Emilio Estevez Uses Some Public Domain Footage In Film, So Universal Studios Forces Original Public Domain Footage Offline

from the copyright-as-censorship dept

Yet another example of the awfulness of copyright filters. Back in 2006, librarian Michael Sauers posted a public domain film (a US government production) called "Your Life Work: The Librarian" to YouTube. If you don't know, "Your Life Work" was a series of educational shorts that, according to the Internet Archive, were "meant to inspire young post-depression workers into specific new careers." One of those careers? Librarian. Sauers' upload of the video has lived happily on YouTube for over 12 years until a few days ago when, if you visited it, you saw this instead:

If you can't see that, it says that the video is unavailable, stating: "This video contains content from NBC Universal, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds."

Now, that's obviously bullshit, because the video is in the public domain. So, what happened? Well, the takedown notice that Sauers received reveals what almost certainly happened:

If you can't see that, it shows that the video taken down is entitled "Your Life Work: The Librarian." But the "copyrighted content" is listed as "The Public." If you don't know, "The Public" is a new movie written, directed and starring Emilio Estevez. The plot of the movie -- involving a group of homeless library patrons who refuse to leave a public library in Ohio during a bitter cold winter -- sounds interesting, and it appears this was a labor of love for Estevez, who worked on the film for the better part of a decade. He must have been thrilled back in January when Universal Pictures acquired the rights to the film.

Earlier this month, the film got an actual theatrical release, and apparently Universal Pictures does what all the big Hollywood Studios do: upload all the content to YouTube's ContentID tool to make sure no one has offered up a pirated copy.

There was just one problem. It appears that Estevez included a clip of "Your Life Work: The Librarian" within the movie (in which he, himself, plays a librarian). He, of course, is free to do so (thanks to the public domain), and having put that clip into his movie doesn't magically make that clip covered by copyright. But what the fuck does Universal Pictures care about pesky little things like the public domain and librarians' YouTube accounts? It's a big important Hollywood studio, and if it stomps out public domain material and ends up giving strikes to actual librarians, well, it's all good because it must "stop piracy."

So, Universal doesn't bother making sure that the public domain parts are excised from what it gives ContentID, and ContentID identifies a match... and bye bye public domain material, and Sauers now faces having a copyright strike on his account. Sauers has said he's disputed the claim, but now he has to wait around and see if Universal comes to its senses and withdraws the claim, or decides to double down.

Once again, this is why expecting automated filters to work is a real problem -- and it's doubly obnoxious that companies like Universal Pictures (and the MPAA that represents it) have been among the leading voices calling for more internet filters and things like "notice and staydown" which would effectively be used to block even more such content. Hopefully, Universal/YouTube restore Sauer's video soon, but it's just another example of how copyright is frequently used to take down perfectly legitimate speech.

In the meantime, though, you can still see Your Life Work: The Librarian at the Internet Archive... at least until Universal Pictures goes after it as well.

Filed Under: copyright, emilio estevez, librarians, michael sauers, public domain, takedowns, the public, your life work
Companies: nbc universal, universal, universal pictures, youtube


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Gary (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 7:43am

    Ownership

    This is why the public domain is incompatible with current copyright management. One movie - one owner, right?

    Copyright, as originally framed, was for books. Whole, discrete packages bound in leather and registered with the copyright office one at a time.

    There is no way for any automatic system to understand fair use, or shared material like this.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 9:31am

      Re: Ownership

      Even books could reference other books, but there was no automated system detecting that. And they were considered too important to be disappeared without due process; injunctions on printed material were rare.

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

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 9:41am

        Re: Re: Ownership

        Sometimes those references were quotes, and as we know quotes without attribution is called plagiarism. So far as I know plagiarism isn't an actual copyright offence, even if the original author (or their publisher) is offended.

        So that makes one wonder why the inclusion of some video from another source isn't looked at as plagiarism is, rather than copyright infringement.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 9:54am

          Re: Re: Re: Ownership

          So that makes one wonder why the inclusion of some video from another source isn't looked at as plagiarism is, rather than copyright infringement.

