By Ryan Wilson
The NFL is vigilant about protecting its product -- namely football -- especially online. That means doggedly ensuring that unlicensed videos are pulled from YouTube as soon as soon as they go up, and that was doubly true during Sunday's Super Bowl. Except that the zero-tolerance policy has some unintended consequences.
For Chrysler, it meant the NFL inadvertently having their Super Bowl ad pulled from YouTube, presumably because it was deemed controversial (inasmuch as it really bothered Karl Rove, anyway).
"This was a big deal for Chrysler," Suzanne Vranica of the Wall Street Journal wrote Monday. "The automaker was one of the few big-game advertisers that didn’t release its Super Bowl commercial prior to the game. That meant it missed out on the millions of dollars in free publicity that other advertisers got from online airings of their ads beforehand. Post-game online availability would have helped make up for that."
So why did the NFL yank the spot? Turns out it was a mistake.
"A third-party vendor monitoring game content mistakingly sent a takedown notice," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Jalopnik.com. "… The vendor thought the ad was part of the halftime programming, which is protected, and not a commercial."
Put differently, the NFL was fine with the ad (it even showed up on NFL.com), Chrysler hadn't violated any copyrights, and neither Google (YouTube's parent company) nor NBC (the network that aired the Super Bowl) had an issue with the commercial's message. And yet Chrysler got hosed. But why?
More from Jalopnik:
Someone working on behalf of the NFL — maybe it was an intern at the NFL's social media monitoring company — neither Google nor the NFL will tell us specifically who it is — was apparently tasked with searching for anything related to the game once it started. Specifically, for anything "halftime" related.At the very least, it's a case of someone somewhere working for the NFL overreacting. At worst, it shows that Google's "act first, ask questions later" policy on copyright infringement probably needs to be revisited.
It's possible that this person/persons searched through anything on YouTube with the word "Halftime" and sent a form-letter DMCA take-down request. That person was entirely wrong, but it cost Chrysler potentially millions of dollars because the ad was down within minutes after the game.
Upside: the commercial is again available on YouTube for everybody to enjoy. Well, everybody but Karl Rove.
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