YouTube Removes Pro-Palestinian/Anti-Motorola Video

Dec 27, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Two weeks ago, we told you about the local activists who busted out an anti-Motorola song-and-dance routine at the Best Buy and AT&T stores in suburban Brentwood -- and we posted a video of the performance. That video quickly drew more than 35,000 hits.

Last week, however, YouTube unceremoniously removed the video in question, saying it was subject to a copyright challenge by WMG (apparently, the Warner Music Group). See this link for the brief message from YouTube.

The group of activists who assembled the Brentwood flash mobs, the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, is now questioning the video's removal.

As organizer Colleen Kelly points out, there are close to 1,000 YouTube videos showing flash mob-type performances or other recreations of Lady Gaga songs. Those haven't been taken down -- courts have long recognized that parodies are not copyright violations.

"The STL-PSC is firmly convinced, as advised by legal representation, that the flash mob video does not infringe Warner Music Group's copyright, as it constitutes a 'fair use' of the song 'Telephone,' and parodies of songs are protected under a US Supreme Court decision in Cambell v. Acuff-Rose," the group said in a statement.

Adding to the intrigue: The Warner Music Group apparently doesn't represent either Gaga or Beyonce, who both perform in the original "Telephone" video. Beyonce is represented by Sony; Gaga, by BMI.

So why Warner Music Group? Not to get all conspiratorial, but the company does have a relationship with Motorola.  And Motorola, of course, is perhaps the only corporate entity in the world that would be monitoring YouTube for anti-Motorola content.

"This video was getting a lot of attention," Kelly says. 

As you can see from the link above, the group has now reposted the video at a different link -- basically daring YouTube to take that one down, too. Its attorney has also filed a formal challenge to YouTube's decision to censor, Kelly tells Daily RFT. Under the proscribed process, Warner Music Group has a few weeks to explain why the video needed to come down or risk having its veto overturned.

There will surely be more to this story, so stay tuned.