          No court would consider "quoting" a video to be copyright infringement, nor does Youtube say it was—just that it's been blocked due to a "copyright claim". It's not a DMCA claim, and this isn't a court; whether or not to allow fair use is simply a policy decision for Youtube.

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

          • icon
            btr1701 (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:49am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Ownership

            No court would consider "quoting" a video to be copyright infringement, nor does Youtube say it was—just that it's been blocked due to a "copyright claim".

            Well, if they're putting a copyright strike on the guy's account, it sure as hell seems like they're saying it's infringement.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 11:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ownership

              Indeed it does, because Youtube wants you to think this is all some nebulus thing outside of their control, mandated by US law. But it's not; it's their policy and requires no finding of liability under any specific jurisprudence, nor any respect to the rights an accused person would normally have.

              "Youtube terms-of-service strike" would be more accurate; one can understand why they don't want to call it that.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 5:56pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ownership

                Not US law, but european/EU law. It has been found in court (at least Germany and France) later codified in general EU law, that laws apply based on the location of the recipient of a service. (iirc in said law suits it was also about Youtube having to prevent the upload of copyright infringing copies [col.: pirated material]) One could get only away from this by blocking users from a geographical area. As in, if Youtube wanted to ignore said laws, they'd have to block users from countries with such copyright laws in place.

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

                • icon
                  btr1701 (profile), 25 Apr 2019 @ 9:30pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ownership

                  It has been found in court (at least Germany and France) later codified in general EU law, that laws apply based on the location of the recipient of a service.

                  That's fine for them, but as an American in America with no physical presence in Europe, I'm not subject to their courts any more than I'm subject to their legislatures and parliaments. Their courts can say I'm bound by their laws until they're blue in the face. Let's see them try and enforce those rulings on me in America, however, especially when the laws they're accusing me of breaking would violate my rights to free speech in the U.S. (We actually have a federal law that protects U.S. citizens from foreign laws that would be unconstitutional in the U.S.)

                  I don't suddenly submit myself to the laws of all 160+ countries in the world merely because I put a website on the internet, especially considering the fact that the laws of most countries in the world prohibit me from doing and saying things that are guaranteed constitutional freedoms in my country. It would be a stupid argument indeed to say that I lose my freedom of speech, for example, merely because I chose to speak on the internet.

                  And even if that European court decision was binding, what would happen if the laws of two different countries conflict? If one country requires that I do X and another country prohibits me from doing X, which one do I obey?

                  (The actual answer is neither one, because I'm not in either country and neither one has authority over me.)

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:24am

          Re: Re: Re: Ownership

          "and as we know quotes without attribution is called plagiarism"

          I thought plagiarism was the claim that said work was your own, the quotes indicate the author is not claiming it as their own - no? Presence of quotes without attribution is a bit silly but I suppose it could happen.

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

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:24am

      Re: Ownership

      Nonsense! An AI could do it. Microsoft and IBM both claim to have AI's, let them handle it.

      Oh, wait... they've just hijacked the phrase AI, they don't have actual AI's....

      Never mind...

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

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 9:29am

    Dear copyright maximalists:

    Situations like this are what turns people against the notion of copyright.

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

    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 25 Apr 2019 @ 5:38am

      Re: Dear copyright maximalists:

      Confirmed correct. Since SOPA and the scandals that followed it I've been persuaded that copyright needs to be kicked off a cliff and set on fire.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 9:41am

    Your video MIGHT contain copyrighted material, rather than bother to check we just took it down b/c if we don;t jump high enough they get to sue us for lots of money...
    There is no public domain, everything is owned by corporations... the law implies this.
    Enjoy your strike b/c there is no way in hell we'll side with you unless someone posts it online and mocks the shit out of how dysfunctional our system is... but we can survive that drama, we've survived every other boneheaded thing... because the law doesn't give you a recourse but saying no its not & having to provide all your info so the corporation can crush you more directly.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 9:50am

    You're really going off the deep end, aren't you Masnick?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 9:59am

    I know dates are very hard for computer science people, but a simple range check would help prevent this sort of embarrassment. If the material was posted more than 6 months before the content ID match or DMCA claim then it should be referred to a human moderator instead of being automatically taken down. This should prevent the most obvious problems without requiring absurd numbers of moderators.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:14am

      Re:

      Adding a box for "this video might be contested" so that it is automatically reviewed in this case wouldn't hurt either?

