'Dubious' Copyright Claim That Took Down Drone Footage Of Football Stadium Not All That Dubious, But Still Isn't The Optimal Solution

from the rights-holder-bot-claims-upteenth-victim dept

Bogus YouTube takedowns? We've seen our share of those. So, when this arrived in the Techdirt submission box from one of our readers, I wasn't very surprised.

Over the past several weeks, an unidentified quadcopter owner has been flying over Kyle Field at Texas A&M shooting videos of the stadium as it undergoes massive renovations. Texas A&M University forced youtube to block the quadcopter videos over a copyright claim. The claim is (at best) dubious. The videos are posted for free, the school is a state school, and all shots are of outdoor objects. Perhaps the school believes that A&M logos located on and around the stadium are somehow subject to copyright. (via this link)
That could very well be. Entities often issue bogus takedown notices and cease and desists, often becoming the real "morons in a hurry" by conflating copyright and trademark in their hurry to flex their ownership. Even if the logos were protected, they would be covered under trademark law, rather than copyright. That's not to say YouTube videos can't be taken down for trademark violations, but it would be a rather unusual situation.

The video that no longer exists states clearly that it has been removed due to a "copyright claim by Texas A&M University." If Texas A&M was that assertive about its logos or making some bogus claim about owning the airspace over the stadium, it certainly would have at least tried to remove another video posted by the same account containing the same sort of footage. But it didn't.

And there's where we find our first indication that this takedown has nothing to do with trademark or A&M's physical property. In the comments, this exchange takes place.

If you can't see or read the screenshot it says the following:
Commenter: Should have had music provide by the Fight'n Texas Aggie Band.

Matt Burger (account owner): Look at the first video/photo slideshow. Right in your wheelhouse
This suggests the background music in the first (now removed) video may have featured Texas A&M's creations. A tweet by Matt Burger (creator of the drone footage) seems to confirm this.


If you can't see this, it says:
When editing it's hard to choose. Pick the song that sounds like a 90's montage, or the well known song that will violate copyright. #grind
So, it would appear that Texas A&M's copyright claim was all about the music and had nothing to do with what the drone recorded. While it would have been a bit kinder of A&M to simply have the soundtrack muted rather than kill the video entirely, that's entirely decided by presets on the college's end of the YouTube world, something that isn't going to be applied on a case-by-case basis. Goodbye, Burger's drone footage. And, like so many other cases involving both YouTube and other IP owners, goodbye fair use. That's what happens when algorithms do all the thinking.

This takedown wasn't abusive but it's still a long way from the most desirable outcome. Texas A&M shutting down a video taken by an incredibly loyal fan isn't really a win for anybody.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Baron von Robber, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 9:56am

    OMG! Somebody's promoting us! Stop them!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 10:24am

    So, use another video site?

    I mean, if YouTube has such horrible rules, surely there are other sites that might actually LOOK at a claim before acting, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 10:40am

    Wow. Now you're reporting non stories? Cushing, stop! You're not only turning TD into a cop bashing broken record but into slashdot as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 10:45am

    Re:

    Have nothing to contribute? - Not to worry, simply bash the author and claim it is a non story. Typical idiocy from under the bridge.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re:

    "This takedown wasn't abusive but it's still a long way from the most desirable outcome. Texas A&M shutting down a video taken by an incredibly loyal fan isn't really a win for anybody."

    He admits himself it's not a story. It wasn't an abusive take down. Cushing just wanted to attack the school.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    pixelpusher220 (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    uh, no. It's pointing out how this was a 'valid' copyright claim...something you'd want TD to do I'm guessing. It's also showing that the 'hammer' approach isn't the optimal solution to these issues.

    As for not being abusive, I'd disagree with Tim...it is abusive, which is how the DMCA was written. It's just 'legally' abusive.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Baron von Robber, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 11:03am

    Re:

    Tim must be doing something right. Even those who don't like his stories still reads AND comments on each and every one.

    Good job Tim! :D

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    pegr, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But is it a valid claim? The school doesn't own the copyright of the song (presumably). They didn't write it. They may have public performance rights, but they didn't record it. Is the school enforcing the rights of the songwriter? Is that kosher?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 2:40pm

    Re:

    Followed shortly by...

    'No one's buying our stuff. In fact most people don't even seen to know we exists. Obviously the pirates are to blame.'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 2:41pm

    Re:

    *even seem

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 3:37pm

    I'm surprised the other video hasn't been taken down for its use of the Terminator music.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Whatever, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:47pm

    Sounds more like the guy made a conscious choice to use music he knew was in violation, hoping that (a) nobody important noticed, and (b) that it would help his video (and thus himself) become more popular.

    It's hard to defend someone knowingly breaking the rules.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2014 @ 5:06pm

    Re:

    Actually, he was unconscious when he added that sound track to the video and therefore had no idea it was a violation ... of something ... and - wow - someone noticed, go figure.

    It's hard to defend stupid rules when unconscious, but rules were made to be broken.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    The Wanderer (profile), Jun 13th, 2014 @ 5:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    From my reading of the story, it looks like the school (or their representatives) *did* write the song, or at least had the copyright assigned to them by whoever did.

    (Of course, to completely verify that would require knowing what the original music of the original video was, so that its copyright ownership can be tracked down - and AFAIK that's not mentioned in this article or any of its links.)

    You might disagree about whether it should be possible for someone other than the original creator (songwriter) to own the copyright to the song, but the fact is that under current US law it is possible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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