(Hypebot) — Copyright acting as censorship is, unfortunately, nothing new. In this latest instance, alternative media outlet Unicorn Riot announced that video interviews with protestors they had conducted and posted were pulled from both Facebook and YouTube, allegedly do a ContendID issue regarding the use of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”
Guest post by Mike Masnick of Techdirt
Another day, another example of copyright acting as censorship. The folks over at Unicorn Riot have been covering the protests around the country, but apparently they can’t do that as they’d like because copyright is getting in the way. Unicorn Riot announced on Twitter that video interviews they had conducted and posted have been pulled down from both Facebook and YouTube due to copyright claims such as this one:
If you look closely at that image of the info within YouTube, it shows what are most likely ContentID matches of five different songs that were flagged, playing in the background while protesters were being interviewed. Three of the songs — by Beyonce, Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar — were listed for demonetization (which would allow Unicorn Riot’s videos to play, just without monetization). But two more — by 2Pac and Marvin Gaye — said the entire video had to come down.
Now, YouTube does let the user “trim out” that sequence, or “mute” the song, but doing so would trim or mute the interview at the same time, and that kinda defeats the purpose.
And so you have an end result where important historical documentation of huge and important protests, focused on police brutality against black Americans, is being blocked and erased from history, due to the copyright on music created by black musicians.
That cannot and should not be the point of copyright. And yet, it is what we have today.
Unicorn Riot (understandably) is complaining that Facebook and YouTube have “algorithmically interfered” with their reporting, but the reality is that it’s copyright to blame here. And we should not confuse the two.