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YouTube Stands Up To IOC Over Free Tibet Video 187

Posted by timothy
from the good-light-on-a-bad-light dept.
Ian Lamont writes "The International Olympic Committee has withdrawn a DCMA takedown notice that targeted a two-minute long YouTube video of a Students for a Free Tibet protest at the Chinese consulate in New York. The video shows protesters gathering outside the building at night and projecting images of the Olympic symbol, 'tank man,' Tibetan riot footage and clips of victims of the Chinese police crackdown in Tibet. After receiving the request, YouTube contacted the IOC and asked if it really planned to pursue a claim. The IOC retracted the notice and the video was reposted within hours. Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society praised YouTube for 'going out of its way to do more than it's required to do under the law to protect free expression.'"
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YouTube Stands Up To IOC Over Free Tibet Video

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 15, 2008 @05:14AM (#24612259)
    for the first person to post a link to the video so that I don't have to look for it myself!
    • by rolfc (842110) on Friday August 15, 2008 @05:18AM (#24612275) Homepage
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bazman (4849)

        Best watched with the sound off. It's the same music all the way through.

      • by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Friday August 15, 2008 @06:20AM (#24612559) Homepage
        You could have just linked to TFA since the video is embedded right on the page... No matter, though.

        This video is a perfect example of the Streisand effect. It's a horrible little clip with ear-jarring music, poor video quality and even worse editing. I wouldn't have even known what it was about without the article, and even so it does not contain much of a message. Very few people ever would have seen this video if the IOC hadn't issued the takedown notice in the first place, but now it's on the /. front page.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 15, 2008 @07:04AM (#24612785)

          The /. front page?

          You mean THE slashdot? Well I'll be fucked. I bet China takes notice now.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by sm62704 (957197)

            In other news, China declares war on Russia because of its cyber attack, not realising that their melted servers are slashdot's doing rather than the Russians.

        • by rvw (755107)

          Very few people ever would have seen this video if the IOC hadn't issued the takedown notice in the first place, but now it's on the /. front page.

          I've just watched the video, and to be honest, still very few people have seen it. The count is currently 1947. It would have been a lot better if the article had linked directly to the YouTube video. Then thousands of slashdot readers possible would have opened it.

          • by mdielmann (514750)

            It would have been a lot better if the article had linked directly to the YouTube video. Then thousands of slashdot readers possible would have opened it.

            RTFA?? You must be new here.

        • by houghi (78078) on Friday August 15, 2008 @07:13AM (#24612837)

          Somebosy else said:I'm betting it had more to do with alerting the IOC to the insanity of one of its workers.
          What if that person was after the Streisant effect. As the Streisant effect is now well known, it could be used to get more attention as well.

          Things like this have been done in advertising (at least in Belgium) where one of the adverts in a campaign are slightly offencive to an extreme small part of the population. This becomes a newsitem, everybody hears and talks about it like this one [yahoo.com] which some people in Belgium thought offencive for women, while this one [youtube.com] passed without a problem.
          (I am aware of the irony of giving links to ads while talking about viral advertisement)

          So could the Streisant effect be used here to 'promote' the free Tibet case?

          • by kdemetter (965669)

            I saw the second one , never saw the first.

            Strange thing is , being a man , i don't find the second one offensive , but i do find the first one offensive.

          • that's the problem with the IOC and the local organizing commitees they are whacko organization theat routinely steamrollers anyones rights to protect their perceived turf or more importantly their revenue stream.

            IOC could be best described the offspring of the UN and the RIAA

    • by daniorerio (1070048) on Friday August 15, 2008 @06:00AM (#24612467)
      No you don't ;)
      • Maybe he's a user but he didn't want to comment as himself because then he wouldn't be able to moderate.

    • by SkyDude (919251)
      Hate to be a spelling nazi but what is the DCMA? Isn't it DMCA, because that's what TFA says.
  • by eebra82 (907996) on Friday August 15, 2008 @05:23AM (#24612297) Homepage
    Aside from using the logotype (which, in my opinion, was listed as 'fair use'), what exactly did the IOC plan to do with this? And why are they following China's commie propaganda?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sakdoctor (1087155)

      China's propaganda hasn't been about communism for a long time.

      "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" is a wildcard because it can mean just about anything. Currently it is defined as socialist market economy.

