Tag Archives: copyright

BBC film was not just a rant

I had a few comments about my appearance on BBC Click suggesting it was just a rant. There were a few unsympathetic voices by email even. It’s pretty easy to find me online, so I had to expect that.

Well, I’m not hanging my head asking for forgiveness, or ranting about how unfair it is that the big boy Google is a bully. The film on Click was a measured look at how the strict application of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is essentially not going to work as we head further into the future.

Think about this for a moment. Where do you store your photo collection? I know that I have over 10,000 photos on Flickr, along with a box of old photos, but I am not taking any new photos that are going in the box – they are now all going online.

What happens if people start complaining about my photos and the host decides to delete my account? I don’t keep a local backup of all that content. And even if I did keep everything locally, what happens if the hard disk fails or goes up in flames?

The point about my YouTube account was that there were two complaints from over two years ago, then the Jimmy Carr complaint caused the account to be wiped without any notification. I just had no account anymore. Nobody told me a thing. I had to chase YouTube for several days just to find out why my account had vanished.

Google does not make the ‘three strikes’ policy clear anywhere, even in the small print. Saying repeat offenders will have their account removed is not the same as explicitly saying three-strikes-and-you’re-out.

And I never contested those earlier copyright claims – I never felt that I could. Imagine if Jean-Michel Jarre invited his fans to upload video, but his music publisher complained to YouTube. How would I think that I have any right to fight the music publisher? Because that’s the exact situation that occurred.

Naturally, when I lost my account, I did push back on these complaints – even the ones from 2008 – and as I said in the film, they were all removed as mistakes. But they were mistakes that for a period of time had cost me my entire video collection.

The whole point of this is that I agree that the law has to be followed, I agree piracy needs to be managed, but the fact is that the way the law is applied by Google at present means that many innocents will get caught up and will lose their content, even though you could not argue that they are deliberately trying to pirate material.

Filming with BBC ‘Click’ in Bath

I’m filming in Bath today with the BBC. It should be a nice day in the sun down in Somerset.

This is all part of my battle with Google over them shutting down my Youtube account. All the three complaints against my account have now been dropped, and in each case, I never mentioned I was doing anything with the media. I just asked them to remove the complaint against me and each one agreed.

It’s a very interesting case and I’ll let you all know when the BBC plans to broadcast the show – it will be available online.

Will Sub Pop do the right thing?

I got a message from Jean-Michel Jarre’s lawyer telling me that they have dropped the copyright claim against my YouTube account. That’s great news. It means that after the Jimmy Carr claim was dropped, there is now just the one claim against me.

I know I could very well leave that single penalty on the account, but I’m also emailing Sub Pop records about that one too. The reason is that although the CSS management made a claim against my account in 2008 and I ended up with another copyright penalty, if you go to their website, they link to YouTube with the band name as a search term. So the band is actively using content uploaded to YouTube as promotional… I suspect they had a change of policy at some point since 2008, and now actually are seeing sense, that the fan videos help them to sell more music and concert tickets. I’m hoping that Sub Pop will remove the penalty against me too, so I can have a clean slate with YouTube once again.

I got my YouTube videos back!

So, I finally got my videos back from Youtube. Anyone following my blog over the past week will have seen that YouTube decided to arbitrarily delete my account after five years of uploads totally around 900 videos.

They never warned me. I never knew anything about the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy, which I have since confirmed with the Google press office is an official policy – you get three complaints against you and they just delete your account without any notice.

And did I get any help at all from YouTube or Google? No, not at all. In fact, they entirely ignored my rants about the injustice of what they were doing until the national media started paying attention to my plight… with comments from Computing and the Guardian helping to draw attention to this issue.

The only reason I got my content back was because I got in touch with the company that made the complaint and I asked them nicely to withdraw their copyright claim, in return for me deleting the offending video. By them withdrawing their complaint I could at least get my account reactivated.

But what if the team looking after Jimmy Carr had not been prepared to listen? What if they had their own procedures to follow that did not allow them to go back on a decision like that? I’d still be ranting and fighting the gigantic Google machine over my lost film collection.

And even now, I know I am one complaint away from losing all my video all over again. What if a copyright owner files another erroneous copyright claim? Am I going to face this problem all over again?

I’m going to chase up all those complaints now. This is not over yet.

Google responds to my messages – at last!

The press team at Google finally got in touch with me. I lost my Youtube account on Monday and it’s taken me a week, blogs, tweets, and introductions from various journalists and PRs to get a response….
——
Hi Mark
Amy passed on your email about your YouTube account and the story you’re writing for Computer Weekly. I checked out your blog to see the latest and I apologise for the fact you’ve found it frustrating to get hold of the press team. I also see that you’re in touch directly with YouTube’s copyright team and are planning to file counter-notices, and I’m glad that at least that process has started.
I understand your frustration at our repeat infringer policy, and wanted to provide a statement that explains the background to why we have one and why it operates as it does:
“Under the DMCA, the relevant law, service providers like YouTube are required to adopt and implement a policy to terminate the accounts of repeat copyright infringers.  YouTube implements its repeat infringer policy in a way that has become the industry standard, and the courts have confirmed that other companies with similar policies adequately implement this legal requirement.
“Of course, we do everything we can to help our users avoid being in the position of being accused of repeat infringement and losing their accounts.  We have clear copyright warnings when people sign up for accounts and when they upload videos; we have a copyright tips section in the Help Centre; we make it easy to file counter-notices if users feel they’ve been falsely accused; and we provide clear notice to our users when a video taken down for infringement that we will close down their account if they continue to post infringing content.  Also, we make it easy for rights holders to use our Content ID system so that their matched content can be monetised instead of taken down under the DMCA removal process if they so choose.”
If there’s anything else I can provide in the way of statements or answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Best wishes
Oliver
——

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.

Google, Down’s Syndrome, and Jimmy Carr

Yesterday an Italian court convicted three Google executives of a privacy violation. Their crime? To not take action for several months after a video was uploaded to YouTube featuring a boy with Down’s syndrome being bullied.

Many technology commentators are outraged. The question is, how can Google be expected to possibly monitor every piece of content they publish?

Quite. So what’s my own experience of Google and Youtube this week? My Youtube account has been entirely deleted. Why? Because I uploaded a video I shot in Bath last Saturday and Youtube received a copyright violation notice from Chambers Management. My crime? To attend a gig by Jimmy Carr and to shoot some video of his happy fans expectantly waiting for him to appear on stage. No film of Jimmy. No jokes. No stealing his material. Just a short film under a minute of the fans all waiting expectantly in the packed-out Bath pavilion.

Youtube did not even send me a message to say that Chambers were filing a copyright violation claim. They just deleted my account – so all my videos are gone. That’s around 900 videos shot over the past five years.

And were my videos typical of someone who is supposed to indulge in the theft of jokes from comedians? The last few videos I had uploaded were all about helping kids to understand globalisation. The ones before that were from a business conference I recently attended in India. Not a stolen joke in sight.

Chambers has been in touch with me. They are very apologetic. They just wanted the Jimmy Carr video removed, even if it did not actually contain any footage of Jimmy – their policy is that any film from the venue on the day of a gig also is in breach of copyright rules.

I don’t agree. It seems stupid. Some video from inside the Bath pavilion of a happy audience waiting to see a comedian is not going to ruin Jimmy Carr’s career, but then I’m not going to fight an impossible battle against their policy. I would be happy to remove that video if my other 900 videos and my account are reinstated.

Please Youtube/Google – can I have my video back?