Thanks To Automated Copyright Claims And A Troll, Infamous CounterStrike Clip Gets A DMCA Takedown

from the hodor-hodor dept

At this point, every reader here should be aware that YouTube has a copyright/DMCA problem it has yet to solve. Going through the myriad of posts we’ve done about DMCA and ContentID takedowns on YouTube, the theme is abundantly clear: YouTube’s automated systems are wide open for mistakes, fraud, and abuse. If you don’t think that’s the case, you aren’t paying attention. This is especially illuminated when either very obviously non-infringing clips get taken down via DMCA notice, or when super famous clips that have been around forever are suddenly hit with a DMCA notice and get taken down.

Take the following video clip of a CounterStrike game, for instance. This clip has floated around the internet for nearly 15 years, featuring a guy doing a Snoop Dogg impression and then getting stuck in a door and ultimately killed in-game, to the delight of the person who captured the video.

Well, after existing peacefully for those fifteen years, the clip was suddenly the subject of a DMCA takedown, as explained by PC Gamer.

After nearly 24 million views, however, the video has been hijacked by someone who’s claiming the audio copyright on it. Bob Tik, apparently, says that the game audio of Door Stuck is their own original music. 

Politely, in his statement(opens in new tab) KinetiK001 says that the claimant is a copyright troll. For my opinion, at least, this is in fact just someone engaging in widespread copyright fraud: Another YouTuber named 3kliksphilip has identified(opens in new tab) that this is a serial offense for that account.

It seems pretty clear that this has nothing to do with the music or lyrics present in the video. Everyone who has looked at this believes this is just a troll causing trouble for whatever twisted reasons they have.

But that’s the entire point. If the copyright enforcement mechanisms for YouTube are so wide open for this kind of fuckery, then that’s a problem. And it’s been a problem. And YouTube hasn’t seemed particularly interested in solving that problem. Instead, the platform has built such a reputation for being terrible on this sort of thing, the end result is the appearance that YouTube is relying on apathy among the public to get away with it.

It’s really nothing new at this point, just another example of how disingenuous people and automated systems have turned YouTube into a horror show of copyright claims and stolen income from monetized videos.

Maybe YouTube is simply so big that it doesn’t care about any of this, but I find that hard to believe. PC Gamer isn’t some minor publication, after all. When it’s gotten bad enough that the gaming industry goes in on this “horror show” this hard, it’s probably time for the folks over at YouTube to start paying attention.

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Comments on “Thanks To Automated Copyright Claims And A Troll, Infamous CounterStrike Clip Gets A DMCA Takedown”

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61 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4

Hell, I’d even say they can have their fines – if they have higher standards of evidence to match. Unfortunately all plaintiffs ever seem to do before they get to that point is push hard for a settlement, or frantically get the case dismissed before they have to show evidence, or plead the 5th.

Arijirija says:

Re:

With automated pitch changer programs, it’s hardly work of any sort, so even that at the very minimum can’t be claimed. I mean, if you take Beethoven’s Song of Joy theme from the majestic 9th, and arrange it for a jug band, you’re allowed to claim copyright on the work you put in, but feeding a melody through a pitch changing app isn’t work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Sometimes the Wayback Machine (run by The Internet Archives) can save the day with a time-proven snapshot of one’s content on that particular day (and on any given site). But I agree, it takes a lot of effort and money to make the point and win the day.

There’s no doubt in my unmilitary mind that no matter what angle one looks at this particular facet of the copyright system, it’s fucked, pure and simple. Which leads me to wonder, where’s the public benefit (real or alleged) that the Constitution laid out as a requirement for copyright to be instituted at all? So why isn’t John Q. Public suing the pants off of everyone responsible for this shit-show? Or at least an aggrieved private party that has suffered a financial tort, that should be viable, no?

IOW, where’s Ray Beckerman when we need him the most??

Raziel says:

Re: Re:

The big problem with copyright is that if I claim authorship of a work, you have no way of actually validating that claim.

