Dear Rotolight: The Internet Never Forgets Your Censorious Past, Even If You Deny It

from the look-at-that... dept

So, you may have heard the story this week about Rotolight forcing down a video review they didn't like of one of their lights -- and then admitting publicly that they did it because they thought the review wasn't fair (and also claiming that they thought it violated their trademark, even though the DMCA doesn't cover trademark). That story got quite a lot of attention, and quite a bit late, Rotolight posted its official statement in response, in which the company sought to both apologize... but also defend the initial actions. There is also the odd statement that the video wasn't taken down for copyright reasons, even though the creator of the video, Den Lennie, clearly received a copyright takedown notice.
In this specific case, the video was not removed for copyright infringement reasons as has been widely reported. Rotolight received external advice with respect to this particular video that it was potentially misleading and unrepresentative. This advice resulted in the only request the company has made to have a video removed from any video sharing website in the last 3 years.
As Popehat notes, either Rotolight or Vimeo is lying here, and it's hard to believe that it's Vimeo. If they didn't send a copyright takedown, then why don't they say what they actually sent? Clearly, Vimeo received some sort of notification.

However, two more tidbits have popped up since then, thanks to the lovely internet. First, we have Jeepers Media pointing out to us that Rotolight's claim above that this is the "only request the company has made to have a video removed from any video sharing website in the last 3 years" does not appear to be true. CheesyCam has the story of how it had posted a YouTube video... and Rotolight had (you guessed it) taken it down:

That’s total bull, because this has actually been a practice of RotoLight for at least the last two years. Two years ago, I posted up a video about one user and a UFO camping light who may have mentioned he was making his own DIY RotoLight. Obviously it was a UFO camping LED light, and because of the camparisons, RotoLight commented on this blog and admitted to taking down the users YouTube video:

“FYI, the YouTube Video on which your article relates has been removed due its to defamtory nature, breach of our Registered Trademark and misleading information”.

Whoa wait a minute! The DMCA cannot be used for Trademark claims. That was two years ago, and who knows how many other YouTube or Vimeo videos were taken down in that time frame, but I can tell you the recent Den Lennie attempt was not the first. The fact that they are now playing dumb and backtracking as if this was the only DMCA they filed is a load of crap.

While CheesyCam doesn't link to the original post, it appears to be here. Oops. So, clearly not the first. Also, a commenter on Popehat points out that it's highly unlikely that Rotolight did not understand copyright or the nature of DMCA notices (or the difference between copyright and trademark), in part because the founder/president of Rotolight also runs one of the largest music publishing/producing businesses in the UK -- and his wife is an entertainment lawyer who wrote a book about copyright that was published not too long ago.

So, um, that's nice that you're a small business and you want to rehabilitate your reputation and all... but it might help to start out by not lying about the claim that this was the first such video you've taken down -- or about the nature of the takedown. As they say, it's often not the original bad deed that gets you in the end... but the attempted coverup.

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