“Killing America” Documentary Pulled from Platforms Amid Allegedly Censorship-Driven Copyright Claims

A documentary film titled “Killing America,” which delves into contentious issues in the Bay Area including ethnic studies, honors classes, and anti-Semitism, particularly in the Sequoia Union High School District and Menlo-Atherton High (M-A), has been removed from YouTube and Vimeo. This action followed a legal challenge from the M-A Chronicle, the student newspaper at Menlo-Atherton High School.

The M-A Chronicle, asserting its rights over its own multimedia content filed a claim. In a statement, the M-A Chronicle Editorial Board claimed that Steele’s documentary “Killing America” incorporated some of their video footage and photographs of school board meetings, as well as their short-form videos. This statement, posted on the newspaper’s social media, led to the removal of Steele’s roughly 40-minute documentary from the major video-sharing platforms, as confirmed by Steele’s own social media posts.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States law that provides a framework for copyright protection in the digital age. However, it has been increasingly used as a tool for censorship, raising significant concerns. The primary issue is that the DMCA allows copyright holders to issue takedown notices to platforms hosting content they claim infringes their copyrights.