Twitter, Facebook disable Trump video tribute to Floyd over copyright complaint

(Reuters) – Twitter Inc, Facebook Inc and Instagram disabled President Donald Trump’s campaign tribute video to George Floyd on their platforms on Friday, citing copyright complaints.

The clip, which shows photos and videos of protest marches and instances of violence in the aftermath of the death of Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota, has Trump speaking in the background.

It was not clear what copyright image prompted the complaint, but California lawyer Sam Koolaq told Politico his firm submitted copyright complaints to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Koolaq did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Floyd’s death last week after a fatal encounter with a police officer has led to nationwide protests.

Late Friday, Trump criticized the removal by Twitter. “They are fighting hard for the Radical Left Democrats. A one sided battle. Illegal,” he wrote on Twitter.

Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey responded in a tweet, “Not true and not illegal”

“This was pulled because we got a DMCA complaint from copyright holder,” Dorsey added.

The social media site said it responds “to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives.”

Facebook, which owns photo and video-sharing network Instagram, said it removed the post after receiving the creator’s copyright complaint under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

“Organizations that use original art shared on Instagram are expected to have the right to do so,” Facebook said in a statement.

The three-minute, 45-second video was tweeted by Trump’s campaign on Wednesday. It was also uploaded on Trump’s YouTube channel and his campaign’s Facebook page. The clip has garnered more than 1.4 million views on YouTube and Facebook combined.

YouTube’s parent, Alphabet Inc, said the video the Trump campaign uploaded was not identical to the one uploaded to Twitter. The content identified in the copyright complaint was not present and the site did not remove the video, YouTube said.

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Twitter has been under fierce scrutiny from the Trump administration since it fact-checked Trump’s tweets about unsubstantiated claims of mail-in voting fraud. It also labeled a Trump tweet about protests in Minneapolis as “glorifying violence.”

Trump has pledged to introduce legislation that may scrap or weaken a law that shields social media companies from liability for content posted by their users.

In the past, Twitter has taken down at least two of Trump’s videos that had music from the soundtrack of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” and Nickelback’s “Photograph.”

Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla and Rama Venkat in Bengaluru and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Richard Chang and Leslie Adler

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