Trump’s Sons, Attorney, & Social Media Chief All Got DMCA Notices Over ‘Photograph’ Meme
Last week, US President Donald Trump made headlines when he tweeted a short video meme aimed at discrediting political rival Joe Biden.
It contained a clip of Nickelback’s video ‘Photograph’ which resulted in the tweet being taken down for copyright infringement.
Soon after, a copy of the DMCA notice that caused the takedown was published on the Lumen Database, which revealed that the sender was Warner Music Group. However, TF has learned that wasn’t the only takedown notice to target Trump and his supporters over the now-controversial clip.
Trawling through the latest notices sent to Lumen by Twitter we can see that not only were some of Trump’s closest allies also sent takedowns for copyright infringement, but also that other music companies got in on the act too.
The original complaint against Trump’s account (here) was quickly followed by another against the account of his attorney, Rudy Giuliani. The notice was sent by Nickelback’s management at Union Entertainment Group on behalf of Roadrunner Records, which in turn is owned by Warner.
As the DMCA notice below shows, the cited copyrighted material is “The Master Recording of ‘Photograph’ by Nickelback and the accompanying music video.”
Two other DMCA complaints were also filed at Twitter detailing a pair of allegedly-infringing tweets posted Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. and Dan Scavino, the White House Director of Social Media and Assistant to the President.
These were sent on October 3, 2019 by anti-piracy company GrayZone on behalf of Warner Music. In common with the complaint filed against their father’s account, YouTube was cited as the source of the material.
Finally, the second son of Donald Trump, Eric, also received an additional notice from Union Entertainment Group, again on behalf of RoadRunner Records.
While plenty of other people tweeted and retweeted the allegedly-infringing video, a flood of additional takedown notices doesn’t appear to be in the archives at Lumen. That doesn’t mean to say they don’t exist, however, since it’s certainly possible Twitter doesn’t pass everything on.
Interestingly, there is an ongoing debate as to whether the use of the video in the clip was actually fair use, with many Trump supporters claiming that as a parody, it should be protected from takedowns. Countering firmly, former RIAA executive vice president of communications Jonathan Lamy believes otherwise.
“This one was a clear cut no-brainer,” he said on Twitter. “On copyright grounds and also perhaps falsely implied endorsement.”
Since Giuliani also got a notice and presumably a strike against his Twitter account, it would be very interesting if – as an attorney – he decided to send a counter-notification. As fair use battles go it might get a little messy but things are pretty messy already.