Fair Use or Copyright Infringement? Anti-Gay Politician Successfully Squashes Watch Dog’s YouTube Channel

Yesterday, Right Wing Watch, a progressive watchdog group that monitors the religious right, had its YouTube account terminated because of copyright infringement claims.

This follows public complaints from Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former Navy chaplain now running for a representative seat in the Colorado legislature. An anti-gay evangelical, Klingenschmitt once said on his “Pray In Jesus Name” show: “If your heart is full of corruption or sin or immorality — in this case, homosexuality — then you should be discriminated against.” Klingenshmitt has also claimed he could exorcise homosexuality:

Right Wing Watch, after having uploaded videos of Klingenshmitt making homophobic statements, received three strikes from YouTube because of copyright infringement claims made by GJK, Inc., which resulted in the automatic termination of their account.

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According to Right Wing Watch, when the group posted a video of Klingenschmitt saying that Newt Gingrich had come under the influence of a “demonic voice” because of his expressed view that Republicans should adjust to changing same-sex marriage opinions, Klingenschmitt went on the offensive, releasing a press statement that read in part:

“These anti-Jesus, Bible-haters have not only defamed me by maliciously misquoting me, they also stole my video, selectively edited to take my words out of context, removed my web-site prayinjesusname.org from my video, and added their own web-site, as if they were the owners or creators of my TV show. That’s highly unethical, and illegal theft and piracy of my copyrighted content,” said the Chaplain.

The liberal bloggers have been given 24 hours to remove their false statements, issue statements of retraction, and remove the illegally pirated video from their sites, or face further legal action.”

Right Wing Watch writes on their blog that they are filing an appeal for channel reinstatement. They go on to say: “We are confident that our videos are protected under Fair Use, as has always been the case in our previous experience with these sorts of copyright complaints.”

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On Klingenschmitt’s part, the state representative candidate issued a press release with the headline “David Takes Down Goliath” that declared victory over the “anti-Jesus” watchdog group. The beginning of the release states: “The anti-Christian group Right Wing Watch (RWW) had their YouTube account terminated today after repeated violations of copyright infringement, theft, and allowing followers to issue death threats against a Christian chaplain.?”

The death threats, found in the comments sections of the group’s videos, were chronicled in a earlier press release from Klingenschmitt:

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Mother Jones reached out to Klingenschmitt to ask if he would be responsible for YouTube comments on his own channel, and he told them: “When I become aware of something or it’s brought to my attention, I will delete things that are inflammatory. I’m not responsible for the initial posting but if I am alerted and don’t do anything, I am responsible.”

It remains to be seen whether Right Wing Watch will have their channel reinstated, but they do have a strong argument for fair use. NMR will keep you updated on if YouTube restores their account.

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