Another Day, Another Bogus YouTube Takedown Because Of A Major Label

from the but-copyright-isn't-censorship dept

We're constantly hearing about bogus takedowns thanks to bogus copyright claims, some more amusing than others. Last week we had Ariana Grande's benefit concert in Manchester getting blocked by ContentID, despite being on her own channel. And now (via Sarah Jeong) we've got the band the Dandy Warhols rightfully complaining on Twitter that the video for the single "You Are Killing Me" off of their 2016 album has been blocked on YouTube via a copyright claim from Universal Music Group. Here's their tweet:

And here's what I see on YouTube as I write this post (one hopes that sometime soon the video will be returned):

In case you're wondering, no, the Dandy Warhols are not on Universal Music. They're on an indie label, Dine Alone Records (hence the reference in the tweet). The band used to be on Capitol Records, which is now a part of Universal, but left Capitol back in 2008, when it was still a part of EMI (before Universal bought EMI). And, either way, as far as I can tell, the song "You Are Killing Me" is a new song from 2016, which Universal Music would have no legitimate copyright claim over.

Yes, this is obviously some sort of mistake, and I'm sure that eventually (if it hasn't already happened by the time you read this), YouTube will put the video back up. It probably won't happen, but maybe Universal Music and/or YouTube will apologize (wouldn't that be something?). But everyone else will just shrug their shoulders and move on. But this is a real problem, and should be a very big concern. That's because right now, around the world, lobbyists and friends of Universal Music and its friends are pushing to make their own powers to not just take down videos and audio much, much stronger, but they also want the power to block any re-uploads once stuff is taken down. Thus, if Universal Music (or anyone else) decided to (say) completely silence an independent band, it could do so, across multiple platforms for quite some time, potentially causing all sorts of problems, without any judicial review. That should be seen as a major problem, and should be a reason why those laws are not expanded.


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 12 Jun 2017 @ 1:28pm

    We have to start issuing bogus takedown notices to everything owned by Universal to check if they like the treatment. No seriously, make them taste their own bad medicine in a sustained fashion and we'll see how long it takes for them to whine about how copyright is unfair.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 1:39pm

    They are never wrong...

    Just ask them.

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

  • identicon
    Christenson, 12 Jun 2017 @ 1:40pm

    Stephanie Lenz

    Hey, supreme court and EFF:

    There's real damages and not even a faint excuse for this takedown. Time to take UMG to court and WIN!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 2:08pm

      Re: Stephanie Lenz

      Too bad we can't have all of UMGs videos blocked for the same amount of time as their bogus claim has caused. They would be much more careful about perjuring themselves if they suffered proportionally to their lies.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2017 @ 7:09am

      Re: Stephanie Lenz

      That case was about a DMCA takedown. Many Youtube takedowns are now private arrangements between Youtube and major labels, and these operate outside the law.

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

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 12 Jun 2017 @ 1:58pm

    With friends and friends like these...

    That's because right now, around the world, lobbyists and friends of Universal Music and its friends are pushing to make their own powers to not just take down videos and audio much, much stronger

    They must have lots of friends!

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

  • icon
    PlagueSD (profile), 12 Jun 2017 @ 2:03pm

    The Dandy Warhols should apply some "RIAA math" and turn around and give a "Bill" to Universal Music for any views that they would have had if the site was never taken down.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 2:10pm

      Re:

      If they were using RIAA math, they would end up owing the descendants of the Dandy Warhols untold millions...

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 12 Jun 2017 @ 2:18pm

      Re:

      Seems fair. If they want to claim that infringement causes 'lost sales' and that that is highly damaging and grounds for insane fees, it seems only right that 'lost views' be treated the same way.

      Obviously had the video not been taken down then it would have gotten billions of views, and it's up to Universal to pay for the revenue they would have gotten but didn't.

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

  • identicon
    Slender, 12 Jun 2017 @ 2:48pm

    Sadly...

    Even though this happens over and over again, record labels will still continue to say that this is necessary to save the industry. And just think about how many videos have been censored that we don't know about.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 12 Jun 2017 @ 3:03pm

    Mike Masnick just hates artists.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 3:51pm

    Even money bet that the band has some tied to the label they aren't discussing like maybe a publishing company or something similar.

