YouTube's Three Strikes Rule Hits Again; Dance Company Has Over 300 Videos Taken Down

from the harm-done? dept

One of my big complaints with Google's YouTube is how it handles content takedowns based on copyright claims. If you get a DMCA notice, it can count as a "strike" against you, and when you hit three strikes, your entire account can be suspended. In an era where accidental infringement can occur pretty easily, those who use the site a lot may come up against those limitations pretty quickly. YouTube recently revamped its "strikeout" policy for community guidelines violations, but left the copyright strikeouts intact.

There are multiple problems with this policy, starting with the fact that false DMCA complaints can count against users. We were recently pointed to a series of videos about a user on YouTube who is supposedly filing bogus DMCA notices on others' videos, and that's resulting in accounts being shut down. In a forum thread, the guy filing the bogus DMCA claims says that YouTube has hired him to seek out "useless" videos and get them removed. That's obviously not true at all, but the fact that someone so blatantly making stuff up was able to get away with filing bogus DMCA notices that got accounts suspended seems more than a bit troubling. Even if YouTube's policy is to say "file a counternotice," it appears that policy isn't really working so well.

Separate from that is the more common situation of those putting up videos where they think that what they're doing is legal. And here, there is great confusion also. We recently had a bit of a debate in our comments with a regular commenter on the site who insists that YouTube has said it's okay to upload videos without permission from copyright holders. In the ensuing comment thread, I pointed out that this simply isn't true, but the the commenter continued to insist that the only reason YouTube would have a ContentID system is if it's telling users they don't need permission. This is blatantly wrong, but the fact that even after it was explained to the commenter, she continued to believe it, shows how difficult it is to get otherwise knowledgeable people to understand that YouTube can and will cut people off and shut down their entire account, with little to no recourse, if they receive multiple DMCA notices (note: this is separate from Content ID matches, which don't count as strikes).

The latest example of this comes via Michael Geist who points us to the news of a Canadian dance company losing all 300 videos it had posted of its dance company choreography and classes and such, because it got hit with a third DMCA strike. As the guy notes, it's okay to use whatever music they want in the classrooms (I'm assuming they pay the basic licenses for that), but the second the videos go online, they risk takedown notices. Of course, with this three strikes policy, it means that even if 297 of the videos were perfectly fine, and the musicians were thrilled that the dance company used them and were online, it doesn't matter. They're gone from YouTube.

This seems unfortunate. Obviously, YouTube can set whatever policies it wants, but the three strikes policy on such notices, and then the removal of an entire account just seems to go too far in an age when unintentional copyright infringement happens all the time, and DMCA notices are sent without much thought.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Yogi, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 11:36am

    No Evil?

    I think it is fair to say that Google has come a long way from their initial motto "Do No Evil." Perhaps they should change it to "not entirely evil - yet."

     

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    Jim, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 11:50am

    I have even better examples

    My company signs license agreements with rights holders to sell video downloads. Just about all those agreements explicitly and clearly state that we can distribute trailers for all titles we sell, and that we can do that world-wide in just about any way we want.

    At one point we had (I believe) over 2,000 trailers on YouTube for promotional purposes. Because some of those trailers were about a dead singer, and the dead singer's estate wanted to have complete control over the dead guy's likeness, they started sending rapid fire DMCA takedowns. Our account was eventually deleted by YouTube, and all the work we did to upload 2K trailers was lost (and it was a lot of fricken work). Remember, these were just low rez trailers of about 3 minutes each, not full-length videos, and we had a fricken license to do it.

    In another example, we almost lost our accounts on several other services (e.g., Yahoo! Video) because some people who own a relatively unknown kids show (about a bug music band) got back the rights to their video, and they started issuing DMCA takedowns for everything they could find about it. Several of those takedowns targeted trailers that we put up to promote the show. And we were allowed to do that as per a distribution agreement!

    The rights holders we had licenses through were the distributors for the morons mentioned above. The rights holders I deal with are generally great, smart and honest people. I could have fought back in both cases, if I wanted to risk souring relationships with these important partners, getting a bad name, and probably not getting anywhere.

