Collateral Damage: Viacom's YouTube Takedowns Include Personal Home Videos

from the whoops dept

We’ve covered Viacom’s demand that YouTube takedown approximately 100,000 clips based on copyright violations, but how did they come up with those 100,000 videos. Not too carefully, it appears. Reports are starting to show up of people with perfectly legitimate videos getting caught in the crossfire. One person found that his 30 second home video of some friends at dinner was yanked offline at Viacom’s request. Not even the name of the video would confuse people into associating it with a Viacom property — but, thanks to the DMCA, YouTube immediately took the video down. While the guy can now reply and show that the takedown was a mistake, but it still seems a bit unfair that Viacom can just yank anyone’s video offline that quickly.

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Comments on “Collateral Damage: Viacom's YouTube Takedowns Include Personal Home Videos”

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Stuart Barnes says:

Re: Re:

i too was caught in that crossfire! having the whole content of my profile removed!! i had a couple of Walt Disney videos with music and a couple of other cartoons which I would have removed, had i been asked to do so. However I had over 200 videos i made and My Whole account was deleted because of a few clips! Unfair doesnt seem the word? Lack of communication from youtube, If people get warned beforehand they can do something about it before they get their account deleted permenantly. Stuart.

Anonymous Coward says:

business oppertunity:

version of youtube hosted outside the US? and probably outside europe as well.

not so much to actually get anywhere, but get ‘good enough’ that it can be used to point out how all this copyright excess is actually harming companies.

and maybe just maybe point out that ‘fair’ regulation within the states/europe is better than draconican regulation within and everybody avoiding it by going elsewhere.

btw: not in favour of random copyright violations, but to me they should have had to point out:

1, which clip they want to take down
2, the reason it infinges, not just that they think it does so.

I’m sort of assuming they have done a blanket search, and a takedown for the results.

Neal says:

better opportunity

Joe Blow puts up his personal video which includes, in the video, a paypal link to pay if you like his video and want him to make more. Joe blow uses tags that describe his video but also describe viacom (or other videos). Joe Blow gets this video listed on slashdot or digg. Hundreds, or thousands, of geeks – aware of his goal – make donations. Viacomm, or other, in their next 100,000 video takedown notice include Joe’s video. Joe’s video is removed. Now Joe has proof that Viacomm falsely attested to ownership in order to take down video, verifiable proof of financial loss (record of paypal donations and their stoppage), and can take legal action against Viacomm – probably with help from EFF. If multiple Joes do this… class action.

Arkadyi Plotkin (user link) says:

Mobile YouTube = MYUBO?

A new video sharing service that is technologically going even beyond YouTube was launched in Jan 2007. Its name is MYUBO. Apart from the Web, it can also be accessed from mobile phones (upload & watch) and works on all mobile data networks – including GPRS, EDGE, or CDMA and 3G/UMTS.

Even though MYUBO is still in beta phase it has already captured the attention of Internet and mobile phone users.

Bumbling old fool (profile) says:


Isnt there some sort of statute that individuals can use to counter this type of big corporate bully action?

Last I checked it was illegal for a company to conduct actions such as viacoms and they are required to perform some kind of due diligence before taking legal actions against them. Some part of the RICO statutes perhaps?

I don’t remember exactly, and thats why its a good thing I’m not a lawyer, but if I were one of the thousands of individuals that was innocently getting hit by takedown notices, I would probably be trying to slay the goliath with any tool necessary.

(again, good thing I’m not a lawyer…)

You are a fool says:

Re: hrmm....

It is obvious that you are a fool and not a lawyer.

YouTube is removing videos…the onus of responsibility lies with YouTube not Viacom. To that end, if youtube pulls a video by mistake, there is no damage, there is no issue.
Read the terms of service, youtube can do remove any video it wants at any time.

Bumbling old fool (profile) says:

Re: Re: hrmm....


I didn’t say anything about the actions youtube, I’m talking about the actions of viacom.

