Blogger and Pageant Operators Try to Block Advocacy Non-Profit Ad
After gossip blogger Perez Hilton recorded a video in which he called Miss California Carrie Prejean a "dumb bitch" in response to her public opposition to same-sex marriage, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) incorporated a clip of his tirade into an advertisement called "No Offense," depicting same-sex marriage opponents as under attack. The advertisement also included a brief clip of the Miss USA pageant where Prejean made her statement opposing same-sex marriage.
Soon, "No Offense" was under fire from both Perez Hilton and the Miss Universe Organization. Lawyers for the Miss Universe Organization claimed that the ad infringed their copyrights by including a portion of the TV broadcast of the pageant, and Perez issued a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube, claiming that it illegally copied a portion of the video commentary posted to his blog.
Nonsense. Both the Perez Hilton clip and the Miss USA pageant segment were clear fair uses. Both were short and used only a minimal amount of the original content in order to demonstrate the controversy. But most importantly, both clips were being reused by the National Organization of Marriage for a completely different purpose: to comment on the politics of same-sex marriage. After the ad was removed from YouTube due to Perez's DMCA takedown request, NOM responded with a DMCA counternotice asserting their fair use rights. YouTube reinstated the video, ensuring that the ad would be available to the viewing public.
Hopefully, every party involved with this episode learns that it's wrong to try to silence opponents with bogus copyright claims, and that fair use protects free speech from being crudely squelched. (This lesson applies to the National Organization for Marriage as well, which in the past issued a bogus DMCA takedown of their own to silence critics.)