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University Trying to Block Distribution of Faculty Senate Meeting Video Excerpts Using Copyright Law

Added 04-07-21 08:21:02am EST - “An interesting controversy involving Portland State University.” - Reason.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Reason.com: “University Trying to Block Distribution of Faculty Senate Meeting Video Excerpts Using Copyright Law”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

Here's a letter from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education on the subject; I have asked PSU for their response, and will post whatever I receive from them:

FIRE is concerned about the state of free expression at Portland State University (PSU) in light of the university's recent claim that a YouTube video containing footage from a public meeting violates PSU's copyright. Manipulating copyright law to censor use of public footage in a video critical of PSU not only misapplies copyright jurisprudence, but also defies PSU's obligations under the First Amendment.

The following is our understanding of the pertinent facts. We appreciate that you may have additional information to offer and invite you to share it with us. Please find enclosed a waiver, executed by Professor Bruce Gilley, authorizing you to share information with FIRE. However, if the facts here are substantially accurate, PSU has betrayed its constitutional obligations by abusing copyright law as a vehicle for censorship.

On March 8, 2021, the Oregon Association of Scholars (OAS), of which PSU professor of political science Bruce Gilley is president, posted a video to its YouTube account criticizing a recent PSU faculty resolution on academic freedom. The resolution held that faculty "must be thoughtful in [their] exercise of academic freedom and guard against its cynical abuse that can take the form of bullying and intimidation." The New Censorship Video argued that the resolution will "deny academic freedom to all unWoke professors." In making this criticism, the video included less than two minutes of footage from the March 1, 2021, PSU Faculty Senate meeting.

Two days after the New Censorship Video was published on YouTube, Cynthia J. Starke, PSU General Counsel & Secretary to the Board of Trustees, emailed Gilley to demand that OAS remove the video. In her message, Starke argued that the use of Faculty Senate meeting footage violated PSU's copyright, and threatened to issue a formal takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act if Gilley did not remove the video by noon the following day. Gilley removed the New Censorship Video from the OAS YouTube account after receiving this demand. Gilley republished the New Censorship Video on the OAS YouTube channel on March 15, removing the Faculty Senate Footage.

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