      How about a simple claim for fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation? If it's preempted by federal law then enforce the federal law, and make it worthwhile for the attorney filing the countersuit to do it on spec.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 3:09pm

        Re: Re:

        Or... how about if someone submits something to ContentID and matches are already in the system, these are flagged up for manual review prior to notice? Because pre-existing content will most often point to FPs or false claims of ownership. Anyone submitting to ContentID should have to go through each pre-existing match and fill out a form detailing why it infringes THEIR film prior to Google accepting their submission for automated scanning.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:16am

      Re:

      Why are dates hard for "computer science" people?

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

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:26am

      Re:

      Wouldn't work, because Copyrights can be sold or otherwise transferred.

      If my original music video was on youtube for the last ten years and I sold the rights to someone masochistic enough to listen to me sing last month, if/when they posted their copyrighted video including my vid they now own, your range check would bounce it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:30am

      Re:

      "I know dates are very hard for computer science people"

      You are obviously not a computer science person.
      I assume your comment was snark in reference to y2k. In this particular instance it is the fault of management not programmers. The software engineering staff was told to keep the cost down and this meant controlling the storage requirements as both hard drive and ram were very expensive. Two digits for a date was born ... with the caveat that they would not be using the bastardized code by the time 2000 rolled around - LOL.

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

      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 11:23am

        Re: Re:

        REAL computer science people know that January first, 1980 was a Tuesday....

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

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 8:44am

        Re: Re:

        I assume your comment was snark in reference to y2k.

        It's a well known topic that dates are difficult to manage correctly, especially once one considers time zones. If you think they are easy, you are probably either using a library someone else wrote that hides the complexity, or doing it wrong without realizing it. This is such a well known idea that there's a joke about it: there are two hard problems in computer science: naming things, dates, and off by one errors.

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

  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:04am

    Copyfraud is worse than Copyright Infringement

    Copyfraud stories like this seriously piss me off. At least with actual copyright infringement, they could make an analogous claim that someone is trespassing on their property. With Copyfraud like this bullshit, it's like going to one of our National Parks (like Yellowstone or Yosemite) and laying down a sign that says "Private Property: KEEP OUT!"

    Dear Comcast NBC Universal: The Public Domain isn't just yours, so don't act like it is.

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

    • identicon
      Samuel Keene Hyatt, 23 Apr 2019 @ 1:30pm

      Re: Copyfraud is worse than Copyright Infringement

      Ah but you left out a step. A breathlessly lauded "creator" would have to film a piece of Yellowstone, and claim to all that their work is of such "cultural significance" to our country.
      The fact that a national park is involved is irrelevant. The creators reign is absolute

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 5:26pm

      Re: Copyfraud is worse than Copyright Infringement

      So, they are like the Bundys.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:07am

    "Your Life Work" was a series of educational shorts that, according to the Internet Archive, were "meant to inspire young post-depression workers into specific new careers."

    I love that series, my favorite was the one intended to guide workers into a career as an executive in the entertainment industry, titled "The Unrepentant Asshole".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:16am

    There has to be aggressive reinstatement and tough sanctions for abuses.

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

  • icon
    aerinai (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:16am

    Three Strikes You're Out -- Unlimited Screw Ups, I'm still In!

    What I don't understand is the three strikes rule on YouTube... If I get flagged 3 times posting 'copyrighted material', then I'm out. No monetization, no more uploads, lost fanbase, etc. etc. etc.

    BUT If I send out fraudulent DMCA notices, I can do it with impunity. No 'strikes', no lost income, no repercussions.

    You would think that since they can only LAWFULLY file a DMCA notice if they meet certain criteria, that them breaking the LAW would have some kind of repercussions...

    Until parity happens and there are repercussions, we are screwed.

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

    • icon
      Oninoshiko (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:24am

      Re: Three Strikes You're Out -- Unlimited Screw Ups, I'm still I

      The problem is Youtube is not the one who adjudicates the law. Youtube doesn't even have standing to sue those filing these unlawful takedowns. Only the person who's content was removed does.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:33am

        The DMCA takedown system requires that the person whose content was removed open themselves up to a lawsuit by the complaining party if the content creator files a takedown counternotice. I have no idea if the content creator could even sue the complaining party based on a false/misleading takedown notification.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 12:06pm

          Re:

          They can sue the complaining party, but the part of the law governing false takedown notices has been interpreted so narrowly that it is extraordinarily unlikely they will win.

