All Of Justin Bieber's Music Removed From YouTube Via 'Prank' DMCA Claims

from the not-so-funny dept

As a bunch of folks have been sending in a “prankster” was able to remove all of Justin Bieber’s videos from YouTube by filing a bunch of bogus DMCA notices. While a lot of people find this amusing for one reason or another, it really highlights a key problem with the DMCA’s notice-and-takedown process, which is a “censor now, deal with the consequences later” system. As has been pointed out in the past, it seems like this process is a violation of the First Amendment, in that it involves the shutting down of speech prior to any sort of due process or adversarial hearing. I’m still amazed that the DMCA doesn’t allow for at least a notice-and-notice process, giving the uploader/host a chance to respond before the content is removed. In a case such as this, it would have prevented the removal. As for the “prankster,” he might want to be careful. Filing totally false DMCA claims can open you up to serious legal penalties, and assuming that Bieber makes a fair bit of money from his videos on YouTube, his representatives probably have decent reason to go after the prankster. And that might not be a bad thing. In the process, perhaps they could establish greater precedence for the ability to punish those who file bogus DMCA takedowns.

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Comments on “All Of Justin Bieber's Music Removed From YouTube Via 'Prank' DMCA Claims”

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Rikuo (profile) says:

Ya know, I got to thinking about the DMCA here, and I have a question. How did the DMCA get signed in the first place? Weren’t there big questions about prior restraint – it basically cuts off a form of speech and sorts it out later, or was it simply that the world didn’t care about digital speech being blocked so easily back then?

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s not terribly unusual for members of Congress to vote in favor of a bill they’ve never read. They believe what the media is saying about it being a good bill (despite those media talking heads never having read it themselves) or vote out of loyalty to a party or alliance or coalition within congress, and after the vote, they don’t read the bill because it’s no longer topical.

Sometimes, one or more of them will read the bill after pledging to support it, realize in horror it goes against everything they stand for, and suddenly reverse their previous pledge. But this is fairly rare.

RD says:

Yeah right

“Filing totally false DMCA claims can open you up to serious legal penalties”

It does? Since when? Seems to me filing a DMCA claim is rubber-stamped and takedown without ANY oversight whatsoever. There certainly has been ZERO repercussions from any of the many incorrect or later-determined bad takedowns that have happened from any of the *IAA’s. Or is it only the little people who need to worry? One law for them, one law for us…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Yeah right

But no one has (to my knowledge) successfully won a suit based on it.

Online Policy Group v. Diebold

EFF helped protect online speakers by bringing the first successful suit against abusive copyright claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This landmark case set a precedent that allows other Internet users and their ISPs to fight back against improper copyright threats.

In OPG v. Diebold, a California district court has determined that Diebold, Inc., a manufacturer of electronic voting machines, knowingly misrepresented that online commentators, including IndyMedia and two Swarthmore college students, had infringed the company’s copyrights. EFF and the Center for Internet and Society Cyberlaw Clinic at Stanford Law School sued on behalf of nonprofit Internet Service Provider (ISP) Online Policy Group (OPG) and the two students to prevent Diebold’s abusive copyright claims from silencing public debate about voting.

Diebold sent dozens of cease-and-desist letters to ISPs hosting leaked internal documents revealing flaws in Diebold’s e-voting machines. The company claimed copyright violations and used the DMCA to demand that the documents be taken down. One ISP, OPG, refused to remove them in the name of free speech, and thus became the first ISP to test whether it would be held liable for the actions of its users in such a situation.

In his decision, Judge Jeremy Fogel wrote, “No reasonable copyright holder could have believed that the portions of the email archive discussing possible technical problems with Diebold’s voting machines were protected by copyright.” In turn, Diebold had violated section 512(f) of the DMCA, which makes it unlawful to use DMCA takedown threats when the copyright holder knows that infringement has not actually occured.

Outcome: In addition to creating the first caselaw applying 512(f) of the DMCA to remedy abusive copyright claims under the DMCA, Diebold subsequently agreed to pay $125,000 in damages and fees.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Are you in a country that is a signatory to the WIPO treaties of 1996? Then the DMCA applies to you, since it isn’t a U.S. law, but rather, legislation that adds a signed treaty into U.S. law.

Plus, it’s long been a set-in-stone precedent that U.S. courts simply do not care how a defendant came to be in the courtroom, they consider it irrelevant. If you break U.S. laws, then at some future date set foot in the U.S. (or a country that has an extradition treaty) you get to go to U.S. court and then in all probability to a U.S. prison.

Beta (profile) says:

something's gotta give

It is still possible to send DMCA notices pseudonymously (or, as drewmerc points out, from overseas). So eventually I see three possibilities:

1) Everyone will accept the fact that videos can be taken down, including those put up by Big Players.

