BBC response to FOI request over copyright strike down of two independence sites
28 August 2018
Dear Mr Cochrane
Freedom of Information request – RFI20181482
Thank you for your request to the BBC of 29 July 2018 seeking the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’):
“I am making a freedom of information request relating to actions that you directed around Friday 27th July till Saturday the 28th of July where you used the concept of a 'copyright strike' to effectively close down two sites that are pro-Independence. You Tube allows sites to use clips for the purposes of 'criticism, review and reporting current events.'
Indeed, many of your clips are still available on sites organised by 'The Conservative Party, The Spectator, The Labour Party and Kevin Hague' - all pro Union.
I would like your explanation of:
• When was the decision made to target these campaigners.
• Why was it felt necessary to 'copyright strike' down these sites?
• Who drove the decision?
• At what point was it decided to only target sites that support Scottish self-determination and therefore further skew the political discourse in Scotland and the UK?”
The FOI Act gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities. The BBC is not required to create new information for the purposes of responding to a request.
In answer to the first three questions, internal correspondence and documents relating to the recent take down requests against the Wings over Scotland and Moridura accounts is subject to legal professional privilege, in particular as the BBC’s Intellectual Property Legal team filed the take down requests and was involved throughout the matter; therefore this information is withheld under section 42 of the Act. The BBC will request the removal of videos from YouTube where they infringe the BBC’s copyright. There is no editorial input or discretion in these decisions; they are taken purely at a legal and rights level informed by the legal position as it applies to the facts.
Regarding the fourth question, the BBC confirms this information is not held in accordance with section 1(1) of the FOI Act. The BBC acts irrespective of political views and has taken action against the use of BBC maternal by individuals or organisations from across the political spectrum.
If you are not satisfied that we have complied with the Act in responding to your request, you have the right to an internal review by a BBC senior manager or legal adviser. Please contact us at the address above, explaining what you would like us to review and including your reference number. If you are not satisfied with the internal review, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. The contact details are: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, Tel: 0303 123 1113 or see http://www.ico.org.uk/
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