Daily Caller released a funny video Tuesday of FCC Chairman Ajit
Pai defending the commission’s upcoming net neutrality rollback. Through
Wednesday and Thursday, liberals and others who dislike Pai’s political
position lost their minds. And by Friday morning, Google, one of the
most powerful companies on the planet, had censored the video based on a
bogus claim from a politically motivated man.
took seven crucial hours and the full force of our news site to push
Google and YouTube to reverse this political censorship. We were able to
prevail because of the sizable contacts and resources
of TheDC. An average citizen showcasing a political viewpoint
Google and the left disagreed with would almost certainly have had a far
more difficult — and fruitless — time fighting back.
TheDC, we knew that releasing a video of
Pai fidget-spinning in a Santa suit, swinging lightsabers and playing
with a puppy a day before the FCC’s net neutrality vote would ruffle
some feathers. We were prepared for the hyperventilating over the
video to reach a fever pitch as the Obama-era internet regulations were
rolled back Thursday afternoon. Indeed, the video was viewed
millions of times over a 24-hour period, was featured in a broad
spectrum of news mediums, and spawned an avalanche of memes on Reddit.
producing the video, we never advocated for Pai or the new net
neutrality regulations, and you should check out our
in-depth interview with him here on race and the
internet. The video was meant to tell Pai’s version of the net
neutrality battle in a non-traditional, non-linear way.
honest viewer of this video would see that.
the seething outrage over the net neutrality issue poisoned the well far
beyond critics’ ability to appreciate parody. The video, and those
featured in it, were viciously attacked. The “likes” to “dislikes” were
comically ratioed, 5,000 to 144,000 at last count.
as the left often does with content that offends them, they started a
campaign to strip the video from the internet.
happened to us, without warning, on YouTube Friday morning.
Pai video was removed because of a copyright claim for … wait for it …
“The Harlem Shake.”
(Photo: Screenshot/The Daily Caller)
Harlem Shake” is an embarrassingly outdated internet trope that peaked
in popularity approximately four years ago. Like much of the content in
the video, it was there to make a point in a funny way. A simple search
on Youtube shows over 7,000,000 videos using long segments of the song
with billions upon billions of total views. Our video used only a few
seconds of the song and was not monetized — we were not making profit
from this silly rendition of the FCC chairman dancing to a few seconds
of a song uploaded to the internet multi-millions of times.
it featured a Republican against net neutrality, however, the triggering
song is owned and licensed by record label Mad Decent, who demanded the
platform remove the video, not because anyone was making profit off
their work, but because they openly disagreed with the political
worldview of the man dancing to it.
the DJ who created the song, openly admitted on Twitter that
he was targeting our video because he doesn’t like its political
message. He called Pai a “loser” and said “I support net neutrality like
the vast majority of this country and am appalled to be associated with
its repeal in anyway (SIC).” His sudden concern for copyright law is
even more laughable, considering he created “Harlem Shake” by sampling
another artist’s vocals without permission, which is itself a
a Google-owned company who supports net neutrality, willingly complied
with Mad Decent’s request. This is not in any way standard practice
for the platform, which thrives because its creators liberally flex
use, defined by
Stanford Law, is the use of copyright material “to comment upon,
criticize, or parody a copyrighted work.”
use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and
“transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or
parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission
from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense
against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a
fair use, then it would not be considered an infringement.
FCC chairman dancing with a lightsaber to “The Harlem Shake” is an
obvious parody. What’s more, the entire video and the very short clip of
the song were there as a commentary on the whole network-neutrality
debate. This is as open-and-shut a case of fair use as has ever existed.
soon as we discovered that The Daily Caller’s video had been removed,
our chief operations officer reached out to Google for answers. The
video was restored after approximately seven important hours down.
Google to treat content fairly shouldn’t require being a company with
the size and influence of The Daily Caller.
network-neutrality debate over whether the large internet providers will
discriminate based on their commercial or political interests is raging
in America. It’s a good debate to have.
we are debating, however, Google is quietly and arbitrarily using its
massive power to censor the internet.
targeting of Daily Caller content and its willingness to remove our
video for political purposes while millions of other uses are allowed to
remain on the platform should stand as a terrifying prospect for every
follows a disturbing trend of platforms and networks devaluing and restricting content
based on political viewpoints.
is an important moment, for us and for all publishers who supposedly
value “neutrality” on the internet.
our “Newsmakers” interview with Pai: