Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Electronic Frontier Foundation to confront YouTube over invalid DMCA takedowns

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, YouTube is issuing too many take down notices, using its automated "Content ID" system which fails to take into account the user's Fair Use rights:

YouTube's January Fair Use Massacre
Commentary by Fred von Lohmann

This is what it's come to. Teenagers singing "Winter Wonderland" being censored off YouTube.

Fair use has always been at risk on YouTube, thanks to abusive DMCA takedown notices sent by copyright owners (sometimes carelessly, sometimes not). But in the past several weeks, two things have made things much worse for those who want to sing a song, post an a capella tribute, or set machinima to music.

First, it appears that more and more copyright owners are using YouTube's automated copyright filtering system (known as the Content ID system), which tests all videos looking for a "match" with "fingerprints" provided by copyright owners.

Second, thanks to a recent spat between YouTube and Warner Music Group, YouTube's Content ID tool is now being used to censor lots and lots of videos (previously, Warner just silently shared in the advertising revenue for the videos that included a "match" to its music).
EFF is offering assistance to those who have been victimized:
EFF wants to help. If Warner Music Group took down your video, ask yourself if your video is (1) noncommercial (i.e., no commercial advertisements or YouTube Partner videos) and (2) includes substantial original material contributed by you (i.e., no verbatim copies of Warner music videos). If so, and you'd like to counternotice but are afraid of getting sued, we'd like to hear from you. We can't promise to take every case, but neither will we stand by and watch semi-automated takedowns trample fair use.
Complete article at http://eff.org

It was recently held that DMCA notices must be based upon an assessment that the alleged infringement does not fall within Fair Use, in Lenz v. Universal Music, a case in which EFF represents the plaintiff.

Keywords: lawyer digital copyright law online internet law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs intellectual property portable music player


Anonymous said...

To this man this action is long overdue. YouTube does what it must to preserve its safe harbor protections. The people to spank are those sending the improper takedown notices in the first place. Spank a few of them hard enough to make they cry loudly and the message should get out.

{The Common Man Speaking}

Jadeic said...

I quite agree. This seems to have been more of an issue within EFF's UK sister organisation the Open Rights Group but it is good to see the EFF attacking the root of the problem so to speak.

Continuing slightly off topic... anyone reading this blog will have long come to the inescapable conclusion that beneath all the litigation lies the glaring fact that the whole world-wide copyright legislation is in an appalling mess and no longer addresses its original aims. This is largely, if not exclusively, because legislators have allowed intermediaries that have absolutely no creative input to usurp the ground between creative artist and consumer to the detriment and exploitation of both. Perhaps the time has come to be really controversial and suggest that the whole structure be scrapped: no more DMCA, no more DRM, no more copyright term extension. In its place should be legislation that, not unlike that which proscribes , for example, the marketing of electrical goods and toys that do not meet rigourous safety standards, defines the terms under which, in the present case, all recording companies are allowed to bring their product to market. I have been rereading Adorno's critique of Tin Pan Alley and his bewilderment that the masses did not rise up against the homogenisation of popular culture in the hands of a predominately US hegemony. The liberalisation and global networking that the internet has enabled may yet, I would argue is already. making this a reality - at long last.

End of rant.