      • by kcelery (410487)

        People only noticed the fake big-foot, little did they know China is a fake-communist country.

    • by ubernostrum (219442) on Friday August 15, 2008 @06:33AM (#24612639) Homepage

      Aside from using the logotype (which, in my opinion, was listed as 'fair use'), what exactly did the IOC plan to do with this? And why are they following China's commie propaganda?

      There's another explanation, which is that a lot of symbols surrounding the Olympics are trademarked. And, in the US, trademark law requires that you take steps to protect your trademark, or you risk losing some or all of your rights to it. It's debatable how much that has to do with this case, since at least one of the Olympic symbols (the interlocking rings) is protected by a special statute that falls outside normal rules for this sort of thing, but it could be a factor.

      • by kcelery (410487)

        I don't quite understand the relation between the Tibetans and the Olympics. It is just a sports event and it has only 1/200 Chinese element in it, among the 200+ nations. The game will last about 10 more days. So after that are we going to see, Nike, G.M., MacDonald, Rolex, Gucci, Kentucky chicken etc... protest along with their Lion flag? If they are after the Chinese govt, why drag with the Olympics.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by billcopc (196330)

          It may have 1/200 Chinese athletes, but it has 100% of Chinese commercial interests, and more importantly to the billions of magpies watching, it's shifting attention away from the great vices of the Chinese government, painting them as a happy friendly internationally-welcoming country.

          There's a reason China is feared, they have a ton of American money, and they have the morals of Hitler, Stalin and Hussein all chopped up into one big bad cloak of violent oppression.

          Unless you like the idea of being dragge

          • by kcelery (410487)

            So in the same line of argument, Nike, Gucci, Apple, Microsoft, HP, Coca Cola, MacDonalds, ..... should be slapped in the face because "they are shifting attention away from the great vices of the Chinese government, paint them as happy friendly internationally welcoming country" too. Chinese should put on rubber shoes, dress in dark cloths, use only abacus, drink chinese tea and eat only chow mien ....

            The questions why just pick on IOC. Not anyone else?

      • This myth keeps getting propagated by trademark holders, but it is not correct. You have to protect your trademark to prevent others from using it to sell or represent the same kind of goods and services as their own. But this was obviously not the case here. Nobody with a brain cell thought that the protestors were trying to pass off what they were doing as an alternative "Olympics", or suggest that they were the only IOC-authorised brand of anti-Chinese protest.

        Quite honestly, the IOC brand has been so di

        • Are we talking about the same inhabitants whose leader got on with all of his sisters, and pit half-siblings against each other for sport?

          The same ones who broke up a marriage over a beauty contest?

          The same ones whose punishment for a trade secrets violation involved evisceration?

        • by Tacvek (948259)

          This myth keeps getting propagated by trademark holders, but it is not correct. You have to protect your trademark to prevent others from using it to sell or represent the same kind of goods and services as their own. But this was obviously not the case here. Nobody with a brain cell thought that the protestors were trying to pass off what they were doing as an alternative "Olympics", or suggest that they were the only IOC-authorised brand of anti-Chinese protest.

          Quite honestly, the IOC brand has been so diluted since 1936 by its association with nasty dictatorships, corruption and junk food that the inhabitants of Mt. Olympus should call and ask for their good name back.

          My guess is that Greek Gods don't just call and ask for something. They just strike somebody down instead.

      • by jc42 (318812)

        ... a lot of symbols surrounding the Olympics are trademarked. And, in the US, trademark law requires that you take steps to protect your trademark, or you risk losing some or all of your rights to it.

        People keep saying this, but I don't think that trademark law says quite what you're claiming.

        News clips routinely show city scenes with easily-recognizable brand names all over the place. To use the traditional auto analogy, you never hear of Ford or GM attempting to block broadcast of videos that show cars

        • by jroysdon (201893)

          I'm not sure if you saw the section in the clip using the Olympic rings as handcuffs. My guess is that is what they're upset about, not just the Olympic rings up on the buildings.

          I don't know if it's legal or not, but I could see how any org would be upset if their org logo was used to handcuff someone.

          See the clip at 1:11 to see the shot I'm talking about:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j60x3C43Qao [youtube.com]

          I'm not saying it's right or wrong one way or another, just pointing out a fact not everyone might have notice

      • by russotto (537200)

        There's another explanation, which is that a lot of symbols surrounding the Olympics are trademarked. And, in the US, trademark law requires that you take steps to protect your trademark, or you risk losing some or all of your rights to it.

