If you haven’t seen the video the Daily Caller made with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, it features the guy pointing out what you can still do after he and the FCC repeal Obama’s Net Neutrality…which to save you some time is literally everything you did before it was repealed, and everything you did before 2015 when it wasn’t even around yet.
At the end of the humorous video, Pai is seen dancing to the Harlem Shake with other people in the video. For those who don’t know what the Harlem Shake is, it’s a meme that was at its most popular in 2013, that featured people dancing erratically to the song “Harlem Shake” by Baauer. A video that went viral spawned 12,000 more just like it over the course of a few days in February that year.
Thanks to Pai currently being public enemy number one over his taking the internet out of the government’s hands, the Daily Caller video scored millions of views, but was received an avalanche of thumbs down.
But as the Daily Caller pointed out, just merely expressing their fervent hate for Pai wasn’t enough.
“As the left often does with content that offends them, they started a campaign to strip the video from the internet,” wrote the Daily Caller’s co-founder, Neil Patel. “That happened to us, without warning, on YouTube Friday morning.”
Patel wrote that the video was taken down by Google and YouTube, over a copyright claim over the usage of Harlem Shake.
If that doesn’t make sense to you because literally thousands of people uploaded videos featuring the song, then you’re in good company. It didn’t make any sense to the Daily Caller either, but as you can probably guess, the answer was a political one.
Apparently the song’s creators filed the copyright claim simply because they liked Net Neutrality, and not the Republican dancing to it:
The song is owned and licensed by artist Mad Decent, who demanded the platform remove the video, not because anyone was making profit off their work, but because they openly disagreed with the political worldview of the man dancing to it.
Baauer, the DJ who created the song, openly admitted on Twitter that he was targeting our video because he doesn’t like its political message. He called Pai a “loser” and said “I support net neutrality like the vast majority of this country and am appalled to be associated with its repeal in anyway (SIC).”
The punchline, however, is that Baauer isn’t exactly using original material himself, as Patel points out.
“His sudden concern for copyright law is even more laughable, considering he created “Harlem Shake” by sampling another artist’s vocals without permission, which is itself a fair use.”
Indeed, the Harlem Shake was created using samples from artists Jayson Musson, and reggaeton artist Hector Delgado. Since he received no permissions for the song, Baauer had a massive hit and didn’t make a dime off it.
Regardless, Google — openly not a fan of conservative thought and notorious for censoring right leaning content without apology — gave Mad Decent his wish, and took the Daily Caller’s video down. This despite the fact that the Daily Caller video fell well within fair use laws, which state that it’s okay to use content “to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work.”.
“The FCC chairman dancing with a lightsaber to “The Harlem Shake” is an obvious parody,” wrote Patel. “What’s more, the entire video and the very short clip of the song were there as a commentary on the whole network-neutrality debate. This is as open-and-shut a case of fair use as has ever existed.”
The Daily Caller immediately went after Google, and due to the Daily Caller’s size and influence, was able to pressure Google into restoring the video…a whole seven hours later.
Patel wrote that this was only possible because the Daily Caller is such a big fish. However, smaller operations won’t have that privilege, and that’s not okay.
Getting Google to treat content fairly shouldn’t require being a company with the size and influence of The Daily Caller.
The network-neutrality debate over whether the large internet providers will discriminate based on their commercial or political interests is raging in America. It’s a good debate to have.
While we are debating, however, Google is quietly and arbitrarily using its massive power to censor the internet.
YouTube’s targeting of Daily Caller content and its willingness to remove our video for political purposes while millions of other uses are allowed to remain on the platform should stand as a terrifying prospect for every American.
Indeed, Google and YouTube habitually target right wing content for censorship or removal from its site. One of its favorite channels to pick on is none other than Prager U, a conservative education video maker. YouTube has targeted multiple videos from Prager for being dangerous content that should be seen by no one, and even listed the channel in the restricted section alongside channels that like to use pornographic or adult images.
Daily Caller’s story is one that should indeed worry everyone.