Vimeo Should Take Some Of The Blame For Simply Accepting Massive Bogus DMCA Takedown Over The Word 'Pixels'

from the nice-work,-geniuses dept

I was going to start off this post by noting that, over the weekend, Andy at TorrentFreak had the story of how Columbia Pictures appears to have hired the "worst anti-piracy group" around to issue DMCA takedowns, but that's wrong. This kind of thing is all too common. Columbia Pictures appears to have hired basically your standard clueless "anti-piracy" group, and it's resulted in a DMCA takedown letter that took down basically every video on Vimeo with the word "Pixels" in the title, all because of Columbia's mega flop Pixels, an Adam Sandler film that is being called "one of the worst movies of the year."

The DMCA notice sent by Entura International on behalf of Columbia Pictures, is so bad that whoever the genius was at Entura who put it together even notes in the "description" the full names of the videos it's taking down -- which should have been an indication that perhaps these were not the same videos as the Adam Sandler film. One of them is even clearly labeled as "the official trailer" of the Adam Sandler film.
Also, as some have noted, this takedown effort includes the critically acclaimed film that inspired the Adam Sandler film. Columbia Pictures bought the rights to Patrick Jean's video in order to make its own film, but those "rights" did not include being able to DMCA the original. It also took down other completely unrelated projects as one created by a Cypriot filmmaker for a non-profit NGO, a Hungarian student's final project for his degree, and a personal project involving Pantone paint swatches.

The TorrentFreak article notes that the NGO, named NeMe, has protested the takedown, pointing out that this is ridiculous and asking for help -- only to have Vimeo staff say that the only way to deal with it is to file a counternotice:
And while that is the official process, counternotices often scare people off, because if the other side disagrees, the next step in the DMCA is for the other side to file a lawsuit -- and many don't even want to take that chance.

And, yes, obviously, much of the blame for this ridiculous set of circumstances should fall on Entura International for being terrible at its own job in issuing bogus takedowns. And some of the blame should fall on Columbia Pictures for hiring Entura -- a company that clearly has no business sending out DMCA takedowns. But, also, much of it should fall on Vimeo for simply giving in and accepting the obviously bogus takedown requests. Just recently, we noted that Automattic (the company that makes WordPress) had published in its transparency report that it had rejected 43% of the DMCA takedown notices it had received -- and we suggested other companies start paying attention. Google also is known for rejecting bad DMCA takedowns.

However, it appears that Vimeo doesn't bother. Send a takedown, no matter how ridiculous, and apparently the company will comply and take it down -- and if you complain to support staff, the company tells you that you need to go through the legal process of sending a counternotice, rather than reevaluate its own faulty review process. Of course, if the story of bogus takedowns gets enough press attention then Vimeo might act and and ask Entura for an explanation leading the company to withdraw the takedowns and try to wait out the ridicule. But, really, that's ridiculous. Vimeo should be standing up for its users' rights and it did not. Vimeo failed.

Yes, we can argue that it's ridiculous the way the DMCA safe harbor process creates incentives for Vimeo to do exactly what it did here (in that it grants full liability protection for taking down any work if you receive a valid notice), but more and more companies are at least doing cursory reviews. Vimeo has clearly chosen not to do so, which, at the very least, should raise questions among users about if that's the right platform for them to use, when the company doesn't seem even remotely interested in making sure its own works are protected against bogus takedowns.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 10:47am

    Just sent them an email asking to clarify if my cat, whose name is Pixel, is infringing.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 10:50am

    Just to get the obvious joke out of the way:

    an Adam Sandler film that is being called "one of the worst movies of the year."
    This is either redundant or a tautology.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 10:56am

    While it is insane, they are always fearful of being the next dancing baby case.
    The cartels have no problem throwing tons of cash down a hole to crush those who resist their demands, correct or not.
    No one wants to be the first case that proves they need to review the notices before blindly accepting them.
    The fact that even if the takedown was bogus there was still going to be a black mark against the account holders is the really stupid part for Vimeo. Some random troll send multiple notices, screw all your work, get off our site because we don't want to deal with the hassle.

    This is another chapter in how broken the DMCA process is, and nothing is going to change because much money is spend to buy the law they want, not the law that should be.

    I look forward to someone starting a company to disrupt the marketplace that doesn't yank first & then punish you still later when it is bogus. That they review the claims and reject as needed. I look forward to a court having to hear how they didn't act fast enough and the company producing the 100 bogus takedowns covering 100000 items that they were expected to check in a reasonable time.

    It really is time we stop allowing the cartels to demand everyone else pay for their mistakes and the huge amount of derp they generate with these bogus notices. Imagine if they had to pay a fine for every bogus notice, they would get much better much faster.

