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February 6, 2012

Youtube blocks Chrysler's "Halftime in America" commercial for NFL copyright claim

I missed the Clint Eastwood/Chrysler ad spot last night during the Super Bowl halftime, but many raved about it. So I just tried to pull it up on Youtube and was blocked. Apparently, the NFL has made a copyright claim against Chrysler and the commercial, per the message that popped up.

Update, 11:15 am: The NFL just told me they did NOT file a copyright claim. It asked Google to repost the Chrysler ad. Something happened on Google's end to take this video down.
youtube-chrysler-nfl.png I watched the commercial, which is still on Youtube on another official Chrysler account, and my layman eyes and ears had trouble picking out the alleged copyright violation(s). Is it because there was a reference to a football game, during the actual Super Bowl? I don't know.

Any copyright lawyers out there want to share some insight? I have a request for comment in to the NFL for some clarification on what's happening here.

P.S. The "Halftime in America" video doesn't even play on Chrysler's own website, because Chrysler linked to the Youtube video, which no longer plays.

This is unfortunate for Chrysler because it is paying for paid ad links on Google, which is how I found the video on Chrysler's site. Clearly, Chrysler had high, viral video hopes for this Eastwood ad. The ad copy on the site says: Just One Person can start a chain reaction that reaches thousands. Share this video and watch as it spreads across the country.

Update: 8:20 am: I've been in touch with both NFL and Chrysler spokespeople and they're both researching what's happening, before making any public statements. 


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 6:49 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: *NEWS*


It must be for the phrase 'half time'. Bad move, NFL.

If this turns out to be over the use of the word "Halftime" I'm totally going out to copyright the word "thenationalfootballleagueisfullofdumbassery".

The PentastarVideo account currently hosting the company's 2012 NFL Championship Game two-minute, "It's Halftime in America" ad is an official company YouTube profile:

It's run out of the Chrysler Communications/PR team.
-Mike Driehorst
Editorial Director-Online Media
Chrysler Group LLC

This actually makes me very upset, this commercial was very moving and very well done. The NFL looks really bad for doing this... I hope this blows up in the NFL's face and they look really stupid...

Chrysler has been on this "Imported from Detroit" theme for some time now. Everyone that I know is genuinely moved to not only reconsider buying a Chrysler product, but buying American in general.

Can' the NFL see that this is a wake-up call for America, for us to have pride in ourselves and who we are- and what we are doing?

Who does the thinking there at "the NFL"? This commercial has nothing to do with the game. And these people are making money? Something wrong.

It's only halftime?!? Crap, does that mean we're going to have to bail them out two more times?

"it's halftime in America" brought to you by Fiat (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino); so yes I really hope this blows back in the NFL face.

What's happening is that youtube and other 'user-content' sites have automatic processes that disable any and all videos (and a lot of false positives as well). KOWTOW BEFORE RENT-SEEKING PUBLISHERS, MORTALS! And if a legit business partner gets caught in the crackdown it's just an inevitable "oops" moment in the war to lock down profits.

Jordan, I am amazed you have to tell a "tech" blogger this. Or is Gus just a blogger that happened to write about something "tech."

This has been going for a while like when Viacom "claimed" rights to an EA commercial because it aired on Spike. There was no person doing the claim it was an automated system that Google put in place to appease the stupid media conglomerates and it's backfiring on them.

Thank you, Mark, for your condescending analysis. I know about the auto-filtering that reportedly has been happening. I have been going back and forth with YouTube this afternoon trying to get an explanation. They are NOT saying it's automatic filtering. They are saying that someone connected to the NFL filed a complaint. I'm waiting to hear more from YouTube. -Gus

There is NO way the NFL can have a legitimate copyright on the word "half-time" - it came into common usage in the football sense in 1867 - 53 years before the American Professional Football League in 1920 which became the NFL in 1922.

It is a word in common usage and this is a totally illegitimate use of the law to bully people and suppress speech. Youtube should have told the NFL to go to hell and filed to have their "copyright" revoked. You can't copyright words in common public usage and you can't copyright single words or short phrases anyways - those would be trademarks but again if there is prior common public usage then they shouldn't be able to have a trademark either. What's next? Copyrighting words like "A", "the", "I" and "you"?

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About Gus G. Sentementes
Gus G. Sentementes (@gussent on Twitter) has been writing for The Baltimore Sun since 2000. He's covered real estate, business, prisons, and suburban and Baltimore City crime and cops. He was one of the first reporters at The Sun to use multimedia tools and Web applications -- a video camera, an iPhone -- to cover breaking news. He hopes to cover Maryland geeks and the gadgets and Web sites they build, and learn -- and share -- something new every day.

Gus has a wife, a young daughter and two feuding cats. They live in Northeast Baltimore.
This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:

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