NASCAR Abuses Copyright Tools to Remove Horrific Crash Video from YouTube

YouTube eventually reinstated the video shot by a spectator

By on February 25th, 2013 10:51 GMT
Media companies are always asking for more copyright protection, for more tools to take down infringing content, for Google to do more to protect their business.

They argue that they need it all to thwart pirates who are threatening the livelihood of millions (Hollywood math) of people and that the fears of critics who argue that these tools and laws can and will be abused are unfounded.

And then, they go ahead and abuse the laws and tools at their disposal in every way they can get away with. Case in point is NASCAR that tried to get footage of a horrific accident at Daytona this weekend off the internet.

As anyone who has used the internet and even a few of those who haven't will tell you, you can never take stuff "off" the internet, once it's there, it stays there.

But it doesn't hurt to try. NASCAR sent YouTube a takedown notice, on copyright grounds, for a video shot and uploaded by a spectator.

Quite obviously, NASCAR doesn't own the copyright to that video, despite claiming on race tickets that it owns everything you film, and in fact, it didn't even claim to, it said it tried to get it down out of "respect" for the families of those injured, 28 in total, 14 of which were rushed to the hospital.

Whether this was out of respect or out of wanting to control the story and keep people coming to races even if wheels may occasionally come raining down on their heads doesn't really matter, NASCAR abused a tool created to deal with copyright infringement to try and censor free speech.

That's all there is to it. It's hardly the first and it certainly won't be the last, as laws get more extreme, you can expect things like this or worse to happen on a regular basis.

The video was initially pulled down, as part of the automated response, but after YouTube reviewed the request, it reinstated the video, pointing out that there was no copyright infringement whatsoever.

It's nice to see that YouTube does sometimes ignore abusive requests, but this was a controversial video that was getting a lot of attention. More obscure videos won't get the same treatment, more often than not these types of abuses will succeed.

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