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Sunday, May 28, 2023

YouTube Pulls Videos That May Not Violate DMCA Law

Friday I reported that Google said they would comply with a demand from Viacom to remove content from YouTube. But how did Viacom determine what was infringing?

By way of Techmeme, Jim Moore reports his video of a Sunday night dinner seems to have been yanked due to Viacom simply searching for their trademarks, rather than actually viewing videos.


As the blog explains, “unfortunately, I suspect that tens of thousands of these videos are completely legitimate.”

To be fair, YouTube did notify those who had videos removed from their account, telling them how to send a “counter notice” that the videos are legal. But can the average guy file a counter suit?

The New York Times also has a good article on the removals here, and how Google is seen by some content owners only wanting to solve complaints if there’s a deal in the works.

Postscript From Danny:

Boing Boing weighs in with some commentary here, suggesting that Google’s lawyers should have thought more before acting. Indeed, let me add that this notice on one “infringing” video is out of line:

YouTube Takedown Notice

To be clear, Google doesn’t know the video was infringing. It simply knows it was reported as an infringement. The notice effectively convicts the person who submitted the content.

Some of those with material removed are considering a class action suit. Over what — having video removed from a site that they pay nothing to host material on? I don’t think they’ve got grounds for anything there. But for having Google potentially slander them as copyright infringers? Maybe there are some legal issues there. Change the wording, YouTube!

Finally, Mark Cuban has some valid words from the content owner perspective. It’s easy to poke at Viacom and say the notices were far too wide ranging. But it’s also easy to poke back at the absurdity of the DMCA rules, which require written notices for infringements in a system where infringements can easily happen within seconds. We need a better solution for both content owners and search engines.


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