Rand Paul Campaign Video Blocked By YouTube

Rand Paul has found himself on the wrong side of YouTube’s copyright police.

As he makes a bid to become the Republican party’s candidate for the 2016 presidential election, Paul invited the state of Kentucky to “Stand With Rand” in one of his first campaign videos. But it seems that YouTube and Warner Music Group had other plans.

YouTube’s Content ID system, which automatically seeks out unauthorized uses of copyrighted material, flagged a song in the video and immediately blocked it for viewers in the U.S.

Warner has claimed the rights to the song in question, “Shutting Down Detroit” by John Rich, as they own the rights to most of Rich’s back catalog in the U.S. So, just hours after the video was uploaded, it was blocked for all American viewers.

Depending on which side of the aisle you’re on, perhaps Paul’s social media team doesn’t care about copyright law, or absentmindedly forgot the ask for permission from Rich and his record label. Or, it could just be a big misunderstanding. Content ID certainly isn’t infallible, after all.

While Paul and his team certainly won’t be happy about this, the great irony here is that Warner only own the rights for Rich’s songs in the U.S., which means viewers from every other country in the world will be able to watch this American presidential campaign video, while those in the U.S. are left with a simple message from YouTube: “This video contains content from WMG, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.”

Rand Paul isn’t the first presidential hopeful to fall afoul of copyright law.

In 2012, Los Angeles-based rock band Silversun Pickups sent a cease-and-desist letter to Mitt Romney, asking him to stop playing their song “Panic Switch” at campaign events. The beautifully sarcastic letter said, “we’re pretty sure you are familiar with the laws of this great country of ours” before asserting the Romney is violating the band’s copyright and trademarks.

This is a regular occurrence for Republican Party candidates, as the music industry tends to skew markedly to the democratic side of the political spectrum. Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin are just a few of the other Republican hopefuls who had their playlists locked down when artists objected to the use of their music.

Jason Burke

I almost started a YouTube channel once…

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