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

          • icon
            Thad (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 1:50pm

            Re: Re:

            And in this case, there was no DMCA takedown notice; YouTube's filter (which is designed to comply with DMCA harbor requirements but is not, itself, a DMCA takedown notice) falsely flagged a public-domain video as copyrighted, because that video appeared as part of another work which is copyrighted.

            There's not really a reasonable way to assign liability here. Google's filters don't work correctly, but that's not illegal.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 2:18pm

              Re: Re: Re:

              There's not really a reasonable way to assign liability here. Google's filters don't work correctly, but that's not illegal.

              DMCA safe harbors would protect Google from lawsuits from the complaining rightsholder as well as the user whose content was removed, if the whole notice/takedown/counternotice process is followed. If there is no takedown notice submitted to Google/YouTube (because the filters act automatically), it could be argued that safe harbors don't apply. Then, if an inappropriate takedown happened and the user was damaged as a result, they could sue over it. Good luck taking on Google, though.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:48am

        Re: Re: Three Strikes You're Out -- Unlimited Screw Ups, I'm sti

        YouTube could definitely sue for fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation since it harms their business. Lobbying them to do this might help a lot. Make them a goaltender as well as gatekeeper.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 2:54am

      Re: Three Strikes You're Out -- Unlimited Screw Ups, I'm still I

      " What I don't understand is the three strikes rule on YouTube... If I get flagged 3 times posting 'copyrighted material', then I'm out. No monetization, no more uploads, lost fanbase, etc. etc. etc. BUT If I send out fraudulent DMCA notices, I can do it with impunity. No 'strikes', no lost income, no repercussions."

      Because DMCA. "Good faith" is far harder to disprove where takedown notices are concerned than for a platform mistakenly allowing an upload to stand.

      Hence why a copyright troll can cheerfully send out a million auto-generated takedown notices and be legally in the clear but if youtube doesn't take down a single video which turns out to have a valid infringement case around it, they get hit by the full weight of the DMCA.

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

  • icon
    FlatZOut (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:27am

    Breaking News: Copyright Filters bites the hand that feeds.

    I had a feeing that the Copyright Filters that many companies lobbied for was gonna come back to haunt them. Their own workers get copyright-strikes, and I’m sure that one by one they’re going to regret their decision as their companies’ channels get taken down because of their own abomination.

    Congrats, Big Media . You played yourself!

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

    • icon
      FlatZOut (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 10:28am

      Re: Breaking News: Copyright Filters bites the hand that feeds.

      By the way I just saw the spelling error. I’m sorry. I’m using my iPhone to type this and my fat fingers are messing me up again!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 8:15pm

        Re: Re: Breaking News: Copyright Filters bites the hand that fee

        FEE-ing? . No, you got it right.

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

        • icon
          FlatZOut (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 7:26am

          Re: Re: Re: Breaking News: Copyright Filters bites the hand that

          No I meant to say “feeling” but my fat fingers missed it by a whisker without me knowing. It happens to me way too often.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 11:13am

    NBC Universal will eventually whitelist Sauers's upload (just at that one URL) and will consider the matter resolved. If they say anything about it at all, it will be just that the system is working as intended.

    Whether the strike stands is not their concern; that's between YouTube and Sauers. Also not their concern is preventing this from happening again. If anyone else uploads the same public domain clip in another video, or Sauers uploads another copy himself, it will get blocked and the process starts all over again. Likewise, NBC Universal has no real incentive to maintain the whitelist indefinitely, nor would anyone they transfer the copyright to have any obligation to honor it.

    It will always be cheaper—and therefore any publicly traded company's obligation to its shareholders—to continue with business as usual, claiming or taking down as much prima facie suspected-infringing content as possible. From NBC Universal's point of view, it's not their job to preserve the public domain, protect users of public domain content, or have any concern whatsoever for any other innocents that get swept up in their dragnet. In the laws their lobbyists wrote, there simply is no real penalty for doing so.

