According to a story by Ryan Singel on Wired.com, the Official DNC Youtube live-stream of Michelle Obama’s Tuesday night speech was blocked for apparent copyright violations. As Singel explained it:
YouTube, the official streaming partner of the Democratic National Convention, put a copyright blocking message on the live-stream video of the event shortly after it ended, which was embedded prominently at BarackObama.com and DemConvention2012. Would-be internet viewers saw a message claiming the stream had been caught infringing on the copyright of one of many possible content companies:
This video contains content from WMG, SME, Associated Press (AP), UMG, Dow Jones, New York Times Digital, The Harry Fox Agency, Inc. (HFA), Warner Chappell, UMPG Publishing and EMI Music Publishing, one or more of whom have blocked it in your country on copyright grounds. Sorry about that.
For their part, Youtube officials described the incident as a “technical error” and assured viewers the problem wouldn’t recur. However, that didn’t stop Tech Dirt’s Tim Cushing from using the incident to deride copyright and Youtube’s Content ID system saying “the inherent stupidity of the action,automated or not, does absolutely nothing to lock down stray, unmonetized content and absolutely everything to highlight the ridiculous nature of copyright protection in a digital age.”
Apparently it’s fine for content thieves to use technology to steal and monetize the work of others but when rights holders employ technology to protect their rights it suddenly becomes a problem? Clearly there was technical issue with the Youtube live-stream that needed to be addressed but this incident has absolutely nothing to do with the legitimacy of copyright. Of course, that doesn’t stop piracy apologists from drawing false equivalencies at every opportunity.
As I wrote in a previous blog post, Youtube’s Content ID system is not perfect, but it is an important tool that rights holders can use to protect their content online. After all, technology is ours to use too isn’t it? What’s so ridiculous about that?