PR fail: NASCAR angers fans by blocking spectator video of crash; Update: YouTube reinstates clip

The safety fence at the Daytona International Speedway wasn’t quite enough to keep debris from today’s dramatic multi-car pileup from reaching spectators in the stands. Some of those fans captured video of the event and uploaded it to the Internet, but the videos were almost immediately blocked by YouTube on the grounds of a copyright claim by NASCAR. The videos quickly turned up on other sites, and just as quickly ignited a debate on censorship and public relations. Was the blocking of the video just business as usual, or was it an attempt to suppress a newsworthy event?

NASCAR had announced a press conference for 7 p.m. to give an update on injuries. Up to 28 fans have been reported hurt. But what about the video? Isn’t that news?

Tyler Andersen, who shot video of a tire hitting a nearby fan in the stands, said he would repost the blocked video — after taking some time for prayer.

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Update:

NASCAR has responded to the controversy with a brief statement.

The fan video of the wreck on the final lap of today’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race was blocked on YouTube out of respect for those injured in today’s accident. Information on the status of those fans was unclear and the decision was made to err on the side of caution with this very serious incident.

Some are, some aren’t.

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Update:

This is getting interesting. YouTube has reinstated the video, writing, “Our partners and users do not have the right to take down videos from YouTube unless they contain content which is copyright infringing, which is why we have reinstated the videos.”

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