        No, no, no, no, no. The Olympic symbol used in the video are protected by treaty and by statute. Unlike ordinary trademarks, its status cannot be lost that way. So the IOC does not have that excuse. Even if they did, in order to use the DMCA they had to commit per

    • by bondsbw (888959)

      Aside from using the logotype (which, in my opinion, was listed as 'fair use'), what exactly did the IOC plan to do with this? And why are they following China's commie propaganda?

      Not sure, but had it not been for the IOC's intervention, who would have seen or even known about the video to begin with?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      The IOC have been excessively aggressive in protecting their trademarks for years. The 2004 games in Athens had them threatening every restaurant or other venue with the word 'Olympic' in its name - apparently they were unaware that Olympus is in Greece and things have been named after it for several thousand years there. In the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, there have been laws passed here in the UK granting extra protection to their trademarks.
      • by British (51765)

        s, there have been laws passed here in the UK granting extra protection to their trademarks.

        And we all know the IOC is nice & fair & reasonable, just like the RIAA and MPAA in regards to copyright claims.

        Really, why does the IOC get "extra" protection in regards to trademarks compared to anyone else? What makes the IOC so special? I have grown tired of these organizations that seem to think they are more important than everyone else, trampling over what they see fit.

        There's the ultimate battle royal

      • by jc42 (318812)

        I've been wondering what would happen if the Olympics were held in Seattle. There's a bunch of mountains 50 miles west of the city called "the Olympics", though "the Olympic Mountains" would be the more formal name. Would the IOC demand that the range be renamed? Because of the mountains, there are a number of Olympic-themed place names in the general area. Would they all be forced to change their names? Some of the smaller eateries would probably just laugh and refuse to change.

        Maybe this issue would

    • Aside from using the logotype (which, in my opinion, was listed as 'fair use'), what exactly did the IOC plan to do with this?

      It had a misleading title, which caused the IOC to issue a takedown notice before it confirmed that the content matched the description. I would do the same thing, probably.

  • by Naruki (601680) on Friday August 15, 2008 @05:28AM (#24612331)

    And it's so terribly inconvenient that they deserve praise for it?

    Lowered Expectations.

  • Don't be evil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aceofspades1217 (1267996) <aceofspades1217.gmail@com> on Friday August 15, 2008 @05:29AM (#24612335) Homepage Journal

    Personally I give Google kudos for doing this. If it were any other company they wouldn't have done anything and would have stated that they will not repost it unless a counter DMCA is issued. I applaud Google for taking the extra step of actually contacting the IOC and asking them if they truly want to pursue this or are they just trying to pander to the Chinese. The Chinese are horrible and sure they can make a pretty show but they have total disregard for human rights.

    If this were Microsoft or Yahoo (and yahoo has pandered to the Chinese many many times) they would have waited for a counter DMCA or just ignore it and let another site deal with it.

    So good job not being evil

    *Cheers*

    and I swear the Chinese's pretty little show doesn't change anything.

    • Re:Don't be evil (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Repossessed (1117929) on Friday August 15, 2008 @05:56AM (#24612455)

      While Google's intervention helped, I'm betting it had more to do with alerting the IOC to the insanity of one of its workers. Any real effort on the part of Google would have been, while perhaps right, also a potentially disastrous legal move, given the number of copyright battles where Google is currently relying on a neutral service defense.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        While Google's intervention helped, I'm betting it had more to do with alerting the IOC to the insanity of one of its workers. Any real effort on the part of Google would have been, while perhaps right, also a potentially disastrous legal move, given the number of copyright battles where Google is currently relying on a neutral service defense.

        I know thats why I applaud google.

        Although after reading the article it seems like the IOC didn't mean to take down that video. It had the title Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony so in a way it was the original posters fault for posting a misleading title.

        I think we shouldn't blame the IOC for this one. They were probably just sifting through google tagging anything from the Olympics.

        • by Comboman (895500)

          I think we shouldn't blame the IOC for this one. They were probably just sifting through google tagging anything from the Olympics.

          We shouldn't blame them for threatening legal action based on a text tag without even viewing the supposedly offending video?

          • by tepples (727027)

            We shouldn't blame them for threatening legal action based on a text tag without even viewing the supposedly offending video?

