Universal Music Group Censors Political Speech and Ignores Fair Use
A YouTube channel called LiberalViewer regularly engages in political commentary, and usually criticizes Fox News’ presentation of news events. In one such video, uploaded in January 2008, LiberalViewer criticized the way Fox News abruptly cut away from a speech being delivered by then-candidate Obama. Back then, Obama’s campaign frequently used Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” after campaign speeches. So naturally, in explaining Fox News’ cut away of Obama, LiberalViewer’s video included a short 34 seconds long snippet of the song.
In 2011, Universal Music Group issued a Content ID claim against the video. LiberalViewer immediately disputed the claim and contacted Universal Music’s agent. After several emails, rather than lifting the claim, Universal responded with a DMCA takedown notice. Believing his video to be a lawful fair use, LiberalViewer counter-noticed. YouTube briefly reinstated the video, but then took it down again, claiming that the counter-notice was invalid because the user did not have “sufficient rights.”
LiberalViewer again counter-noticed in September 2015 and YouTube simply referred the user to Universal Music Group again.