YouTube Video Taken Down Because Of Background Street Performer Impersonating Michael Jackson

from the beat-it dept

I imagine in some room somewhere, a whole bunch of people in well-tailored suits came up with the idea of DMCA takedowns and thought it'd be just peaches. The practical application of that policy, however, has been something of a performance art piece on how intellectual property is a canard better left on the cutting room floor. YouTube in particular exemplifies this, what with their attempts to comply with rightsholders juxtaposed to a service model that just begs for case studies in inadvertent violations and strong arm attempts by confused non-rightsholders.

Peter writes in with the latest such example, concerning an uploader who put up his trek across the Brooklyn Bridge. The video was taken down for the silliest of reasons.

ANYWAY, I went through all of the trouble of uploading and editing both of these boring-ass videos to a popular Internet video hosting website, only to have the aforementioned website totally mute the Brooklyn Bridge video because there's a Michael Jackson impersonator at the foot of the bridge and he's performing to the song "Beat It," which you can hear in the background.
So, someone crossing a bridge has a video of the experience that includes the decades-old song of a deceased performer being reenacted by a street performer... and down the video goes. I imagine the originators of copyright are rolling over in their graves at this point, never imagining that automated systems would trip the flag on this kind of takedown. Even imagining for a moment that this wouldn't or shouldn't be considered fair use, can someone explain to me what the point of all this is?
I'm pretty sure incidental capture of a portion of a song being played by a street performer falls under "fair use," and I've disputed it because I have nothing better to do with my life, but in the meantime I'm inspired by the knowledge that our publicly-traded companies go to such great lengths to protect the copyrights of great Americans like Michael Jackson.
The reality of course is that the rights to the song are held by a third party label and this was just the automated system accidentally capturing a video that the label probably wouldn't even bother taking down itself and blah, blah, blah. All I know is this is really stupid and a hindrance to the simple sharing culture that humanity has always enjoyed. Thanks copyright.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Violynne (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 4:40am

    "Videos on this site were taken down by our own copyright system. There's nothing to see here. Sorry about that. :\"

    One day, this will greet everyone visiting YouTube.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 6:08am

    Well, at least the poster is not being cited as a witness to an infringing public performance.
    /sarc

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 6:46am

    Hey, You can't make an omelet without breaking everybody's eggs

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 7:19am

    Incentives

    Remember though, if we allowed this infringing public performance of Beat It to remain up, Zombie Michael Jackson would not be as strongly incentivized to continue touring.

     

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    nasch (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 7:24am

    Headline

    The headline is completely disingenuous. The street performer had nothing to do with getting the video taken down. I don't think this is consistent with TD's usually high standards and I hope you'll change it.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 7:26am

      Re: Headline

      ....you're fucking kidding me, right?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 7:35am

        Re: Re: Headline

        No, I think nasch is serious, and I see his point. The headline reads as though the street performer is the one who demanded that Youtube take down the content. As the article points out, although the video would not have been taken down if the street performer had not been present, the street performer took no action against the video and may not even be aware that his performance impacted the poster's work.

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 10:15am

          Re: Re: Re: Headline

          " The headline reads as though the street performer is the one who demanded that Youtube take down the content."

          Not seeing it. At least, that's not how I interpreted the headline when I first read it.

           

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          blob (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 3:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: Headline

          lrn2context, seriously I was able to understand what this was about when the article showed up in my rss feed...

           

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        nasch (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 7:51am

        Re: Re: Headline

        ....you're fucking kidding me, right?

        No I am not fucking kidding you. I came here expecting a story about a street performer issuing takedown notices, and it's not about that at all, it's an automatic ContentID takedown.

        Here's the headline: "Street Performer Gets Someone's Brooklyn Bridge YouTube Video Taken Down"

        Here's what actually happened: "YouTube ContentID Gets Someone's Brooklyn Bridge YouTube Video Taken Down"

        You don't see the issue?

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 7:56am

          Re: Re: Re: Headline

          "You don't see the issue?"

          Well, no, I don't, but then again I'm not the type to get a full head of steam over a headline that might have confused 2% of the population before they bothered to read a couple lines of the post....

           

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 7:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline

            Is it that difficult to be clear?

             

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 8:10am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline

              This seems like a fairly pathetic attempt to turn a "Dog Bites Man" story into a "Man Bites Dog". Slow news day I guess. Why not amuse us with your snivelings over the Redskins name instead of trying to create a story where none exists?

               

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              JMT (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 5:39pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline

              The headline is perfectly clear, the issue here is entirely yours.

               

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            Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 9:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline

            You mean the 2% insider population which already read the story, and think the headline is accurate.
            The street performer is a minor detail in the story. The actual issue is Youtube automated ContentID blocking. I fail to see how he's mentioned in the headline which implies that he was responsible for taking the video down.

