Chrysler hoped that its “Halftime in America” commercial, featuring an inspirational voice-over from Clint Eastwood, would help America “unite one post at a time.” But its lofty ambitions were thwarted when the ad disappeared from YouTube shortly after the game, supposedly owing to a copyright claim filed by the National Football League (NFL).
The mystery began when the NFL denied filing a copyright claim (the ad remained posted on the league’s own website). According to Google, which owns YouTube, it removed the ad after receiving a take-down notice from an unnamed third-party organization that handles copyright and trademark protection for the NFL. The vendor had apparently misidentified the commercial as halftime content, which is owned by the NFL.
Viewers could not watch the ad on Chrysler’s own website, as the automaker linked to the YouTube video. Post-game viewing of the ad was especially important to the company, which was one of the only major advertisers that did not release its commercial prior to the game, according to the Wall Street Journal. Google eventually reinstated the ad after receiving a request from the NFL.
The mix-up has led some to criticize Google for overzealous enforcement of its copyright infringement policy. Under the policy, anyone filing an infringement claim must identify which copyrighted work has been infringed upon, but it is unclear what the justification for removal was in this case.