Fair use? Remixing campaign videos and avoiding copyright trolls

When faced with a witty attack ad, nothing is faster and more effective than responding with remixed campaign video.  But don’t forget the details. In the heat of the remix battle, copyright infringement seems the least of your worries but a well planned DMCA take-down notice from a copyright owner can shut your opponent’s remix down. 

Romney’s camp posted a remix of Obama singing Barry White’s “I Am So in Love with You” in response to an Obama ad with a Romney’s Greatest Hits theme. BMG used a take-down notice to block access to Romney’s ad and his team claimed fair use according to HuffPo.

Getting a synch license and a master use agreement before the ad is posted is a preventative measure that will keep your media streaming. Sending a counter notice that your remixed political ad is fair use is possible, but the internet services provider must wait 10 days before restoring the video.  By then, the campaign is on to other matters.  

Courts have found that a DMCA take-down notice is made in bad faith in fair use situations. By the time a courts rules, though, the campaign could be over. It is easier and a best practice to license the use.

/Hat tip to Rachel Johnson.