             

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              nasch (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 9:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline

              I fail to see how he's mentioned in the headline which implies that he was responsible for taking the video down.

              The headline is a simple subject-verb-object construction. The subject is the street performer. The action is getting something taken down. The object is the video. I don't know how you can miss it. It clearly states that the performer took an action that resulted in the video going down.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 4:44am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline

                No
                "YoutubeVideo" is the subject
                "taken down" is the verb/action
                "because of background street performer impersonating Michael Jackson" is a causal attribute

                The sentence is intransitive, there is no object.

                 

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                  nasch (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 7:27am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline

                  No "YoutubeVideo" is the subject

                  No, the street performer was the subject (of the old headline, it's changed now). There was an action, and he was the one who took the action.

                  "From a functional perspective, a subject is a phrase that conflates nominative case with the topic."

                  "The nominative case (abbreviated NOM) is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject of a verb or the predicate noun or predicate adjective, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments. Generally, the noun "that is doing something" is in the nominative, and the nominative is the dictionary form of the noun."

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subject_%28grammar%29

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 7:37am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline

                    Sorry, thanks to threaded view, I didnt realize the headline changed since you posted.

                    And I know perfectly well what a nominative is, cause
                    a) Unlike English my language actually uses more than word order for case marking; and
                    b) I'm kind of a hobby linguist.

                     

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            nasch (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 9:27am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline

            Well, no, I don't, but then again I'm not the type to get a full head of steam over a headline that might have confused 2% of the population before they bothered to read a couple lines of the post....

            It's not an issue of confusion, the issue is that the headline doesn't match the story (or reality). I find it strange that you think it's not a problem for the headline to say one thing and the story something else, just because it will all be clear after reading the story.

            At the risk of a bad analogy, if some news organization ran the headline "Chris Christie shuts down traffic on GW Bridge" and the story was about how somebody who isn't Chris Christie shut down the GW Bridge, would you think that was no problem that the headline describes something that didn't actually happen, because all the right info is in the story?

             

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              Dark Helmet (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 9:30am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline

              "At the risk of a bad analogy, if some news organization ran the headline "Chris Christie shuts down traffic on GW Bridge" and the story was about how somebody who isn't Chris Christie shut down the GW Bridge, would you think that was no problem that the headline describes something that didn't actually happen, because all the right info is in the story?"

              I think the proper analogy would be the headline reading "Traffic shuts down NJ bridge" and you wanting it to say that Chris Christie was responsible. You wouldn't be wrong, but it'd still be silly....

               

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                nasch (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 10:17am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline

                So you're sticking by the headline, and saying that it's accurate to state that the street performer got the video taken down.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 12:46pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline

                  The fact that there was a street performer in the video is the reason it was taken down. Reworded: the street performer is the reason the video was taken down.

                  It's very accurate, although unintentionally misleading.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 2:37pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline

                    Actually the reason the video was taken down was because the content ID system identified 'Beat It' as being copyrighted.

                     

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              Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 9:35am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline

              The headline means that the video was taken down because of the street performer -- because he was accidentally captured and performing a copyrighted work -- not because of anything the guy who shot the video did. Sure it can (easily) be read the way you're reading it, but I'm pretty sure that's not how Tim intended it. (Though someone probably should have noticed the likely confusion before it was published.)

              Your analogy doesn't hold, unless Chris Christie was doing something on the bridge that cause someone else to mistakenly shut down traffic on the bridge.

               

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        Tehrm (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 10:27am

        Re: Re: Headline

        "....you're fucking kidding me, right?" by Dark Helmet

        At the least, this was unproductive and arrogant. At the worst, such a response hurts the Techdirt brand.

         

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      PaulT (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 7:38am

      Re: Headline

      It's not particularly confusing in my mind, perhaps "Background recording of street performer" would be better for you? Unless you're trying to say that the audio of the performance wasn't what caused it, in which case I'd like to know your evidence that contradicts the first hand accounts.

      But, knowing your name as a regular I'll assume you mean the former. Which is kind of depressing - such a ridiculous story, and the only thing we can find to question is the wording of a headline?

       

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        nasch (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 7:53am

        Re: Re: Headline

        Which is kind of depressing - such a ridiculous story, and the only thing we can find to question is the wording of a headline?

        You're making the classic mistake of assuming that the thing I mentioned is the only thing I'm thinking about the issue. I don't need to point out every single thing that's noteworthy about the story in order to make a comment about one issue. I don't even have to comment on the part of it I think is most important.

         

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          PaulT (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 8:16am

          Re: Re: Re: Headline

          But you chose to comment only on the headline.

