Prominent YouTube Personality Locked Out Of His Account After A Bogus Copyright Claim

from the so-much-power-in-one-little-symbol dept

Another bogus takedown targeting a prominent YouTube personality. In other words, business as usual for the world’s largest video platform. This time it’s Jacksepticeye, a very popular creator of videogame-related videos, most of which utilize in-game footage, “Let’s Play”-style, as well as plenty of related (and unrelated) commentary. At the risk of sounding like The Narrator in “Fight Club,” I know Jacksepticeye because my boys know Jacksepticeye. [There is no generation gap because of cultural osmosis. Discuss.]

Jacksepticeye had put together a video featuring two bots carrying on a conversation. One was Cleverbot Evie. The other was Talking Angela, the female spinoff of the ultra-popular Talking Tom app. Fun stuff, probably, but we can’t see it (at the moment) because of some unpleasant takedown shenanigans.

One of YouTube’s most known gamer guys, Jacksepticeye, took to his Twitter account on Wednesday morning citing copyright claims against him. The claims were made by Outfit7 Limited, the entertainment company that created the Talking Tom and Friends franchise.

Here are the tweets:

If you can’t read/see the tweets, they say (in order):

Apparently one of my Evie and Talking Angela vids copyright infringed on something and if I don’t acknowledge it my account will be deleted

This wasn’t some normal copyright strike either, I can’t get into my youtube account now unless I answer copyright questions

So @Outfit7 are the ones who flagged the video. The owners of Talking Angela because I had her talking to Evie :/

Now, the question of fair use will be addressed here because the limitations of YouTube’s system won’t. Firing up an app to talk to a bot isn’t copyright infringement. The app will talk to whoever will chat with it (and vice versa, in terms of CleverBot). Recording this interaction doesn’t violate Outfit7’s copyright anymore than someone recording their siblings/kids talking to it. The app exists to talk and presumably Outfit7 would like more people to download the Talking Angela app because in-app purchases is a numbers game. The more people that try it out, the more likely the chance that some of them will start tossing money into the company’s revenue stream.

So, why take it down? Who knows? But considering the outcome of this situation, it appears it may have been a mistake — albeit the sort of mistake that is both a) far too common and b) engenders ill will towards the entity who screwed up.

This is Jacksepticeye’s latest tweet on the takedown.

If you can’t see/read it:

The copyright strike against me has been retracted and everything is back to normal 😀

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean Outfit7 came to its senses and walked back its erroneous takedown. It could be that YouTube pulled the strike because it wasn’t actually an infringing video. But the former is much more likely than the latter, although there’s been no public confirmation from Outfit7 itself.

The video itself still remains dead, at least at its original URL. Perhaps Jack will have to re-upload or he has decided to keep the video offline until he hears more from Outfit7… just in case. Either way, copyright gets in the way of creation again, and someone who makes a living on YouTube came this much closer to losing his source of income — not the sort of thing that exactly endears IP rights to the general public.

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Companies: google, outfit7, youtube

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Comments on “Prominent YouTube Personality Locked Out Of His Account After A Bogus Copyright Claim”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Yet again...

…copyright takedowns are misused.

Another piece of evidence that we literally *need* reform to the laws governing takedown.

Anyone who submits *any* form of takedown request should be required to swear under penalty of perjury:

1. That they own the copyright being infringed, or are acting on the holder’s behalf.

2. That each individual link or video they are requesting are in fact infringing.

3. That the content in question does not fall under critique, parody or any sort of Fair Use exemption.

Let’s see some of the copyright abusers go to jail where they belong. Let’s see some justice for a change.

Mike C. (profile) says:

Re: Yet again...

