Jim Jefferies 'Official' Clip Of His 'Gun Control' Routine Taken Down Thanks To Copyright

from the well-that's-great dept

As you may have heard, yesterday there was another mass shooting in the US. I know the topic of mass shootings and gun control and all that raise all sorts of emotions and opinions on all sides of the issue, but this is not the place to discuss them. I’m posting this for a reason that actually does fit into Techdirt’s discussion area, and I hope that the conversation stays more closely aligned to the topic of copyright. What’s copyright got to do with all of this? Well, after reading some of the news about what happened, I went in search of comedian Jim Jeffries’ routine about guns. I’m a big fan of Jeffries, who is damn funny, and I recalled seeing that he did a great routine about guns and gun control in the past. And it seemed timely. So I did a search… and discovered that the video had been taken down. At first, I figured that it must be because someone ripped it and therefore, okay, I can understand it being taken down. But, no, this is the “official” clip uploaded by Jeffries himself. And apparently Netflix did the takedown (probably via ContentID, rather than a DMCA notice):

Yes. It is entirely possible, perhaps even likely, that Jeffries has a deal with Netflix that grants Netflix the exclusive rights to this clip. And I’m sure that some of you feel that this is perfectly reasonable, because Jeffries entered into an agreement with Netflix and this is the tradeoff. But something feels wrong about an artist having his own work being taken off his own YouTube account — never mind the fact that the content might be relevant and timely right now. And it’s not like seeing one relatively short clip of a much longer performance somehow hurt Netflix in anyway. If anything, it would seem to encourage people to go to Netflix to watch the whole thing. So here’s a chance for Netflix to get some possibly-viral attention, and yet, it’s not happening, because copyright law.

To me, that seems like a broken system.

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Comments on “Jim Jefferies 'Official' Clip Of His 'Gun Control' Routine Taken Down Thanks To Copyright”

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67 Comments
Vidiot (profile) says:

We may not love lawyers, but sometimes we need them

This makes Jeffries a candidate for the Wally Amos Hall of Fame. “Famous Amos” lost the right to use his own name to brand his chocolate chip cookies, and as with Jeffries, it “just feels wrong”. Wasn’t, technically, but feels that way.

While no one wants to live a lawyered-up life, both examples show that commercial ventures, from cookies to comedy, really need to be scrutinized by a legal mind, and all the “feels wrong” trade-offs evaluated. Every entry into the world of commerce is a plunge into the shark tank, and once you put pen to paper at the bottom of a contract… any contract… you lose the right to the poor-me position.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: We may not love lawyers, but sometimes we need them

You have a computer? For common people it is likely that you have at least some trial periods having ended or software you weren’t aware that it did not allow your specific use.

If you aren’t “that kind of lawyer”, you will have to be considered common people in this context. We are coming full circle.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: We may not love lawyers, but sometimes we need them

how about we just issue summary executions for anyone that thinks this?

A legal system so weighty or heady that a lawyer is required to navigate it is of NO BENEFIT to “The People” it seeks to serve.

There are 3 orders of terrible evil & corruption in every country and rank in corruption and evil in this order.

1. Central Banks/Capital Exchanges
2. Politicians
3. Lawyers and the Legal system(s) that SERVE ONLY LAWYERS!

America currently has a system the effectively only services lawyers. It is a literal game of legal cat and mouse where the one with the most money or lawyers to scrawl through legal minute WINS!

The Juries have willingly and unwittingly become irrelevant pawns in a demise of their own making.

