Saturday afternoon NASCAR set off a social media storm when it used — technically, abused — the DCMA YouTube takedown tool to block a quickly spreading fan video of a horrific crash at Daytona. NASCAR admitted late that afternoon that the takedown was about controlling the video, saying it was a matter of “respect” for the 30-plus injured fans, while YouTube reversed the block within hours because it was not “copyright infringing.”
Now Marc Jenkins, NASCAR vice president of digital media, has explained the racing league’s actions to the Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple. Jenkins told Wemple they used the copyright takedown as the only available way to stop the Tyler Anderson video out of caution, not because it was a copyright violation. He’d also really rather we don’t see it as censorship or as routine.
So what is NASCAR’s usual policy for fan multimedia? Jenkins told Wemple:
Jenkins didn’t apologize or say it wouldn’t be repeated, although I doubt NASCAR would do so again by abusing its YouTube takedown power unless it legitimately can claim copyright infringement.
What happened Saturday shows, though, that the policy holds only as long as NASCAR approves of what the fan is doing or is willing to tolerate. As I wrote then:
If NASCAR wants the boost from social media, as it clearly does given its interaction on Twitter, Facebook and other places, it should go all in.
Here’s Tyler’s video: