Not Just YouTube's Copyright School Video That Has Problems… The Quizzes Are Misleading Too

from the not-good dept

YouTube and Google have been getting slammed in various circles for its weak “copyright school” video that it makes those accused of infringing copyrights on YouTube watch. Apparently the “copyright school” also has a quiz they want people to take, and people examining those questions are also finding some serious problems with them:

Question 4 on my quiz read: “Copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is ________ without the permission of the copyright owner:” and then asked me to choose between reproduction, distribution, performance, and public display (or all of the above).  Two problems here.  First, section 106 only gives authors the right to public performance, not all performance.  Second, the question assumes that if you don’t have the copyright owner’s permission you must be infringing, when the Copyright Act has no fewer than sixteen separate sections that establish limitations and exceptions to the author’s rights (sections 107-122).  For example, if your use is a fair use, you need no permission whatsoever from the author, and you’ve committed no copyright violation.  What’s more, Google knows this, because it’s relied on these statutory exceptions in court time and time and time [pdf] again.  I don’t think Google actually means to take a “fair use for me but not for thee” position, so perhaps we can give Google the benefit of the doubt and assume it was intended as a trick question.

When I refreshed the page to take the quiz again I saw more questions that caused concern.  “The following is not a good subject for your YouTube videos….”  But “good” is a normative term, and copyright law has nothing to do with whether your work is good or not–just because your use is legal doesn’t make it good, and vice versa.  What Google really seemed to mean by “good” was “lower risk of infringement allegations.”  Again, as a private company it’s Google’s prerogative to decide what videos it wants to encourage users to post based on its own value judgments, but this seems to go against YouTube’s reputation as an open space for users to create and express themselves freely.

It goes on along those lines. There are some serious problems with the quiz questions. That said, what this really demonstrates is just how difficult it really is to explain today’s copyright laws in a way that people understand them. That should be clearly seen as a problem with the law, not a problem of education.

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Companies: google, youtube

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Comments on “Not Just YouTube's Copyright School Video That Has Problems… The Quizzes Are Misleading Too”

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Hiiragi Kagami (profile) says:

Am I the only person to see this education is a joke?

I take no seriousness in Google’s attempt at showing how ridiculous copyright issues are, especially given no one has been “sent” to this class for violations.

It’s kind of like FUNimation’s “1337” filings over the One Piece anime. There’s a joke to appease those too foolish to rely on laws which damage customer relations.

ConorT says:

Offer Alternative Questions

Could Techdirt perhaps put together 10-20 good questions that should be used in this quiz. Always so easy to complain – harder to do the work for a better alternative.

I think if this site offered 20 factually correct questions and answers then why wouldn’t Google at least consider using them.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Offer Alternative Questions

As rude as this guy wrote it, he actually has a good idea. It could be a collaborative thing, the “TechDirt Community Copyright Quiz”.

I’ll start: Does Little Kuriboh violate copyright?
A) No, it’s fair use
B) Hell no
C) That Japanese guy needs to stop spamming the report button
D) All of the above.

OK, I’d be bad at making questions.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Offer Alternative Questions

2nd Question: You’re walking in Chicago’s Millenium Park and you’re awed by the massive metal reflective bean that has been put up to draw tourist attraction. You know your friends back home would be interested in the sights of the Windy City, so you use your smart phone to make a quick movie. Should you:

A. Upload that movie to YouTube instantly using the handy dandy button on your smart phone, thereby instantly sharing your joy and experience with your friends and others

B. Attempt to track down a park district worker (best of luck) to inquire about the copyright restrictions on photos of The Bean, be returned with a blank stare, look for such restrictions online, find nothing, ask a the ward’s Alderman and only get questions about campaign contributions, and then finally give up when five hours later a bowel movement provides more pressing concerns

C. Scratch your head wondering why anyone would think a giant bean was art, unzip your trousers, urinate on The Bean, and then begin a merry Blues Brothers like car chase with the Chicago police that will inexplicably end with a fiery car crash directly into the main concourse of Wrigley Field

CommonSense says:

Re: Offer Alternative Questions

Why should Techdirt do it?? Why won’t you??