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why public confidence in media conglomerates and the entire copyright regime continues to erode.

    Pressure needs to be applied from all sides: the people who fund, produce, and consume these litigious, anti-public-domain corporations need to do their part to put these keystone cops on notice that they'd better treat the public right. But we know they will never do that. Ever since my own fair use and licensed uploads got caught up in similar situations, I've known they will never stop until they have total control of all media. It's all-out war, and we have to fight for what we deserve. Just Burn It All to the Ground. Ignore copyright. Pirate without guilt.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 11:15am

      Re:

      copy edit, last paragraph, some words were omitted:
      ...fund, produce, and consume the content owned by these litigious...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 11:39am

    This is why copyright holders need to face the same damages as everyone else. File a false claim, claim public domain works, don't consider fair use should all be subject to $150,000 in statutory damages for each link they try to take down.

    Until rights holders face serious consequences for their actions, they have nothing to lose by making false claims.

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

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 11:58am

      Re:

      Except in this case, it's not a false takedown claim from the rightsholder. NBC Universal uploaded a work that it did own the copyright to; Google's filter system was unable to determine that a portion of that work was in the public domain. NBC Universal did not actually make a false claim in this instance. (Which is not to say that they haven't in other instances.)

      This isn't an example of why we should have strong punishments for false claims (though I agree that we should). It's an example of why filters don't work because they don't understand context.

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

      • identicon
        Valkor, 23 Apr 2019 @ 1:17pm

        Re: Re:

        It IS a false takedown claim. NBC Universal were the ones who told Google's filter system that they owned copyright to something they did not.

        It's a bit of a deflection to blame it on the filter. If NBC Universal had claimed the segments of the movie they owned, probably 99.5% of the movie, and not the .5% they didn't, we wouldn't be talking about this. This IS an example of why we should have strong punishments for false claims; they were careless because there is no punishment.

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

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 1:47pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It IS a false takedown claim. NBC Universal were the ones who told Google's filter system that they owned copyright to something they did not.

          No, they didn't. They told Google's filter system that they owned the film The Public. Which they do.

          The film includes content that is public domain. NBC/Universal did not claim copyright over the public-domain content; it claimed copyright over a work that included public-domain content. Google's filter is unable to tell the difference.

          It is entirely possible to claim a copyright on a work that contains excerpts of a public-domain work. BlackKklansman contains scenes from Birth of a Nation. The combined work is copyrighted; the original Birth of a Nation is public domain. Likewise, a movie adapting a Shakespeare play can be copyrighted even though the text isn't, and a particular recording of a Mozart composition can also be copyrighted even though the song itself isn't.

          A new work which incorporates elements of a public-domain work can still be copyrighted. But filters are terrible at understanding which parts of the combined work are public domain.

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

          • identicon
            cpt kangarooski, 23 Apr 2019 @ 1:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            To be precise, a copyrighted work can contain public domain materials, but whenever one work contains another, the new work’s copyright only applies to new material, never preexisting material. So anyone can copy that clip of Birth of a Nation out of Blackkklansman, without infringing on the copyright of the latter.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 4:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "They told Google's filter system that they owned the film The Public. Which they do."

            Takedowns aren't done by the title of the upload, they match content. It would be pretty easy to upload this movie as "The The Public Public" and avoid that title filter.

            FTFA
            "So, Universal doesn't bother making sure that the public domain parts are excised from what it gives ContentID, and ContentID identifies a match..."

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

            • icon
              Thad (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 4:52pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Takedowns aren't done by the title of the upload, they match content.

              Yes. And the content that the filter matched was an excerpt of the public domain film Your Life Work: The Librarian that was included in the copyrighted film The Public.

              I throw the ball to Who. Whoever it is drops the ball and the guy runs to second. Who picks up the ball and throws it to What. What throws it to I Don't Know. I Don't Know throws it back to Tomorrow, triple play. Another guy gets up and hits a long fly ball to Because. Why? I don't know! He's on third and I don't give a darn!

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

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 3:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Likewise, a movie adapting a Shakespeare play can be copyrighted even though the text isn't, and a particular recording of a Mozart composition can also be copyrighted even though the song itself isn't."

