What Happens Without Safe Harbor Protections: ISP Deletes All User Multimedia Files

from the yes,-all-of-them dept

In the ongoing case of Viacom against Google, one of the keys is whether or not Google/YouTube have protection under the DMCA safe harbor provisions, which are supposed to protect service providers from the actions of their users. This is an important, because without those safe harbor provisions, the increase in liability would basically cripple all kinds of internet service providers. For an example, just look to Australia, where an ISP was found liable for content its users hosted, leading another ISP to delete all multimedia files hosted by its users every night (these are only the files hosted on their web accounts, not on their home computers, obviously). Yes, every multimedia file -- even if those files were perfectly legal. Record your own kid singing happy birthday and stick on your site? Gone. It might be infringing and this ISP doesn't want to risk the liability. That's why safe harbor provisions are there in the first place: to avoid that type of ridiculous situation. Yet, with Viacom trying to completely wipe out the safe harbor for any company that makes money providing services to users, it would effectively cripple much of what can be done on the internet. Of course, in the end, that will hurt Viacom even more, by limiting the usefulness of the internet as a distribution mechanism -- but the entertainment industry isn't exactly known for its long term strategic thinking.


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  1.  
    identicon
    zcat, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 1:01am

    " Record your own kid singing happy birthday and stick on your site? "

    Silly example, since if you didn't pay the appropriate performance royalties that _would_ be an infringing video..

    Which just leads us into a whole new level of sillyness.

     

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  2.  
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    Raymond, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 1:04am

    It's opt out

    To be fair here, exetel is a low profit isp and they let all their users know about this *before* they implemented it and also told us how to avoid the problem.

    I must admit, I'm quite pleased that they do this rather than waste money on lawsuits and raise my internet costs.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 1:11am

    R you sure?

    "Silly example, since if you didn't pay the appropriate performance royalties that _would_ be an infringing video.."

    Are you so sure about that?

    Chapell claims to own the rights to the lyrics for that song (the music having gone out of copyright a lot earlier), based on the arrangement done by Preston Ware Orem in 1935.

    HOWEVER, many people claim the lyrics preexisted. Wikipedia cites these two occurrences (below, but those may not be correct), which I'd like to find a way to verify. If they're true then Chappell doesn't own the lyrics at all.

    The bigger point here, is that even with a popular well known song, tracing the origins of it after LESS THAN 100 YEARS, is extremely difficult. It may have caused royalties to go to the wrong people. Yet people are proposing perpetual copyright, where we'd need to trace the origins of songs back 1000's of years.

    Even the video games *I* wrote in my youth, I *think* the copyright reverted to me, because I recall something in the contract about that, but I didn't keep the contract and can't prove it. That's only 20 years ago.

    Wikipedia cites:
    "Robert Coleman included "Good Morning to All" in a songbook with the birthday lyrics as a second verse. Coleman also published "Happy Birthday" in The American Hymnal in 1933. Children's Praise and Worship, edited by Andrew Byers, Bessie L. Byrum and Anna E. Koglin, published the song in 1928."

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 2:15am

    Just anExcuse

    For an example, just look to Australia, where an ISP was found liable for content its users hosted, leading another ISP to delete all multimedia files hosted by its users every night...
    I suspect they may be this more of an excuse to just cheap out on resources than anything else. If they were really so concerned about copyright violations then they would delete all files. After all, multimedia files aren't the only files that can violate copyright. Just about any file can, even a text file. Try hosting a cracked copy of Windows, for example, and see what happens.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 5:14am

    Re: R you sure?

    "Yet people are proposing perpetual copyright, where we'd need to trace the origins of songs back 1000's of years."

    Seriously. I hope we have a better system in place by then...

     

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  6.  
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    Overcast, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 6:14am

    To be fair here, exetel is a low profit isp and they let all their users know about this *before* they implemented it and also told us how to avoid the problem.

    I must admit, I'm quite pleased that they do this rather than waste money on lawsuits and raise my internet costs.


    Optimistic about taking the shaft huh?

    Not that it's really the ISP's fault, but...

    Seriously - if you post your OWN personal content, it shouldn't be deleted - hell, what if you are an indie short film maker? Is it ok for them to just delete the content?

    How is that even remotely fair. You obviously could not run that kind of business or service if they were your ISP.

    I am very thankful they are NOT my ISP.

    At this point, we would be better off without any copyright law at all, seeing what it is doing to innovation and art.

