Copyright Killbots Strike Again: Official DNC Livestream Taken Down By Just About Every Copyright Holder

from the yeah,-THIS-makes-everyone-respect-copyright-MORE dept

Here we go again. Less than 24 hours ago, content-protection bots killed a livestream of the Hugo Awards, thanks to the brief appearance of fully approved clips from an episode of Dr. Who. The whole situation was completely absurd to anyone harboring the tiniest vestige of common sense, but IP-protection software isn't built on common sense: it's built on algorithms.

This time, content protection via crawling bots have taken down another approved, perfectly legal stream. The victim this time? The Democratic National Convention's official stream, hosted at YouTube. As Wired reports, if you're looking to catch up on last night's activities, including a speech by Michelle Obama, don't bother:
The video, posted by the official YouTube account for the convention, DemConvention2012, was blocked, according to YouTube, for ostensibly infringing on the copyright of one of many possible suspects:
This video contains content from WMG, SME, Associated Press (AP), UMG, Dow Jones, New York Times Digital, The Harry Fox Agency, Inc. (HFA), Warner Chappell, UMPG Publishing and EMI Music Publishing, one or more of whom have blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.
Sorry about that.
When contacted by Wired for comment, Erica Sackin, an Obama campaign staffer who works on digital outreach, had no knowledge of the outage, asked this reporter for the url and then upon seeing the takedown, said, "I'll have to call you back."
The video has since been updated to state that "This video is private." There's probably quite a bit going on behind the scenes at the moment, but fortunately Wired snagged the complete list of claimants for future reference.
Take a good, long look at that list. There's a few of the usual suspects in there, including AP, UMG and Warner, entities not known to be shy about claiming content that isn't theirs.

Now, these entities aren't directly responsible for this takedown. This is more of an automated match situation, but it still doesn't change the fact that the inherent stupidity of the action, automated or not, does absolutely nothing to lock down stray, unmonetized content and absolutely everything to highlight the ridiculous nature of copyright protection in a digital age.

If Google can work with copyright holders to produce content matching software, it seems like it might be possible to designate certain accounts or entities as "off limits" from the wandering killbots. If the stream is authorized by, I don't know, the party of the current President of the United States, maybe, just fucking maybe, everything's "above board."

Sure, defining legitimate, pre-approved accounts may prove to be as difficult as determining which content is infringing and which isn't, but this should be the sort of thing that content holders should be working toward, rather than simply moving from disaster to disaster, smugly secure in the knowledge that filthy file sharers are getting content-blocked thousands of times a day.

Nice going, huge list of content holders. Your boundless, maximalist enthusiasm is just another nail in the coffin containing what's left of copyright's reputation.

Filed Under: automated takedowns, contentid, copyright, dnc, live streaming, youtube
Companies: ap, dow jones, emi, harry fox agency, ny times, sme, umg, umpg, warner chappell, wmg

Reader Comments

The First Word

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 5 Sep 2012 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Takedown is not the punishment.

    Tell that to legitimate companies who are having perfectly legal content taken down, impacting their business, who have little or no recourse on getting that content back up.

    Lets try an analogy, flawed as they always are. A company makes a completely bogus legal threat, that there are uncleared product placements in the next big summer $200 million blockbuster. They threaten to sue every movie theater across the country. Because of the threat, the big theater chains pull the movie on opening night. Instead of having a huge opening and being #1 in the box office, the movie doesn't even appear in the list. Are you okay with this happening, and do you think the studio would consider it an unwarranted punishment for doing nothing wrong?

    Takedowns are done by private companies. So I don't see how this nonsense of "innocent until proven guilty" applies to a non-governmental entity.

    When the private company is compelled to takedown the content by a law, to avoid liability for something they shouldn't be liable for under any sane system of justice, it damn well should apply.

    You know that Google doesn't really want to remove that content - you're the one arguing they're pirates - it is forced to under a draconian law with onerous provisions for finding compeltely innocent third parties liable.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.