Liberal bloggers are accusing Fox News of launching an Internet war against them in a campaign to selectively remove Fox clips from YouTube.
On Wednesday, YouTube shut down the popular News1News channel, which featured news clips that many progressive bloggers and news sites would add to their stories. On the rare occasion, Raw Story also embedded News1News clips in stories having to do with media coverage. The channel provided clips from all news networks, but often focused on Fox's controversial commentators.
The decision to shut down News1News came after Fox News issued 150 take-down notices to the channel, which they are entitled to do under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, reports Adrian Chen at Gawker. YouTube's policy is to shut down any accounts that receive three or more take-down notices, so News1News was immediately pulled offline.
But Fox News' move appears to be limited to News1News, while other YouTube channels -- those viewed as having conservative leanings -- remain untouched. Chen points out that the Glenn Beck Daily Clips channel continues to operate, although it features 614 clips, as of last count, of Glenn Beck's Fox show. The Conservative Nation channel, with close to 200 clips, is also still online.
Thus, Fox's move will mostly affect stories posted on progressive-leaning blogs, such as Gawker, the Huffington Post and Truthdig, while leaving intact YouTube clips embedded at conservative Web sites. Instead of embedded video, visitors to those sites will now see a notice stating that the video in question is "no longer available."
Queerty blog reported Friday that News1News' creator, identified only as "Jon," has experienced this before. This past summer, Fox shut down his NewsPoliticsNews channel on similar copyright grounds, but the channel was reinstated after YouTube lawyers disagreed with Fox's basis for the take-down notice.
Jon reportedly told Queerty at the time that this "will not happen again."
So why is this such a big deal? Because folks like Jon — private citizens who have the time to rip and upload videos — are crucial to this "blogging" thing we do all day long. A single 30-second clip that might otherwise disappear into the ether can live forever online, driving debate for at least a 24-hour news cycle....
Chen notes that "what's surprising about this whole episode isn't that Fox will use digital copyright law to fight back against its political opponents; it's that the operators of these popular cable news-ripping YouTube channels are actually pretty important players in the blog game."
Think about it: They not only get to select which cable news clips have the possibility of "going viral" and becoming news themselves, but if they're taken down, whole swaths of video-based blog posts become a lot of words surrounding a big empty space.
And [Jon] said that network bigwigs took enough notice when one of his MSNBC clips hit 500,000 views that VP of Digital Media, Mark Lukasiewicz, personally called him to say they had their eye on him.
Because there's no limit to how many YouTube accounts someone can create, Jon's news channel is now back online, under the name NewsPoliticsAmerica. Bloggers will no doubt be watching closely to see if and when the channel is once again shut down.