    Just because Hitler burned books he didn't agree with, didn't make it right - nor does deleting content just because of fear. Is it so very different to burn a book as opposed to deleting creative data? Sure, perhaps there's another copy of both - but it's still not right.

    People should go back and REALLY read how Hitler took control, the parallels of today are striking indeed.

     

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  7.  
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    Just Me, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 6:29am

    Re Overcast

    "Seriously - if you post your OWN personal content, it shouldn't be deleted - hell, what if you are an indie short film maker? Is it ok for them to just delete the content?"

    As was already stated "To be fair here, exetel is a low profit isp and they let all their users know about this *before* they implemented it and also told us how to avoid the problem."


    So an ISP decides to rescind a service where users are saving data to the ISP's servers and tying up the ISP's resources and you're saying they should NOT be allowed??!! Even after giving the users advance notice?

    Um, last time I checked any company can do whatever they dang well please with THEIR SERVERS and if that means deciding that users can no longer save multimedia on THEIR SERVERS then the ISP is well within it's rights to do so.

    "How is that even remotely fair. "

    How is it fair to the service provider to say "Well, you let me do this in the past so now you HAVE to let me do it forever"??
    They changed their rules, notified their users and took appropriate action...last time i checked companies, as well as individuals, were allowed to change their minds.

    If anything they should be touted for informing their users BEFORE deleting data. That's something you might not see every day.

     

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  8.  
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    A geek, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 6:54am

    Why is this a problem

    Everyone seems to be missing the one thing the ISP states:
    Effective from 1st April 2005 scripts will be run nightly that will examine all disk content and delete any multimedia content with the extensions mp3, mpg, mpeg, avi, wma and any other multi media file type. Customers wishing to host files with these extensions need to do the following: - 1. Email copyright-request@exetel.com.au and request to be excluded from the scan script. - 2. State that you agree you are the copyright owner, have permission of the copyright owner or that there is no copyright on the material you want to store.
    When you post files, just tell them "they're mine" and there's no problem. Granted, it's a bit of a pain, but this "delete my baby pictures" is just blowing it out of proportion.

     

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  9.  
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    Raymond, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 7:08am

    Re: Why is this a problem

    Thank you for clarifying for me, geek.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 7:25am

    Problem solved!

    Just make everyone who uploads a video on YouTube accept a similar contract. Except, if they do upload copyrighted material, Google special op forces will hunt them down.

     

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  11.  
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    Questionsall, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 8:36am

    Google

    ...Google special op forces will hunt them down.

    And I'm sure they make the SEAL's look like wooseys.

     

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  12.  
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    trev, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 9:05am

    Seriously..

    Alright how about this...instead of bitching about not being able to store your multimedia files on the servers, how about this...

    There is a free service called "photobucket.com" They allow picture and video hosting, upload your stuff on their and display it on your site through the service provider...they can't delete something that isn't on their server.

    Or heres an even better idea. Create your own server...got xp? You can do it "THROUGH" your ISP but yoru files will be on your computer which they can also do nothing about, if you're hosting illegal content on your own server/computer, yeah you'll have the FCC, or Microsoft, or the FBI knocking on your door...

    so that sounds like a good alternative instead of whining about service providers hmm?

     

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  13.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 10:53am

    Re: Seriously..

    "There is a free service called 'photobucket.com'"

    PhotoBucket would have to worry about the same thing

    "Or heres an even better idea. Create your own server"

    first I'd like to see you teach the average user how to run a web site from the average computer. Some ISPs block port 80 requests. Some give you a privet IP instead of a public. etc. etc.

    second, chances are that goes against your services agreement. (That's why they have hosting.)

    Third, unless you pay the big bucks, chances are your upload sucks.

     

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  14.  
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    andy, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 3:45pm

    Re:

    touche, zcat... touche.

     

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  15.  
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    able-x, Jul 3rd, 2007 @ 9:15am

    website

    or, you could just buy a domain and hosting if it's that big of a deal. Both are dirt cheap these days, and if you're an indie film maker or musician you should probably already be doing that instead of using your ISP's hosting anyway.
    I get my hosting for 25 bucks every 6 months, and my domain for 12 bucks or so a year, so it's hardly breaking the bank here.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Sloth, Jul 10th, 2007 @ 1:47am

    Re: Re: R you sure?

    Erm, more relevantly, I hope we /never/ have perpetual copyright. Why should people's great-great-grandkids make money off of a work authored by someone generations distant? I thought dynasties were generally in disfavor in democratic nations :)

     

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