The YouTube video mashup of Apple’s famous “1984” Super Bowl Ad, with Hillary Clinton appearing as Big Brother, has generated considerable buzz–here’s a random sample:
- Hillary, Obama, and the YouTube Election (calitics)
- Hillary Clinton ‘Big Sister’ Ad Makes Big Ripple: Creator Revealed, Copycats Flourish MTV News
- Anti-Clinton Attack Ad Makes Waves on the Web (NPR)
- Political Video Smackdown (SF Chronicle)
The Boston Globe editorialized about the video today, concluding with this hand-wringing paragraph:
But suppose it was two or three days before a close election, and a scurrilous, deceitful, anonymous clip was posted on YouTube and the other sites that specialize in homemade videos. Candidates should, of course, monitor all these sites and flag the offending videos. But doesn’t YouTube have an obligation to make sure these ads are swept from its site before they can do harm? YouTube today doesn’t have a policy against attack ads late in the campaign, but it should.
“Doesn’t YouTube have an obligation to make sure these ads are swept from its site before they can do harm?” YouTube has no such legal obligation: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes YouTube from legal liability for such a video. If the Globe is referring to an ethical obligation, the answer should also be no. The Globe characterizes the Clinton video as “clever, nasty, and relying on manipulated images.” “Nasty” because it criticizes Hillary? “Manipulated images” because it is not raw, unedited footage of a press conference? As my friend Doug said about the Globe editorial, “Oh, grow up!”