Once Again, The DMCA Doesn't Let You Takedown Any Content You Don't Like

from the eff-on-the-case dept

Sometimes people have a difficult time understanding that something they dislike isn’t necessarily illegal — and because of it, they can sometimes take legal action even though they have no right to do so. This is quite common with the DMCA, where we’ve seen numerous examples of people abusing the DMCA in this manner. Luckily, the EFF has been fighting back against many of these bogus DMCA takedowns, and the latest is the case where an anti-animal cruelty group posted a bunch of videos showing treatment of animals at a rodeo.

No matter what you think of the group’s position, the rodeo still had no right to send a DMCA takedown notice, since it didn’t own the copyright on the videos — but that didn’t stop the rodeo from filing the DMCA takedowns anyway. Again, it seems like a case where the rodeo didn’t like the videos, and thus assumed they simply must be illegal, even if their complaint had nothing at all to do with copyright. Speaking of which, it’s not clear under what rules Henry Nicholas, the recently indicted founder of Broadcom, was able to get YouTube to remove a video of himself ingesting white powder. However, in a filing with the company, his lawyer insisted the person in the video was Nicholas, and asked that the video be removed.

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Comments on “Once Again, The DMCA Doesn't Let You Takedown Any Content You Don't Like”

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13 Comments
BTR1701 (profile) says:

DMCA

This won’t stop until courts start holding people responsible for filing the false take-down notices.

One of the things a person or organization has to do when filing such a notice is swear UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY that they own the copyright to the material in question.

Until courts start charging people with perjury and throwing them in jail for filing false take-down requests, this problem won’t go away.

Pedro Mack says:

Based on the emails exchanged in the Henry Nicholas situation, it appears that the video of him, ahem, ingesting some white powder, was removed in line with a YouTube policy. I don’t know their rules, but it would seem that one can get a video removed if he can claim that the video was taken of him in a private location and without his consent. Obviously, people can take issue with that policy, but it wouldn’t appear to fall under abuse of the DMCA, and might be considered semi-reasonable.

m says:

DMCA takedowns vs Privacy invasions

There are laws against the invasion of privacy, but that doesn’t mean that a party can legally use the provisions of the DMCA takedown process to attempt to protect themselves from an invasion of privacy. They can only use the law that is appropriate to the invasion of privacy.

Kevin says:

Re: DMCA takedowns vs Privacy invasions

There are laws against the invasion of privacy, but that doesn’t mean that a party can legally use the provisions of the DMCA takedown process to attempt to protect themselves from an invasion of privacy. They can only use the law that is appropriate to the invasion of privacy.

Or they can just send a complaint to YouTube and ask them to take it down, in compliance with their posted privacy policy. Then you don’t have to worry about any laws at all.

Actually the rodeos usually have exclusive contracts with the television stations only allowing them to take footage. This would be like taking video at a baseball game then posting it online. That’s illegal and so are these alleged animal abuse videos.

No it’s not. You can set up an exclusive contract with a TV network that only allows them commercial rights to the video, but that doesn’t prevent someone else from making a video clip or taking pictures and distributing them. You might not be able to profit from them, but you can certainly take the pictures and video and it’s not illegal. A contract between party A and party B can’t legally limit the actions of party C, who is not signatory to the contract.

Jason (profile) says:

In favor of rodeo

Yeah, whatever. Shark’s videos in no way compete with the interests of television stations in airing a calf-roping competition.

The videos are about the injured calves being drug out of the arena and left to die. It’s one thing if an event-goer took a camera in to bootleg the event coverage. It’s an entirely differently thing when someone witnesses a crime in a public venue and then whips out their camera to document that crime.

JustMe says:

TheDock22

You misuse the definition of ‘illegal’ which can be defined as “Contrary to or forbidden by law, especially criminal law.”

What you are talking about is violating the terms of a private contract and it not against the law to violate the terms of a contract.

The act of Company A signing a contract with Company B does not diminish the rights of User C unless User C enters in to a contract with either A or B in which they promise not to do something.

One might argue that the ticket says something along the lines of ‘no personal photos, no personal video footage’ except that every time I see the rodeo there are a hundred flashes from the stands every second, so it appears that this clause is not enforced. Also, as with all contracts, both parties have the right to modify the terms. In this case Snitch D would simply have to cross out the relevant section on the back of the ticket and sign it. If the ticket taker accepts the ticket they have agreed with your terms.

Finally, one can also make a very good case that the original contracts between Company A and company B do not apply when videotaping acts of animal abuse (which are themselves illegal).

I’m not a lawyer, but I play one using a cape and pulley system.

Charles White - Dallas says:

Bottom line here is that the PRCA is using this tactic to try and minimize the negative impact that the SHARK videos have on their profits. Remember when Oprah said negative things about beef? The Texas Cattlemen took her straight to court and lost.

One thing to keep in mind though is that the PRCA just might be within their rights. They have VERY strict guidelines on who is allowed to film at these events, where they are allowed to film, and they have to be from an accredited organization and approved before allowed to film or shoot photos etc… All of this information is on their web site. They go on to state that they own all rights of any coverage. Read it here: http://www.prorodeo.com/PR_Archive.aspx?xu=4
This question will have to be answered in court.

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