Buffy Versus Edward – War on Cited Remix Video (Jan. 9, 2013) The acclaimed remix video “Buffy Versus Edward”, which critiques gender politics in the “Twilight” movies, was removed from YouTube as a copyright violation of Lionsgate’s movies – despite Lionsgate’s admission just the previous month that the video was a fair use. See video creator Jonathan McIntosh’s account of the takedown, “Buffy vs Edward Remix Unfairly Removed by Lionsgate” (Jan. 9, 2013).
Already receiving significant attention, this particular takedown incident will no doubt be resolved quickly – Lionsgate conceded the fair use in December, and it is likely that this current takedown is more of an administrative problem than anything else. But it illustrates the difficulty that artists and critics face engaging with an increasingly automated and algorithmically-based copyright enforcement system. When YouTube’s ContentID system automatically flags content for takedown or other copyright-based actions based on its algorithmic analyses, copyright loses the critical checks and balances that let it co-exist peacefully with the First Amendment.
Ironically, “Buffy vs. Edward” was shown to, and cited by, the Copyright Office in its most recent DMCA 1201 anticircumvention rulemaking, as the sort of vital work that merited an exemption to the circumvention restrictions. If only we could get an exemption from automated copyright control.
Update: January 10, 2013 – Lionsgate caved in the face of significant Internet protest, and “Buffy Versus Edward” has been re-posted.