On April 6, 2008, a clip of an Oklahoma police officer assaulting a man appeared on the popular video-sharing site YouTube. Tagged with “police,” “brutality” and “beat up,” it received over 20,000 views in the ten brief days that it was available.
Taken from inside the police cruiser, the clip shows a tan Toyota pickup stopped along an icy, tree-lined road. The officer is telling the man in the passenger-side seat to step outside. “Sir, turn around and put your hands behind your back,” the officer says, moving to make an arrest.
“YouTube takes the position of neutrals,” said Corynne McSherry, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “They say, ‘If we get a [DMCA] notice to take a video down, we’ll take it down. If we get a notice to put it back up, we’ll put it back up.”