Modern Language Association files complaint after we report on audio statements of anti-Israel activists at MLA Annual Meeting
UPDATE: As of approximately 7:30 p.m. on January 13, 2017, our YouTube Channel was restored, though there are still legal battles to come over the videos.
YouTube took down Legal Insurrection’s Channel without any prior notice based on “multiple third-party claims of copyright infringement,” but we never received any claims of infringement.
We have lost hundreds of videos, including a lot of original content on important news subjects. You now will see disabled videos in hundreds of our posts.
I have no idea what the supposedly offending videos are. We are pretty careful when it comes to copyright, so I’m suspecting that someone about whom we posted a video made the claims.
We’ve filed the appeal forms, but if anyone has a contact at YouTube, I’d appreciate the help. Please email me.
UPDATE 1-13-2017 9:50 a.m. — I just received notice from YouTube that the copyright claims were filed by the Modern Language Association based on excerpts of audio of pro- and anti-Israel speakers at the MLA Annual Meeting we reported on in this post, Massive DEFEAT for BDS at Modern Language Association.
We intend to fight this both at the YouTube and legal level. It is highly questionable that MLA owns the copyright for oral presentations at the Annual Meeting, and even if it did, the limited excerpts we used from the nearly 2-hour video posted by MLA on YouTube are well-within fair use. What I think is really going on here is that anti-Israel activists at MLA complained to MLA that MLA had posted the audio on YouTube. MLA took down its own 2-hour video and now seeks to silence our reporting.
Here is part of what we submitted to YouTube as a Counter-Notification stating why MLA has no copyright in the oral presentation of speakers and why YouTube should restore our account:
Please consider this a Counter-Notification, as provided under the YouTube guidelines, https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6005919 and https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6005908, in response to a group of copyright complaints filed with YouTube by the Modern Language Association (MLA) as set forth in your prior email.
We are not aware of any copyright held by any party in connection with the videos, which consist of portions of oral remarks made by several speakers at a meeting. Any copyright that could be claimed would be owned, if at all, by the speakers themselves unless assigned by them to the MLA. MLA in its copyright complaints to YouTube claims to own the copyright itself, not an assignee. Neither the MLA nor any speaker alerted us to any copyright claim or provided us with a copyright registration.
Moreover if there is a bona fide prima facie copyright claim, our use is a fair use because it consists of less than 15 minutes of material, cumulatively for several 1-2 minute excerpts, from a two hour original MLA collation of these speakers’ remarks thus constituting a small portion of the material. Furthermore our posting constitutes comment or news reporting in connection with an issue of public interest. We reported on this news event here, http://legalinsurrection.com/2017/01/massive-defeat-for-bds-at-modern-language-association/. Additionally the use will have no affect on the “market” for the original work, which is non-existent.
Since we vigorously dispute the copyright claims, which were filed in a single bunch, and previous to this had no violations of YouTube’s Terms of Service or the Copyright Act, we request restoration of the account pending resolution of these specific claims.
Hopefully YouTube will do the right thing. As to MLA, unless they can prove as a matter of law and fact that they are the lawful copyright owners or assignees, then they had no right to file the copyright claims that took down our YouTube account. I’m going to be represented by “our lawyer” Ron Coleman in this.