This post explains that the whole quiz idea is bad because it’s very difficult if not impossible to come up with factually correct, unambiguous questions relating to copyright. What in that imaginary world you live in makes you think Techdirt should contribute to this problem, instead of continuing to shine a light on the problem in hopes of actually getting it fixed??

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Offer Alternative Questions

The problem is that there is no simple answer when it comes to most questions concerning copy’right’.

Is it a violation of copy’right’ to do x?

The answer, it depends on the judges opinion. Will the judge deem it fair use? Will the judge deem it infringement? Flip a coin and decide.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

Free in next week's issue....

…… magic decoder ring guaranteed to untangle any alleged infringement puzzle. Certified more accurate than legal proceedings…..

Laws are supposed to be clearly written so you can easily tell if you’re breaking one or not and courts are supposed to be there to determine the area of doubt in the small centre ground. When no-one, including the lawyers, can consistently point any given use and say “that’s definitely OK” or “That’s definitely bad” you just know it’s bad law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

For example, have you ever played minesweeper? If you step anywhere on the field there is a chance you might get hit by a mine. The best way for Google to ensure that no one runs into any of those mines, and perhaps to avoid being possibly liable for potentially directing anyone else into those mines (or to avoid the bad PR associated with such), is to recommend that people avoid stepping on the field altogether.

Togashi (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

If I remember correctly, there is actually code such that, if your very first click is on a square that had randomly been assigned as a mine, it moves that mine to one of the corners (I can’t remember which).

Having played countless hours of Minesweeper and qualifying for its world high score board, I can confirm that I have never once hit a mine on the very first click. Second click, sure, but not first.

ConorT says:

Offer Alternative Questions

To elaborate – I wasn’t having a go at techdirt for not sorting this problem out, but rather asking could it offer a solution.

You can bet when Google asked why should they write the questions and the RIAA said we’ll right them. You can review and ok them. Hense the bias.

Saying it is impossible to have valid questions isn’t the answer either. I can’t write them because I’d get them wrong. How is asking for help a bad thing?

You could totally take the exemptions mentieond in the article to create better questions. Which of these cases is not infringement A B C.

Trying to be constructive.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Offer Alternative Questions

The point is there aren’t many “correct” answers, because the law is written poorly. If lawyers and judges have a difficult time coming to conclusions in these matters (worse yet, different courts coming to different conclusions on similar cases), how is the average person supposed to figure it all out.

Until copy’right’ law is changed there are no correct questions, much less answers.

Daryl McGarry (user link) says:

Copyright School is a waste of time and effort!

This entire idea is fucking stupid. Certain internet sites (Youtube) have been lowering the amount of things their users can do anyway.

I cant even record a video of myself playing a game that i created in a room i decorated myself with my own musical composition in the background without fear of some random idiotic company (WMG, UMG, SMG, EMI) “thinking2 that they own part of it and posting a false claim…

Anyway, 5 years ago Youtube was a far better website, it didnt matter what you uploaded or when, whether it was your stuff or someone elses… its only since these fatcat music companies started “funding” the site that theyve started being arseholes!!

EVENTUALLY, one of these otions will happen:
1, Youtube users will remove all videos and their accounts, thus making Youtube worthless…
2, Youtube users will revolt and start hunting down these companies…
3, Youtube users will start contacting ARTISTS directly to obtain consent so that WMG, SMG whoever cant say shit…

fake accounts, spam accounts, false advertising videos, harrassment, harrassing accounts, fraudulent claims, crap adverts, bugs, errors, glitches…?

4ngel (user link) says:

i have this so i been ignoring them and abandoned the channel. these are the questions i got”

Please take a moment to watch this video on copyright and answer the following four questions.

1. It?s fine to use someone else?s content as long as it already appears on YouTube.
* True
* False
2. Copyright protection is only given to major film, television or recording corporations who pay for the privilege.
* True
* False
3. If you misuse YouTube?s counter-notification process:
1. a) Your YouTube account will be terminated
2. b) You could end up in court
3. c) Both a) and b)
4. If you claim fair use in the video description, your video can’t be considered copyright infringement.
* True
* False

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