YouTube Tells User He Can Directly Resolve Copyright Claim By Contacting Himself

from the bots-also-observed-running-low-level-snipe-hunts dept

When bots handle copyright enforcement, things are sometimes going to get screwed up. YouTube’s various algorithms do a lot of heavy lifting, sorting through the thousands of hours of video being uploaded every minute. Sooner or later, the bots hit a snag, as any automated process will during multiple iterations. But Hugh Atkin’s video, which utilizes John William’s instantly-recognizable opening theme from Star Wars, triggered a copyright claim from SME (Sony Music Entertainment)… and a conundrum. (h/t to Nate Hoffelder)

Here’s what he received for resolution advice from the YouTube helper bots.


Thank you for your message.

The claimant has reviewed your dispute and reaffirmed its claim to your video. Specifics of the policy applied to your video are in the Copyright Notices section of your YouTube account.

You may click the underlined link to the right of the video’s Edit menu to learn more about this claim.

If you are certain this claim was made in error, you may be able to appeal the claimant’s decision. Eligible users will see an “I want to appeal a disputed claim” link. Please note that an appeal may result in a copyright strike and the removal of your video.

Alternately, you may resolve this issue directly with the claimant at [MY EMAIL ADDRESS]

Please note that YouTube does not mediate copyright disputes.

The YouTube Copyright Team

That’s right. The dispute notices are coming from inside the house!

Whatever glitched in the dispute process managed to make Atkin’s both the master of his own destiny and the victim of his own copyright dispute. The problem can’t be resolved as it stands, at least not to Atkin’s satisfaction. SME has reaffirmed its claim and lobbed the ball back into Atkin’s court, apparently permanently.

Atkin has since fired off a reply to YouTube pointing out the error and asking for contact info he doesn’t already possess (in every definition of the word), but so far has heard nothing back.

Now, Atkin could turn this over to YouTube via the appeals process, but that’s largely automated and would result in a ruling in SME’s favor (Sony Music distributes John William’s Star Wars soundtrack work). Sony seems to have a valid claim as far as the use of William’s track. Running this through YouTube’s appeal process is almost guaranteed to earn Atkin a “strike.”

Atkin appears to want to work around this automation (since it doesn’t seem to be working properly) by attempting direct communication, but Sony’s response team will probably be even less “human” about the alleged infringement than YouTube’s bot swarm (both those scanning for infringement and those “manning” the help lines).

Unfortunately, a “strike” may be inevitable. No matter how well Atkin pleads his case to himself, he doesn’t have the power to grant himself the permissions he’s seeking. And with no contact information forthcoming, the clock will run out before he can extricate himself from this loop.

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Companies: sony music

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Comments on “YouTube Tells User He Can Directly Resolve Copyright Claim By Contacting Himself”

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Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Okay...

Doesn’t matter how recognisable the track is, in a fair world, the guy is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, and a fair world would mean he’d simply claim fair use until Sony can prove otherwise (i.e. by showing an examination of how his video doesn’t pass the standard Four Factors of Fair Use test).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Okay...

“you have to already be guilty of copyright infringement before claiming fair use”

Do you want to read that agian, and fix it?
You have to be accused of infringement, then you present a fair use claim, the copyright holder could accept that claim, or litigate, at which point a judge would decided. Only if the judge ruled against you would you be guilty of copyright infringement.

Bengie says:

Re: Re: Re: Okay...

Fair use means you’re not guilty of copyright infringement.

Time to play the word game

Fair use: Fair also means “just”

Just use: Laws are supposed to be just, which is why it’s called the law and justice system

Lawful use: And here we are. Fair use is lawful use, which means you are not guilty of anything. It is logically impossible to both be lawful and unlawful at the same time.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Okay...

Oh… I get it. Kind of like how you have to
> already be guilty of Murder before you can
> claim “Justifiable Homicide” because that is
> how it works … oh, wait…

He’s wrong about the guilt aspect, but he’s right about the fact that Fair Use, just like self-defense, is an affirmative defense, which shifts the burden of proof from the plaintiff to the defendant.

If you kill someone and plead self-defense, you’re essentially admitting to the homicide, and then it becomes your burden, not the prosecution’s, to prove by clear and convincing evidence why that homicide was legally justified.

The same process applies with Fair Use. You admit to the actions the plaintiff claims are infringing, and then you have the burden to prove they are justified based on the statutory elements of Fair Use. The plaintiff does not have the burden of proving you weren’t justified.

