Political Candidate Continues To Abuse YouTube's Copyright System To Silence Criticism

from the censorship dept

Earlier this month, we wrote about Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former Navy chaplain running for office in Colorado on the “gay people are icky” ticket (paraphrased), who had been abusing YouTube’s copyright takedown system to kill the account of Right Wing Watch, a group that was critical of Klingenschmitt (known as “Dr. Chaps”) and was highlighting some of his nuttier comments. Earlier this week, YouTube restored Right Wing Watch’s account, after realizing that he was clearly using their copyright takedown system to stifle criticism, not for any legitimate copyright purpose.

How did Dr. Chaps respond? He immediately filed yet another bogus copyright claim with YouTube, getting their account taken offline again. At this point, some of the blame has to be place on YouTube for not realizing that Chaps is filing completely bogus DMCA notices to censor RWW. Given that they had just restored the account, they must have noticed that there were bogus claims being filed on the account from Klingenschmitt. So it’s bizarre that they’d immediately accept his latest takedown and kill RWW’s account yet again.

Along those lines, RWW has set up a petition, asking YouTube’s legal team to change its takedown policy to flag serial abusers to prevent this sort of thing. Of course, it might also be nice if YouTube went even further, and potentially looked at legal remedies. Given that YouTube has its own copyright takedown system that goes above and beyond the DMCA, it’s not clear if the takedowns here were done via DMCA notices. But, if they were, then Google could take a page from Automattic and file a lawsuit against Klingenschmitt for materially misrepresenting information in a DMCA takedown notice.

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Companies: right wing watch, youtube

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Comments on “Political Candidate Continues To Abuse YouTube's Copyright System To Silence Criticism”

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23 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: While tempting...

The nutjob filing the claims is running for public office, you can bet any copyright infringement claims aimed at him would receive quite a bit more scrutiny.

Also, while the ones having the account screwed with currently have the moral high-ground(over a ‘chaplain’ no less, apparently he skipped the bit that covered ‘lying is wrong’), if both sides did it it would just turn into a mud-flinging match, and he’d just excuse his actions with ‘they’re doing it too, I’m defending myself!’

That said it would be pretty funny if he did lose his account over bogus claims like that, and went around whining about how ‘fraudulent copyright claims cost him his YT account!’, even more so when someone pointed out how it was nothing more than his own tactics used against him.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Oh youtube...

If you want to convince people that you actually review takedown notices, and don’t just automate them, stuff like this is really to be avoided.

Seriously, right after YT reinstates the account, after realizing the claims were bogus and entirely designed to silence someone, the same gorram fraudulent copyright claims are made and the account is taken down again? That’s not even pretending to be paying attention.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Oh youtube...

Er…why should they care? Because otherwise you will throw a tantrum?

First of all, Google has not motivation whatsoever to go into the minutia. They get a DMCA takedown request, they take it down. If it was a bad takedown, someone will complain. 99% of the time, people don’t. The alternative is having the Hollywood and Music lobbies breathing down their neck, and pulling the string to make Google’s life a living hell. Bad PR is doesn’t compare to those giants stepping on your toes. And beside, Google has a lot of Karma to burn from people who still naively believe that they “Do no evil”.

Secondly, Google has adopted the “fuck you, sit down, shut up and eat your veggies” stance (where “veggies” is their services, mind you). Not just in the case of DMCA handling, but in everything they do.

Just pay attention to what they are doing to their formerly open-source projects. Pay attention to the services they killed recently and what is on the pipe to replace them.

They don’t care about you. They just care about making money, and they’ll happily exploit you in every way they can. If automatically accepting every takedown saves them money, they’ll do it.

Until people start punishing companies for behaving badly, they will continue to behave badly. You want changes? Do something about it.

Violynne (profile) says:

“At this point, some of the blame has to be place on YouTube for not realizing that Chaps is filing completely bogus DMCA notices to censor RWW.”

I can’t agree with this assessment. TD’s been writing, for years, about the problems with the DMCA and this is clearly an example of one of those problems.

YouTube has no choice but to comply with the takedown notice or risk losing its “safe harbors”, meaning a lengthy lawsuit.

To start blaming sites is ridiculous, if not insulting. If people don’t like false DMCA takedowns (which happens frequently and TD reports them), then fix the law.

But don’t you dare blame the site. It’s unfair to them as their hands are legally bound to accept all DMCA filings as true.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That’s if the claims being made are actual DMCA notices. Remember, youtube has a separate, extra ‘copyright claims’ system they threw together to try and appease the parasites, and claims made through that system are entirely the responsibility of youtube, as the law isn’t involved until an actual DMCA notice is filed.

So ignoring an actual DMCA claim, yeah, that could potentially open them up to legal repercussions such as losing safe harbor protections, but ignoring claims made by someone clearly abusing the system they implemented themselves, a system which doesn’t involve or is backed by law, that wouldn’t pose a risk to them at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Google has a huge pile of cash, perhaps more than the music and movie industry combined. If they (or any other tech giant, really) wanted to do something about it, they would’ve already done it.

As it stands, the law serves them perfectly: as long as they quickly take things down, everything is fine. Hence, they have no motivation to lobby for changes.

So yes, I do absolutely blame the site in this case.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

People put up with Facebook.

I see it as a move towards the privacy holes of “the social media experience” where Google or Facebook or big data collector next, monitors your every action and tries to keep you trapped in their “paradise” and out of the trojaninfested and bad internet.

The only way to improve peoples online experience is to control it 100 % and keep them from needing to leave the privacy trap. For many people social media is all their time online and that seems to be the concept Google is expanding.

Bert says:

Fighting Against Software

The Google fa?ade is one big software monster pretending (very poorly) to be human. Eventually, though, complaints break through to the “inside” where less-than-attentive humans are busy making the monster even bigger and reluctantly take time out to deal with an irritant. Is it any wonder that Google seems clueless?

schmidtrobb (profile) says:

Youtube Issues Not Just DMCA Takedowns

Long before DMCA became an issue on Youtube, it was frequently abused by internet marketers. Did you know it took 3 complaints to get your account suspended without an appeal process? You find that out when you work hard for months, get your youtube video to rank on the first page of google, and then competitors make 3 complaints in a 5 minute period and your account was gone!

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