PaulT (profile) says:

“Yes. It is entirely possible, perhaps even likely, that Jeffries has a deal with Netflix that grants Netflix the exclusive rights to this clip”

…which would surely make it a contract issue and not a copyright issue? People probably wouldn’t have such a problem with Netflix saying to Jeffries “erm, you’re not meant to be promoting that clip yourself because you gacve us exclusivity, please remove it”. The problem is that it’s being taken down due to “copyright” even though it belongs to the person who uploaded it. (I have other problems with exclusive deals for other reasons, but this isn’t the place to go into them)

That said, the ContentID theory is probably most likely as the reason for this takedown, so I’d suggest that it’s just another clear-cut case of an artist having his own work removed because someone made a false automated claim. Another instance where the people copyright is supposedly protecting get directly attacked instead. That’s problematic enough even if this is one case where there was a contractual reason for the takedown.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: (actually not - or not necessarily - in the US

IANAL, but I did read (and lament the loss of) Groklaw. Under the current US copyright law, the transfer of copyright can only occur if there is “a writing” that effects it. So a contract which obliges the copyright holder to transfer the copyright cannot of itself effect that transfer. Whether the copyright is actually transferred depends on the wording of the contract itself (if it includes wording like “signing this contract transfers the copyright to us” it would probably effect the transfer, while “we will pay you $xxx, and in return you will transfer the copyright to us would probably not). It also depends on the court where any lawsuit was held. Why would anyone agree to a contract that didn’t transfer the contract itself? Because that way, the body that wants the contract has to actually pay before receiving it. If the contract transfers the copyright, and the receiver doesn’t pay, you have to sue to get the money and have lost the copyright, even if they weasel out of paying…

So contracts that transfer the copyright favour the buyer, while contracts that don’t favour the seller.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 (actually not - or not necessarily - in the US

“Under the current US copyright law, the transfer of copyright can only occur if there is “a writing” that effects it”

But in this case, I’m betting there was no copyright transfer necessary. If Netflix produced the video, Netflix is the original copyright holder.

I’ll also bet that somewhere in the contracts signed there was a declaration that everyone involved was doing work-for-hire, just to make it expressly clear that the copyright belongs to Netflix.

AJ says:

It would be interesting to read a study that could compile all the video’s taken down, and all the attempts to access those video’s that were taken down. Then somehow calculate all the lost revenue from ads and advertising that was lost. Then add the money used to lobby and develop the system to identify and remove those video’s in the first place and the legal fee’s involved.

Take that dollar amount and compare it to the actual revenue lost by the videos that were not taken down, but should have been according to our current laws.

It would be interesting to see if you could generate a reproducible conclusion that proves if all their efforts are actually helping, or hurting their bottom line.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“It would be interesting to read a study that could compile all the video’s taken down, and all the attempts to access those video’s that were taken down”

YouTube will almost certainly have that data in their logs. The real question is – how many of those videos were taken down incorrectly. It’s pointless to look at ad revenue “lost” by a video that was infringing to begin with, but much more valuable to look at videos taken down despite being uploaded by the rightholder, within the bounds of fair use, etc. There’s probably no way to filter those without lengthy and expensive manual examination, though.

“Take that dollar amount and compare it to the actual revenue lost by the videos that were not taken down, but should have been according to our current laws.”

I have no idea how you would quantify that.

AJ says:

Re: Re: Re:

“I have no idea how you would quantify that.”

I know, that’s sort of my point. Big media companies assume they have to do something. But that “something” usually seem’s counterproductive. I think it would be interesting for someone to compare what they perceive the problem to be in REAL dollars, to what they believe the cure to be in REAL dollars. I know that wouldn’t be the easiest thing to do, and you may have a hard time finding an unbiased pool of researchers to do it. But it would be interesting reading if you could.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You’d be wasting your time if you were crunching the numbers for any reason other than curiosity. The ones pushing for ContentID and similar things care less about money than they do control(if for no other reason than they believe, not without reason, that control results in profits).

Even if they were shown, flat out and with no room for mis-interpretation, that their actions were costing them more than they were gaining, so long as the ‘better’ solution gave them less control(and it would) they would still oppose it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

If you define:
Tier 1: Company sends claim
Tier 2: Customer sends counternotice
Tier 3: Company counters

Look at the relative numbers to see a trend.
Then you get a professional in copyright to fit the content of several tier 1’s into 5 different categories: Clearly illegal, likely illegal, not possible to consider, ilkely legal and clearly legal. The same professional makes the same test on a random sample of tier 3’s. The result would show something about how effective ContentID is, the likely false positives, how often a claim is reconsidered after a counterclaim and how many times the company is going all the way down the line, while having a weak or bogus case.

