Rand Paul’s campaign could use a YouTube tutorial after presidential announcement flagged, removed

Rand Paul Presidential Announcement
Gage Skidmore/Flickr
Rand Paul has tried to position himself as a digital pioneer in the past, and the technological illiteracy of his peers has helped him more or less achieve that image. But someone in the Paul campaign must have forgotten how YouTube works, because the senator’s presidential announcement video was flagged and promptly removed by the service’s Content ID system. Oops.

A copyright claim from Warner Music Group over the use of John Rich’s “Shuttin’ Detroit Down” is the culprit. The song played briefly as Paul entered and exited, which was seemingly enough to trigger the (presumably automated) takedown.

YouTube implemented Content ID back in 2007 in an attempt to placate copyright holders. Since then, the more than 5,000 companies who’ve chosen to monetized protected music and videos with advertisements have raked in over $1 billion, according to YouTube. But the system has been a source of consternation for video creators who manage to accidentally incorporate copyrighted content; channels affected range broadly from video game streamers to NASA.

Copyright controversies are hardly new to YouTube. The video sharing platform has a historically complicated relationship with the music industry, partnering with record labels for premium music-streaming services on the one hand while fending off lawsuits with the other. Most recently, Irving Azoff, manager of performance rights group Global Music Rights (GMR), threatened last December to sue the video giant for $1 billion on the eve of YouTube’s Music Key subscription launch.

Instances like these are unlikely to deter campaigns like Paul’s from YouTube, as the service remains far and away the largest video streaming portal on the Web. But as The Washington Post notes, the narrative — “government intervention […] blocked from view because YouTube lets huge music companies preemptively apply copyright law” — might jive with Paul’s staunch libertarianism.

For now, though, it might be best if the Paul campaign played it safe on Snapchat and Twitter.

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