Category: Google

Why is YouTube such a dump?

Time for YouTube to get serious about cleaning up all the junk, spam and malware files on its site

YouTube is great for finding videos about pretty much everything.  Need to learn how to fix a furnace or use the latest camera equipment? There’s bound to be a video shows you how.  Unfortunately, amid the useful stuff, YouTube is also chock full of garbage.  The question is, with its massive technical resources, why doesn’t the site do a better job keeping house?

I’ve written before about the epidemic of fake “full-movie” uploads that fill YouTube.  That was in 2012.  Now, four years later, the problem still exists.  Apparently, YouTube isn’t concerned that its pages are full of spam files, many of them fake pirate movie uploads that lead users to sites rife with malware and money-making scams.

These fake uploads, promising full copies of hundreds of films, both indie and mainstream, are easy to find.  Go to YouTube, search for a specific film title using the term “full movie,” and voilà, most results will lead to garbage.  These bogus uploads fall into two categories.  Some offer links to other dubious websites while others are merely dummy files uploaded to generate advertising income (for the user and YouTube).  Some do both.

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BOGUS fair use claims hurt creators already victimized by piracy

YouTube users claim Fair Use as a defense for uploading full copies of pirated movies

There was a lot of talk about fair use and takedown abuse at last week’s the U.S. Copyright Office’s Section 512 roundtables in San Francisco.  Many of those who spoke, bemoaned how poor, innocent uploaders were victimized, time after time, by malicious DMCA takedowns.

It’s a tried and true talking point, convenient, but disingenuous all the same.  Some of us, myself included, tried to make the point that creators, whose work is routinely (and massively stolen),  are often (doubly) victimized by malicious fair use claims.  

I thought I’d share an example of this that occurred just this week on YouTube.  On Tuesday a full-copy of the Swedish indie film “Kyss Mig” (all 147 minutes of it) was uploaded to YouTube by a user aptly named “Free Movies.”  As an added flourish, the user-name included the notation, “free movies bitches.”

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More Google DMCA misdirection…refusing takedown requests for Blogger sites with custom domains

Hop aboard for another spin on Google’s DMCA Merry-Go-Round

It’s not news that Google-hosted Blogger websites are a favorite storefront for online pirates.  It’s also not news that Google does its best to obstruct DMCA takedowns by setting up various roadblocks along the way.  Today I discovered yet another example of just how difficult Google makes the DMCA process–this time with Blogger-hosted sites that use custom domain names.

When you create a blog using Blogger you’re given a domain that ends in blogspot.com. However users are free to use a custom domain name instead.  That’s all well and good, unless the website distributes pirated content.  In that case, if you’re a creator trying to get your pirated content removed (by Google), you’re likely to run into problems.

Usually, when one of these pirate entrepreneurs creates a site on blogspot.com a rightsholder can send a DMCA by using Google’s annoying web form (or annoy them by sending an email: dmca-agent@google.com).  However, if you use the same DMCA form to report a blogger-hosted site with a custom domain, Google won’t remove it.  They’ll just send you back to the beginning.

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Google-funded study on copyright takedowns drops the ball

Google-funded report generates desired headlines and conveniently downplays the role of DMCA counter-notices–ignoring fact the system is weighted against rights holders

A new report on the DMCA notice and takedown system, Notice and Takedown in Everyday Practice, was released yesterday.  Co-authored by researchers at Berkeley Law and Columbia University (collaborators for The Takedown Project), the release is clearly timed to generate buzz to coincide with the April 1st deadline for comments to the U.S. Copyright Office on the state of the 512 statute.

The study is said to offer, “a rare, in-depth, empirical look at ways online copyright disputes are handled between Internet companies, such as Google and YouTube, and content creators, such as movie, music, and publishing companies.”  Hmmm, color me a tad suspicious of any piracy-related report funded by Google*.

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Google really, really doesn’t like you to send DMCA requests via email

The Google team doesn’t seem to appreciate email as a form of communication

I’ve written about Google’s laborious and time-consuming DMCA takedown maze, a process that forces creators to find, then fill out cumbersome online forms. I’ve also written about the fact that Google makes it difficult, if not impossible, to find the email address for its DMCA Agent–in apparent violation of  the law’s requirements.

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