State Judge Apparently Demands That YouTube Take Down a Video of His Campaign Speech:

Doug Clark of the Greensboro News-Record reports:

Douglas McCullough is a judge on the N.C. Court of Appeals and an announced candidate for re-election in 2008. He's a Republican, as he makes clear when speaking to Republican audiences.

One such occasion was Oct. 20 at Lake Junaluska in Haywood County. A video at McCullough's campaign Web site captures his remarks.

He describes himself and two other candidates -- Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds and Court of Appeals Judge John Tyson, also Republicans -- as EMT, a team needed to rescue the judiciary.

No problem with that.

Then he says Edmunds' re-election is especially important because of legislative redistricting, recounting how Democratic gerrymandering has kept Republicans in the minority in the state House of Representatives. After the next redistricting in 2011, a challenge is sure to go to the Supreme Court, McCullough says, strongly implying that Republicans will get a better deal if Edmunds is on the bench....

Clark argues the statements were improper; but it's hard to tell exactly what the judge said, because the video has been taken down from the Web site, and the judge has also apparently demanded that YouTube take down a copy that was posted there. The YouTube page pointed to by Clark reports, "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by a third party"; my guess is that the claim was filed by the judge or someone working with the judge (for instance, the videographer used by the Republican group to which the judge was speaking, who likely would not assert his own copyright if it the judge hadn't asked for it).

This takedown strikes me as quite troublesome: The posting of the video seems very likely to be fair use, because it was for purposes of news reporting and political commentary, and because it was highly unlikely to at all affect the market for the video (since the market likely didn't exist). More broadly, the judge is hiding important information from the public, information that he shouldn't be trying to conceal even if copyright law allowed such concealment. If anyone has a copy of the video and can point me to it, or e-mail it to me, I'd love to see it, and post it if it strikes me as newsworthy.

Thanks to my fellow lawprof Michael Kent Curtis for pointing out this story.