ESPN And Univision Say Screw Fair Use: Your 6 Second Vine Videos Of World Cup Goals Must Be Taken Down
from the permission-society dept
Last year, we wrote about the ridiculousness of Prince sending DMCA takedowns over 6 second videos on Vine. Those seemed like a pretty clear fair use case. The very nature of Vine, in that it limits videos to 6 seconds seems tailor made for fair use, even if there is no magical time period that guarantees fair use. Either way, it should be no surprise that when it comes to a major sporting event, the powers that be don’t believe in any fair use at all. Similar to the Olympics, nearly every time we write about the World Cup, it involves an aggressive abuse of claimed intellectual property rights to stifle perfectly legitimate communications and content.
The latest, according to the Wall Street Journal, is that ESPN and Univision are rushing around taking down Vine clips of World Cup goals, even to the point that some major media properties have had their Vine accounts killed for being accused of infringement too often:
Since the start of the tournament Vox Media-owned sports site SB Nation, one of the chief purveyors of quick World Cup content, has had two accounts suspended on Vine, according to its managing editor Brian Floyd.
SB Nation received suspension notices from Twitter, Mr. Floyd said, after a complaint from media-protection company Irdeto, which works on behalf of Univision.
?They don?t seem to mind people Vine-ing funny stuff like fans,? explained Clay Wendler, who quickly crafts Vines for SB Nation. But when it comes to goals ? breathtaking moments of glory seemingly tailor-made for the six-second looping video format ? rights-holders are more stringent, Mr. Wendler said.
Considering that fair use rules are explicitly designed for news reporting, it seems rather clear that these are fair use. It’s unclear from the report if SB Nation has appealed the takedown notices or not, but it’s rather unfortunate that Twitter just killed those accounts without bothering to recognize that they’re clearly being used for fair use reporting on the World Cup.
Similarly, the article points to a recent Slate post which for a little while had a video showing all 136 goals scored in the group stage of the World Cup, spliced together in quick clips, but that video has since been removed after ESPN contacted Slate to claim it was infringement. Once again, this seems like a fairly clear cut case of fair use, using news reporting in a transformative manner which isn’t going to impact the market for the original. But, of course, ESPN is owned by Disney, and Disney doesn’t exactly have the best of reputations when it comes to understanding fair use in others (even if it’s been getting better on that front lately).
It’s really too bad that it appears that Slate and Vox/SB Nation appear to have more or less given in to these takedown requests rather than standing up for fair use.