DogBreath says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Okay...

The reason I stated guilty of Murder instead of guilty of Homicide is due to the fact that Murder is seen as unlawful, whereas Homicide covers both lawful and unlawful acts.

It seems that most copyright extremists want the Murder definition to apply (meaning you’re already guilty of committing an unlawful act and must prove you are innocent), rather than Homicide (you’ve been accused of committing an unlawful act) and have a chance to show your not.

I know it appears to be only an argument about semantics, but it does make a difference when you are proving your innocence, civilly or criminally, in a court of law. Especially when it comes time for a jury to decide.

Basically, I am saying someone can tell me I am accused of copyright infringement and attempt to sue me, but I don’t like someone declaring I am already guilty of it before the trial even takes place. It only works that way on Cardassia.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re: Okay...

“Fair use can only be used as a defence…”

Wow, I can’t believe people are still spouting this BS claim.

“…which means that you have to already be guilty of copyright infringement before claiming fair use.”

And even if your first point was correct, this next bit is just insanely wrong. If you have a valid defense, you are by definition not guilty. This is basic stuff.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Okay...

Fair use can only be used as a defence,

True enough, but things are a little grayer when it comes to the DMCA. A DMCA takedown is supposed to take fair use into account. In other words, nobody should be able to file a DMCA notice against something when the use of the copyrighted material is “fair use”.

Urgelt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Okay...

There is no enforcement to prevent takedowns when ‘Fair Use’ applies. It’s not in YouTube’s algorithms, either.

And it’s a judgment call, which means that it’s possible to win a civil suit by invoking it, but otherwise, as things stand today, for most users, it’s more of a theoretical right than an actual one.

The big IP holders regularly lobby against ‘Fair Use’ in Congress. They want it removed from the law. In their IP enforcement actions, they treat all re-use of their IP as infringing. The IP holders don’t recognize ‘Fair Use’ as legitimate, despite the DCMA and other statutes which grant users that right.

Because of the high cost of civil litigation, most users will simply give up and accept the takedown. I know of only one who has successfully fought YouTube takedowns using ‘Fair Use’ as a defense. There may be more like that user, but I think it’s the exception, not the rule.

But my point here was simply to make AC aware that just because an IP holder launches an accusation of infringement in a takedown notice, it doesn’t mean that the user is automatically an infringer and undeserving of sympathy. You can’t know until you dig into each case and see if the ‘Fair Use’ doctrine might apply.

out_of_the_blue says:

HA, HA! Automated anomaly strikes Youtube!

PROVES Youtube’s system is entirely untrustworthy! — According to usual application here of mistakes made when copyright holders glean links for DMCA notices. But minion takes pains to excuse this horrible flaw for Youtube.

Actually, this isn’t an anomaly outside of that as AC #1 already wrote.

Oh, wait. HERE’S an anomaly! Minion admits: “Sony seems to have a valid claim as far as the use of William’s track.” — Only “seems”, but the anomaly is there’s none of the usual boilerplate for “fair use” and “counterfile”… Guess minion got too wrapped up in his wit: ‘No matter how well Atkin pleads his case to himself”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Even band competition videos get notices

I uploaded a video of my niece at her High School band competition. YouTube recognized the music and prompted me to acknowledge that there may be a copyright claim. I did not acknowledge it and so far the video is still up. But I imagine it will be taken down at some point. This should absolutely be fair use. It will not get more than a couple dozen views, if that. What is this world coming to when a child’s band performance can’t even be shared with friends and family?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: A disaster waiting to happen.

I disagree. Whatever the legal bullshit they have to wade through, YouTube is a hugely valuable asset for Google and one that provides a huge revenue stream and exposure not just for Google themselves, but for anyone who uses it correctly.

On the flipside, I have no doubt that YouTube would have been shut down had they not had Google’s resources to draw from in order to defend themselves from false accusations (e.g. the Viacom suit) or simply bullying killing them despite having provably done nothing wrong (Veoh).

Zem (profile) says:

Since they do it

The other end of town are very good at making representatie bodies and organisations that claim to support a far larger group of people than they actually do.

What we need to do is create the “Fair Use Certification Association of America”, along similar line to the EFF, that issues fair use certificates. That way he can reply “Yes I have contacted the email you advised, they said it was OK, AND HERE IS MY FAIR USE CERTIFCATION”.

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