          I'm sure we'll agree on other issues you have, but 17 comments into this thread only one person has questioned anything about the story itself, and that was you commenting on the headline. We haven't even got the usual trolls bleating about "anomalies" or calling the author a liar yet. That just strikes me as interesting.

           

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            Dark Helmet (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 8:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline

            "We haven't even got the usual trolls bleating about "anomalies" or calling the author a liar yet. That just strikes me as interesting."

            I call this a personal victory....

             

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 7:58am

      Re: Headline

      Disingenuous headline are a staple at Techdirt.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 10:42am

        Re: Re: Headline

        ^ Truth

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2014 @ 10:35am

        Re: Re: Headline

        That's pretty much true of all major news sources. Why should it be perceived as different here? Anyways, the title's been changed, so the more anal of readers can calm down, now.

         

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      Tehrm (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 10:11am

      Re: Headline

      By intention or accident, it was a poorly worded headline:
      "Street Performer Gets Someone's Brooklyn Bridge YouTube Video Taken Down"

      The original headline implies that the performer filed a DMCA. "Street Performance" might have been more precise.

      New headline:
      "YouTube Video Taken Down Because Of Background Street Performer Impersonating Michael Jackson"

       

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 7:40am

    It won't be long before people figure out there are other video services besides Youtube that won't pull this crap. Youtube's killing itself with its ContentID.


    and that bike snob gets more comments than Techdirt.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 8:13am

      Re:

      "It won't be long before people figure out there are other video services besides Youtube that won't pull this crap. "

      But, YouTube only created ContentID under pressure from the **AAs who refused to work with them on any legal deals until they had such a system in place. As bad as it is, it only exists as a shield between them and massively costly lawsuits that would kill the business anyway - and likely create legal precedents that threaten their competitors as well.

      Given that a division of Google have been unable to create a workable system despite their resources and a $30+ million budget (IIRC), what chance to their smaller competitors really have? Veoh might not have put up something like ContentID, for example, but they were sued into bankruptcy before they could prove they weren't guilty of infringement.

      I'll agree that they're going about this the wrong way, and that ContentID as it stands is equally harmful to the public and copyright holders alike. But, they're also by far the biggest/richest target so have to put up more defences since they get attacked far more.

      "and that bike snob gets more comments than Techdirt."

      Quantity doesn't equal quality.

       

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        jupiterkansas (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 8:25am

        Re: Re:

        So what you're saying is they do it or they don't, but they're dead either way.

        It doesn't matter that they're forced to do this - it will turn lots of people away from using Youtube to using other services. Either that or face a class action lawsuit from users for taking down fair use videos (or just as bad - redirecting revenue to copyright holders for fair use videos).

        As long as Youtube automatically makes changes a video someone uploads without their permission, their system is compromised. It cannot recognize fair use, and should not assume otherwise.

        Until they figure that out, I'll use Vimeo.

         

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    Tice with a J (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 8:16am

    Alternative headlines

    Video Taken Down Over Background Sounds

    Singing Michael Jackson in a Public Space? That's a Takedown

    YouTube Says "Beat It" to Copyrighted Background Noises

    Secondhand Infringement Spurs Takedown

     

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    Chris ODonnell (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 8:29am

    FWIW, I too clicked through expecting a story about a street performer issuing takedown notices.

     

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    identicon
    Robert, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 8:49am

    Censorship

    This is no mistake no error. People have only so many hours in the day to view content and it all competes. How can crappy full of commercials compete, easy, pays lobbyists to distort laws to enable the censorship of all non-corporate content.
    No accident, the intent is total censorship of all competing not corporate cartel content.
    Don't think so, they are desperately trying to shift copyright infringement from civil to criminal, what parent will take the chance of their child ending up with a criminal record, of fines and the threat of prison sentences. Psychopathic greed knows no limits except those forced upon it by the sane majority.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 9th, 2014 @ 9:49am

    Title

    Hey guys. Read the back and forth here, and agree that the title could be misread. We've changed it. I don't think it's accurate to say that the title was "completely disingenuous," but it certainly is easy enough to get the wrong impression from it.

     

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    Annonimus, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 9:50am

    Middle Name

    Obama's middle name is copyright? I did not know this.

     

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    identicon
    DogBreath, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 1:35pm

    Aww man...

    Here I was, hoping this was going to be a story about Cindy Lee Garcia impersonating Michael Jackson just so she could get a few more minutes of non-fame.

    Hey, maybe the guy could reshoot the same video, but replace the Michael Jackson imitator with a Cindy Lee Garcia imitator. Reproducing only a small amount (fair use) of her "acting" that she did in her "performance", and see how long it took for her to sue Google to get it taken down. Or would that be just a little too esoteric?

    Oh well...

     

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  •  
    identicon
    BOLLOCK, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 9:18am

    Dark Helmet IS A HELMET

     

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