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Political Sites Don’t Have Blanket Fair Use Exemption From Copyright Laws

Governor Rick Perry

Image by eschipul via Flickr

Legal Issues With Online Video For Business: Texas Governor Rick Perry (still) Learning the Hard Way.

As reported this week on the Star-Telegram.com, Gov. Perry’s YouTube account was shut down due to copyright violations. The campaign has used multiple YouTube accounts, most recently to post videos attacking political rival Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Although the campaign removed those videos after the primary, this time YouTube did it for them. NBCDFW.com reporter Omar Villafranca discovered that the video site recently shut down Perry’s “Liberal Bill” YouTube channel due to “multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement.”

Perry is not alone in his use of popular music online. The Star-Telegram.com reports that “most candidates don’t bother to secure the rights to use music” before using it in web-based videos. Apparently, in the continued proliferation of the “urban myth” that taking only a “little bit” of someone else’s creative work is not stealing, Perry spokesman Mark Miner argued that use of the music was permitted under “fair use.” See our blog post about copyright “fair use” here.

Apparently, this isn’t the first time Perry’s abused someone else’s copyright. Alternative rock band The Postal Service contacted the campaign in 2009, about a video featuring the song “Such Great Heights.”

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