Calling BS on NASCAR’s takedown notice to YouTube

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Crash at NASCAR

When will corporate America learn that censorship attempts never end well for a company, particularly on social media?

The insane crash at Saturday’s DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR race resulted in numerous injuries and some pretty amazing videos. One such video was flagged by NASCAR on YouTube and a DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) takedown request was sent out. YouTube initially complied, then put the video back up after manual review showed that copyright was not infringed. Now, the video is only going to get bigger than it already was.

Thanks to a poor decision, NASCAR is going to shine a much brighter spotlight on the video they wanted removed. It’s similar to the CBS/CNET debacle at CES. If you want less attention paid to something, you don’t try to have it removed. Corporate America just doesn’t seem to understand that it’s not their internet to control, anymore.

The official statement sent by NASCAR to the Washington Post was this:

“The fan video of the wreck on the final lap of today’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race was blocked on YouTube out of respect for those injured in today’s accident. Information on the status of those fans was unclear and the decision was made to err on the side of caution with this very serious incident.” ~ Steve Phelps, NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

It sounds reasonable and if there had been fatalities from the crash, it might actually make sense. Thankfully, nobody died. The video (below) is extremely dramatic. The crash is captured. The debris is flying. A man starts screaming expletives as someone is apparently injured. Another man waves wildly for help. Then, we see it – a tire laying in a chair where a person could have been.

The attempt to pull this particular video wasn’t out of respect for anyone. It was a clear attempt by NASCAR to suppress a video that could be damaging to attendance. It was an attempt to protect their bottom line and any spin attempt is not only futile but shows that the sport and the company believes that its fans are stupid.

NASCAR should have let it go. Now, they are telling everyone from sports blogs, tech blogs, social media blogs, and the mainstream media to take a closer look at one video in particular out of the hundreds that were posted from the event. Instead of suppressing it, they have told the world to look specifically at this video. At the time of writing, the video is showing just over 200k views. Expect this number to go up dramatically thanks to NASCAR’s silly decision.

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