Category: Google

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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YouTube’s DMCA decision and the campaign to morph victims into villains

YouTube will pay copyright court costs for a few users–not because it’s right–but to protect Google’s bottom line

According to a story in today’s NY Times, the folks at YouTube are ready to pony up cash to support some of its users “fair use” claims in court.

“YouTube said on Thursday that it would pick up the legal costs of a handful of video creators that the company thinks are the targets of unfair takedown demands. It said the creators it chose legally use third-party content under “fair use” provisions carved out for commentary, criticism, news and parody.”

You’ve probably read a lot about “fair use” lately.  It’s the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s mantra and if the folks there had their way, pretty much everything and anything would be considered “fair use.”  Fair use an important legal doctrine and when applied properly (criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research) is not an infringement of copyright.  However, these days, too often is used as a disingenuous defense for copyright theft.

The tech-funded campaign to turn villains into victims

When a court recently ruled that a snippet of a Prince song was indeed “fair use” in the notorious Dancing Baby case it gave a boost to efforts to use fair use as a cudgel against rights holders who legitimately assert their rights using the DMCA takedown process.

Note that the actual video at the center of this case was reposted after the uploader sent a counter-notice. The only reason the case ended up in court was because the uploader, Stephanie Lenz, filed suit and the only reason she did so was because she was bankrolled by the EFF.  The EFF saw it as an opportunity to advance its Google-funded agenda.

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