            But text tags are subject to trademark law. Come to think of it, I applaud Google for standing up to someone who tried to use copyright law to enforce a trademark.

        • by Spatial (1235392)

          I think we shouldn't blame the IOC for this one. They were probably just sifting through google tagging anything from the Olympics.

          We shouldn't blame them because they didn't do their jobs properly? They made a mistake, they were careless, they take the blame.

          • I think we shouldn't blame the IOC for this one. They were probably just sifting through google tagging anything from the Olympics.

            We shouldn't blame them because they didn't do their jobs properly? They made a mistake, they were careless, they take the blame.

            I am just saying that in their defense they didn't do it to suppress free speech. The video clearly had a title that signified that it was pirated material. It seems totally understandable that at first glance a video with the name "Beijing Opening Olympic Ceremonies" seems to be infringing content. It it the original video poster who decided to put an extremely misleading title.

            I am just looking at both sides of the issue. Don't be so quick to blame.

      • by Tuoqui (1091447)

        I suspect it was more along the lines of a counter DMCA notice from the original authors of the work that got it back up than anything else.

    • I applaud Google for taking the extra step of actually contacting the IOC and asking them if they truly want to pursue this or are they just trying to pander to the Chinese...

      I know hating on the Chinese government is in vogue right now but the IOC's initial DMCA notice had nothing to do with "pander[ing] to the Chinese." The IOC is one of the most aggressive organization when it comes to protecting their rights and, given that this video depicted the five interlocking rings (which the IOC protects very
    • No Kudos (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stephanruby (542433) on Friday August 15, 2008 @08:23AM (#24613245)

      The IOC retracted the notice and the video was reposted within hours.

      Google shouldn't have removed the video in the first place. At least, that's what I refused to do when I received an obviously invalid DMCA request for one of my own customers site.

      DMCA requests are being sent out like spam. And when I say spam, I mean that they're being sent out by automated scripts with no human supervision whatsoever. And in many documented cases, DMCA requests are being sent out by people who know damn well the DMCA doesn't apply -- but they just want to have some embarrassing materials taken down as quickly as possible.

      So if a human looks at it, like a Google employee must have obviously done to tell the IOC about it, and says 'no', it's obviously an invalid DMCA request, then the video shouldn't be removed -- or if it was removed already -- it should be posted back right away -- before the IOC is even contacted.

      Now I realize Google is being sued by copyright holders for not being quick enough to respond to them, but we need to sue Google on the other side of the issue to make sure they don't go too far in complying with the legal threats of these automated DMCA requests. If we don't do this, we'll certainly lose our rights to immediate free speech, and *immediate* free speech is important -- or at least it's gaining more importance every single day -- since sites like YouTube often beat out other traditional outlets in getting fresh same-day footage of armed conflicts, rigged elections, and bloody protests.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cduffy (652)

        Google shouldn't have removed the video in the first place. At least, that's what I refused to do when I received an obviously invalid DMCA request for one of my own customers site.

        That's a very dangerous thing to do -- you're depriving yourself of the "safe harbor" protections that would mean that only your customer, and not you yourself, has liability. Sure, the claim may be invalid -- but if they try to haul you into court alongside your customer, it would be nice to be able to get yourself back out agai

    • by clragon (923326)

      I applaud Google for taking the extra step of actually contacting the IOC and asking them if they truly want to pursue this or are they just trying to pander to the Chinese. The Chinese are horrible and sure they can make a pretty show but they have total disregard for human rights...

      ...and I swear the Chinese's pretty little show doesn't change anything.

      Why do you think the Chinese government cares so much about one free Tibet video on youtube? there are already so many other ones uploaded already regarding Tibet and the Beijing Olympics... it would be pretty meaningless.

      On the other hand IOC has "long history of overzealously "defending" its trademarks" [techdirt.com].

    • by Stooshie (993666)
      google.cn doesn't display results that the chinese government don't like.
      • by tepples (727027)

        google.cn doesn't display results that the chinese government don't like.

        As I understand it, google.cn blocks results that it knows Golden Shield's great firewall will block, and it lets the user know that this has happened. If you can use a proxy to get around the great firewall, then you can use the same proxy to get to google.com.

