A Flap Over YouTube and Video of a Public Meeting

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An Evanston dad was hoping for a response when he posted a video clip on that showed a heated exchange touching on race during a public school board meeting.

But the fallout that ensued had as much to do with legal questions, after an official with the Evanston-Skokie School District 65 cited copyright infringement and successfully asked the video website to remove the original clip.

YouTube complied — and the father, Becket Strom, responded by posting several more video snippets taken from the same Jan. 24 board meeting.

Strom, who said someone gave him the video after obtaining it from the district, said he wanted to show how the superintendent’s behavior is “problematic to the community.” Now school officials have asked their lawyer to weigh in.

“Obviously, someone can come in and record an open meeting,” said John Relias, an attorney who represents District 65.

But because the video may have been taken from a DVD provided by the district, “it’s a very complicated question.” “Just because it could be obtained through a FOIA (federal Freedom of Information Act) does not automatically give the person a right to post to YouTube,” Relias said.


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