A few folks have sent over the news that a whole bunch of YouTube videos containing short clips of Major League Baseball games were taken down
recently. Considering the fact that a bunch were taken down at once, I'm guessing
that MLB just uploaded a bunch of video to YouTube's Content ID system, and the system matched up a bunch of videos. The site that talks about this (a Philadelphia sports blog) points out how incredibly short-sighted this is in annoying fans. It also points out that the NHL actually encourages
fans to share videos, and monetizes them with ads:
When it comes to online video, the NHL is an example of a league that just gets it. Instead of combing YouTube and other video sites, the NHL allows fans and bloggers to embed videos right on their site. In case you haven't noticed, most of our Flyers highlights are taken directly from PhiladelphiaFlyers.com. They encourage it. Why? Because it raises awareness for their product and is sometimes laced with an ad. Many news outlets do this too. People can use their videos, so long as they watch a :30 second ad prior to it. A fair trade off.
Of course, the site also claims that MLB's actions are "legal in every sense of the word." While that might be true in some cases, it sounds like certainly not all. The blog notes that many of the videos taken down have exceptionally
brief clips of MLB coverage, suggesting that with at least some of them, there's probably a decent fair use claim:
I noticed that YouTube had sent me a few of my own. They removed eight videos that, when pooled together, included about 20 seconds of game play footage (they were mostly screenshots of fans, including guys in Nacho Libre masks).
If it's actually true that his videos contained a grand total of 20 seconds of MLB coverage across eight videos, you'd have to imagine that there's at least a reasonable possibility that the videos were protected by fair use. Unfortunately (thanks to the take downs), I can't actually see the videos to get a better determination of whether or not they were likely fair use. Either way -- whether fair use or not -- the site is right. Pissing off fans, out of some bizarre need to "control," when you could instead excite fans by enabling
them to share their fandom, just seems incredibly short-sighted on the part of Major League Baseball.