            By rights this should be under the same stringent rules as derivative works, because it is - and thus the entire new work should fall under public domain by default.

            But hey, it's not exactly new that copyright as a concept has always been about shafting the general public in favor of the most unscrupulous and litigation-minded private entities around.

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

            • identicon
              cpt kangarooski, 24 Apr 2019 @ 5:00am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You mean the rule that unlike improvement patents (where it is totally okay to invent and patent an improvement to someone else’s invention, forcing the two parties to agree to a license or for the second patent holder to wait for the first patent to expire, so that their invention can be used freely), copyrights operate on the rule that unauthorized derivatives are uncopyrightable with regard to their derivative portions?

              I think the idea was that it avoided situations such as A writes a book, B makes an unauthorized translation, and A gets sued by B if A makes their own similar translation into the same language.

              I agree that it’s a bit too harsh the other way, though.

              But it doesn’t put the entire derivative work into the public domain unless every part of the new work is derivative.

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

          • identicon
            Valkor, 24 Apr 2019 @ 7:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I completely understand what you're saying, and I'm not arguing that NBC Universal doesn't hold the copyright to "The Public" as a whole.

            I'm just saying that it is irresponsible for NBC Universal to include the public domain video segment in the material that it uploads into the ContentID filter. Yes, they would have to edit their submission. Maybe they would upload it in pieces. Maybe they would upload something that was not an artistic whole, but was exclusively the copyrightable bits. Would that be mild inconvenience for NBC Universal? Yes, but it's a small price to pay for something that is as valuable as that historic footage.

            I totally agree that filters are terrible at figuring that out.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 1:42pm

    Yes, why can't there be a 100% effective rate with this tech like there is with all other tech and everything else in life?

    oh wait...

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 3:01am

      Re:

      "Yes, why can't there be a 100% effective rate with this tech like there is with all other tech and everything else in life?"

      There can't be, of course, which is why no legislation - such as copyright - which demands such tech to be used and relied on, should exist.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 10:39am

        Re: Re:

        Then we should probably ban stoplights throughout the world. People rely on them and they've been known to break or have people run them when they're red.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 10:11pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          We'll get on that right after you remove your demands for 100% accurate, unimpeachable, irrefutable filters.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 1:50pm

    The reason youtube has this policy is it got data on all film, tv shows from big media companys otherwise it
    would be facing endless lawsuits from disney,fox,nbc,abc,
    etc
    They take down videos every day when they recieve
    a copyright notice from media companys .

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 6:34pm

    When enough of the possible language is copyrighted...

    ...then the proles will finally be silenced.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 7:00pm

    I getbthis all the time. A big one is audio from presidential speeches. Music labels claim copyright on my PD uploads because some no name band uses the same presidential or NASA ("One small step...") sound bite in their shitty song and they then have the right to monetize It....but I can't.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 8:04pm

    why do?

    Why do citizens have to Cow, to Corp law which should be for corps, rather then the public..

    WHY must the public Cow to the CORPS in any fasion that WE DID NOT DECIDE...

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

  • identicon
    A, 23 Apr 2019 @ 8:17pm

    NBC Universal is in direction violation of YouTube rules by doing this. They require anyone uploading a reference file to content id to exclude any content they don’t own and control exclusively. They should have their content id account terminated for this.

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

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 25 Apr 2019 @ 12:09pm

      Re:

      REALLY?
      I would love that..
      How many Strikes BACK to the Corp should they get...
      we are talking in the millions..
      BUT also, i want PROOF, that they own/control the product. Because Many have been Sold to private agencies/individuals, for Money in the past.. and finding SOME of this out would really HELP in getting old material intot he public domain.

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

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 23 Apr 2019 @ 11:49pm

    And once again, YouTube is on autopilot, leaving it up to the entity that filed the claim to decide if the claim is valid. How does anyone think this makes sense. I've said it before and I'll say it again; YouTube needs to get sued by someone with deep pockets over the fact that they have basically abdicated all responsibility for their automated systems.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 8:15am

    Since the big guys throw these claims around with little to no repercussions
    time for the everyday person to start flinging copyright filings against em back
    why not start with the new not even out yet avengers movie .
    Wouldn't it be great to get that one pulled even before it shows due to infringement

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

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 9:22am

      Re:

      Wait... pull a movie that hasn't even been released in theaters yet, and will never be legitimately posted on YouTube, off of YouTube?