Easy – remove the word “knowingly” from the DMCA section 512(f). That would clean an awful lot of this up in a real hurry:

(f) Misrepresentations.— Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section—
(1) that material or activity is infringing, or
(2) that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification,
shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner’s authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Copyright takedowns working as intended

Isn’t that what copy protection laws are predicated upon? Those that keep lobbying for expansions and extensions are used to having everyone else do all their work for them. They just want to own the copy protections and essentially charge everyone for licensing while contributing nothing of their own.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Copyright takedowns working as intended

How about everyone that abuses the takedown system gets fined- as long as all infringers do as well.

That would be an improvement. Fewer bogus takedowns, more pressure on representatives to reform copyright law, and more people seeking out alternative entertainment that doesn’t rely on RIAA and MPAA members. Of course this is a magic wand sort of solution since you haven’t suggested how this would actually take place.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Small but direly needed fixes

So very many of these situations could be fixed with some minor changes to the system.

First and foremost, there needs to be a punishment for bogus claims. Those accused have their accounts on the line, the ones leveling the accusations should face at the very least similar repercussions if they are found to be making claims in bad faith, or for malicious intent.

Second, stop taking every claim at face value. A simple accusation should not be enough to get a video, or even an entire account removed. One way to help with this would be to expand the takedown system a bit, perhaps into something like the following:

1) Person or company makes a claim against Video A.

2) The account holder who posted the video can choose to either take the video down, or contest the claim. If they contest it, the video remains up. Whichever they choose, they do not get a ‘strike’ against their account at this stage.

3) At this point the original person/company can either drop their claim, or double-down, insisting that it is valid.

4) At this point, the matter is examined by someone employed by YT to weigh in on the matter(previous steps could be automated). If the claim is held as valid, the video is removed, and a ‘strike’ is issued against the account holder who posted it. If the claim is found to be invalid, the video remains, and the one who issued the claim is instead the recipient of the punishment(a ‘strike’ if they have a YT account, a temporary ban against using YT’s claim system if not).

5) If, after having the matter resolved in favor of the account holder, the one who issued the original claim still believes that they are in the right, they can file a DMCA claim against the video, and attempt to have it taken down via that route.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Small but direly needed fixes

If a real punishment was instituted for false claims, I imagine the number of claims made overall would drop, drastically, practically over-night. They’ve already got some people who review claims I believe, they wouldn’t have to hire many more, if any, at that point to deal with it, due to the massive decrease in claims filed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Small but direly needed fixes

I think your costing is way for the level of expertise required to determine whether or not a work is infringing, or is covered by fair use. They is also the major problem that they would make themselves a party to any court action over infringing works or disputed fair use claims, which would give the MPAA and RIAA and even bigger lever to control content on YouTube than they have now..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Small but direly needed fixes

I’ve often wondered why the punishment for false claims – which aren’t just someone moaning about what someone ‘said’ but carry legal ramifications – isn’t just as huge as the penalty for being found to infringe. The punishment for impeding someone’s First Amendment rights should be at least as dire, not something that can be handwaved away with an “oops, my bad”.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Small but direly needed fixes

Because when the law was written/purchased, it was intentionally designed to make it as difficult as possible for someone to be held accountable for making fraudulent claims, and the courts weakened what laughable ‘safeguards’ there were for abuse even more over time.

Now, while the above may or may not be entirely true(or at least the first half anyway, the second most certainly is), given how unbelievably lopsided the process is, it’s rather hard to imagine it was anything but intentional. Screwing up a bit is one thing, doing so to that level takes willful intent.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Small but direly needed fixes

“The punishment for impeding someone’s First Amendment rights should be at least as dire”

So true.

The harm of a first amendment infringement is far more serious than that of a copyright infringement.

One is an abrogation of basic human rights, as detailed in the 1st Amendment to the constitution and the damage is ALWAYS irreversible. When speech is impeded, that opportunity for speech is gone forever. Even if the ban is lifted later on, you can’t restore the lost speech opportunity.

The other contravenes some mundane laws about commerce. It also is a problem for which there can be compensation, and there often is at ridiculously high amounts.

