Blog Receives Takedown Notice For Embedding A Video With Authorized Embed Code

from the keep-the-lawyers-busy dept

A year and a half ago, I wondered outloud if embedding an infringing video would be considered infringement as well. Technically, it's no different than just linking to infringing content. However, imagine an even more ridiculous scenario: what if a website puts up its own videos with an embed code, but then sends out takedown notices to anyone who embeds it? Russ writes in to let us know that's exactly what happened with an Iowa sports blog that was trying to raise awareness of the floods in Iowa (a good thing) and embedded a video from the website of the Des Moines Register using the very embed code offered by the Des Moines Register. So what happens? The Des Moines Register sends a takedown notice claiming copyright infringement. After complaining about this on the blog, and getting some attention over it, someone from the Register apologized and said that it was an overeager staffer who was unfamiliar with the fact that videos on the site included embed codes.

While it's great that the Des Moines Register quickly recognized its mistake, apologized and promised to make sure it wouldn't happen again, it still does raise some questions that are almost certain to show up in the future. It's still not clear if a site is responsible for embedding infringing videos. But what if the video's copyright holder doesn't like how a video is being used? What if, for example (and this is not what happened in this case) a site had used that same video of the Iowa floods to mock the victims? I would imagine that it would be tempting in that case to send out the takedown notice, even though the embed code had been offered up. We're almost certainly going to see this happen in the near future. Someone who puts up a video with an embed code is going to be unhappy with how that content is being used, and will claim infringement, even though the content was freely offered up.

The copyright implications of embedding are not at all clear -- and that means you can be sure that lawsuits are on their way.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    JB, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 11:05am

    Hotlink solution

    Sounds like we need a video goatse. Any volunteers?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    L, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 11:41am

    I've been amazed with the whole embedding concept: allowing anyone and everyone to embed your video for no fee or anything. I get it, and I expect our organization will start doing that, too, when we make videos, but you make a great point. I have no doubt your prediction will come true--likely sooner than later.

    Leigh Ann Hubbard
    Managing Editor
    James Hubbard's My Family Doctor

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Leigh Ann, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 11:42am

    woops

    ... I pushed "Submit" before completing my information. My name's not "L." ;-) Correct info. is above.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    PC, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 11:45am

    Embedding videos is a method of advertising. That's how some sites have become known.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Hotlink solution

    There is.

    It's called rickrolling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Brian, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 12:11pm

    Dude. Mike.

    Saying that someone will eventually not like how their embedded videos are utilized is like saying that that hooker in my trunk isn't dead.

    Either you (the content manager) understand the risks of allowing others to embed your crap, or you don't offer up the embed code and place an informative copyright notice at the bottom of every page notifying possible infringers that you will protect your content. (Which you should do anyway.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 12:17pm

    Show, don't tell.

    You so should have made "There is" a rickrolling link instead...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Jason, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Show, don't tell.

    Maybe he was shy about more than just his name.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Hotlink solution

    nah, 2girls1cup. Where have YOU been all this time?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Kevin, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 12:58pm

    Bring Back Copyright Registration

    Mike:

    This is exactly why we (the world) need to institute (some may even call it a reinstatement) a formal copyright registration process, especially for digital media. Digital works should not be entitled to automatic copyright protection unless the following criteria are met:

    The entire work and any derivatives the copyright holder wishes to protect must be registered in its entirety PRIOR to electronic publication to any publicly accessible area.

    The copyright holder must publish copyright license fees for the work with the registrar.

    Fair use of the work must be established with the registrar, subject to review and amendment to ensure the fair use definition does not restrict it beyond the limits allowed by law.

    Electronic publication of the work by the copyright holder or their agents must be clearly marked with the repository registration ID at the beginning and end of the work.

    The copyright holder must pay an annual fee to the registrar to maintain the copyright.

    Any digital publication prior to registration automatically places the work in the public domain.

    Onerous? Costly? Time Consuming? Yep, and that's the point. If the copyright holder really wants to maintain total control of their digital work then burden should theirs - not mine, not the ISP's, not the blog host's.

    The point I'm trying to make is by making the process cumbersome and time consuming most would not bother. And because of that I believe it wouldn't take long for many to discover that copyright protection is in most circumstances unnecessary, non-productive, and not of particular benefit to anyone. For those who see it as beneficial, let them pay for the privilege to keeping total control.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Miles Smith, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 12:58pm

    You're doing it wrong...

    The beauty of embedding content like that, is that it still comes back from the original server. Meaning, that if you don't like the way that content is being used, then block the request for it.

    Bam, simple and effective.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Jake, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 1:03pm

    What I want to know is why the hell the Des Moines Register lets someone that low on the totem pole, or at least new to the company, send DMCA takedown notices without running it past their supervisor first.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    mdmadph (profile), Jun 18th, 2008 @ 1:04pm

    Re: You're doing it wrong...

    I came here to say almost the same thing. Did the author of this article miss that?