        • by Stooshie (993666)
          My point was that Google shouldn't be pandering to the Chinese government's wishes like that.
    • by p2sam (139950)

      Hi, I'm Chinese, and I would say that I'm mostly not that horrible. And like most average joe's, I don't know much about human rights. Thanks for the blanket statement, Mr Obese-American-Gun-Nut. :)

      • Hi, I'm not Chinese and I would like to point out that GP was talking about your government, not you. Unfortunately, countries tend to get judged according to what their governments do, so if you think you're being unfairly painted with the same brush then why don't you try to change the government? You could picket or hold a banner or something. Oh wait... actually, that sounds like a bad idea. China doesn't like it much.

  • Good on YouTube, good on Google!
    Fuck you, chilling effect.

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Friday August 15, 2008 @06:27AM (#24612599)
    ..he once undiplomatically referred to the current Chinese leadership as "ghastly old waxworks." And last week in The Guardian, Marina Hyde suggested that the same description should apply to the IOC and that they deserved one another. When a feudal relic aged around 60, and an upper class British journalist think two sets of people are hopelessly past their sell by date, they must indeed be a long way into the bulging and growing mould stage.

    So Google is not so much doing the right thing, but making the tough decision whether to go along with old, obnoxious powerful men who will soon be history, or to keep alongside its demographic.

  • by rumith (983060) on Friday August 15, 2008 @07:02AM (#24612767)
    1. Was bringing the video back Google's own idea or did someone from the government or a three-letter agency hint that it would be a good idea?
    2. Would Google go to the same lengths if Fox News requested takedown of this inconvenient video [youtube.com]?
    3. How do you discriminate between free speech and propaganda at all? Counting anti-Chinese and anti-Russian videos as free speech and counting anti-American videos as propaganda might look like an attractive answer to some, but it will not be accepted.
    4. Provided there is a definitive answer to the previous question, should commercial sites like YouTube allow propaganda videos?
    • by unity100 (970058)

      How do you discriminate between free speech and propaganda at all? Counting anti-Chinese and anti-Russian videos as free speech and counting anti-American videos as propaganda might look like an attractive answer to some, but it will not be accepted.

      shitload of anti american videos posted by americans are on youtube since 2002.

    • Answers:
      1. Yes.
      2. NOOO. That is so NOT possible. Look, YouTube is an American company. We show dirt on China and Russia. Not on US.
      3. Free Speech? You are barking up the wrong tree. This amounts to Racial Discrimination.
      4. Yes. And we all should upload Maroon 5 or 50 Cents videos by millions so that their copyright gangsta is swamped.

  • they took it down first, that's something that should have *NEVER EVER* happened, DMCA or not. Bad laws are there to be broken, the DMCA is as bad as it gets.

    • by Shados (741919)

      Bad laws are there to be exposed so that they can be changed. If all you do is break them:

      A) who makes YOU decide which law is good or bad?
      B) Not enough people will know, and if its truly a bad law, you'll have to constantly break it instead of having it fixed.

  • While I'm always happy to flame the DMCA's anticircumvention aspects, I've always thought the idea behind the takedown notice aspect, is basically fair: it either puts the two parties who are in conflict in contact with each other, or removes the conflict, and gets the ISP out of the line of fire. But this kind of situation shows that the implementation of takedown notices, is still brain damaged.

    IOC asserted they hold the copyright on the video, and Youtube took damaging action against the real copyright

  • The IOC still seems to think it owns all use of the word 'olympic'. http://news.opb.org/article/usoc-cracks-down-olympic-peninsula-winery/ [opb.org] I wish somebody could explain to them that owning the copyright to the games does not entitle them to prevent others from either using their symbol to protest them, or from using locale names (like the olympic penninsula in WA) that predate the founding of the modern olympic games.
  • by belmolis (702863) <billposer@a l u m . m i t .edu> on Friday August 15, 2008 @05:13PM (#24621429) Homepage

    Unless I've missed something, the DMCA deals exclusively with copyright infringement. The linked rings symbol is trademarked by the IOC. There is no copyright in it, and certainly no copyright in the linked-handcuff symbol used in the Free Tibet video. Even granting that the IOC might have a case for trademark infringement, what entitles them to issue a DMCA takedown notice? Indeed, a DMCA takedown notice requires the issuer to attest under penalty of perjury that the issuer holds the copyright in the work in question. Did the IOC or its lawyer not commit perjury in issuing this notice?

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