Youtube responds… I am a repeat offender…

I *finally* got an email this morning from youtube about my deleted account.

—–

Hi markhillary,

Thanks for your email. We received multiple notifications from various
content owners regarding unauthorized content that has been uploaded by
your account(s). When we’re notified that a particular video uploaded to
our site infringes another’s copyright, we remove the material as the law
requires. Federal law requires that we terminate accounts when they are
found to repeatedly infringe copyright. Because you have had other videos
rejected in the past, we are unable to reinstate your account. Users with
suspended or terminated accounts are prohibited from creating new accounts
or accessing YouTube’s community. You will need to resolve at least one of
these penalties before your account can be reinstated. You may be able to
resolve at least one of the following video removals by filing a
counter-notification.

The following videos have been removed from your account:

Penalty 1:
“Oxygene (Part VI) Jean Michel Jarre” formerly at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0GFnKXa6PU
Removed due to a copyright claim by FRANCIS DREYFUS MUSIC on 04/03/2008

Penalty 2:
“Jager Yoga – CSS Shepherds Bush Empire London – Oct 6 2008” formerly at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jQVE_JP4hE
Removed due to a copyright claim by Stage Three Music on 09/04/2009

Penalty 3:
“Jimmy Carr – Bath Pavilion – 20 Feb 2010” formerly at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a65IMh2ynzo
Removed due to a copyright claim by Chambers Management on 02/22/2010

IMPORTANT: If you feel a content owner has misidentified your content as
infringing, you may be able to resolve one or more of these penalties by
filing a counter-notification. For more information, please visit our Help
Center article about counter-notifications at
http://help.youtube.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=59826.

Regards,

The YouTube Team

—–

That’s three complaints against me over the past two years. I wouldn’t say that makes me a persistent offender, but Youtube seems to have a ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ policy – deleting my account and all the content without notice.

But, look more closely at these complaints. Jean-Michel Jarre in April 2008. I went to see him in March 2008 and I filmed some of the show, then credited it to him on the video. Take a look at what he asked his fans to do, back in March 2008… I saw this video before I went to the show. I knew that Jarre *wanted* his fans to film him and distribute the content. He even offered a reward for the best video from the tour! Yet, his record company came along and deleted my video on youtube.

The second one, CSS in Shepherd’s Bush in 2008, isn’t really something I can defend. I filmed the opening of the concert and put it online – clearly the band didn’t like it and deleted the video. I would argue that some shaky hand-held mobile phone footage from the audience is not going to prevent people buying music by CSS, or going to their gigs. In fact, quite the opposite. Someone seeing this might actively look out for their shows in future. But I can’t really argue against this penalty – if the copyright holder wants to remove the video then they have the right.

And then, the third one just recently in 2010, where I filmed some of the audience waiting to see Jimmy Carr in Bath. It didn’t feature Jimmy, or his material… there was nothing stolen, just some happy fans in a packed venue waiting to see Jimmy. Obviously I don’t agree with this one being banned, but Jimmy’s management have informed me they have a policy of no filming at the gigs – even if Jimmy is not on stage.

So in the five years I have been uploading content to Youtube, all 900 or so videos, I’ve broken the rules once. That’s 0.1% of the content I’ve uploaded that has caused an issue with a copyright holder. Is that consistent with the behaviour of a pirate, or a persistent copyright thief?

Jimmy Carr’s management have offered to withdraw their copyright violation claim, if it means I get my videos back. That’s a nice gesture by them and I hope it does allow my account to be restored.

I’ve sent a counter-claim against Jean-Michel Jarre’s record company. I never complained about it before, but if there really is a ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ policy, and I do manage to get my videos back, then it will still mean I am one complaint away from losing all my video again. One more incorrect claim I might stress, because I’m not sitting at home with DVD copies of ‘House’, uploading every episode.

More to follow, but I have not heard anything from Google’s press team yet. I’m writing the entire saga up for Computer Weekly and talking to some other journalists about what it means for those using Youtube as a video storage facility. But Google don’t seem to want to comment.

