As noted yesterday, the Rush Limbaugh Show is attempting to silence criticism of his treatment of Sandra Fluke by getting our video compilation of it pulled from YouTube. We re-uploaded the video to Vimeo (the embed above), and can obviously keep posting it in multiple places if Limbaugh's lawyers persist.
But there is still the question of YouTube—the Google outfit that has erroneously pulled the video. The great folks at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the nation's staunchest defenders of online freedoms, have taken notice.
While initiating frivolous legal processes to intimidate and silence critics is hardly new, Limbaugh actually seems to be taking a specific page out of the playbook of Michael Savage, his on-again/off-again compatriot and fellow conservative talk radio fixture. In 2007, Savage turned to copyright law in an ultimately futile attempt to silence the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) who did precisely what the Daily Kos has done here: post online a minutes-long montage of outrageous statements made by a radio host in order to criticize the host's behavior and expose it for a public audience. In Savage's case, he unsuccessfully sued CAIR for copyright infringement ... Limbaugh has (for now) chosen the more expeditious DMCA takedown route. Just as with Savage's ridiculous attempt to keep his own words from being used against him failed, though, so will Limbaugh's.EFF runs our Rush Limbaugh video through a Fair Use legal analysis, and like I said yesterday, it's not even close. It's about as clear a Fair Use situation as you can get. It's so cut and dry, actually, that there should be no reason for Google to play along with Limbaugh's censorship efforts.
A closing question for Google: Want to reconsider? You're not legally obligated to comply with plainly abusive DMCA notices. You've restored videos that were improperly taken down by meritless DMCA notices in the past. How about this one?