No copyright lawyer would dare to do that, even anonymously since the consequences would always be an “unwanted” answer for the copyright lobby and could cause content creators, to gasp test the legality in court!

andy says:

Jobs

We all need to get jobs taking down content, paid 1 pound per take-down would sound fair as each supposed infringement is valued at over £150 000 . Maybe if we get an organisation together with registered techdirt commenters as members and approach the government telling them we want to help the copyright industry and take down content at £1 per take-down that must be billed to the industry bin hollywood specifically we could generate enough jobs that can be filled by people that are stuck at home on the internet most of the day. I mean if i wanted to buy my house and a car i could drive i would just have to do a quick take-down rate of 200 000 videos a day. 1 day’s work so more than enough time to enjoy the money made.

Surely Hollywood and the UK copyright industry would be more than happy with us doing something like this being regulated through the government and paying taxes on the money we make , Damn the government would be making tens of millions a month and as Hollywood makes so much per movie they release they would barely even notice the payments.

And the reason for doing this is that we could as techdirt readers, identify what is a false file and what is not.Prevent the takedown of content that is fair use and only removing clearly infringing content.

/s

Anonymous Coward says:

Please explain exactly how Netflix could even exist if anyone could re-distribute the content.

C’mon! That’s a logical question directly raised by your anti-copyright position right above.

You twice use “his own”! But if no one “owns” works, then anyone should be free to “monetize” it, meaning there is NO “his own”… I’m lucky to have a brain that can break out of otherwise infinite loops!

Paying is the key point you always leave out. — And you’re too cheap to pay $20 a month for Netflix so could have watched the bit wanted? — Anyway, production must be paid for. The current system may be too complex, arbitrary, and too much reward merely distributive middlemen such as Netflix, but the basic principle of copyright protecting work is fine.

Now, the big non-sequitur: how and why is copyright “broken” because you looked for a video previously available but now isn’t? For unknown cause, since you didn’t investigate?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Please explain exactly how Netflix could even exist if anyone could re-distribute the content.

Funny, those of us who don’t spend their entire life ranting and lying on here don’t seem to have that problem.

“Persistence pays… very little here, other than to enrage the barking rats.”

Then why do you bother? Is your life really that pathetic and empty? You seem to post on here far, far more than I do, I seem to be relatively prolific among the majority and I only come on here occasionally during the work week during downtime periods.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Please explain exactly how Netflix could even exist if anyone could re-distribute the content.

Every time he mentions how many times he tries to post comments, the only I can think is how much he gets paid to troll. There’s no way he’d do this without a paycheck from it.

Irony is probably that his spelling and grammar is so atrocious and buzzword-laden that the spam filter just thinks he’s a bot.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Please explain exactly how Netflix could even exist if anyone could re-distribute the content.

Oh dear, your tiny, feeble mind broke again, didn’t it?

“how Netflix could even exist if anyone could re-distribute the content.”

Where does he claim that he thinks anyone should? He’s talking about one person and one person only – the person whose work it is.

“you’re too cheap to pay $20 a month for Netflix”

Who the hell pays that much for Netflix? I’d definitely be too cheap to pay more than double the current subscription fee for any service – how much do you pay?

“The current system may be too complex, arbitrary, and too much reward merely distributive middlemen such as Netflix”

Are you aware that Netflix also produces content?

My God, you can’t even get basic facts correct, yet here you are ranting into the wind.

Yet again, seek help, you’re not living in the real world.

“why is copyright “broken” because you looked for a video previously available but now isn’t?”

Because the person who created the video isn’t allowed to use it.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Please explain exactly how Netflix could even exist if anyone could re-distribute the content.

Because the person who created the video isn’t allowed to use it.

This should be emphasized in neon letters. If this is not a sign copyright is utterly broken then I don’t know what is.

Of course, copyright maximalists think it’s ok because the money is still flowing to their overlords pockets.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Please explain exactly how Netflix could even exist if anyone could re-distribute the content.

I’m not an english major but “redistribute” means others can use it too right? Afaik Netflix has a huge amount of content in that category and just to name a few i.e. anything you can watch somewhere else.