      Something tells me this plan hasn't been thought through all the way...

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

  • icon
    Rena (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 8:43pm

    Produced by U.S. Government = Owned by U.S. Citizens

    A huge fact everyone is overlooking is that ANYTHING produced by the U.S. Government—whether it’s a video to motivate people to become librarians or photos of wild mustangs taken by the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Program—belongs to American citizens because it was paid for with tax dollars. Pure and simple, that video belongs to We The People, not Michael Sauers and certainly not NBC Universal. As such, this is an issue all Americans should be concerned with: a private entity laying claim to a creative work that was publically funded. Other than filing a lawsuit against YouTube, which could conceivably be a class action, I’m not aware of any way to force YouTube to remove the block. And, YouTube having no external guidelines or monitoring makes them the sole arbitor, which is a conflict of interest. I, for one, am getting sick and tired of The Great Google having so much power to decide what gets displayed and what is censored.

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 11:08pm

      Re: Produced by U.S. Government = Owned by U.S. Citizens

      I, for one, am getting sick and tired of The Great Google having so much power to decide what gets displayed and what is censored.

      Who should have the power to determine what gets displayed on a website if not its owner?

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

      • icon
        Rena (profile), 25 Apr 2019 @ 12:13am

        Re: Re: Produced by U.S. Government = Owned by U.S. Citizens

        I hear ya, and would typically agree that website owners should have the ultimate say, unless they’re posting something illegal. However, Google/YouTube isn’t exactly your ordinary website or company. It’s a publically traded giant with many thousands of owners (stockholders) who empower the board of directors to make decisions on their behalf. The company is also arguably a monopoly, upon which millions of people depend for not just information, but their livelihoods. Since there is no effective competition (seriously, which search engine(s) come anywhere near Google/YouTube in terms of usage?), we’re pretty much stuck with using them as no viable alternatives exist. Since they make their own rules, they can block whomever/whatever they please and if they want to censor what the public sees or give preference to major film studios over individuals, they’re free to do so. You may see no problem with that, but I find it very worrisome.

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

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 25 Apr 2019 @ 8:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Produced by U.S. Government = Owned by U.S. Citizens

          It's quite fair to worry about it, as long as the solution isn't to have the government tell them what they're allowed to put on their web site (other than, as you mentioned, content that is in itself illegal to publish). I'm not sure what a better solution is other than finding a way to promote more competition. OK genius, you might say, how do we do that? Um... looks at ground and kicks pebble

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 2:38am

      Re: Produced by U.S. Government = Owned by U.S. Citizens

      I, for one, am getting sick and tired of The Great Google having so much power to decide what gets displayed and what is censored.

      This is more a case of Google doing what the Studios and Labels demanded, under threat of repeated expensive to defend lawsuites. So if anyone is to blame it is the members of the RIAA and MPAA, as Google is doing what they demanded.

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

  • icon
    kadmos1 (profile), 29 Apr 2019 @ 9:25pm

    Some possible scenarios

    The following scenarios are not all the possible scenarios but perhaps the most likely scenarios. However, given how major media companies often have copyright maximalist attitudes, I am leaning it be a case of Scenario #1.

    1. If a claimant pulls the copyright infringement card on a stream that is the unaltered and original version of "Your Life Work: The Librarian", then it is copyfraud. This is because that is a government works that is public domain.

    2. If a claimant pulls the copyright infringement card on a stream that is of "Your Life Work: The Librarian" but there is some differences (colorized, digitally remastered, commentary, etc.), then that claim might be a legit complain unless Person A (uploader) made the changes but Person B (claimant) pulls the copyright infringement card.

    3. If a YT stream is a clip of "The Public" (part that shows "Your Life Work: The Librarian"), then one could be protected outside of maybe some other issue. For example, just before the "Your Life Work: The Librarian" part of the the film starts, maybe there is music playing in the background of the movie that could warrant an infringement claim.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
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.