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10 responses to “Youtube responds… I am a repeat offender…

  1. Would your account have been blocked if you’d named the video “Random crowd waiting for random gig to start”? My point being, can you still upload this content if you’d named it something innocuous? This would mean that the “police-ability” of this copyright infrigement surely extends only as far as the tagging and naming of videos. YouTube can’t check everything everyone uploads, and on that basis you might have been able to upload the whole Jimmy Carr gig, provided you didn’t tag and name it as such.

  2. I think that’s certainly true. You could upload any content from any gig and if you don’t tag it then it will go unnoticed – apart from those you share the URL with… but clearly if you want people to find stuff then it needs to be tagged…

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  4. I really feel for you, Mark. The fact your account and videos were deleted without warning or prior right to reply is extremely disturbing, and I think we have a duty to shout about this quite loudly. I actually believe the law needs to be clarified to ensure people’s ownership of (and right of access to) self-created data posted to public sites is enshrined.

    Providers of hosting services should have to ensure any deletion of data can only go ahead following sufficient advance notice for users to move their content elsewhere – and this should be possible in bulk with ease, in standard file formats.

    As to the copyright claims against you, they are a demonstration of both the inappropriateness of current copyright legislation to today’s world and the woeful misunderstanding of social media by the complainants.

    As you rightly point out (1) was clearly in line with the artist’s wishes and (2) probably did more to *promote* the band (which is the point more companies really *need* to get).

    But the most recent claim, the source of all your trouble, is the one that really gets my goat. The accusation of copyright breach was ridiculous – it was nothing of the sort. You may have breached a policy of “no filming in the auditorium”, but surely this isn’t anything to do with *copyright*. What’s copyrighted here? The patterning on the theatre seats?

    Surely whether filming is permitted in the theatre when no performer is actually on stage ought to be a matter for the theatre owner, anyway, not the management company of the artist performing. And it certainly shouldn’t get mixed up with copyright infringement, or warrant Draconian ‘take down’ demands.

    If there are laws that allow these kinds of travesties to occur – then they are laws that have passed their sell-by date and serve no one. They discourage businesses to think about how they *should* be using and embracing social media, and they hinder all our ability to share, communicate and collaborate freely. Sadly, the Digital Economy Bill seems to be going in precisely the wrong direction.

  5. Hi Mark,

    I’m right with you on all this – it’s ridiculous. I can kind of see YouTube’s side; they have to have a fairly automated process for protecting themselves from claims of copyright infringement, and this will invevitably lead to some mistakes, but this case shows that they are lacking a reasonable layer of checks and balances to protect their users from excessively harsh action.

    However, I am perplexed by the unrealistically high level of trust you seem to place in these online social media services. I would trust the integrity of my personal photographic or video collection to a company like Iron Mountain, whose stated aim is to be a reliable protector of digital data, but NEVER to sites like YouTube or Flickr. Have they ever made any kind of guarantees as to their reliability as archival services? I don’t think so. From what I’ve heard, YouTube itself don’t even have a proper backup of its content – there is simply too much of it for a separate, duplicate copy – and rely solely on redundancy in their storage arrays to protect against disk failure.

    I hope you get your YT account reinstated so you get your videos back. But I also hope that you reconsider your backup strategy – and actually form one. Storage is so cheap these days that there’s no reason not to keep at least one copy of all your precious data.

    regards,
    Ben

  6. Just to clarify Dreyfus Music is not Jarre’s record company. It used to be till he moved to EMI. Dreyfus then tried to sue EMI when Jarre re-recorded Oxygene for them. Dreyfus are the publishers of the music and they retain rights that the artist can not give away by inviting people to record him.

    Its an anomaly that dates back to the time of Tin Pan Alley. I knew an artist who was refused permission to put low quality clips of his material on his web site by his own major record lable even though he had generated millions for them over a twenty year period and he owned both the publishing rights and composers copyright. he got round it by re recording material so he had the recording rights too.

    I had copyright on a video claimed by Sony of a remastered Bessie Smith track which is out of copyright. They sell a CD of remastered Bessie Smith, but objected to my own remastering from original 78’s. Its not a breach of copyright but Youtube just goes with it.

    I also had one claim from a company who do not own the material they claim to but they do this because Google let them have ads on top of the videos if they don’t request their removal. Its all very sneaky.

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