So please enlighten me why the person made a fool of themself?

Anonymous Coward says:

An even bigger problem

An even bigger problem with Youtube is that if an uploader’s channel ever gets hit with another (bogus) copyright takedown, then the channel is shut down and all the videos ever posted to it are removed. This results in massive libraries of non-infringing content automatically getting deleted if the channel owner should ever stop maintaining the channel. And of course the more videos posted on a channel, the more likely it will get hit (and therefore shutdown) by automated DMCA takedowns.

It’s a sad state that many of the large but long-abandoned Youtube channels have been dropping like flies.

Charles (profile) says:

“As you may have heard, yesterday there was another mass shooting in the US. I know the topic of mass shootings and gun control and all that raise all sorts of emotions and opinions on all sides of the issue, but this is not the place to discuss them.”

May I point out the 800 pound gorilla in the room? Perhaps this is what I first thought it could be- copyright law used as censorship. The Jim Jefferies clip is a very convincing comedic sketch about the ridiculous lack of gun control laws in the United States compared to Australia.

I thought about the routine when I was reading about the Oregon shootings yesterday and obviously I was not the only one. I almost looked it up myself. Too bad it is no longer available

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I do not find it convincing, he simply made up some situations that make it seem like having a gun is dumb. IT was great fictional comedy but not a reflection of the real world.

Jim depicts a guy who is fumbling with a safe when his home is invaded. Yes in that instance a gun in a safe is not much protection.

He did not depict a licensed concealed carrier being held up at gun point defending himself. True story there. My brother used his conceiled gun to defend himself and today he is alive and two criminals are serving 22 years behind bars for their attemted murder/robbery.

How many of these mass killings too place in “gun allowed zones”? I’m not suggesting that putting guns in schools is a solution but I am suggesting that banning guns from certian areas is creating ideal targets for mass murders.

Logic dictates that if you want to have a successful mass murder rampage you should pick a target that you know will have the least resistence.

You don’t hear about mass murders taking place in police stations with frequency.

You don’t need a gun to go on a mass murdering spree either. Molotive cocktails, pipe bombs, cross bows, poison gas and many others things work well too and are even easier to obtain than a gun.

Maybe we should focus on treating the crazies instead of banning tools the crazies use.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

…Maybe we should focus on treating the crazies instead of banning tools the crazies use…

1) We don’t need to ban; we need saner permitting and regulation, including mandatory training class.

2) The US is long overdue for a frank discussion about it’s mentally challenged citizens. One of the discussions needed is acceptance that there will always be a percentage of these individuals who will always need 24/7/365 supervision, whether it’s in a group home, an institution, or even jail. Too many advocates today insist these individuals must be able to live by themselves, and some of them cannot cope with that. Unfortunately the supporting infrastructure for those folks is either inadequate or totally lacking.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’d be down for requiring a first time fire arm owner being required to take a firearm safety class. That could prevent a few accidents.

What is your suggestion for “saner permitting and regulation”?

On your point #2, I think a lot of “living on their own” advocates are poisoned by the “we are all equall” mentality that has lead to loosing sports teams getting trophys too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

you have to have a safety class to carry a concealled weapon, you have to have a firearm safety class to get a hunting permit, you have to have a gunsafe if you have children present in the house, you cant fire a firearm within certain feet of an occupied dwelling, you cant discharge a weapon in public, you cant carry a weapon on a college campus. I see a lot of people complaining about non existant firearm laws that just dont seem to know the laws that are there.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Yes, I agree. Most, if not all, of the people complaining about a lack of gun laws don’t seem to realize that there are literally 1000’s of gun laws on the books. If there was even 1% of those laws about any other constitutionally protected right there would be riots in the press.

The real elephant in the gun control room is that if someone can get past the moral issue of taking another person’s life, no amount of laws will stop them.

Also, if we outlaw guns, just like with drugs and alcohol, we will be putting gangs and the mob in charge of gun distribution. So all gun sales will be off the books.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

You don’t need a gun to go on a mass murdering spree either. Molotive cocktails, pipe bombs, cross bows, poison gas and many others things work well too and are even easier to obtain than a gun.

