from the what-do-you-meme? dept
By now you’re likely aware that Donald Trump tweets. Like, a lot. An unfortunate amount, actually. And he also often takes a break from tweeting his own authored… I don’t know, let’s call them thoughts… to instead simply retweet any sycophanitic content he can find out there. Sometimes, in fact, he retweets things that may be infringing upon copyright.
And sometimes what he retweets is more innocent, at least in the context of intellectual property.
A video posted by Donald Trump has been removed from Twitter after a copyright claim by the rock band Nickelback.
The video took aim at the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, opening with a clip of him saying he had never discussed business dealings with his son Hunter. Trump’s efforts to encourage the Ukrainian president to investigate Hunter Biden lie at the centre of an impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats last week.
Following the Biden segment, the clip posted by Trump then cuts to a popular, if niche, meme based on an edit of the music video for the 2005 Nickelback single Photograph.
In the video Trump tweeted out, Chad Kroeger holds up a picture that shows Biden with his son and someone misleadingly labeled a Ukrainian energy exec (really, Biden’s son’s long term American business partner) and yes this is all stupid and insane but what can I do guys this is 2019 and I just can’t anymore but I have to because life is still probably worth living right or maybe not?
Let me take a breath.
Anyhoo, that tweet no longer contains the video in question, as you can see below.
In case you cannot see that, the video was taken down at the request of the copyright owner, which in this case would either be the band or its label. It’s worth noting at this point that this meme is a rather well known one, with a zillion other examples of its use all over Twitter and the internet. The chief difference between those others and Trump’s tweet would be including the Bidens in the picture rather than a million other things that people have inserted into that photograph. This might lead some to scream about Twitter being biased…but not so much. Plenty of clearly conservative parties have tweeted out the video and had it remain up as of the time of this writing.
Instead, this looks like a high profile tweet by a President many people don’t like got the attention of Nickelback, who didn’t want their names associated with Donald Trump. And so they DMCA’d the video in Trump’s tweet. Twitter, rather than putting any real thought into how widespread the meme is, whether the meme is Fair Use, or whether this actually constitutes copyright infringement, simply took the video down. Because, frankly, that’s how this generally works.
Which sucks. President Trump does many, many, oh so many things that I personally find horrific. Sharing memes that aren’t entirely without wit, however, isn’t really one of them. And, as we’ve pointed out in the past, even if you hate the President, you shouldn’t celebrate copyright abuse to silence his expression. That’s not what copyright is for.
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