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YouTube bans Rand Paul campaign clip over copyright claim

This is not the best way to kick off a campaign.


Kevin Collier


Posted on Apr 7, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 3:17 am CDT

Even the best laid plans of presidential candidates still go awry, at least when copyright law gets involved.

A campaign video for Senator Rand Paul, released Tuesday alongside his announcement that he’s running for president, was blocked on YouTube, which cited a copyright claim by Warner Music Group.

As noted by Business Insider, while the video was still live it was set to the country twang of John Rich’s “Shuttin’ Detroit Down,” available on WMG, a song about the tragedy of Detroit suffering economically while Washington, D.C. bails out Wall Street. Paul himself is a critic of bailouts in general, and said that a 2013 bailout of the Detroit auto industry would only happen “over my dead body.” After Detroit later filed for bankruptcy, the federal government gave the city hundreds of millions of dollars in aid.

YouTube videos are subject to the platform’s Content ID system, which automatically checks uploaded videos against a massive database of copyrighted content, and removes it, per the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, if it finds a match.

When reached for comment, a WMG representative said “What happened?” When the Daily Dot explained that a Rand Paul video had been taken down with a WMG claim, the representative asked if the Daily Dot would like to license the song. When the Daily Dot said it was instead seeking comment on how or why a copyright claim could derail a campaign video, the representative said she would transfer the Daily Dot to “the people who do copyright,” refused to say who those people were, and transferred the Daily Dot to WMG’s generic phone answering service. When the Daily Dot hung up and called again, the representative seemed confused and forwarded it to the same service. Warner Music then didn’t answer the Daily Dot’s subsequent calls.

H/T Washington Post | Photo via StumpSource/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

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*First Published: Apr 7, 2015, 7:44 pm CDT