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

    • icon
      Seegras (profile), 11 Aug 2015 @ 3:22am

      Re:

      I look forward to someone starting a company to disrupt the marketplace that doesn't yank first & then punish you still later when it is bogus.

      Actually, I want them to do not just that, but to immediatly SUE the issuer of the wrong notice for fraud and prejudice.

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

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 11:00am

    Vimeo, like all video streaming sites, should take all the blame.

    Rather than stand up against what's clearly now abuse of the law, they buckle and "comply", leaving its users to fend for themselves.

    If these sites are worried about lawsuits, then they should allow them.

    If every gatekeeper tried to sue every site which refuses to comply with the DMCA, they'd go bankrupt pretty quick.

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

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 12:27pm

      Re:

      The problem is that third parties are stuck in the middle between copyright owners and infringers. They shouldn't have to deal with any of this at all - takedowns or lawsuits.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 1:06pm

      Re:

      Well, Vimeo taking down all these videos has resulted in us discussing how broken the system is.

      Like what they did or not it has helped to bring awareness of this problem to a much larger audience.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 11:00am

    'much of the blame for this ridiculous set of circumstances should fall on Entura International for being terrible at its own job in issuing bogus takedowns. And some of the blame should fall on Columbia Pictures for hiring Entura -- a company that clearly has no business sending out DMCA takedowns. But, also, much of it should fall on Vimeo for simply giving in and accepting the obviously bogus takedown requests'

    the ones deserving of being chastised, ridiculed and actually taken to court are those in Congress, the dumb fucks, who let themselves be bribed off, allowing the entertainment industries to put out Take Downs when ever they wanted, against whom so ever they wanted, for any reason they wanted WITH NO COMEBACK ON THEM EVERY TIME THE LAW WAS MISUSED! had this never got on the books in the first place, and make no mistake, the reason it did had to be for what is stated above because no one in their right mind who was enacting laws that were supposed to affect everyone and be fair, would do something like this complete one-sided debacle for nothing!
    why hasn't anyone even tried to get a sensible change incorporated in this ridiculous law? i assume, for the same reason it was enacted in the first place and there were too many dollars falling into particular pockets to stop it from happening!
    disgraceful behavior by people who have trusted positions in government supposedly to look after both sides of the corporate/public fence but who always go to the corporate side, because helping their 'friends' is more important, or should i say PROFITABLE!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 11:03am

    Let's just add this to that mass of anomalies now big enough to have a gravity well

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

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 11:14am

    Next DMCA takedown by Columbia: this article.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 11:28am

    I've said it before, but...

    I think sites like Vimeo ought to make it an internal policy that, when something like this happens, they take down all the authorized uploads from the offending rightsholder. In this case that would mean any Columbia promotional trailers that survived Entura's carpet bombing and any content that Columbia's staff tried (or later will try) to deliver through the Vimeo platform. As a private entity, Vimeo can (except for any binding contracts to the contrary), delete whatever it wants to delete at any time. Banning a rightsholder from using the platform seems like fair retaliation for the rightsholder engaging in such blatant misuse of the DMCA. Since it's an internal policy, rather than a legal obligation, they can err on the side of clemency (or not, depending on how irate they are), and they don't need to hit every last upload. That fuzz factor makes all the difference in viability between a notice&takedown system versus a retaliatory cleansing.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 11:30am

    Just send a takedown for "https://vimeo.com/search?q="

    Knowing the incompetence of them, they will probably actually take down every video.

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

    • icon
      OldMugwump (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 12:59pm

      Re: take down every video

      Suppose I make a short film titled "The", in which the word "the" spins around for 30 seconds while I hum a made-up tune.

      Then I send takedown notices to every streaming service asking them to takedown every video with the word "the" in the title.

      Perhaps the ensuing chaos would make somebody in Washington finally sit up an take notice? Perhaps?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 11:44am

    The faults lie entirely on the copyright protection services perpetrating stupendously shoddy workmanship.

    When one of these asshats spew faulty DMCAs:
    The copyright holders should immediately fire these losers and demand their money back.

    The recipients of all these garbage notices should create a shared database of the companies shotgunning notices and refuse to honor a single demand from them. If they persist, send them invoices for their time.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 11:45am

    This will not end until people purposefully rise up and start sending bogus DMCA takedowns targeting legit music and movie videos. If Columbia Pictures, Sony, BMG, etc have to start dealing with their content being removed wrongly we might get some change.

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

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 12:29pm

      Re:

      As if they hadn't already thought of that. All they have to do is file a counternotice, and then you'd have to actually sue them to get the content taken down.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 12:59pm

      Re:

      "If Columbia Pictures, Sony, BMG, etc have to start dealing with their content being removed wrongly we might get some change."

