MLB Issuing Tons Of YouTube Takedowns; Don't Try To Share Your Love Of Baseball

from the illegal-fandom dept

A few folks have sent over the news that a whole bunch of YouTube videos containing short clips of Major League Baseball games were taken down recently. Considering the fact that a bunch were taken down at once, I’m guessing that MLB just uploaded a bunch of video to YouTube’s Content ID system, and the system matched up a bunch of videos. The site that talks about this (a Philadelphia sports blog) points out how incredibly short-sighted this is in annoying fans. It also points out that the NHL actually encourages fans to share videos, and monetizes them with ads:

When it comes to online video, the NHL is an example of a league that just gets it. Instead of combing YouTube and other video sites, the NHL allows fans and bloggers to embed videos right on their site. In case you haven’t noticed, most of our Flyers highlights are taken directly from They encourage it. Why? Because it raises awareness for their product and is sometimes laced with an ad. Many news outlets do this too. People can use their videos, so long as they watch a :30 second ad prior to it. A fair trade off.

Of course, the site also claims that MLB’s actions are “legal in every sense of the word.” While that might be true in some cases, it sounds like certainly not all. The blog notes that many of the videos taken down have exceptionally brief clips of MLB coverage, suggesting that with at least some of them, there’s probably a decent fair use claim:

I noticed that YouTube had sent me a few of my own. They removed eight videos that, when pooled together, included about 20 seconds of game play footage (they were mostly screenshots of fans, including guys in Nacho Libre masks).

If it’s actually true that his videos contained a grand total of 20 seconds of MLB coverage across eight videos, you’d have to imagine that there’s at least a reasonable possibility that the videos were protected by fair use. Unfortunately (thanks to the take downs), I can’t actually see the videos to get a better determination of whether or not they were likely fair use. Either way — whether fair use or not — the site is right. Pissing off fans, out of some bizarre need to “control,” when you could instead excite fans by enabling them to share their fandom, just seems incredibly short-sighted on the part of Major League Baseball.

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Comments on “MLB Issuing Tons Of YouTube Takedowns; Don't Try To Share Your Love Of Baseball”

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Mark Kenny (profile) says:

NHL is only just starting, the FA have been doing it for ages.

I was back in the UK and went to a football (soccer) game with my brother (Crystal Palace vs QPR for the Brits who read this). We’re top of the league for the first time since the 60’s and the atmosphere at the end of the game once we won was electric. So I pulled out my iPhone and shot 30 seconds of the fans singing. A special moment for me and my brother and something I wanted to share. So I posted to who YouTube so I could share with my Dad and a few other QPR fans.

Within 2 hours the video had been taken down and I’d been given my second copyright notice by YouTube. Third strike and my account would shut down, which really worries me cos is my YouTube account my Google account? My Gmail, analytics, docs, everything?

I hadn’t filmed a game. I hadn’t shown anyone recognisable. My only crime was recording and publishing video from a football stadium. Isn’t that fair use? I hadn’t got footage of goals, just fans singing, and I was one of them.

Mark Kenny (profile) says:

Re: Re: NHL is only just starting, the FA have been doing it for ages.

I found out from a few other UK football fans, when you buy a ticket you enter a agreement, that includes forbidding the use of video recording equipment within the stadium. So by recording on my phone, I’d already broken that.

Because the stadium is private premises, the club and the league set down the rules 🙁

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: NHL is only just starting, the FA have been doing it for ages.

“Third strike and my account would shut down, which really worries me cos is my YouTube account my Google account? My Gmail, analytics, docs, everything?”

This is always a concern with Google, facebook, etc. It is why I suggest never investing one’s life in a hosting service/cloud where your data is not your data. There are tens of thousands of examples of this happening through no fault of the account owner.

Good luck!

Ron Rezendes (profile) says:

And yet...

…the thing we hear on San Diego sports radio shows is “Why aren’t the fans coming to the games to support their team when they are doing well? (The Padres were in the playoff hunt until the final day of the season)

Well Mr. Sports Talk Radio Personality – we also have the option of voting with our wallets! Since MLB, by virtue of their anti-trust exemption, pulls stupid stunts like this repeatedly and doesn’t quite understand why the fans in this economy don’t want to spend $10 on a beer and $6 on a hot dog plus $20 for the “privilege” to park within 3 miles of the stadium before they even buy the ticket they will just have to suffer for their ignorance. Attendance figures are down and the ratings for the World Series were among the worst ever (get clue MLB – most of the folks who have jobs work during the daytime when you are televising your showcase championship!) and yet MLB just seems to not quite understand why this is the case.

As a lifelong, hardcore baseball fan it’s beyond discouraging to watch the fall of America’s pastime.

14theAges says:

Bud Selig is a moron

Selig is driving the game into the ground. It’s like pulling teeth to get them to add review to anything other than fair or foul. Their argument, “It takes away the human historic feeling of the game.”…huh? There is millions of dollars at stake here and they want to keep a feeling. The economy is bad, small market teams are only getting by from profit sharing, and dumb@$$ Selig is trying to limit the amount of coverage they have. Don’t care, don’t have the patience to sit through a game anymore.

out_of_the_blue says:

Maybe NHL is *hoping* to get noticed, while MLB is doing fine.

OR doesn’t care about the *tiny* incremental difference this *might* bring in, when lawyers are advising that their form of DRM (legalities) are more important in the *long* run. (To some on other threads: See how the DRM controversy is wider than hardware and software?)

Just for an intellectual exercise, consider that maybe MLB isn’t “short-sighted” at all, that by ruthlessly applying legal tools they might actually keep the lid on. — I think that likely, and it near certain that your carping about it, nor even loss of revenue, will *not* cause them to change.

MLB is *established*. Call them dinosaurs, fossils even, but they’ve *got* control over their monopoly, shrinking though it may be, right as you may be. — SO start your own baseball league! That’s consistent with Mike’s view elsewhere on monopolies: you are *free* to compete. Should be a simple matter to get funding and network coverage, like the, er, what *was* that football league that was attempted some years back…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Maybe NHL is *hoping* to get noticed, while MLB is doing fine.

The NHL must’ve asked itself “Does hockey need more exposure or less exposure?”, stroked its scar-covering goatee thoughtfully, laid a finger aside its thrice broken nose, body checked its law dept. and concluded that crapping on fans wasn’t going to gain any more of them. All while spitting out a couple teeth and enduring some stitches before trotting out for its next shift.

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