And A Million Rickrolls Went Silent… Demonstrating The Problem Of Pressuring Google To Takedown Without Due Process

from the this-is-what-you-get dept

So, just after the news came out last night that Google execs were criminals for not taking down videos fast enough, suddenly people started noticing that the original infamous Rickroll video had been taken down, due to a “terms of service” violation. While some assumed that it was a copyright takedown, usually Google is pretty good about clarifying when it’s an actual copyright takedown. This was clearly something different. After a few hours of people screaming about missing Rick Astley, Google put the video back up, saying it was caused by too many people “flagging” the video as violating the terms of service, leading to yanking the video.

In the end, this demonstrates the difficult position that Google is put in. It’s getting sued by entertainment companies, threatened by politicians and now convicted of crimes for being “too slow” in taking down “bad” videos (with “bad” often being loosely defined). So it creates systems to try to speed up the process, and the end result is that those systems can be abused as well, leading to videos getting taken down without due process. What’s amazing is that people still think that Google can easily figure out which videos should be kept up and which should be taken down — but when you consider just how much content is on the site, and the difficulty of reviewing any complaints, and the likelihood of both false positives and false negatives in reviewing videos, it’s really incredible that anyone thinks it’s reasonable for Google to take responsibility for the content.

The “rickroll” incident is a pretty clear indicator of why trying to put secondary liability on a third party like Google will almost certainly lead to more incidents like this — where legitimate content is taken offline due to a legally mandated itchy trigger finger.

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Companies: google

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Comments on “And A Million Rickrolls Went Silent… Demonstrating The Problem Of Pressuring Google To Takedown Without Due Process”

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20 Comments
Alan Gerow (profile) says:

The answer is obvious. Nobody is allowed to post ANYTHING to the Internet without first hiring a legal team to clear all content against possible copyright infringement. As soon as every collection agency has approved the content as being free of any rights conflict, then the content is to be posted on the Internet behind a username and password with a 30-day review process for any independent artists to vet their rights. After this review process, THEN the content will be publicly available to all people.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Yeah talk about stiffling innovation ....

“is a pretty clear indicator of why trying to put secondary liability on a third party like Google will almost certainly lead to more incidents like this”

Secondary liability will surely slow down new services from being offered, cause existing services to be shut down, cause great financial losses for ISP’s, hosting, and web sites, and generally make everything done online require a lawyer. Even with a lawyers blessing there is still no real protection due to the lack of checks and balances, and probable increase in abuse.

Oh yeah it will also slow down progress, slow down the advancement of science, and stop the creation of new art with the exception of current monopolies.

This is so going to be fun to watch.

Ryan says:

Re: Re:

Well, the flag feature is stupid, and I’m sure many people take it about as seriously as I do. I don’t “abuse” it because I understand that makes it harder on YouTube/Google/whoever and that they really have no choice in the face of bullies concerned with copyright enforcement/political correctness/etc. and the occasional legitimate issue – even though there are better and less reactionary mechanisms for those – and also because I’m not ten.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

I don’t see what’s the big deal. There’s a solution that anyone can apply, it’s really simple, everybody wins and the corporations are happy:

(scroll down for solution:)

We’re no strangers to love
You know the rules and so do I
A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of
You wouldn’t get this from any other guy

I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling
Gotta make you understand

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

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