HBO owns Obama’s inaugural concert. If you took any photos or videos you’d better destroy them now.

This land is their land.

HBO has been busy. Not only did they pick a fight with the Obama Inaugural Committee over openly-gay Bishop Gene Robinson (HBO censored Robinson’s invocation, so no one will be seeing it), they’ve been scouring the Internet to make sure no one sees evidence of yesterday’s Obama inaugural event.

Yesterday, I posted a clip of Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen singing “This Land is Your Land” at the “We Are One” Obama inaugural concert. Perhaps you’ve heard of the concert – it’s that amazing event down on the Mall set to kick off the inauguration of our next president. But that song is HBO’s song. They took down my video claiming copyright infringement. That’s the spirit, HBO. You own the inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall which is is officially part of the swearing in of our next president. Nice.

I get that HBO has rights, but when they’re broadcasting news — and the concert was news — they need to relax. It’s not like I copied one of their stupid shows (and after “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City,” most are pretty stupid.) And, the Presidential Inaugural Committee should have thought through the concept of letting a corporation own Obama’s inaugural concert. Again, it was at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall and was an official event of the inauguration of our president. We all own that, not HBO.

YouTube sent this email:

This is to notify you that we have removed or disabled access to the following material as a result of a third-party notification by Home Box Office, Inc. claiming that this material is infringing:

This is Your Land: (

Class act, HBO. God forbid people get to see Pete Seeger sing “This Land is Your Land.” And, doesn’t this violate the spirit of the idea that corporate America doesn’t own D.C. anymore??

Ben Smith at Politico has more:

There is something a bit intuitively objectionable about barring other networks and random citizens from pointing their cameras at a public event like this on the Mall, and effectively prevent the broadcast of a key public part of the event, though the Inaugural Committee argues that selling the exclusive rights were the only way to pay for the extravaganza in tough economic times.

Here’s the video of Bishop Robinson’s invocation yesterday. Let’s see if HBO is truly dumb enough to have this taken down, after they censored the broadcast already.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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