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?
My account on Youtube has been suspended suddenly because of a term of use violation.
I’m really not sure what I’ve done.
I got into trouble with Youtube a couple of years ago because I uploaded clips of songs from a Jean-Michel Jarre concert. The funny thing was that JMJ’s record company was deleting the clips off Youtube as JMJ himself was writing on his website that he loves to see his music shared using online forums. That never killed my entire account though – just the clips that were disputed. And even then, I can still view the clips privately when logged into my own account, it’s just that they can’t be broadcast to the wider online community.
But this is different.
Without any contact, I’ve suddenly lost access to my Youtube account. And while that might sound trivial to some, my account has over 900 of my personal videos since 2006. I don’t keep copies of that stuff. It’s filed away there on Youtube. So what happens to all my digital content now? Have they deleted it or just blocked access to my account?
And there is a wider issue regarding the digital footprint of an individual. If those videos, and my blogs, and my photos on Flickr, and my tweet record on Twitter are all owned by those companies then what do I do if they withdraw the service without notice. That could mean all my personal photographs are suddenly lost. It would never happen if I had them stored in a shoe-box.
And what happens when I die? Is it possible to “inherit” a Flickr account so the thousands of pictures I have taken over many years are not lost… through some automated account clearance because it has not been logged into for a period of time.
Is anyone addressing these issues of digital ownership? And by the way, to the guys at Youtube… please get in touch. I’m not sure what button I have pushed to upset you, but how about letting me have my videos back thanks?
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