    That or Youtube automated take downs cant handle a band having both label and non label music.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 6:42pm

    Label apologetics from My_Name_Here in 3, 2, 1...

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

  • identicon
    Daydream, 12 Jun 2017 @ 7:09pm

    Wouldn't notice-and-staydown be self-defeating?

    As I recall, it's illegal to send a fraudulent takedown notice, but Universal and other such groups have escaped consequences in the past by using bots to issue the notices.

    If you have a notice-and-staydown system where uploads are pre-emptively filtered, though, wouldn't that place more liability on these groups? If you include a statement that so-and-so upload is your own original work or you otherwise have permission to upload it, and it's still filtered out, wouldn't you have grounds to file a cease-and-desist or even sue for an injunction and damages?

    ...Although who would be liable in that case? The group issuing the notice or the company doing the filtering?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2017 @ 7:18am

      Re: Wouldn't notice-and-staydown be self-defeating?

      As I recall, it's illegal to send a fraudulent takedown notice

      It's illegal to send a fradulent DMCA takedown notice but that may not have happened. If Google just took it down because they were asked, and nobody mentioned the DMCA, no court has yet ruled that illegal.

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

  • icon
    chroni (profile), 13 Jun 2017 @ 8:58am

    Another reason that the Dandy's kick ass

    They have always been loyal and kind to their fans. I appreciate them taking a bit of a stand for us.

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

  • identicon
    Phalen, 13 Jun 2017 @ 11:05am

    For the life of me I can't understand why the music labels would even use automated takedowns over monetizing third party uploads or, god forbid, human review of the copyright alerts before sending out a takedown.

    If you have a music video, why isn't it on YouTube? Where else are people watching it? Especially now that people are accessing streaming services directly through their TV; no one is punching your band's website into the TV browser.

    If you have your video on YouTube coming from an official account, who cares about third party uploads? There are complaints to be made about YouTube from the creators' side, but one thing they are very good at is returning search results that are relevant. They're very consistent at returning official uploads as the first search result. Superior search functionality is literally how their parent company made their billions.

    So who cares about the unofficial uploads that are probably of lesser quality? No one is clicking them. And if you're really concerned about it, why not automate monetization rather than takedowns? YouTube offers this service already. It's not perfect (last I checked there wasn't a way for two parties to claim monetization even though that would make legal sense for, I don't know, a video of Mr. Robot clips set to a Tangerine Dream track, even if I'd mostly disagree with anyone pursuing a claim on such a video)

    So why even use the automated service? How can it possibly justify the cost and collateral damage? It's a disastrous PR stance and they gain nothing, ostensibly.

    I can understand why a movie or television studio would use automatic takedowns. I can follow the argument that people who can watch something free on YT are probably less likely to pay for it. I can understand why they wouldn't upload official videos to preempt the infringers. But a music video? YouTube is the only game in town, really. If you're a band, you should already be there.

    I realize this is all about music videos, and that unauthorized uploads of non-video tracks can be a different problem. But I still think it would be foolish for a band to not upload so called "album art tracks" to YouTube. No one serious about their music listening will default to YT, but we do discover quite a bit of new music through YT that we then listen to on Spotify, bandcamp, etc. YouTube is great for reaching new listeners, specifically, and crucially for musicians, it's where the young people are.

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

    • icon
      Seegras (profile), 14 Jun 2017 @ 6:54am

      Re:

      It's not about making sense, it's about not understanding the present -- every time again. We've seen it with brown wax cylinders, discs, cassette tapes, CD-recorders and finally digital files.

      The music labels have been continuously bitching about any new technology, that it would threaten their livelihood, they don't even realize they could make money with it.

      And now, they haven't realised that music isn't scarce any more, and thus any attention a piece gets is an asset...

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

  • identicon
    Patrick McKay, 13 Jun 2017 @ 12:36pm

    It's even worse...

    It's worth noting that it is effectively impossibly to challenge copyright claims by UMG on YouTube, since they have special contractual rights from YouTube to override DMCA counter-notices without having to file a lawsuit. Techdirt has reported on this in the past but it's been a few years.

    Basically UMG has ultimate veto power to take down any video on YouTube without repercussions. So unless their tweet catches UMGs attention, they're pretty much SOL.

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


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