Conservatives have grown more skeptical of copyright maximalism since SOPA forced newly elected Republicans to choose sides in the copyright wars. And copyright owners aren’t doing much to win them back, judging by Bertelsmann’s latest ham-fisted foray into US politics. The large German publisher, which owns BMG Rights Management, recently forced YouTube to take down Mitt Romney’s new campaign video because it included footage of President Obama singing Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” The takedown is still in effect, even though the clip was almost certainly fair use; the President sang the song at a public event that was widely covered in the press and even on YouTube itself.
Embarrassingly for Bertelsmann, the company had never issued a takedown notice for the YouTube clips of the President singing the song, even though many of them were posted six months ago. When that imbalance was pointed out, Bertelsmann quickly issued takedown notices for the President’s performance as well.
Ironically, though, it still has not issued takedown notices for all the YouTube clips of Al Green himself performing the same song.