YouTube restores previously removed Romney ad following copyright claim

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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YouTube restored a Web ad from presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney‘s campaign attacking President Barack Obama‘s cronyism record Thursday, after it was briefly removed from the site due to a copyright claim filed by music publisher BMG Rights Management.

Legal experts who spoke to TheDC about the video agreed that the claim filed by BMG was an abuse of current copyright law — an unfortunate occurrence that happens quite frequently. The ad featured an 8-second clip of the president singing the lyrics, “I’m so in love with you,” from the Al Green song “Let’s Stay Together.”

BMG’s connection to Crown/Random House — Obama’s book publisher — sparked speculation that the ad might have been removed for political reasons.

Other versions of the ad resurfaced that day on other YouTube accounts, as well as YouTube’s competitor, Vimeo.

The Romney campaign told TheDC that they believed their use of the video was “100 percent proper, under fair use” and that they had planned to defend themselves.

When BMG filed the complaint, YouTube was required by law to remove the video.

When we’re notified that a particular video uploaded to our site infringes another’s copyright, we remove the material in accordance with the law,” a YouTube spokesperson told TheDC in an email statement Thursday.

We have a counter notification process in place if a user believes a content owner has misidentified their video, and we reinstate content if a user prevails in that process,” they said. “We also reinstate videos in cases where we are confident that the material is not infringing, or where there is abuse of our copyright tools.”

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to TheDC’s request for comment about the video’s reposting. BMG did not return TheDC’s request for comment by the time of publication.

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