Yet the current system of control and enforcement is biased in entirely the wrong direction. Control and enforcement of copyright is AT ODDS with our laws and constitution.

RD says:

Re: Small but direly needed fixes

Voted “insightful” even though 4 and 5 will never happen on any platform, ever. That would place culpability right on the platform, and no one wants to be on the hook for making a decision of that level that might lead to another lawsuit. It’s the same reason Section 230 exists. So the platforms just let “the system,” and mainly the accuser, run the whole show and they stay mostly out of it unless the problem is obvious and will not likely lead to any prosecution of the platform/site.

Carlie Coats (profile) says:

At what point...

At what point does a false copyright-infringement claim like this become slander? The claim is certainly (1) false, does (2) cause damage, and (3) falsely accuses Jacksepticeye of illegal behavior.

It seems to me it ought to be an open-and-shut slander case. And a huge punitive-damage award would help pour encourager les autres.

Anonymous Coward says:

Can't read the tweets?

I don’t understand the comment “If you can’t read/see the tweets, they say (in order):”. Both sets of comments are just normal HTML. What would make the second easier to read? Do you think the centering or the author/date tags on the first might be too distracting to some people?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Can't read the tweets?

If Twitter or its scripts are blocked for any number of reasons, the first set won’t show up.

Really? Check the source, they’re right in the HTML. I have scripting disabled and Twitter adblocked, and it works fine.

(But thanks to the Techdirt writers for posting text versions of quotes, especially when the original is an image—those are often useful.)

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Come to their senses?

No no no, even then you’re still paying them with the most valuable currency you have to offer: Your time and attention.

You want to punish a company, really punish them? Ignore them. Don’t give them your time, attention, or money. Act as though they don’t even exist. If you want to go the extra mile, shoot them an email telling them so, that due to their actions you will now never purchase or use one of their products if you can at all avoid it.

bob (profile) says:

fair use or not

I just had a video blocked on youtube over the weekend.
I re-spliced a movie intro into a different sequence, replacing the audio with a completely different song.
it’s meant to parody the intro..
is it fair use? I have no idea.
but if I choose to challenge it via youtube,
I would get a ‘strike’if I lose the challenge.
Or I could accept the take-down and keep my mouth shut.
not having enough grasp of the law, or thinking I can convinve youtube, with presumably actual lawyers on the other side arguing against me..
I’m keeping my mouth shut and hosting the video from another service.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m waiting on the one that really ruffles the feathers of the users of the service. Sooner or later there is going to come that day.

Google is setup where you don’t actually talk to anyone human. Try that route and you’ll get nothing. It’s a stone wall you’re talking to.

Personally, I near never go to Youtube. So if it fell on it’s face tomorrow, I’d not miss it. Someone would have to call my attention to the fact it wasn’t there for me to notice.

As far as I’m concerned, Google has been poisoned by copyright concerns, enough to ruin it’s business. Not that I had any use for Google in the first place.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Personally, I near never go to Youtube. So if it fell on it’s face tomorrow, I’d not miss it.”

I’m with you: I think I’d seen about a half-dozen YouTube videos last year. I avoid YouTube for a number of reasons, including that I don’t want to support Google in their effort to appease the major content companies at the expense of actual people.

However, you and I appear to be in the minority.

OldMugwump (profile) says:

"I don't want to support Google in their effort to appease the major content companies at the expense of actual people"

This is how we lose.

Google is the main lobbyist in favor of online rights – they have to obey existing law and stay in business despite those laws at the same time.

By boycotting Google for being less than 100% successful in their attempts to improve the law, you are punishing your best ally.

Anonymous Coward says:

might aswell sue people for TALKING about their product…….see how much business sense THAT fucking makes

Wtf is wrong with these control freaks………i find various VIDEO reviews to be the BEST kind of review, to get the best feel for any given product i might be interested in, the only kind of review that peaks my interest in something i previously was’nt interested, the amateur review…….anyone that risks this new review style is a PRICK in my book

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