2) The “put-’em-back-up” process will be greatly streamlined for Big Players, to the point where the interruptions are barely noticeable.

3) The DMCA will be amended to correct the “notice-and-takedown” protocol.

4) The DMCA will be amended with a hideous tangle of legal language which works out to “videos put up by Big Players may not be taken down”.

5) Like 4, but it works out to “only Big Players may file notices”.

Anonymous Coward says:

YouTube asked for this by abdicating

I bet the YouTube lawyers were thinking that they were so blessed by the DMCA. They could force the content creators to jump through nutty hoops and then be freed of all responsibilty for aiding and abetting the infringement. Woo hoo!

But now they have no controls for detecting fake forms. If they were actually nice to the creators, if they worked with the artists, if they didn’t think of the creators as sheep to be shorn, they would have the deep relationships that would allow them to detect fraud.

But no. They insist that Google+ users use their real names, but they could care less who uploads stuff to YouTube because it’s so much easier to look the other way when the infringers deliver the free content.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 YouTube asked for this by abdicating

I believe the unpronounced word here is impotent.

Since Google tried everything to work with the studios and labels and even now it is giving signs it wants to work with them.

Those speculations about how Youtube didn’t want to do anything are understated and unprepared, hence the impotency of the argument not to mention the speculation about the trolls own capabilities.

mojo says:

Unfortunately, it’s ONLY because we have a giant-corporation friendly DMCA system in place that sites like YouTube and Vimeo are even allowed to exist. Part of the agreement everyone came too is that there would be a quick and easy way for content to be taken down at the request of the copyright holder.

But it does seem like a huge over sight to have never built in any parameters in which you have to prove infraction or, at the very least, the alleged infractor should be given an opportunity to respond BEFORE the content is taken down.

I think as it stands, the video is automatically put back up as long as the person served with the takedown notice responds with a counter-notice.

In any case, it is a system that assumes guilt and is very open to abuse. You can get anyone’s video taken down by claiming DMCA and it’s probably easy enough to send in the notice with a fake ID and email – at least so that you won’t be easy to track down unless they REALLY want to go after you, and with the number of takedown notices issued every day i’m sure very few of the fraudelent claims are followed up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:


The counter-notice provision still ordinarily results in 10-14 days of takedown.

From 17 U.S.C. ? 512(g)(2):


(B) upon receipt of a counter notification described in paragraph (3), promptly provides the person who provided the notification under subsection (c)(1)(C) with a copy of the counter notification, and informs that person that it will replace the removed material or cease disabling access to it in 10 business days; and

(C) replaces the removed material and ceases disabling access to it not less than 10, nor more than 14, business days following receipt of the counter notice, unless…

(Emphasis added.)

I do notice that Bieber wasn’t forced to wait 10 days to get his material replaced on YouTube. He got special treatment there.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s not just big players, youtube does put back blatantly obvious censoring quickly. Scientology took down a few thousand videos by critics, along with Anonymous, a couple years ago, which youtube put back up once they realized the problem. However, they can only do this when it is clear that it was for censoring, because they lose safe harbors if they don’t wait the period, and because of this, outside of the most obvious censoring they choose to wait.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Unfortunately, while such bots would have to be written by net-savvy programmers, the payloads of what they go after would in all probability be written by someone from the legal department, who has no clue what the internet is beyond a vaguely confusing set of tubes.

I recall a cease & desist/takedown notice some years back, that amounted a series screen captures of an FTP site’s directory tree. The takedown notice included the entire site (only one directory out of hundreds was actually even arguably infringing) and listed every single file in the FTP site, regardless of actual owner or content, including things like .message files.

It looks like a decent idea at first read, but you assume competence in application, and that has never actually happened in the past, nor is it likely to in the future as long as the people in charge of targeting such a thing are completely ignorant of what the system does.

Lisa Westveld (profile) says:

Just wondering… Wouldn’t those Justin Bieber video’s be more popular now, since they’re mentioned in various articles? How many people here have personally checked if those video’s are up and running again? Isn’t this similar to the Streisant effect? Justin Bieber is mentioned, thus Justin Bieber becomes more popular. What more can this girl wish for? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lizzie says:


Wow really who would do something so stupid. That hurts alot of people and i would sue him if i was Justin. Because Justin Bieber made those videos for his grandma and grandpa and peole who enjoyed listening to them. I wish i know who this was becuz then i would go off on them. Btw I’m a Huge BELIEBER!!!!!! GO JUSTIN WE LOVE YOU!

Lizzie says:


Wow really who would do something so stupid. That hurts alot of people and i would sue him if i was Justin. Because Justin Bieber made those videos for his grandma and grandpa and peole who enjoyed listening to them. I wish i know who this was becuz then i would go off on them. Btw I’m a Huge BELIEBER!!!!!! GO JUSTIN WE LOVE YOU!

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