How many non-gun mass killings have there been in the past 20 years in the US? I can think of two off hand, and neither one used any of those weapons. One was a massive fertilizer bomb and the other was airplanes.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Molotive cocktails, pipe bombs, cross bows, poison gas and many others things work well too and are even easier to obtain than a gun.”

Not sure about the laws around crossbows, but there are quite restrictive laws in place regulating poisons and explosives, and the mass killing that take place with those are orders of magnitude less than with guns. Maybe there’s a connection there…

Kiata says:

Even if someone sells the copyright to something, one should not be forced to take down the extant postings, publications, or copies thereof. Not to mention that any such pre-dating the date of the copyright transfer would have already have a license in that one had already been granted permission before the sale.

Imagine if an author sold the copyright to their work, and we then had to go collect all of the existing copies and burn them.

[Disclaimer: Armchair lawyering]

Gabriel (profile) says:

If we admit the idea of intellectual property at all, the idea of property ownership includes multiple rights including the right to use, the right to exclude, and (importantly) the right to dispose. If I as a content creator sell the rights in my work to someone else then I no longer own those rights, and if this “feels wrong” to you then you fundamentally disagree with the idea of intellectual property as property.

Which is a perfectly reasonable position to take, but if that’s your stance then you should be saying that the idea of copyright is fundamentally nonsensical, not that content creators should still have some rights to IP they created even after they sell those rights.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I’d say the conceptual confusion has a lot to do with how heterogenous the legal definitions are. The rights in EU would include “moral rights” which is a concept with its own tail of nonsensical consequences. But if Youtube has to act according to law in EU, sir Jefferies would have a counterclaim here.

As for copyright and the concept of property, you need to be extremely specific to make it make any sense. Particularly when it is time-limited and the item is non-unique.

The conclusion would be that copyright is an inherently non-natural law on its own and your definitions are based on contracts and licenses rather than the mystical copyright itself.

But the point is not that relevant to the OP. There the discussion goes primarily on contact method and the feeling as copyright owners often use in their theatrical defences.

Wendy Cockcroft says:

Re: Re:

Copyright =!= property. Pretending that it is causes problems. It’s a TEMPORARY monopoly privilege, Gabriel. That’s why terms used to be 14 years. Racking up the term length and framing the argument as a property right is why we’re in this mess at the moment.

The idea of copyright AS PROPERTY is fundamentally nonsensical.

FIFY

Kal Zekdor (profile) says:

Pretty much.

Yes. It is entirely possible, perhaps even likely, that Jeffries has a deal with Netflix that grants Netflix the exclusive rights to this clip. And I’m sure that some of you feel that this is perfectly reasonable, because Jeffries entered into an agreement with Netflix and this is the tradeoff.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. This is a non-issue. If Netflix received the Copyright of the work via an agreement with Jeffries, then they have every right to request that YouTube take it down. It’s a stupid thing for them to do, of course, but they have the right to be stupid.

This is not an example of a broken copyright system. Which is unfortunate because there are plenty of valid examples of the broken copyright system out there, but holding this instance up as one of them just serves to give trolls and Copyright Maximalists more ammunition.

Kal Zekdor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Pretty much.

Because those that paid for, produced, and received an explicit declaration from the artist that transfers ownership of the content rights actually end up with control of the content, copyright is fucked up? That’s only an example of copyright being fucked up if you already believe copyright is fucked up. Tautologies are inherently meaningless statements.

There may be examples of the concept of Copyright itself being fucked up, but this isn’t one of them. I don’t know of any myself, though I agree with Copyright in principal, so if I did that would be some major cognitive dissonance. I just think that the current implementation of Copyright is seriously fucked up.

Dave Cortright says:

Can't use that clip? make a new one.

Maybe Netflix owns the rights to a particular expression of the content, but there’s no way they own the rights to the content itself. So Jim can simply point a camera at himself, do the routine, and post it. Or post the routine from a different show if he wants the atmosphere of the crowd interactions.

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