That’s a problem of copyright being automatic, actually, not copyright itself. Of course, if copyrights weren’t automatic, then only companies and rich people could afford them, and then we’d be back to the age old problem of publishers as gatekeepers. Don’t forget that, although the Statute of Anne recognised authors as the true creators, it was still enacted at the behest of the Stationers’ Company that had previously held the monopoly on publication, and so copyright only recently became more democratized with the signing of the Berne Convention Implementation Act into law by Ronald Reagan.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

How far down the rabbit hole are we going? Are you then going to ask about once a day, then several times a day? The point is that a non-zero cost to registration does not automatically mean that only the wealthy and large corporations will be able to register copyrights. I can do the same thing you’re doing but in reverse. What if the cost is not $45 but $5? What if it’s $1? 1 cent? I had no idea that would be such a controversial statement, but here we are.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6

Dealing with registration, with a deposit copy of the work, was a workable system when the gatekeepers controlled what was published, and therefore registered. Now there is a scaling problem, in that the volume of works that publishers publish in a year is matched in volume by self publishers on the Internet in less that an hour, or over 8,000 times as many works are self published compared to those that find a publisher.

Scaling up copyright registration to deal with 8,000 years worth of registration in a year is going to be expensive, which will make registration expensive.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

No system’s perfect, but if your argument is that it needs to be protected in order to gather many thousands of dollars, as is the usual argument with copyright, you should be able to spare the fee. Given that the RIAA and MPAA regularly claim that a single copy means the loss of thousands of dollars, I think that spending less than some households spend on their streaming services is a fine request.

If not, consider the other side, where people who also couldn’t afford $45 to subscribe to legal streaming services are being sued for 6-7 figure sums for sharing files. They’re rarer than they used to be due to legal alternatives, but surely if someone is expected to pay a fee because they otherwise have no money, it’s the person with the profit motive?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

,,, “it does not give them any reason for rejecting a claim.”

Actually, it did. But that would’ve required a decent amount of public spiritedness, and some time in court. In point of fact, there is no provision in any part of the copyright act, as now implemented, that supercedes the fact that an accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. The YouTubes of the world should’ve stuck up for their contributors and told the “gatekepeers” to buzz off, and if they persist, YT (and others) will simply go to court and proclaim that they aren’t the police, aren’t the prosecutors, and most certainly aren’t the judges and juries, that they have no business being such, and that any law attempting to deputize them into acting as such is null and void on its face.

But no, websites (read: big business) couldn’t be bothered. It was too easy to simply state the bogus law wasn’t bogus, and carry on as instructed. (And to be sure, there was a very large heap of money involved in that decision, make no mistake.) It’s enough to make a grown man cry.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

In point of fact, there is no provision in any part of the copyright act, as now implemented, that supercedes the fact that an accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.

That’s where you’re misguided. The presumption of innocence only applies to criminal cases. There is no such presumption in civil cases. In fact, copyright law in practice leans the opposite way. Case law outcomes, absurdly large potential damages, and lack of penalties for false copyright claims skew so far in favor of large, rich copyright holders that online websites which host user-generated content have little incentive to assume that claims under the DMCA are wrong, but every incentive to assume that the takedown claims are correct. The former choice could land YouTube in court, while the latter would generate little more than temporary public outrage.

If you have been reading copyright-related articles on Techdirt for a while, even if you were to presume that the writers of copyright law (that includes judges, because case law is law!) had the public interest in mind, you should have seen by now that copyright law consistently fosters abuse. Flawed laws don’t always have specific provisions which on their own clearly support or work against the public interest. You have to pay attention to enforcement in practice, not just the text as it’s written. Copyright law’s flaws are subtle but exhibit themselves most prominently in cases of false copyright claims.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Which is why it’s funny as hell when copyright simps keep trying to insist that copyright law didn’t lay the foundation for copyright trolling. If copyright didn’t enable ambulance chaser-style lawyering with high financial incentives and an embarrassingly poor standard for proof of guilt, there wouldn’t be so many examples of copyright holders, lawyers and activists misbehaving.

If they were held to the same standards they demanded of everyone else, they’d be sharing a cell with Paul Hansmeier.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Limbo (how low can you go)

Ah yes, the ol’ “he’s lower than a whale’s turd on the bottom of the ocean” idiom. Only this troll/fraudster has found the ladder he needed to climb up to the bottom of said turd. One has to wonder, will he patent that ladder, so no one else can be as low on the shit-for-brains totem pole?

Anonymous Coward says:

Well to be fair...

Whether they want to fix their system or not, there’s not much Google can do. Could Google do better? Sure. Could they do well? No, not with current copyright law as it stands. And it is more likely to get worse than better, at least in the short and medium terms.

Google may have issues, but if you blame them for this cluster whatever, you are ignoring the elephant in the room, which is the IP insanity rampant in the world, and particularly the US.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“As much as Google most likely wants to fix this, it realistically can’t because the root cause is something they really can’t control.”