Youtube isnt bullying, they are complying with the law. Its viacom that is bullying here.

The ToS is just as irrelevant as it is in any other usage. You can put in the ToS that all my base are belong to you and that doesnt mean jack.

Of course youtube CAN remove the video, but that doesnt give viacom the right to make them.

Brad Eleven (profile) says:

Re: hrmm....

Interesting point. Nice argument.

Real world: My video got yanked in this pogrom. My response? Fuck it. Not worth my time.

See also the unwillingness of citizens to protest heinous actions by their governments, right up until their own lives/livelihoods are threatened. There was plenty of writing about the American Revolution, with no action. Once the East India Tea Company started undercutting the colonists b/c the Crown exempted them from tariffs, etc., THEN the revolt began.

Ideology doesn’t drive the revolution.

I Care says:

I give a ....

While it’s true that YT/GV have the right to remove videos, it should be at their choice, not some wealthy corp.

YT/GV play along so they don’t get sued. However if MY video gets removed because of a FALSE identification to something that is (C), I have a problem with that. IF YT/GV say your vid is crap, we removed it coz we want to, that’s fine. but if they sya, oh yeah the ABCDEFG company wants it removed, and we just blindly follow themm, i DO have a problem.

it is leading to thecomplete business controlled society.

i like the idea that if a company wants something removed, they must provide a legitimate reason FOR EACH item to be removed. you want 100k videos removed, submit 100k forms, one for each vid. describing the offense.

if they don’t, have them pay YT/GV say, $1000 per vid. that’ll get them going.

the only adult in the house says:

are you all ignorant children?

Did you people read the original posting? There is recourse. All the person had to do was to swear they have rights to the content under penalty of perjury (something they should not be afraid to do if they own the content).

The DMCA appears to be a little heavy handed. However, this problem wouldn’t have occurred if YouTube did not encourage the expropriation of Viacom’s property so that YouTube/Google could profit. The real battle here is between two giant companies, Viacom and Google. Viacom trying to defend its property rights and Google trying to violate them for massive profit.

The little guy who claims to be damaged when his video is taken down from YouTube is making a bogus claim. The little guy whose choses to upload his video to a free service engaged in massive property-right violations should not be surprised that he gets what he pays for.

Jaegercat says:

Bogus Claim?

Why is it a “bogus claim” for the little guy to defend his property, but not when it’s Viacom?

I’m one of the “little guys”. An original work that took me five months to create has been picked up, falsely, as the property of Viacom.

If Youtube had simply removed the video while this was being disputed, I might not have suffered any real damage, but they’re displaying a message claiming that this is Viacom’s property, not mine. This is clear-cut defamation.

And the recourse is a lot slower than the original action. I sent the counter-claim back four days ago.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

Statutory Declaration, on a papaer form.

If you produced a standardised form and published it on your website, which when filled out and signed became a staturory declaration that you owned the video, but was a locked-down PDF so they have to print it out and fill it in by hand using those little squares so that you can just OCR it in again, to bring up the video to check it and delete if necessary would simplify matters greatly. IT would reduce the number of frivolous takedown notices by making it a pain to fill them out, but mean that one or two could easily be filled out by a small creator. The other things which could save time are to either make the users assert the rights to the file when uploading or to email them immediately, before taking down the file. Then YT can have thir system wait unlil a specified time (the time limit on the notice) to delete the video if no response occurs.

ScytheNoire (profile) says:

use the DMCA against Viacom

sue Viacom to infringing on your copyrighted material under the DMCA. they have damaged your digital intellectual property, and therefore, have caused you undo problems, along with harrassement.

i think the public needs to start finding ways to use the DMCA against corporations, and then see how quickly they freak out about it.

to me though, this does sound like Viacom violated a lot of peoples digital copyright. it would be like NBC somehow ordering the takedown of CBS shows on YouTube or knocking CBS off the air or cable channels.
well, that does happen in Canada… under screwed up Canadian law that allows a network to over-right another networks programming.

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