    The very nature of embedding a video from another's site precludes the argument of its use, entirely, since the original owner gets complete control in the end...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    mdmadph (profile), Jun 18th, 2008 @ 1:06pm

    Re:

    I think you just answered your own question. ;)

    More than likely, the request didn't come from someone low -- it came from someone in upper management who apparently doesn't know how the Internet works. Imagine that, eh?!?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Jed, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 1:13pm

    Moot point

    But what if the video's copyright holder doesn't like how a video is being used? What if, for example (and this is not what happened in this case) a site had used that same video of the Iowa floods to mock the victims? I would imagine that it would be tempting in that case to send out the takedown notice, even though the embed code had been offered up. We're almost certainly going to see this happen in the near future.
    Doesn't an embedded video still have a "referer" HTTP header? So you simply block the site that embeded your video.

    Besides doesn't a DMCA take down notice apply to the infringing content itself not the site that links to it? So basically you'd be issuing a take down notice to yourself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Moot point

    Dear DMCA,
    Currently I am freely allowing websites to utilize my content including sites I dislike. Please send me a takedown notice so I block their access in the future.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Andy Brudtkuhl, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 1:41pm

    Vouching For DMRegister

    Although they jumped the gun on sending a DMCA takedown notice I would like to mention Chris Snider (their Web Editor) emailed me letting me know I could use any of the Des Moines Register's content on my IowaFlood.com website. This was well before the takedown notice was issued. They even sent me embed code to broadcast their live streams. I'm not usually one to side with traditional media since I build new media services but the Des Moines Register did an outstanding job this time around embracing social media.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Brian, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Bring Back Copyright Registration

    The point I'm trying to make is by making the process cumbersome and time consuming most would not bother. And because of that I believe it wouldn't take long for many to discover that copyright protection is in most circumstances unnecessary, non-productive, and not of particular benefit to anyone. For those who see it as beneficial, let them pay for the privilege to keeping total control. -Kevin


    Are you insane or just retarded? You want to make people like me, the little guy, blow all my time and money just to protect my own rights?

    Having worked in various areas of online media production, I know that most, if not all things are time-sensitive. I'm not going to sit on my ass and wait for some bureaucratic form-pushing idiot to scrutinize my work for between two to five hundred and sixty three weeks just so I can legally protect my content. Your idea is so ridiculous that I can't even figure out why I'm still arguing against it.

    It's not having copyright protection that's the issue. The problem is in how it's enforced. Taking it away from everybody will cause nothing but further problems.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Kevin, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Bring Back Copyright Registration

    Yes, I do want you to blow all your time and money protecting your rights. Its your property, therefore you should bare the burden. It's not my job to defend your property, and I certainly shouldn't be asked to pay for protection something you own.

    As it stands now if you put a picture on Flikr that I take a fancy to and post to my web site, you can issue a take down notice. Fine, but how am I to know you even OWN the photo? Should you have to prove its your property before you accuse me of 'theft'? How do I know you didn't simply 'borrow' it from someone else? How am I to know what licensing you intended to grant to your 'property'? Am I to just guess your fair use/licensing until you tell me otherwise?

    I'm not advocating the revocation of copyright but I do believe the content owner should have to prove authorship, establish distribution rights, licensing terms and fair use prior to releasing content to the public. Why should we, the content consuming public, have to guess at all these things? If you want CONTROL, then you should have to establish the parameters for use before you release your content to the public. We shouldn't bear the burden or the cost. If establishing all this prior to release is more costly to you then the perceived benefit of control over digital content then clearly copyright isn't as much value to you as you thought.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Brian, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 5:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Bring Back Copyright Registration

    "...but I do believe the content owner should have to prove authorship, establish distribution rights, licensing terms and fair use prior to releasing content to the public. Why should we, the content consuming public, have to guess at all these things?" -Kevin


    Guess at all these things? What's there to guess about? It's not yours, and if I'm not explicitly telling you to do what you want with it, you should assume it's not yours for the taking; or better yet, read my copyright notice. (I should note that the display of embed/object code to me says: take it if you want it. However, I would suggest that anyone doing this actually read any posted copyright notices, regardless of seemingly explicit offers.)

    Say I'm a part of a lesser known online news company and I break a story before anyone else. What's to stop CNN. Fox or anyone else from taking note of my content, copying and pasting it into their own outlet and claiming that they instead broke the story? I'm not going to want to wait for however many days it takes to push my content through the copyright system so my competition who has many times more resources and money can beat me into failure. Do you not think this is wrong and unfair?

    So again, what is there to guess about? I know you can read. Ignorance does not absolve you from the consequences of breaking the law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Kevin, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 6:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Bring Back Copyright Registration

    "Say I'm a part of a lesser known online news company and I break a story before anyone else. What's to stop CNN. Fox or anyone else from taking note of my content, copying and pasting it into their own outlet and claiming that they instead broke the story?"

    Absolutely nothing stops someone from copying it, including copyright. When you release digital content to the internet nothing protects it. Yeah, you can sue but that's proven to be largely ineffective since most of those 'infringing' don't have deep enough pockets to make it worthwhile. So how valuable is your copyright really? The value is not from control but from driving value from consumption, using your infinite goods to drive people to your scarcer goods.

    "I'm not going to want to wait for however many days it takes to push my content through the copyright system so my competition who has many times more resources and money can beat me into failure."

    That simply demonstrates timeliness to market is clearly of more value to you than exercising total control over distribution and consumption.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This