Wrong. Google could simply (and easily) play the same game and start buying legislators the same way as gatekeepers lobby (give cash to) lawmakers. They could easily overwhelm whatever puny amounts the MAFIaa is willing to give, and toss this dumpster fire over the railing. It would be highly interesting to see how the bastards respond to being usurped in their quest to own the world.

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This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Copyright take downs are not a platforms choice, but demands by a third party and mandated by law under pain of massive damages if they do not comply. They are not the platforms choice, even when it involves a disastrous system like contentID. Note, contentID is an expense born by YouTube so avoid even more expensive legal battles and damages awards.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

it’s their platform so they can do as they wish

WRONG!

They can’t do as they wish when it comes to copyright law.

If you have been paying attention around here, you would know that the maximalists believe copyright is the most powerful force around and all private businesses must bend over backwards in order to accommodate their demands, lest they get heavily fined, starting in the 6 figure range.

So no, they can’t do as they wish in certain circumstances.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: (A different AC)

And herein lays the problem. See my several posts above about the fact that there is, by law, a threat of punishment for standing up to accusers. So let’s be clear in that a “fine” is a taking by the government, and it does not go to any private party. Whereas, a private party receives, when appropriate, an amount of money as the result of a judgment (or a settlement), and none of that goes to any government entity.

So the problem here is that the Constitution set up copyrights (and patents and trademarks) as a civil construction between two parties, not as a criminal action (meaning that the government is not a direct owner, only an arbitrator over disputes regarding ownership). But over the years that has changed, as we all know now.

(And do recall that when the government does own something, it’s in the name of the public… that’s an important distinction.)

But the real culprit here is, like I said, the threat of being “fined” for some action or inaction. That threat comes from a law that, just like Texas and soon-to-follow California, deputizes the public in general to act as agents of the government. This flies in the face of centuries of jurisprudence.

I’m getting long-winded here on this topic, so I should probably let it go. But I’ll keep tabs and reply to any responses. Thanks for letting me play today. 😉

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

And regardless as to all the other points you are wring about here, anyone can still criticize how a platform or anyone does anything.

Do you pluck neurons out of your connectome like wild hairs in order to make sure you don’t understand this, or are you merely a serial abuser of logical fallacy in support of your agenda?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

“it’s their platform so they can do as they wish. Don’t like it? Start your own.”

Yes to the first point. If you hear the second a lot, it’s because there’s a lot of whiners who get kicked off the main 5-6 social media platforms and pretend it’s a conspiracy.

If you’re kicked off Facebook, Twitter, etc. and pretend it’s a conspiracy against you, then “you know you can build a place that welcomes people like you” is a valid point.

But, people who don’t get routinely banned from other sites saying “look at these assholes” don’t need to make their own sites, they’re already welcome everywhere else.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

josephmortenson says:

Hi everyone!
My name Joseph M.Mortenson and I been copyrighted since 2011 and I’ve gotten infringed upon to the point of criminal actions in 2021 !My book that was stolen “Finding Norma Jeane”without my permission contracts were
Signed by the publisher and Mr.Crabb
I need a great attorney for this project! This is a slam dunk case !
I need help for this injustice that was done to me. This guy has told me that he sold only 32 books ! That’s crazy……32 books for one year out ! I personally know many people purchased more 65 books… From jail !
And this is a Marilyn Monroe book with a rare realitve her great nephew from her father’s side. You kidding me (32?)!!!
These people ‘the publisher & Warren o. Crabb have been robbing Mr.Mortenson while he was locked up ! They never sent a penny to the poor guy and it’s book about his life.

Anonymous Coward says:

The law doesn't allow YouTube can't fix itself. YouTube can only apply a bandage

As much as I’d like for YouTube to give the benefit of the doubt to the receivers of potentially false copyright claims, YouTube’s copyright system is as terrible as it is primarily because of heavily skewed incentives for accepting copyright infringement claims by default, or rather, disincentives against rejecting infringement claims by default.

I recommend that those who expect YouTube to fix its system watch Tom Scott’s “YouTube’s Copyright System Isn’t Broken. The World’s Is.” video.

This isn’t to say that YouTube isn’t partially to blame for how terrible its copyright enforcement system is: Sebastian Tomczak’s white noise video which won itself no less than 5 copyright claims comes to my mind. However, the design of copyright statutes and the enforcement in the form of case law create an environment which in practice all but forces platforms such as YouTube to handle copyright in a way which disfavors small video creators. Without drastic changes to copyright statutes to fix the imbalance of incentives, YouTube can only make its copyright system relatively less terrible, but not “good”.

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