Viacom Promises To Be More Mindful Of Fair Use On YouTube

from the oh-right,-fair-use dept

When Viacom took down 100,000 videos from YouTube claiming they were infringing, one problem was that there were a number of false positives where they forced videos offline that weren’t infringing at all. In one case, the EFF and others sued over the removal of a parody of the Colbert report, and Viacom bizarrely claimed that it hadn’t sent a takedown about it despite a ton of evidence that it had. Eventually Viacom admitted that it had, in fact, accidentally sent the takedown. In response, the company has convinced the EFF to drop the lawsuit after promising to manually review all videos before sending takedown notices, training those who review the videos to understand fair use and publicly stating that it has no problem with videos that are “creative, newsworthy or transformative” and are “a limited excerpt for non commercial purposes.” In other words, it’s basically everything the EFF wanted, and now we’ll see if Viacom lives up to the promise.


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Comments on “Viacom Promises To Be More Mindful Of Fair Use On YouTube”

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11 Comments
Casper says:

Viacom....

Don’t people realize Viacom isn’t doing any of this to prevent the sharing of content? The bigger point here is that by attacking YouTube in this manor they were trying to make themselves look like the good guy, while simultaneously wounding their competition. The goal was to soften up YouTube and make a little room for their online video services.

All these companies use our legal system like a weapon against each other and we end up footing the bill.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Mike, do you think its ok that Viacom has to be the one to spend time and resource to identify copyright violations?

Sure. That’s what the law requires. Do you expect the telephone company to identify when anyone makes use of a telephone in a crime? Google is the one providing the platform. They do not review the content and shouldn’t have to.

If YouTube can’t do it, why should Viacom have to?

Viacom is the owner of the content. Google/YouTube have no idea who owns the content and what the owners want done with it.

What we are actually talking about is Viacom expecting the law to be followed.

And the law says the content owner needs to police it and platform providers do not. However, when given a takedown notice, the platform providers need to respond… which is exactly what Google/YouTube has done.

So, the law has been followed. What Viacom is asking for isn’t that the law be followed, but that Google pay them a lot of money. That’s quite different.

RandomThoughts (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

But Mike, to follow the law, YouTube has to not knowingly host copyright material on their site. Maybe they don’t know individual clips are violating the law, but if they just look at their site they have to know their are violations. If they can keep porn off YouTube, why not unauthorized clips?

Also, YouTube can’t profit off of the material. They sell ads next to copyright material that is violating the law, I would say they are profiting from this. Both of these mean that YouTube doesn’t qualify for safe harbor.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

But Mike, to follow the law, YouTube has to not knowingly host copyright material on their site.

Right. That’s the safe harbor. As soon as someone complains, they take it down. They follow that law.

Maybe they don’t know individual clips are violating the law, but if they just look at their site they have to know their are violations.

No. They don’t. They don’t know what the copyright holder allows and what they don’t. They honestly have no idea if the clips are up their are authorized or not.

If they can keep porn off YouTube, why not unauthorized clips?

YouTube has a simple system for keeping porn off the site — which is they ask people to point out porn and it gets pulled down. It’s effectively the same measure they use for copyright takedowns. It’s effective for porn because people point out the porn. That’s the same as Viacom issuing the takedowns.

Also, YouTube can’t profit off of the material. They sell ads next to copyright material that is violating the law

Again, that’s not quite right. YouTube profits from having the platform and providing the free hosting… they do not profit directly from the content, but from providing a useful service. They are not profiting from the content.

Both of these mean that YouTube doesn’t qualify for safe harbor.

According to your reading of the law — but not according to many others’. We’ll see what the courts say.

Wizard Prang (user link) says:

Re: The Law is wrong

Copyright is no longer about copying, it is about commercial exploitation.

I fail to see how three-minute clips hurt Viacom’s bottom line. In fact, it probably encourages people to watch those movies.

I don’t blame Viacom – they are fighting because the law requires them to “defend” their “property”.

The law needs to be changed. This time with the public – and the public domain – at the bargaining table.

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