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Ohio Gubernatorial Race Caught Up in Abuse of DMCA

The Ohio Democratic Party recently put up a web video pointing out that a “steelworker” in a recent ad from the Republican gubernatorial candidate was actually a paid actor playing the part of a disgruntled blue-collar worker.

To criticize the earlier ad, the Democratic video incorporated short clips from the actor's previous work to highlight just how far removed he was from the steel mills.  And according to EFF's Kurt Opsahl, the production company behind one of the actor’s films sent YouTube a DMCA takedown notice to get the ad removed, making the Ohio Democratic Party the latest victim of a bogus takedown in the political context.

This is not exactly the same as the incidents CDT describes in our recent report on campaigns being the target of meritless takedowns from news organizations.  But the video – like the others – is clearly making fair use of the clips, and thus the DMCA takedown is totally without merit.  And the incident underscores just how vulnerable campaigns and other political speech can be to these kinds of spurious takedowns.

The good news is that YouTube has apparently taken note; the video is back online.  But the best solution here would be for oversensitive media organizations to stop sending these takedowns in the first place.