we face everyday in operating YouTube. We look forward to working with Senator (or President) McCain on ways to combat abuse of the D.M.C.A. takedown process on YouTube, including, by way of example, strengthening the fair use doctrine.
Clearly McCain’s team was hoping for a more immediate and different response that would result in the videos being allowed, but it shows how important the internet has become in today’s world.