Tag Archives: youtube

Downfall on a Croydon tram

You know that an online meme has truly gone viral when someone does a Downfall mashup, and so it is that the recent Emma West ‘racist woman on a tram’ video can now be seen in a new version with Hitler – the source video got past 12m views in a few days before the person who uploaded it decided to delete the video. You can still see it all over YouTube though as other people uploaded copies.

It is an embarrassment to watch. West is clearly drunk, or using something you can’t buy at Boots, and making it all worse, she is carrying a young infant who seems oblivious to the foul language and threat of violence. She has now been remanded in custody to January 3rd by magistrates in Croydon – with the order to keep her behind bars apparently for her own safety.

When you take into account her accusation that someone on the tram comes from Nicaragua, though they are quite obviously not from Central America, it descends into idiocy. Just with the added foul language for good measure.

Most reactions to the video have expressed outrage. The UK is a modern, forward-thinking, liberal society that despises this casual racism. At least, this is the intelligent, educated, liberal reaction.

England is also a country where, just a few days ago, police questioned the captain of the national football team over alleged racial abuse of fellow professional footballers on the pitch.

Emma West doesn’t allow her targets to be limited by race; she appears to despise anyone who isn’t English – particularly the Polish – apparently demonstrating that cultural racism very clearly still exists in the UK.

British people know this anyway. The hard working, mostly Christian, white-skinned Poles have faced a negative reaction from the British as their numbers have increased since EU expansion in 2004. Anyone with a slightly longer memory, or appreciation of British history, would know that there were 16 Polish fighter squadrons within the RAF during World War 2, with squadron 303 at Northolt being the highest-scoring fighter squadron in the RAF. But do the ignorant worry about history?

The Irish faced a similar reaction many decades ago as they came to the UK looking for work. Landlords considered dogs and blacks to be just about as welcome as the Christian, white, Irish workers.

Racism isn’t always about the colour of your skin or the God you worship.

Within the British Isles we have often mocked each other in jokes. The drunken Irish, the stingy Scots and so on, but when a video like this achieves such notoriety in such a short period of time it would appear that something else is going on that exceeds mild stereotypes. That John Terry himself can squirm behind excuses such as ‘the context in which certain remarks were made’ shows how little the establishment really cares about true racial harmony in Britain today. Is ‘tolerance’ still the rather pathetic objective here?

The truth is that without migration the UK would never be able to boast the music of Morrissey or the Beatles. The chicken tikka masala might never have become the favourite dish of the nation – offering solace to all those who can’t manage a vindaloo. And Damien Hirst might never have started chopping up cows in the name of art.

The value migration brings is acknowledged by most, and the most recent explicitly anti-migrant political movement, the British National Party, was roundly defeated in the 2010 general election.

But the white working class fears migrants because of the perception that they steal jobs – it’s that simple. They like Irish beer and Indian (usually it’s actually Bangladeshi) food, but they don’t want foreigners coming and taking their jobs.

And jobs are where the political debate is at right now. Unemployment is soaring. The economies of Europe are collapsing and the OECD predicts that the UK will soon enter a new recession with more than 3m unemployed – that’s at least 400,000 more people without a job than right now.

If the government doesn’t grasp that this lack of employment opportunity is going to be a tinderbox that tests multicultural Britain to the limit then I suggest that ministers get on a tram and start talking to people – admittedly difficult when they are not even talking to each other because of Europe. But, don’t forget to carry a swear box.

Hitler In Hell

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.

Nowt as queer as folk

When I published my first book, I remember hearing someone bitterly complain that they could write a better book on the same subject. I challenged him and said that although the poet laureate may not be scared of my work, at least I had sat down, done the research, formed an opinion, and published it for all to see. The person who grumbles that they can do better should recognise that and go away and write their own book.

Of course, there is some real trash published by writers or musicians. Sometimes you do wonder how on earth it does ever see the light of day, but even those who publish trash have worked hard to get that book or album out into the world. The critics who claim to be better need to demonstrate that, rather than just criticise. At least I could talk to my own book critics and find out what they propose could have been done better. And I do think that I’ve improved what I have written over time.

I was on TV all over the world this weekend, presenting a part of the BBC ‘Click’ TV show. I cannot tell you how many abusive and unfriendly emails I have had. Very strange indeed. I have had lots of texts and mails from people who liked what I said, but why do people send emails saying ‘I hate you’ or ‘I don’t like the way you walk!’

The funny thing is that I suspect these people are not just critics. They are a couple of kings short of a full deck of cards. How do you engage and argue with boneheads like that?
Mark Kobayashi-Hillary Speaking at the Oxford Bookstore, Bangalore - Aug 2004

BBC Click is now online

At last! The BBC Click TV show where I present an entire package on Google is online and being broadcast all over the world this week on BBC World TV. It went out on BBC1 this morning in the UK and my sister was texting me, surprised to get messages from her friends telling her to switch on!

Click here to go and watch it on the BB iPlayer…

Me on BBC Click

Filming with the BBC in Bath

I spent all day on Tuesday filming in Bath with Dan Simmons for the BBC ‘Click’ programme. It’s the biggest technology show on the BBC, being broadcast on BBC World, BBC1, and online. Even the Twitter stream for the programme has nearly two million followers.

Filming 'Click' in Bath

This was following up on my recent experience with Google and their decision to delete my entire Youtube account. I have got my videos back now, but only by appealing to everyone who had ever complained about me and getting them to withdraw the complaints.

I haven’t been out doing TV work in a public place before. I’ve done lots of talking heads work in TV studios, getting wheeled in to speak on the news as an expert in this or that, but shooting all over Bath over an entire day with Dan was great fun. We had kids desperate to get on TV without even knowing what the show was about. We had someone in a Manchester Utd shirt who insisted we should cover the story of his work with children’s football teams in Bath. We had people asking if it was ‘candid camera’. We had people laughing as I was getting my make-up done in the street.

It was certainly an experience to see how people react to a BBC camera out in the street. We certainly do live within a celebrity-obsessed culture. One woman outside Bath sports centre insisted that she already knew me because I am ‘famous and off the telly…’ even after I protested that there was no way she could know who I was, she just insisted!

I had assumed the hardest thing about doing pieces to camera in the street would be to remember my lines, but Dan had all kinds of ideas about how to take different shots, meaning I had to not only remember my lines, but also look in the right direction, walk in the right way, hit my spot on the pavement… then assuming I got all my stuff right we could still foul up a take if a bus had just gone past or some kids were screaming nearby. And even if there was no noise and I got my lines right, there were times when the camera-work could have been better. So you really do need to repeat the lines over and over until everything falls into place.

We spent the entire day filming in Bath, plus I still need to go to TV Centre in London to record some pieces in front of TVC and some voiceovers. Then there is a lot of editing to be done. It’s a lot of work for 4 or 5 minutes of television, but I hope you like it when it comes out.

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.