      And the change will be for Columbia Pictures, Sony, BMG etc. suing the company or persons responsible for sending that DMCA notice that got the content removed and calling for the penalty of $150,000 for each wrongly DMCA notice. And yet if the shoe was on the other foot as in for those persons who wrongly had their content removed due to wrongly DMCA notices by these companies nothing will be done, no compensation will be given to those persons.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 11:45am

    Insanity rules

    I think all copyright enforcement should be bundled with the USPTO, and they can call it The Ministry of Logic.

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

  • identicon
    A Non-Mouse, 10 Aug 2015 @ 12:05pm

    What's next?

    Can't wait for the new "Vacation" remake to show up online. The ensuing flood of bogus DMCA takedowns should be hilarious, terrifying, and (with any luck) the straw that breaks the camel's back.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 12:15pm

    And while that is the official process, counternotices often scare people off, because if the other side disagrees, the next step in the DMCA is for the other side to file a lawsuit -- and many don't even want to take that chance.


    Well, yes, but neither does Vimeo. I think that unless the takedown is designed to unmask an anonymous person, a counter-notice isn't onerous for the user.

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

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 12:26pm

      Re:

      Maybe not onerous, but it IS usually futile. I had a DMCA filed on a clearly non-infringing file I had posted at MediaFire. Despite filing a counter-notice, the file was never reinstated. I eventually posted it again under a different name to make it available to users. So even if you file the counter-notice, most often the folks on the other end ignore the whole thing, your file is still down, and you still have a strike against you with the service.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 12:40pm

    Since content owners like to use horribly inaccurate automated processes to generate takedown notices with the excuse that there is too much content to check by hand, it is unreasonable for us to expect that media sites will be able to check every takedown request.

    Instead they should write their own automated, automated takedown verifier and responder, and excuse themselves saying that they are receiving too many takedown notices to reasonably verify them all.

    If it rejects most of the takedown requests, well that's just the content owners' fault.

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

  • identicon
    Anonmylous, 10 Aug 2015 @ 12:53pm

    Two options

    Content creators have 2 options here I think to help Vimeo understand the ridiculousness of simply giving in.

    1) Boycott. Remove all your content form the Vimeo platform. Less content means less viewers, hurting Vimeo's bottom line enough to make them take action.

    2) "Civil Disobedience". Rename ALL your content to have "Pixels" in the title, forcing Vimeo to remove the content themselves in the next round and hurting their bottom line themselves when they are "forced" to remove hundreds of thousands of videos.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 1:37pm

      Re: Two options

      I like that second one. I imagine it could be quite effective if enough people did that, as suddenly they'd be forced to either start screening the takedowns for legitimacy, or remove thousands of videos, which would make for a PR nightmare when it went public.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 1:44pm

      Re: Two options

      Or, go on the offensive. File the counternotice and sue first and sue often.

      If you own a film called pixels from a few years ago, knock them out. Everywhere they have a trailer, send a dmca.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 1:07pm

    Vimeo sucks, just like YouTube.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2015 @ 5:27pm

    Part 2 of the movie will be called Megapixels right? Steering clear of this one.

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

  • icon
    Tony Loro (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 9:13pm

    my vimeo

    I added "Because PIXELS Entura International on behalf of Columbia Pictures sucks my dick" to some of my descriptions on my Vimeo videos.

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

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 10 Aug 2015 @ 10:55pm

    Cue one of our idiot trolls claiming this is just an outlier and it's totally unjustified to complain about...

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

  • identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 11 Aug 2015 @ 7:43am

    1. Create bot to issue takedowns on everything.
    2. Let it loose on major Internet sites (google, yahoo, etc.)
    3. Enjoy chaos as everything is taken down.
    4. Get away because bot.

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

  • identicon
    GEMont, 11 Aug 2015 @ 1:31pm

    Miss Statement

    "And, yes, obviously, much of the blame for this ridiculous set of circumstances should fall on Entura International for being terrible at its own job in issuing bogus takedowns."

    Should that not read:

    And, yes, obviously, much of the credit for this standard set of circumstances should go to Entura International for being so good at its job of issuing bogus takedowns.

    ---

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

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 12 Aug 2015 @ 9:23am

    How is it possible that Vimeo allowed this?

    Okay, I understand that Vimeo can't or won't read DMCA requests, but how in the world can a video that was uploaded in 2006 be infringing on a movie made in 2015? Can't Vimeo apply some logic to these takedown requests?

    And like I've said before when these companies issue takedowns for their own stuff, I say remove it. If Entura wants Vimeo to remove the official "Pixels" trailer that Columbia themselves uploaded, then fine: Vimeo should take it down and put a black mark on Columbia's user account. If Columbia tries to upload another trailer that Entura doesn't like, then Columbia should be banned.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

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