WWE aggressively removing its controversial copyright material from YouTube

Dave Meltzer in this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter broke the news that WWE has been on a tear recently removing a huge number of videos from the Internet due to them being of company copyrighted material. How this came to light was through an independent promoter complaining to Meltzer that WWE lawyers had erroneously got videos of former ECW star Sabu performing on his own indy shows removed from the web, which was a terrible inconvenience for him to rectify.

It soon turned out though that this was not a sudden urge to protect their intellectual property, but a favour to Linda McMahon's senate campaign. A press release was soon forthcoming to the Connecticut media that it was in the process of removing all their most controversial copyright material from sites like YouTube and Dailymotion:

For years WWE has produced programming that is rated PG in primetime, and most recently rated G on Saturday mornings. To better reflect our current family-friendly brand of entertainment, WWE is removing some dated and edgier footage from digital platforms. Some of this footage has been misused in political environments without any context or explanation as to when it was produced. This damages the corporate reputation of our company. WWE is well within its rights to protect its intellectual property for fair use.

Clearly, Sabu's violent matches in ECW may be too hot for Connecticut voters to handle!

Of course, this backfired, just like WWE's heavy-handed threats of legal action against the Journal Inquirer for Chris Powell's off-the-cuff remark that Linda McMahon's wealth derived from "the business of violence, pornography, and general raunch" went down like a lead balloon with the local media. The Journal Inquirer in particular, had a field day (shocking I know), posting pictures on the front page of their newspaper featuring Trish Stratus being forced to bark like a dog by Vince McMahon and then to strip to her bra and panties, and in a subsequent angle being covered in slop and strangled by "Daddy's Little Girl", Stephanie. Any old excuse to whip those screen captures out, eh?

But this was likely a calculated risk by Vince McMahon. Get the bad publicity out of the way now, so those video nasties don't cause headaches for his wife later on in the race. However, it may partly be paranoia on Vince's part, as so far in this campaign the wrestling dirt has not stuck to Linda as badly as it did in her first attempt. Things like the latest arrest of a WWE performer for a DUI, Jerry "The King" Lawler's heart attack minutes after working a match on last week's Raw and Tammy Sytch's arrests in Linda's backyard for domestic violence, got little play with the Connecticut politicos. Which some may argue would be a cheap shot, but no more so than bringing up angles that happened over a decade ago which Linda had no role in devising, while those three incidents at least raised questions about the efficacy of WWE's current Wellness policy. All the skeletons in the McMahon family closet came out two years ago, so it would really take a major WWE scandal to derail Linda's hopes this time around.

More likely, is that Linda may shoot herself in the foot with a verbal gaffe, like the one that won her the ninth Biggest CEO Screw-up of 2010 from Forbes.com where she admitted that she didn't know whether WWE paid any of its employees minimum wage or even what Connecticut's minimum wage was, after saying to local businessmen that she was open to the idea that it may be too high.

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