Copyright As Censorship: FIFA's Overaggressive Copyright Takedowns Target Fans Celebrating And Pussy Riot Protesting
from the copyright-censors dept
One of the talking points we heard in the run up to the EU Parliament’s vote over the EU Copyright Directive was the laughable claim that Article 13 — which would require mandatory upload filters for many sites — could not possibly lead to censorship. Here was what UK collection society PRS for Music had to say about that issue:
…the argument is flawed for the simple reason that it assumes creators and producers are incentivised to block access to their works.
Centuries of copyright have proven this is not the case. Indeed, one of the core principles of copyright is that it incentivises the licensing of works. Requiring online platforms to obtain a licence will not lead to mass-scale blocking of copyright works online.
We talked about how silly this was in response (and pointed to dozens of articles we’ve written in the past about how copyright is used for censorship), but let’s add another one to the pile. As you know, the World Cup just ended this past weekend, and FIFA, which certainly has some history being over aggressive on the “intellectual property” side of things, apparently was working overtime getting videos taken down from various platforms.
This resulted in lots of outraged fans especially over insane situations like when Kathryn Conn posted a 5 second video of her 7-year-old son celebrating a goal. She posted it to Twitter, where it was promptly taken down thanks to a highly questionable DMCA notice from FIFA. It is positively bizarre that anyone could possibly think that this video infringed on anyone’s copyright, or that it somehow should require “licensing” from FIFA to show your 7-year-old celebrating a goal.
But, it’s not just taking down what some might consider “inconsequential” videos of fans celebrating. As you may have heard, the well known collective Pussy Riot staged a protest by having some of its members run onto the field during the final between France and Croatia. All of those involved have been arrested and thrown in jail for 15 days and banned from visiting any sports event for three years.
And… you guessed it, it appears that FIFA decided to take the matter into its own hands and sent a DMCA takedown to have the video disappeared:
WOW, YouTube has blocked our video because of the FIFA copyright shit pic.twitter.com/8pSIdDPrQG
— ???????????????????? ???????????????? (@pussyrrriot) July 15, 2018
Oh, but no, copyright is never used for censorship, is it? It’s just magically taking down videos of political protests… because it’s an incentive to license the material, right?