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


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  1. identicon
    Pete Austin, 5 Sep 2012 @ 2:47am

    Why assume it was legal?

    If someone claimed their car had been stolen, you'd believe them enough to call the police, not assume they were just inventing a story. So let the police sort this out too.

    As the vice president says, "Look, piracy is outright theft. People are out there blatantly stealing from Americans -- stealing their ideas and robbing us of America's creative energies. There's no reason why we should treat intellectual property any different than tangible property."
    http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/legal-and-management/vice-president-joe-biden-ca lls-piracy-outright-1005136622.story

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