Viacom Ignores Promise: Sends Bogus Takedowns To YouTube

from the ooops dept

You may recall that back before it sued YouTube, Viacom sent the company 100,000 takedown notices, many of which turned out not to violate Viacom's copyrights. At first, Viacom tried to brush it off as totally innocent collateral damage, but after the EFF filed a lawsuit pointing out that false positives violate the part of the DMCA where each takedown must swear that the sender is the legitimate copyright holder, Viacom not only backed down, but promised to be much more careful with its takedowns. Specifically, it promised to actually review each video before sending a takedown.

However, it now appears that Viacom may not be living up to that promise. Consumerist notes that Viacom has taken down an independent filmmakers' movie to which it has no copyright claims whatsoever. The animation in question was the woman's senior project, and was not a Viacom property at all.

The video remains up for now, but Viacom now gets access to all the viewership stats on a video property it has no rights over, and the filmmaker, Joanna Davidovich, is rightfully worried that the movie is going to get taken down by a big media company who has no right to it at all.

Update: Viacom has now apologized and admitted its mistake, claiming that the video had been included in a Viacom film festival, and Viacom didn't realize that they did not retain the copyrights to the material. While the filmmaker in question is satisfied with this result, it's still quite questionable. Viacom still filed a false takedown notice after specifically promising that it would not. Filing false takedowns, even done with good intentions is still a violation of the DMCA and can be quite chilling to content creators.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    some old guy, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 9:18am

    convenience

    It seems that viacom conveniently "forgot" that it did not have exclusive rights to all properties entered into a contest it was holding. as per authors comment from youtube.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Danim8r, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 9:25am

    Breaking news from three days ago.

    Seriously. Calm down. This wasn't even a takedown - it was part of that YouTube magical filtering machine.

    If you're going to link to her blog, how bouts you point to her most current post on this?
    http://raw.channelfrederator.com/profiles/blog/show?id=890404%3ABlogPost%3A69010

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Mike C., Jul 24th, 2008 @ 9:49am

    Re: Breaking news from three days ago.

    You are correct in that it wasn't a *completed* takedown, but that wasn't the point of the post:

    1) Viacom promised to be more careful about sending takedown notices to YouTube so that they would not send any more INVALID takedown notices.

    2) Viacom DID send a takedown notice for the video.

    3) Viacom had no legal right or standing to send a takedown notice for the video.

    It's fortunate that it has all worked out for the filmmaker, but it's still worth noting that Viacom has continued it's sloppy work in regards to takedown notices.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Pete Valle, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 10:08am

    Cowboy Law

    I don't think any media company is going to abandon the "shoot first, ask questions later" approach to the DMCA anytime soon.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Joanna Davidovish Quote from youtube, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 10:09am

    Its officially over! I was personally contacted by an executive at Viacom, who explained how my film got mixed into their system. Juxtaposer was in a film festival that was presented by Nicktoons, and they just forgot that Viacom's rights to those films were all nonexclusive. He personally assured me that Viacom is no longer making a claim to my film. Thanks again to everyone who commented! And also, thank you to Viacom who stepped up, admitted their mistake and apologized, within two days.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Thomas, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 10:15am

    Re: Cowboy Law

    There's no reason for them to abandon "shoot first.." - they are certainly not going to be fined or disciplined by any legal agency.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Grae, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 10:18am

    @5: You don't find it the least bit troublesome that lawyers who are getting paid hundreds of dollars per hour "forgot"?

    I mean, if someone was paying _me_ hundreds an hour, you can bet your life I would check the legal conditions laid out for an event held by my boss before firing off legal notices in their name. And if they did do that and still sent off the notice, they should be fired.

    Maybe big corporations legal departments get paid regardless of their mistakes?

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 10:19am

    Didn't Realize?

    I wonder if Viacom would accept that excuse from others, such as file sharers? "Gee, I didn't realize that I didn't own the copyright to that file. Oops."

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    chaz, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 10:32am

    ugh....

    oh just another example of the government being in big corporations pocket, from oil/gas, to the mpaa, to this.... it seems like the government is only around to make money off of by big corp's...... sad no one's doing anything about it.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Tony, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re: Breaking news from three days ago.

    What are the provisions in the DMCA for someone who has been affected by an invalid takedown notice?

    It would be interesting to see what would happen if a bunch of people started suing over them.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Mr. Magoo, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 12:17pm

    Please stop using the word 'chilling' in every article about copyrights.

    Thank you.

     

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

  12.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 24th, 2008 @ 12:34pm

    Re:

    Please stop using the word 'chilling' in every article about copyrights.

    Well, let's see... In the month of July, I have used the word "chilling" 3 times:

    http://www.techdirt.com/search.php?site=&q=chilling

    And, looking over the stories, only THIS one had to do with copyright. The others had to do with online porn filtering and defamation.

    In the month of July we've posted over 40 stories involving copyright:

    http://www.techdirt.com/search.php?site=&q=copyright

    Only one used the word "chilling."

    So, um... what was your point?

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Danim8r, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: Breaking news from three days ago.

    I do not think you know what "takedown" means.

    A hit on the YouTube Content Identification System =/= takedown.

    Please take a new blue book, return to your seat, and try again.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Re:

    So, um... what was your point?
    That like the interests he's shilling for, Mr. Magoo is "blind" to the truth.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Nathanael Nerode, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 6:13pm

    "just forgot that Viacom's rights to those films were all nonexclusive."

    Wouldn't it make a LOT more LEGAL sense if they ASSUMED they had NONexclusive rights unless they had PROOF that they had exclusive rights?

    I mean, that's the way the law NORMALLY works. If I happen to wander through a park, it doesn't mean I have *exclusive* rights to use the park, and if I said that I just "forgot" that I didn't, I'd be considered crazy.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Jake, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 7:53pm

    The phrase "totally innocent collateral damage" is the biggest oxymoron I have ever heard.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Dude, Jul 25th, 2008 @ 5:18am

    Viacom is stupid

    YouTube took down one of my videos because it violated their copyright. Well, that was fine, but there were two parts to that video. They took down part 2 and left part 1. Not only that, there were about 4 other people who uploaded the same video (I was the first). I asked them if YouTube took down their vid, they said they hadn't heard anything from YouTube. It's only a matter of time before we have to give out all of our private info just to upload a stupid video.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    No Viacom, Jul 25th, 2008 @ 10:30am

    Boycott them

    Don't buy their crap. Its pretty easy, there's only two, maybe 3 things they produce that won't make you throw up for years anyway.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    youtube downloader, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 2:08am

    I hate Viacom,they are nothing but crap.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    دردشه, Jul 5th, 2009 @ 2:44pm

    That like the interests he's shilling for

     

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


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