     

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      Free Capitalist (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 12:29pm

      Re: I have even better examples

      I know nothing about your company, but I have to say that is quite a sickening story.

      Another fine example of how a DMCA take-down (regardless of credibility) trumps everything when it comes to online access and "rights".

      Is there no recourse at all for this situation, where a license was in effect, but some SLAPP happy jerk files a DMCA?

      There needs to be some two-way accountability or the entire DMCA needs to go.

       

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 11:53am

    Reap what you sow

    "... but the the commenter continued to insist that the only reason YouTube would have a ContentID system is if it's telling users they don't need permission."

    If you insist on a technological gateway, and someone manages to avoid that gateway, it is understandable if they get upset when they get get shut down despite passing that gateway.

    Hey, the gateways are perfect, right? Isn't that the point of them? Detecting copyright violations is trivial! Right? RIGHT?

     

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    identicon
    vicky, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 11:54am

    Youtube's strikes

    Having had a "warning" for one of my vids last week (video which was uploaded in 2008) and waiting for everything to disappear (still waiting at the moment) I did a bit of research and found this from YouTube's head of user experience which I found interesting:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_EamVE1HVE

     

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    chris (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 11:56am

    But lots of videos AREN'T being taken down

    lol.

     

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    Rideincircles, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    This happened to me yesterday

    My youtube account was finally shut down yesterday from my third strike.

    To cover my info, my youtube site consisted mainly of concert footage I recorded myself from the past 4 years. I had around 1060 videos, over 1.8 million total video views, about 400 subscribers, over 500 people that added me as a friend and i never made a dime off of it.

    I like to record a song or 2 from almost every show I go to, and have been going to concerts and festivals all the time in the past 4 years. it amounts to some of the best free promotion for bands available and I have no problem doing it.

    A couple moths ago I recieved my first violation from some Bob Dylan footage from Austin City Limits music festival. That video was removed and it was my first strike. Less than a week later I got my second strike from another Bob Dylan video and I removed the other videos I had from his set. I just got back from Glastonbury Music Festival and had just started uploading my footage when this happened. Still not sure what gave me my final strike, they have not sent me anything official yet.

    I knew i was at risk after the first two strikes, but i was not about to start deleting stuff other than what got my strikes in the first place. I still have all my footage, and have already started over, but i want to know what set it off the third time and i can't really estimate how many hours worth of my time was spenting put all of that up there. honestly it could be a few weeks of my life over the past few years.

    To my knowledge, my only recourse is starting over from scratch. Definitely not enthused about this.

     

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      Kayla, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 10:07am

      Re: This happened to me yesterday

      Hi!

      I'm Kayla, the videographer for the dance company mentioned in the above blog.

      Youtube should have sent you a final email notice detailing what content had caused the offense. That notice should also contain a link to information about filing a counter-notification: http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=59826

      Good luck. I feel your pain dude. I think we had just broke 1000 subscribers, and I was so happy to see our channel flourishing. Why do they now remove whole channels when this happens? I don't know. It's pretty stupid.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Rideincircles, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 12:04pm

    This happened to me yesterday

    My youtube account was finally shut down yesterday from my third strike.

    To cover my info, my youtube site consisted mainly of concert footage I recorded myself from the past 4 years. I had around 1060 videos, over 1.8 million total video views, about 400 subscribers, over 500 people that added me as a friend and i never made a dime off of it.

    I like to record a song or 2 from almost every show I go to, and have been going to concerts and festivals all the time in the past 4 years. it amounts to some of the best free promotion for bands available and I have no problem doing it.

    A couple moths ago I recieved my first violation from some Bob Dylan footage from Austin City Limits music festival. That video was removed and it was my first strike. Less than a week later I got my second strike from another Bob Dylan video and I removed the other videos I had from his set. I just got back from Glastonbury Music Festival and had just started uploading my footage when this happened. Still not sure what gave me my final strike, they have not sent me anything official yet.

