POPULAR BOYCOTT ISRAEL
ST. LOUIS FLASH MOB VIDEO
REMOVED BY YOUTUBE
Prompts Questions about Selective and possibly Unlawful Shut-Down
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 23, 2010
Contact Person: Colleen Kelly, 314-761-7428
Who: Members and friends of the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee
Where to view Flash Mob: http://www.stl-psc.org/?p=149
Removed video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGAdfvGQ-xg
Dancing and singing to a parody of Lady Gaga and Beyoncé’s “Telephone,” more than forty members and friends of the St Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee (STL-PSC) serenaded holiday shoppers at Best Buy and AT&T stores in Brentwood, MO. They urged patrons to join the boycott of Motorola due to the company’s involvement in Israel’s unlawful military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. A video of the flash mob was posted on YouTube December 13th, quickly going viral, with coverage in media around the world including Israel’s Ynet News. It acquired more than 35,000 hits in less than a week.
Shortly after the count hit 35,000, YouTube removed the video in apparent response to a notice of claimed copyright infringement from “WMG.” The STL-PSC is firmly convinced, as advised by legal representation, that the flash mob video does not infringe Warner Music Group’s copyright, as it constitutes a “fair use” of the song and parodies of songs are protected under a U.S. Supreme Court decision in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose.
Furthermore, the song copyright appears to be owned by a subsidiary of UMG Recordings, not WMG at all. The WMG seemingly has no claim to the song; on the other hand, WMG’s relationship with Motorola is well known.
STL-PSC believes that this is an infringement on freedom of expression and plans to challenge the take-down.
Author and national organizer, Anna Baltzer, on the removal of the video: “There are more than 1,000 Lady Gaga flash mob videos on YouTube. None of them has been shut down by WMG. What does WMG not want the world to know about Motorola’s connection to Israeli apartheid and war crimes? The targeting of our video shows that we are doing something right and the companies are feeling the pressure. Now more ever we need to keep the pressure up! Please continue circulating and click here to send a letter to Motorola and sign a pledge.
Washington University graduate, Banan Ead, explained why she participated in the flash mob: “I’ve lived in the West Bank for a few years and visited several times, and every time I go back, with every airport interrogation or checkpoint I get stopped at, I feel only a sliver of the degradation of what the Palestinians permanently living there have to go through. It was also important for us to show that there are ways to non-violently resist that occupation. Plus, I like to sing and dance!”
86-year-old Holocaust survivor, Hedy Epstein, also participated, saying: “During my five visits since 2003, to the Israeli Occupied Territories, I was repeatedly asked by Palestinians I met as follows: When you return home to the U.S., please tell people there what you have seen and experienced on the ground, because the media does not convey that. I have tried to honor that commitment.”
To interview Flash Mob participants, call the contact above. To find out more about the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, visit: www.stl-psc.org
Motorola provides equipment to the Israeli military used to maintain the occupation and illegal settlements. More on Moto here…
National Organizer, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
Local Organizer, St Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee