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NASCAR blocks eyewitness video of Daytona crash, but YouTube reverses the takedown

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nascar crash
nascar crash

A NASCAR race at the Daytona International Speedway today was disrupted by a harrowing crash that sent debris flying into the stands and left some fans injured. As CNN reports, shredded debris flew into the racetrack barrier, with some reaching 20 feet up to the second level of the track's stands. At least one fan who witnessed the event caught it on camera and promptly uploaded it to YouTube — but the video was blocked by NASCAR on copyright grounds just minutes after it went live. (Update: YouTube has restored the original video, which you can watch below.)

NASCAR, like other sporting organizations, claims all rights to film and broadcast anything that happens at its events. But taking down a video of a dangerous crash that injured spectators has sparked a backlash from observers who see it as an improper use of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which is typically used to suppress pirated content like music and movies. Despite the takedown request, the eyewitness video has already been ripped, mirrored, and shared on the internet.

According to Reuters, at least 29 people including one driver were injured in the multi-car crash; 14 people were sent to nearby hospitals, with another 14 being treated at the race track. NASCAR officials are optimistic that the 55th running of the Daytona 500 will proceed tomorrow as planned.

Update: NASCAR has provided The Verge with the following statement regarding the copyright takedown:

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.

Update 2: YouTube has reversed the takedown. In a statement provided to The Washington Post, YouTube implies that no copyright was infringed in the video. As a result, it says NASCAR "does not have the right" to take the video down:

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.