    I knew i was at risk after the first two strikes, but i was not about to start deleting stuff other than what got my strikes in the first place. I still have all my footage, and have already started over, but i want to know what set it off the third time and i can't really estimate how many hours worth of my time was spenting put all of that up there. honestly it could be a few weeks of my life over the past few years.

    To my knowledge, my only recourse is starting over from scratch. Definitely not enthused about this.

     

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

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 12:42pm

    "otherwise knowledgeable people to understand that YouTube can and will cut people off and shut down their entire account, with little to no recourse, if they receive multiple DMCA notices" - if they receive dmca notices. google does little or nothing to stop the uploading of copyright material, and only takes (a very passive) action on any single notice. rather than the burden being on the uploader to prove they have rights, it is shifted to the rights holder to locate and prove that they have the rights to the material.

    sorry, but it is clear that youtube has and will continue to make its bones by playing in the dmca grey zone.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 1:04pm

      Re:

      google does little or nothing to stop the uploading of copyright material

      Someone is apparently clueless on Content ID and how aggressive it can be.

      But, that's your MO, I guess.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 2:58pm

        Re: Re:

        yeah, mike, that is why i can search for almost any song from any artist and find it without difficulty, right? the filtering is so robust that nothing gets through. yeah right.

        your mo, dismissing people that dont agree with you.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 4:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Then the copyright holders are incompetent because if you try to search a tV show for example you won't find one entire episode in there that easily, mostly you will find videos pointing people to other places with some text like "Because youtube keep taking down my videos I'm reposting them at [some address]"

          e.g.

          (heroes season 4 episode 1)
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoc_KflDFAQ

          That is not the episode, but it does have a link to a place where you can find it.

          Oh lets not forget that one can use any search engine to find those things including Bing.

          http://www.bing.com/search?q=heroes+season+4+episode+1&go=&form=QBLH

          Now why people bother to go to all this trouble I don't get it. I don't know what it is happening and I don't really care that much.

          Since Jamendo and Magnatune I don't need to care about the legality of music anymore, when the source is good the rest falls into place.

           

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 4:49pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          yeah, mike, that is why i can search for almost any song from any artist and find it without difficulty, right? the filtering is so robust that nothing gets through. yeah right.

          Nearly all of those songs, if you look, have ads on them. That means that the copyright holder set ContentID policies to let the songs remain, and to get the revenue from those ads.

          In other words, the filter worked great. You just don't understand how it works. As usual.

           

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 4:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "yeah, mike, that is why i can search for almost any song from any artist and find it without difficulty, right?"

          That's often because each time you see the video Youtube gives royalties. There is often an agreement between the content controllers and Youtube.

           

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          identicon
          Michael, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          As Mike pointed out, the ContentID system allows content owners choose what happens when something is uploaded that matches.

          This was posted earlier in the thread:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_EamVE1HVE

          This is a pretty good system and goes WAY beyond that is required by the DMCA. They could ignore everything and sit around waiting for takedown notices. Instead of making copyright owners sit through the 20 hours of video a minute being uploaded and issue takedowns, they built a very complex digital signature system that helps identify content.

          Is this system perfect? Of course not. It does, however, make a very clear case that they are trying to help the copyright holders and going beyond what is required of them.

           

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      Eugene (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 1:22pm

      Re:

      "rather than the burden being on the uploader to prove they have rights, it is shifted to the rights holder to locate and prove that they have the rights to the material."

      Which is exactly where it should be. Thank you and goodnight.

       

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        Karl (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 2:02pm

        Re: Re:

        Which is exactly where it should be.

        Exactly. There is no "DMCA grey zone," it's black-and-white. The burden of proving infringement falls exclusively on the rights holders, and always has. Full stop. End of story.

        Google must really like rights holders. They spent unnecessary time and resources to create the ContentID system, which the rights holders get for free.

