The Washington Post reports that “YouTube’s copyright system has taken Rand Paul’s presidential announcement offline” due to an allegation of copyright infringement by Warner Music Group. Senator Paul’s announcement speech featured audio clips from the John Rich song “Shuttin’ Detroit Down,” the copyright to which is controlled by WMG. The alleged infringement was flagged automatically by YouTube’s Content ID system, which allows copyright owners to “easily identify and manage their content on YouTube.” According to YouTube, “[v]ideos uploaded to YouTube are scanned against a database of files that have been submitted to us by content owners. Copyright owners get to decide what happens when content in a video on YouTube matches a work they own.” After discovering the alleged infringement, WMG apparently elected to have the accused video taken down—the YouTube page for the video now simply states, “This video is private.”
As the article notes, “Rand Paul’s spirited cry against government intervention has been blocked from view because YouTube lets huge music companies preemptively apply copyright law.” It will be interesting to see whether the libertarian Paul views WMG’s actions as a violation of free speech or a triumph of private property rights. Read the full article here and decide for yourself. Reposted from The Washington Post.