YouTube.com, the popular website for uploading videos, has pulled numerous videos of Pastor John Hagee Ministries after the minister’s copyright attorneys requested their removal.
The attorneys asserted the videos constituted copyright infringement, and were otherwise deemed to be private property, ministry sources said. Lawyers quietly contacted YouTube during the days and hours before the July 4 holiday to attract as little attention as possible, it was learned.
This prompt YouTube action comes at a time when the giant Google enterprise is fighting Viacom’s one billion dollar lawsuit over alleged copyright infringement as a result of content uploaded by YouTube users. In February 2007, Viacom obtained a court order compelling YouTube to delete some 160,000 videos which apparently infringed on copyrights.
Viacom owns network and cable programming, and digital images such as seen on MTV and Comedy Central are frequently chosen as digital content for YouTube uploaders. Earlier in July, a judge also ordered Google to deliver YouTube user data to Viacom.
The court-ordered files encompass 12 terabytes of data. That sweeping order was stayed in an emergency protective order, but YouTube is doing all it can to demonstrate that it respects copyright.
Sources say that Hagee, probably motivated by the recent series of news attacks regarding past statements on the Hitler and the Holocaust, used the Viacom example to demand its own videos be respected.
In a statement to The Cutting Edge News on Independence Day, Hagee spokesperson Juda Engelmayer confirmed, "John Hagee Ministries, through its copyright attorneys, issued a request that YouTube remove any and all copyrighted materials belonging to John Hagee copyrights." He added, "The request was accepted."
Over the past few months several of Hagee’s comments, quotes, and sermons have been posted to various websites and have been used to stir controversy surrounding Hagee’s endorsement of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
Beginning with Hagee’s condemnations of Catholicism, which mired Hagee and McCain’s campaign in a media frenzy, the latest postings depicted an old sermon of Hagee's speaking of God’s hand in Hitler’s evil to bring Jews to Israel.
Hagee and McCain mutually severed ties when the videos and theological viewpoints became a campaign issue and a basis for media headlines.
According to information obtained by The Cutting Edge News, Hagee’s attorneys set forth criteria for videos to be removed by YouTube. These included: "1) Any and all pre-recorded material garnered from works owned and distributed by JHM or John Hagee Copyrights; 2) Any material depicting a JHM or John Hagee copyrighted service or performance of the service or sermon, and 3) Any material that is no longer free use material by having been effectively made into a derivative work using materials mentioned above."
Hagee is holding his annual conference for his organization, Christians United for Israel, later this month in Washington DC. This action to remove his YouTube content may be an effort to stem any more surprises prior to the event.
Sam Orez is a contributer to The Cutting Edge News.