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          the grey zone exists where youtube is aware that signficant amounts of uploaded material will be infringing in one manner or another, but they choose to ignore the stats and assume everything is good (provided it gets past their initial filters, which still appear to be pretty weak). then they wait for the pile of dmcas they will know come, and deal with them in the required time frame. they basically profit (well, they dont profit, but they earn income) on this copyright arbitrage.

          is it legal? yes. is it moral? debatable.

           

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 4:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Really why is that any music search puts prominently the artists youtube page then?

            Why is that music is so hard to take out and we don't see movies and tV shows on youtube?

            Maybe music managers should stop sucking their thumbs and start doing some f#$%& work.

             

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 4:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            How the fuck do you know all that?

             

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 4:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I highly doubt that all the labor required for them to identify and take down infringing content upon receiving DMCA takedowns is profitable. In case you didn't know, manual labor isn't cheap.

             

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 8:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It is only debatable to those who have no morals. Like you, TAM.

             

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            Karl (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 9:38pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            the grey zone exists where youtube is aware that signficant amounts of uploaded material will be infringing in one manner or another, but they choose to ignore the stats and assume everything is good

            Whenever you allow users to upload content at all, "significant amounts" of material will probably be infringing. But there is absolutely no way to know whether a particular piece of content is infringing or not, unless you're the rights holder. They wouldn't even be able to calculate any "stats," much less ignore them.

            YouTube is not, never was, and never will be, responsible for deciding what is and isn't infringing, because they don't have the right to do so. Only rights holders are allowed to decide what is infringing and what isn't. That's why it's the rights holders' responsibility to tell them.

            So, no: not a grey zone. Clear-cut black and white. To "wait for the pile of dmcas they will know come, and deal with them in the required time frame" is the only action allowed by copyright law.

            You would rather they acted "on behalf" of the copyright holders - without permission?

             

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 2:22pm

    "Google must really like rights holders. They spent unnecessary time and resources to create the ContentID system, which the rights holders get for free."

    The rights holders not only get the system for free, but get to make money from it too.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_EamVE1HVE

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 4:13pm

    This is why there should be serious punishment for those who file bogus DMCA takedowns.

     

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    CJ (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:34am

    well

    It's just a screwed up mess. Google is not the only company doing their users wrong. Plus it does not look as though it will change any time soon. Unless the people gather and do something about it on their own.

    I suspect foul play also. They should of told one of the users to take down all of the videos, but instead they said just one. I believe they did that for spite. Get two strikes against them quickly then go in for the kill. What jerks they are. Something needs to be done about it.

     

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    identicon
    guest, Oct 2nd, 2010 @ 9:06pm

    Three strikes is two too many

    One strike? Okay. Perhaps some are genuinely ignorant of copyright law, despite youtube's upload warning that your videos must consist entirely of content that you created yourself.

    That alone should be enough, but okay, allow one infringement and a more personal warning with the take-down.

    Why should anyone be given two more chances after that?

     

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    jamaris, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 1:00pm

    youtube

    youtube

     

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    Dario Ghidoni, Jul 8th, 2013 @ 9:21am

    Hate speech.

    I have been tagged as hate speech. I have been very effective in my comments. People have threaten me, told me I have a small...you know what. Called me racist, fascist and Nazi. Ask yourself this?
    I have talked about immigration. I ask how come North Korea can give someone 12 years of hard labor if you cross the border illegally, but Sweden and England but these same people on welfare as refugees.
    Hate speech law was designed to stop white people from talking.

     

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    identicon
    Mark, Dec 21st, 2013 @ 4:12am

    Youtube gives too much power to companies

    I had two different video which contained some screenshots from the trailer of a movie set for release from a company whose earlier movies were flop. While one of my video had got just about 800 views in 1 month, the other got about 600,000 views in the same time. What those leeches did was to file a dmca notice against the video which had 800 views while the other video was a great promotion for their movie(it had more views than their own trailer)and they would have hurt by taking it down so they uploaded some part from my other video and submit it to youtube content id system so apart from promotion they can also get the earnings from that video.

    They have the power to choose and utilize the system for their benefit and thats what they did. I was pretty sure that it should not act as copyright infringement but still did not take the risk to file a counter notice.

     

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


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