YouTube Taking Down Public Domain Works?
from the make-it-stop dept
The first story comes to us from two self-described "hippies," Haint and Littia, who had put up a video showing some of Haint's works, and used as background music a song by a group called the Psalters, who put their entire album into the public domain so that anyone could do what they wanted with it -- such as using it for background music in a video. However, music licensing company Rumblefish, supposedly uploaded its catalog into YouTube's content ID system -- and apparently (and I'm still trying to figure out how, because no one seems to have a good explanation), the Psalters song is somehow in Rumblefish's catalog. Hence, YouTube took down the video. Apparently others have also been finding their perfectly legal and licensed content taken down thanks to Rumblefish as well, and were told that they needed to call and get Rumblefish's permission to get the content back up.
Haint and Littia note that they can't issue a counternotice, because Rumblefish never sent a DMCA notice which they can counter (Update: to clarify, as explained in the next sentence, they can dispute, but that's slightly different than countering the DMCA notice, and comes with its own problems). The "takedown" was triggered by the content ID match, which still makes things a bit tricky, since "disputing" such things could potentially lead to a lawsuit, so there's a bit of a chilling effect in disputing a content ID match. Poking a big company with a stick where they can turn around and file a lawsuit is a bit scary -- even if you know you're in the legal right.
While looking into that story, reader Stephen Pate sent over his own story of having his entire YouTube account suspended. He's not entirely sure why, but believes it has something to do with video he posted of the recent "crash on the moon." The video was taken directly from NASA's live broadcast, which NASA makes clear is not covered by copyright.
But... along came everyone's favorite news organization, the Associated Press, and claimed the video was their copyrighted material. Nice of them. Due to at least one other similar incident, Pate's entire account was shut down, and to make matters worse, this apparently happened at about the same time that YouTube switched emails to gmail logins, leading Google to claim that it can't match his email to the email of the account in question.
I'm sure Google and YouTube are trying their best, within the confines of copyright law and various lawsuits, to handle such situations, but it seems like things are a mess -- and more and more users are finding that even if they have what appears to be perfectly legal content, they may face takedowns and even loss of their entire account, with limited avenues for recourse.