from the transformative-works dept
If you haven't ever seen a Bad Lip Reading video, you've been missing out. For many years, they've posted a ton of videos taking footage from basically anywhere, and overlaying new audio, matching what people are saying/singing with, well, something else, that is plausible (but usually very, very funny). Here's one of the inauguration, a music video and one on the NFL. That gives you the basic idea. The last time we wrote about them was back in 2011, but it was (of course) about a silly DMCA takedown involving one of BLR's videos done by Universal Music.
And now, as spotted by Andy Baio, there's another BLR takedown, but it's a weird one. It's on a brand new video put up by BLR using Star Wars' The Force Awakens as the source material and (amazingly) getting Mark Hamill to voice Han Solo (wow!). Except, just after it went up, it went down... thanks to a copyright claim:
But... here's the weird part. It's not Disney/LucasFilm doing the takedown, as you might have expected, given the origination of the footage. Nope, it's from "Dramatists Play Service." As Baio explains:
You may be asking yourself, what does the Dramatists Play Service have to do with Star Wars?
As far as I can tell, absolutely nothing. They don’t appear to have any clear affiliation with the franchise at all.
But anyone can make a copyright claim against any video, with little consequence. YouTube “doesn’t mediate copyright disputes,” and while the DMCA allows for penalties for false claims, they rarely result in legal action.
Can't wait for the RIAA and MPAA to start making these takedowns permanent, huh?
At least for their part, Dramatists Play Service seems to be admitting to some sort of mistake:
We have no claim on any works in the video and will be working with YouTube to get the video reinstated ASAP.
— Dramatists Play Srvc (@DramatistsPlayS) April 7, 2017
That and all the attention appear to have worked, and the video has been put back up:
But, still, this is exactly the kind of First Amendment problem we've repeatedly discussed about copyright law: it's a shoot first, ask questions later, kind of setup, and that's not how the First Amendment is supposed to work.
Update: the folks over at Lumen Database not that I totally failed in not including a "Han shot first" joke to that final line above. My apologies. Won't happen again, etc. etc.