YouTube's Three Strikes Rule Hits Again; Dance Company Has Over 300 Videos Taken Down

from the harm-done? dept

One of my big complaints with Google's YouTube is how it handles content takedowns based on copyright claims. If you get a DMCA notice, it can count as a "strike" against you, and when you hit three strikes, your entire account can be suspended. In an era where accidental infringement can occur pretty easily, those who use the site a lot may come up against those limitations pretty quickly. YouTube recently revamped its "strikeout" policy for community guidelines violations, but left the copyright strikeouts intact.

There are multiple problems with this policy, starting with the fact that false DMCA complaints can count against users. We were recently pointed to a series of videos about a user on YouTube who is supposedly filing bogus DMCA notices on others' videos, and that's resulting in accounts being shut down. In a forum thread, the guy filing the bogus DMCA claims says that YouTube has hired him to seek out "useless" videos and get them removed. That's obviously not true at all, but the fact that someone so blatantly making stuff up was able to get away with filing bogus DMCA notices that got accounts suspended seems more than a bit troubling. Even if YouTube's policy is to say "file a counternotice," it appears that policy isn't really working so well.

Separate from that is the more common situation of those putting up videos where they think that what they're doing is legal. And here, there is great confusion also. We recently had a bit of a debate in our comments with a regular commenter on the site who insists that YouTube has said it's okay to upload videos without permission from copyright holders. In the ensuing comment thread, I pointed out that this simply isn't true, but the the commenter continued to insist that the only reason YouTube would have a ContentID system is if it's telling users they don't need permission. This is blatantly wrong, but the fact that even after it was explained to the commenter, she continued to believe it, shows how difficult it is to get otherwise knowledgeable people to understand that YouTube can and will cut people off and shut down their entire account, with little to no recourse, if they receive multiple DMCA notices (note: this is separate from Content ID matches, which don't count as strikes).

The latest example of this comes via Michael Geist who points us to the news of a Canadian dance company losing all 300 videos it had posted of its dance company choreography and classes and such, because it got hit with a third DMCA strike. As the guy notes, it's okay to use whatever music they want in the classrooms (I'm assuming they pay the basic licenses for that), but the second the videos go online, they risk takedown notices. Of course, with this three strikes policy, it means that even if 297 of the videos were perfectly fine, and the musicians were thrilled that the dance company used them and were online, it doesn't matter. They're gone from YouTube.

This seems unfortunate. Obviously, YouTube can set whatever policies it wants, but the three strikes policy on such notices, and then the removal of an entire account just seems to go too far in an age when unintentional copyright infringement happens all the time, and DMCA notices are sent without much thought.

Filed Under: dmca, takedowns, youtube
Companies: google

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  1. identicon
    Rideincircles, 15 Jul 2010 @ 12:04pm

    This happened to me yesterday

    My youtube account was finally shut down yesterday from my third strike.

    To cover my info, my youtube site consisted mainly of concert footage I recorded myself from the past 4 years. I had around 1060 videos, over 1.8 million total video views, about 400 subscribers, over 500 people that added me as a friend and i never made a dime off of it.

    I like to record a song or 2 from almost every show I go to, and have been going to concerts and festivals all the time in the past 4 years. it amounts to some of the best free promotion for bands available and I have no problem doing it.

    A couple moths ago I recieved my first violation from some Bob Dylan footage from Austin City Limits music festival. That video was removed and it was my first strike. Less than a week later I got my second strike from another Bob Dylan video and I removed the other videos I had from his set. I just got back from Glastonbury Music Festival and had just started uploading my footage when this happened. Still not sure what gave me my final strike, they have not sent me anything official yet.

    I knew i was at risk after the first two strikes, but i was not about to start deleting stuff other than what got my strikes in the first place. I still have all my footage, and have already started over, but i want to know what set it off the third time and i can't really estimate how many hours worth of my time was spenting put all of that up there. honestly it could be a few weeks of my life over the past few years.

    To my knowledge, my only recourse is starting over from scratch. Definitely not enthused about this.

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